The US longstanding “deter Iran” policy is official again inside Iraq and Syria, apparently, after Defense Secretary Mark Esper underscored in statements on Thursday that “additional attacks” are being readied by Iran against US troops and interests inside Iraq.

Leaving the question of the original “anti-ISIL” mission far behind after it’s already been “physically defeated” Esper crucially declared “preemptive” strikes are on the table.

This after over the weekend the US attacked 5 Iraqi Shia militia sites in Iraq and Syria, resulting in mob attacks on the American embassy compound inside Baghdad’s ‘Green Zone’. “If we get word of attacks, we will take preemptive action as well to protect American forces, protect American lives. The game has changed,” Esper said.

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