With U.S. troops in Iraq and neighboring Syria under regular attack by militias aligned with Iran, an Iraqi official told Newsweek that the country is working to rein in armed factions seeking to open a new front hundreds of miles away from Israel’s war in Gaza.

But Baghdad must seek a careful balance, as its government, led by Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, looks to avoid direct conflict with powerful forces opposed to the U.S. military presence in the country.

“The government cannot enter into an open military confrontation with any armed group, because that destabilizes Iraq and causes the participation of most groups in an open war,” the Iraqi official told Newsweek on the condition of anonymity. “We do not want the battle to move from Gaza to the streets of Baghdad, and this is certainly not in the interest of protecting the missions, diplomacy and international coalition forces in Iraq.”