U.S. deploys patriot missile batteries to Iraq as it reduces military footprint

KIRKUK, Iraq – On Monday, the U.S.-led coalition forces deployed Patriot air defense missiles to Iraq two months after they had been attacked by Iranian ballistic missiles.

Last week, a Patriot missile battery arrived at Ayn al-Asad Air Base which houses U.S. military personnel, according to Iraqi and U.S. officials.

Another U.S. military official confirmed that a second patriot battery had arrived at Harir Air Base near Erbil in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Two additional Patriot batteries are to be transported later from Kuwait to Iraq.

A well-informed source quoting high-ranking Iraqi officials stated that Washington could give Baghdad political cover by reducing its forces in Iraq and deploying air defense missiles instead. Meanwhile, U.S.-led international coalition soldiers had been withdrawing from several military bases in the past few weeks.

The latest military base to be fully handed over to the Iraqi Military this month was K1 Air Base near Kirkuk in northern Iraq. As a part of the handover, $ 1.1 million worth of military equipment was transferred to the Iraqi Military.