The attack on the U.S. embassy in Iraq is a public relations tactic to divert attention from what is really happening inside the country, according to ex-Trump National Security Council chief of staff Fred Fleitz on Newsmax TV.
"What's happening in Iraq right now is the success of President Trump's policies," Fleitz told Thursday's "Newsmax Now."
"He has undermined support for the Iranian regime in Iran, Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria."
Iranian-backed militia earlier in the week attempted to storm the U.S. embassy in Baghdad after a weekend attack on a military base near Kirkuk resulted in four wounded U.S. troops and the death of a U.S. contractor.
The attack, says Fleitz, "is an effort by Iran and its proxies to distract attention from the popular protests against Iran in Iraq right now."
The threat from Iran and its allies in Iraq and Syria remains strong, though the Trump administration says it is ready to respond.
"If we get word of attacks, we will take preemptive action as well to protect American forces, protect American lives," Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Thursday. "The game has changed."
President Donald Trump on Tuesday said Iran would be "held fully responsible" for the embassy attack.
Fleitz said Trump has "Iran on the ropes," but he is not "going to use military force unless he has to.
"You may hear a lot of conservatives getting on the air right now, 'Let's start bombing Iran,'" Fleitz said. "Well, the president's answer to that is, 'What do we do next.' The president is very careful in using military force in situations like this."
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