The United States is prepared to respond “forcefully to any attack” by Iranian forces, the commander of the American forces in the Middle East, Kenneth Frank McKenzie has warned.
“We are prepared to defend ourselves, our friends and partners in the region, and we’re prepared to react if necessary,” McKenzie was quoted by the AFP as saying.
His remarks came in a telephone call during a regional tour he was carrying out weeks before the first anniversary of the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.
“My assessment is we are in a very good position and we’ll be prepared for anything the Iranians or their proxies acting for them might choose to do,” the US official said.
The CENTCOM commander pointed out that he had recently visited the Iraqi capital Baghdad, where he met with the “head of the anti-jihadist coalition, American General Paul Calvert, as well as the Iraqi army chief of staff, General Abdul Amir Yarallah.”
McKenzie added that he had also visited Syria to meet with the American forces deployed in the country’s southern base at Al-Tanf, near the borders with Jordan and Iraq.
Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike near the Baghdad airport on 3 January 2020.