Iran has used the continuing chaos in Iraq to build up a hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq, part of a widening effort to try in immediate the Middle East and assert its power, according to US intelligence and military officials.
The buildup comes as the US has rebuilt its military presence in the Middle West to counter emerging threats to American interests, including attacks on oil tankers and facilities that intelligence officials have blamed on Iran. Since May, the Trump administration has sent roughly 14,000 additional troops to the region, primarily to staff navy ships and missiles in Iraq is the latest sign that the Trump administration's efforts to deter Tehran by increasing the US military presence in the Middle East has largely failed.
The missiles pose a threat to us allies and partners in theregion, including Israel and Saudi Arabia, and could endanger American troops,the intelligence officials said.
Tehran is engaged in a shadow war, striking at countries inthe Middle East but thinly disguising the origin of those attacks to reduce thechance of provoking a response, officials said. An arsenal of missiles outsideits borders gives advantages to the Iranian Government and military in anystandoff with the US and its regional allies.
Officials would not discuss the precise model of ballisticmissile Iran has sneaked into Iraq. But short-range missiles have a range ofjust over 600 miles, meaning that one fired from Baghdad outskirts could strikeJerusalem.