The United States’ response to the drone attack in Jordan that killed and injured US service members on Sunday is expected to be stronger than previous American revenge attacks in Iraq and Syria, officials said, though the Pentagon and White House are careful not to reveal the administration’s plans.
President Joe Biden is under more and more pressure to react in a way that effectively ends these attacks. Iran-backed terrorists have targeted US military facilities in Iraq and Syria more than 160 times since October, and numerous Republican congressmen have advocated for the United States to strike directly within Iran to send a clear message.
The Biden administration’s greatest current issue, however, is figuring out how to react to the drone strike—the worst attack on United States soldiers in the area since the explosion at Abbey Gate, which claimed the lives of 13 US service members in the final days of the departure from Afghanistan—without inciting a regional conflict.
The US has launched many strikes against the weapons caches of Iranian proxies in Syria and Iraq in recent months. Over 120 US service members have been injured by the insurgents’ 165 attacks since October; to date, none of those strikes have stopped them.
The murders of the United States servicemen “certainly crossed the president’s red line,” according to retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling. Officials and analysts anticipate a more comprehensive response that isn’t necessarily limited to one nation or one day. However, officials have said it is improbable that the United States will launch an attack on Iran.
According to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the Middle East’s climate is currently as hazardous as it has been since at least 1973, and possibly much before.
Blinken continued by saying that the United States response might be multifaceted, implemented gradually, and prolonged.
The Biden Administration say’s
The Biden administration may also choose to aim for the regional militia leadership. The United States targeted a top member of Harakat al-Nujaba, an Iranian proxy that has assaulted US forces, in at least one instance in early January. Another possibility is an aggressive cyberattack, according to officials.
According to a United States official, to maintain an element of surprise when the US retaliates, the US is being cautious not to reveal too much about the drone’s origin or the militants who fired it. All that US officials have stated is that the strike appears to have been supported by Kataib Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy force.
“Nothing is off the table for the United States,” US military
Even so, officials stated that attacking Iran is now among the least likely possibilities. The US does not wish to go to war with Iran, as repeated statements by Biden officials on Monday indicated would happen if the US launched an attack inside Iran’s borders.
We don’t want to fight Iran. John Kirby, the National Security Council’s chief of strategic communications, stated on Monday that the organization is not searching for a more protracted confrontation in the Middle East. The president has tried to defuse the situation by taking steps to de-escalate the situation and lower tensions.
Given Tehran’s financial and military support for its proxy groups, the United States holds Iran ultimately accountable for the attacks; nevertheless, various sources informed reporters that there are currently no signs that Iran specifically ordered the deadly strike on Sunday or planned it as a purposeful escalation against the United States.
Additionally, the Iranian government has refuted any involvement.
According to a US official, “I don’t think this was intended as an escalation.” They’ve launched this exact attack 163 times previously, and on 164 of those attempts, they were successful.
The only difference between this attack and the other 160+ attacks by the militants backed by Iran, according to officials, is that this one was successful in striking a housing container at the United States base known as Tower 22 early on Sunday when service members were still in bed and had little time to flee.
According to Alterman, Iran has greatly profited over the past three months from its years-long investment in the axis of resistance. Since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas conflict, Tehran has been seen as an anti-United States city, and anti-Israel demonstrations have spread throughout the Middle East. Iran’s ties to China and Russia have gotten tighter, while Iraqi officials have recently started to voice their desire for United States soldiers to leave the nation more forcefully.
These are indicators of Iran’s triumph.
The fear of escalation from the administration is evident in every communication you see, according to a former senior military officer who has kept a close eye on regional developments. Here, we have succeeded in dissuading ourselves.