Iraqi militia leader Qais Khazali, the Secretary-General of Asai'b Ahl Al-Haq said that the Americans will discover that the price they have to pay for their continued military presence in Iraq is very heavy. He made these remarks in an interview that aired on Al-Ahd TV (Iraq) on June 1, 2021. Khazali said that the militias have decided to increase the quality and quantity of operations against military targets, and they have increased capability and weapons. He added that according to the Washington Post, the militias have UAVs with high-precision strike capabilities, and these were used in an attack on the Ayn Al Asad air base. Khazali elaborated that the Americans were "astounded" by the fact that these UAVs were able to bypass the Patriot defense systems.
Qais Khazali: "With the exception of the U.S. Embassy, which is considered a 'diplomatic' zone..."
Qais Khazali: "Yes. It is arguable, but we abide by it... And with the exception of the Balad Air Base, where there are Iraqi F-16s... If we find out... There are negotiations on this issue... If we confirm that the American presence at the Balad Air Base is purely technical in the service of the Iraqi F-16s... Other than that, any U.S. military presence may be targeted by the Iraqi resistance factions. The decision that had been taken is to escalate the quantity and quality of the operations."
Interviewer: "From now on?"
Khazali: "It has been decided a while ago. This will continue until the Americans realize that they cannot continue to occupy Iraq, and continue their militarily presence, regardless of the Iraqi constitution, the Iraqi parliament and the Iraqi people.
"Our goal now is to convince the Americans and make them understand that we are ready and that we have capabilities and weapons and that we will not allow them [to maintain their military presence in Iraq]. They will learn that the price for keeping their forces in Iraq will be very heavy."
Interviewer: "What kind of 'quality' operations are you talking about? What did you mean when you said that you can carry out quality operations?"
Khazali: "I cannot reveal what kind of quality operations..."
Interviewer: "Give me an example."
Khazali: "I can talk about the quality operations that were mentioned by the American media. The Washington Post, for example, mentioned that the Iraqi resistance now has UAVs with high-precision strike capabilities. Indeed, we have that now."
Interviewer: "Where did they strike? Inside Iraq?"
Khazali: "Of course. This capability was proven in [the attack] on the Ayn Al-Asad air base, and not only there. The strike was so accurate that it astounded the Americans for two reasons: First, due to [their] recognition that this target was hit, despite the radar of the Patriot system.
"We are proud to have such a weapon, and we have even more than that."