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Rocket attack against Camp Taji as part of series of attacks surrounding strategic dialogue

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At approximately 20:20 on 13 June, 1-2 rockets reportedly impacted in the vicinity of Camp Taji in northern Baghdad province. The Security Media Cell confirmed an attack involving two Katyusha rockets, with no casualties or damages reported. ISF reportedly located the point of origin near the Nasr General Facility, located roughly 1km north of the base complex’s outer perimeter. Few further details were initially noted.

First attack against Camp Taji since deadly attacks in March:
This attack closely follows the strategic dialogue held between the US and Iraqi governments on 11 June concerning the future presence of US forces in Iraq. The talks were preceded by two attacks against other US affiliated targets in Baghdad province. This included a rocket attack that targeted a site hosting US military and diplomatic personnel near Baghdad International Airport on the evening of 8 June, and an attack that affected an area near the US Embassy and a joint CF-ISF headquarters in the International Zone on the night of 10 June. The 13 June attack affected one of the three remaining large bases hosting CF following the consolidation of forces earlier in the year. The other two bases comprise Al Asad Air Base in Anbar province and Erbil Air Base in Erbil province.

The 12 June attack was likely intended to communicate opposition to perceptions that the US government is delaying calls for reductions in forces, and intends to maintain large bases on an enduring basis under the guise of being designated Iraq-owned joint facilities. The initial talks on 11 June did not confirm the timeline or scope of reductions in forces. Instead, the US government intends to host the next round of talks with Iraqi counterparts in Washington D.C. in late July. The US undoubtedly intends to exert significant leverage in order to moderate the scope of US military reductions, and mitigate as required through increased allied commitments.
All three indirect fire attacks against US interests in Iraq thus far in June represented small-scale kinetic statements, with only 1-2 rockets employed. This contrasts with the headlining large-scale casualty-producing indirect fire attacks that dominated late 2019 and early 2020. That said, the US is expected to increasingly consider statement-type posturing and retaliatory actions if attacks continue with regularity or otherwise intensify. As regularly discussed, typical responses include sanctions against Iranian interests, and airstrikes attributed to Israeli or unidentified aircraft against Iranian proxies in Syria.

Camp Taji has been one of the most regularly targeted bases in the past. The next most recent attacks against this facility on 11 March and 14 March killed three CF personnel and wounded a number of others. A component of the consolidation of forces included the enhancement of force protection assets at remaining bases. In addition to the headlining deployment of Patriot missile batteries to counter the ballistic missile threat, this also included the fielding of more appropriate Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Mortar (C-RAM) systems. However, even when coupled with enhanced intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities, low-tech short-range rocket attacks remain a difficult threat to counter as demonstrated once again on 13 June.

For further discussion and analysis please see our full report.

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