Photo: The White House

US Plans to Retaliate by Targeting Iran-Linked Sites in Syria and Iraq

The United States has planned to target Iran-linked sites in Syria and Iraq in retaliation for a drone attack on its military base in Jordan, which killed three U.S. soldiers and injured more than 40 others.

US-based CBS News reported on Thursday, February 1, that the US authorities have approved the targeting of Iranian personnel and facilities inside Syria and Iraq in response to the drone attack on Sunday, January 28.

The attack unfolded in the early morning at Tower 22 of the Jordanian Defense Network, situated on a logistics support base where approximately 350 U.S. Army and Air Force personnel are deployed. The three soldiers were killed when a one-way uncrewed aerial system impacted their container housing units.

The incident was the first deadly strike against U.S. forces since the eruption of the Israel-Hamas war in October last year, representing a major escalation in tensions that have engulfed the Middle East.

The US attributed the drone attack to the Iran-backed militia Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a group responsible for numerous attacks against US bases in Iraq and Syria since the onset of the Israel-Hamas war. In a statement following the attack, US President Joe Biden remarked, “While we are still gathering the facts of this attack, we know it was carried out by radical Iran-backed militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq.” Biden promised to “hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner of our choosing” but said the U.S. wasn’t seeking to get into another conflict in the Middle East.

Iranian officials, however, were quick to deny any involvement in the attack. The spokesperson for the Iranian foreign ministry, Nasser Kanaani said, “The Islamic Republic has no involvement in the resistance groups’ decisions on the way they support the Palestinian nation or defend themselves and the people of their countries in the face of any aggression and occupation.”

Several Republican lawmakers have called on the US president for a direct attack on Iran. They accuse Biden of failing to manage Iran and its proxies in the region. “The Biden administration’s failed Middle East policy has destroyed our deterrence against adversaries in the Middle East,” said Michael McCaul, the Chair of the US House Foreign Affair Committee.

The Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, said on Friday that his country has no intention of initiating a war, but anyone attempting to bully Iran will face a resolute and decisive response. “We will not start any war but if anyone wants to bully us, they will receive a strong response,” Raisi said. “Before, when they [the US] wanted to talk to us, they said the military option is on the table. Now they say they have no intention of a conflict with Iran,” he added.

The attack comes amid soaring tensions in the region, where Israel continues its war on Gaza Strip in response to an attack by Hamas in October last year that killed at least 1,300 people and took 250 others as hostage. Israel’s subsequent attack on Gaza has killed more than 27,000 people in nearly four months of war, according to Palestinian officials.