IAF Commander Norkin: US airstrikes in Iraq a potential game changer 

Source: IAF Commander Norkin: US airstrikes in Iraq a potential game changer – The Jerusalem Post

Thousands of paramilitary members march on US Embassy in Baghdad following deadly strikes.

Israeli Air Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin stands alongside senior US Air Force officers in Washington (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Israeli Air Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin stands alongside senior US Air Force officers in Washington
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON’S UNIT)
The strikes against an Iranian proxy group in Iraq are a potential game changer, the Commander of Israel’s Air Force said Tuesday as thousands of members of Shiite militias marched on the US embassy in Baghdad in response to the deadly strikes.

“The attack by the United States Air Force are a potential game changer,” Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin said at a conference held by Calcalist of the American strikes on Kata’ib Hezbollah locations in Syria and Iraq which killed some 25 paramilitary fighters.

The strikes came two days after a barrage of over 30 rockets were fired by the Iranian-backed militia towards the K1 Iraqi military base in Kirkuk, killing a US civilian contractor and wounded dozens of Iraqi and American troops.

In a statement on Sunday, outgoing Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi called the strikes a “dangerous escalation that threatens the security of Iraq and the region.”

According to Abdul Mahdi, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper called him close to 30 minutes before to inform him of the coming strikes. During the call Abdul Mahdi demanded that Esper call off the strikes as they would lead to a further escalation.

Both Israel and the US have warned that Iran and it’s proxy militias are the biggest threats to peace in the region and hope to weaken Tehran’s growing influence across the Middle East and the Persian Gulf.

During the conference on Tuesday Norkin said that the connection between the Israeli Air Force and the Americans is an asset that strengthens Israel’s aerial superiority.Israel’s aerial supremacy, he said is the “key to regional stability.”

“We are in a time of turmoil in which the Iranian threat is known to everyone, including the nuclear one,” Norkin continued.

“In the northern arena, we face a series of the world’s most advanced ground-to-air systems like the S-300 and S-400. The Middle East that was when I joined [the military] is not the same Middle East that I see today. There are states have changed and some will never return to what they once were.”

Israeli officials have warned that Iran is also attempting to entrench itself in Iraq, a mainly Shia country, as it did in Syria, where it has established and consolidated a parallel security structure.

Iran has for years been trying to establish a 1,200 km. length land bridge from Tehran to the Mediterranean, a major concern for Israel which since 2013 has been carrying out a “war-between-wars” campaign aimed at preventing Iran from reaching its goal.

Last week Israel’s top military chief IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi publicly admitted to IAF airstrikes in Iraq, stating that Iran’s Quds force is smuggling advanced weapons in the country on a monthly basis “and we can’t allow that.”

 

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