U.S. Military forces initiated airstrikes against terrorists backed by Iran late Sunday in a response to those groups using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to attack U.S. Military forces in Iraq.
The Pentagon issued a statement that read in part, “Specifically, the U.S. strikes targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq, both of which lie close to the border between those countries. Several Iran-backed militia groups, including Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS), used these facilities.”
A New York Times report stated that, on at least five occasions since April, the Iranian backed militia groups have used drones carrying explosives to carry out late-night attacks on Iraqi bases that are used by the C.I.A. and U.S. Special Operations Units. So far, no Americans have been injured in the attacks.
A report from Fox News says that Defense Department officials say that U.S. Air Force F-15’s and F-16’s were used in carrying out the attacks that took place at roughly 1 a.m. local time.
Biden’s decision to launch airstrikes is being seen by many who are knowledgeable about the events in the region as the Biden administration “serving notice” to the Iranians as negotiations continue to resuscitate the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
Former assistant secretary of defense and senior fellow at American Progress Fund Lawrence J. Korb also stated that he did not think the timing of the attacks was a coincidence:
“The first time he used military force was about a month after he was inaugurated. I think it was no accident that he did it then to send that signal to Iran. The fact that he’s doing it now while they are about to undergo the seventh round of talks on the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] is him saying: ‘Just because we are there, it doesn’t mean we are going to ignore [these other problems].'”
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby described the strikes as, “necessary, appropriate, and deliberate action designed to limit the risk of escalation.” He added that the strikes sent an, “unambiguous deterrent message.”
Iran’s recent presidential election saw the election of Ebrahim Raisi. Raisi has been called a “protege” of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and a hardliner. While the Biden administration insists that nothing has changed, experts say that the election of Raisi may complicate negotiations.
Recently, Raisi dismissed U.S. calls for Iran to agree to follow-up discussions on the expansion of the initial nuclear deal to include its ballistic missile program and its support for regional groups that the U.S. designates as terrorist organizations. Raisi’s response, “It’s nonnegotiable.”
Rich Goldberg, former Trump administration National Security Council official said bluntly, “It was pretty obvious that the Iranians were never gong to negotiate in good faith beyond the JCPOA.”
“But now, even if the administration gets some sort of face-saving language from the Iranians about future talks, Raisi has already said they’re not interested,” he continued. “The jig is up. You can’t come back to a skeptical Congress, allies and deal opponents and say the promise means anything it means when Raisi has already said it doesn’t.”
Former President Donald Trump warned back in February at his speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that the Biden administration would be engaging in, “the endless wars that go on forever.”
At a rally in Ohio on Saturday, Trump talked about American troops being in Iraq and Afghanistan for 20 years, and how his administration had started the process to bring them home.
“They (the Biden administration) couldn’t stop the process, they wanted to, but it was very tough to stop the process…,” Trump stated.
On Sunday, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) stated that he hoped to be briefed on the airstrikes that took place without congressional approval. Iran called on the U.S. to avoid, “creating crisis” in the region.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh released a statement Monday that said, “Certainly what the United States is doing is disrupting security in the region, and one of the victims of this disruption will be the United States.”
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