The deputy commander of the US-led military coalition Major Gen. Chris Ghika gave spectecular details to Pentagon reporters on Tuesday.
“There are a range of threats to American and coalition forces in Iraq and Syria,” Ghika said. “We monitor them all. Iranian backed forces is clearly one of them and I am not going to go into the detail of it, but there are a substantial number of militia groups in Iraq and Syria and we don’t see an increased threat from many of them at this stage.”
Informative details from Ghika gives important hints about who fuels the situation.
Ghika was speaking to Pentagon reporters from Baghdad as tensions between the US and Iran have deteriorated lately.
Other side of the coin, CENTCOM, made a rare statement later Tuesday, pushing back on Ghika’s comments just hours after his news conference from Baghdad.
“Recent comments from (Operation Inherent Resolve’s) deputy commander run counter to the identified credible threats available to intelligence from US and allies regarding Iranian backed forces in the region,” US Navy Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman for Central Command, said in a statement.
“US Central Command, in coordination with Operation Inherent Resolve, has increased the force posture level for all service members assigned to OIR in Iraq and Syria. As a result, OIR is now at a high level of alert as we continue to closely monitor credible and possibly imminent threats to US forces in Iraq,” Urban added.
Speaking from Baghdad, Ghika said there was no contradiction between his statement and White House claims stressing that he was talking about threats that are constant.
“I said there are a range of threats to American and coalition forces in this part of the world. There always have been, that is why we have a very robust range of force protection measures,” the British major general said. “The threats come from a range of different groups, we monitor them carefully, we raise and reduce our force protection levels accordingly.”
“I don’t think I’m out of step with the White House at all,” he added.