Experts: Biden's retaliatory strikes in the Middle East come with political risks Experts: Biden's retaliatory strikes in the Middle East come with political risks

Experts: Biden's retaliatory strikes in the Middle East come with political risks

Experts: Biden's retaliatory strikes in the Middle East come with political risks

Washington - US President Joe Biden faces a turning point regarding the conflict in the Middle East that entails high risks of escalation and heavy political consequences in the election year, with the start of US retaliatory strikes  on Friday after the killing of three American soldiers in a drone attack launched by an armed group. Supported by Iran.

Biden made clear what his ultimate considerations were. “I don’t think we need a broader war in the Middle East,” he said. “This is not what I am looking for.”

The debate inside the White House before the strikes was tense, according to a US official, as the administration weighed options that some believe would send a clear message to Iranian-backed proxy groups to stop attacks, while many politicians expressed fear that the strikes could lead to broader fighting. scope in Syria. An area that the Biden administration has desperately sought to avoid.

Meanwhile, Biden is under pressure from many Republicans to act more forcefully - with some calling on him to strike directly inside Iran, according to ABC.

Biden earlier this week placed some blame on Iran for providing weapons to armed groups, many of which the United States designates as terrorist organizations.

However, Biden made clear what his ultimate considerations were. “I don’t think we need a broader war in the Middle East,” he told reporters. “This is not what I am looking for.”

Since the beginning of the barbaric Israeli war on Gaza, Iranian-backed groups have launched more than 160 attacks on American military bases and assets in Syria, Iraq and Jordan, and targeted international shipping in the Red Sea.

Iran has denied involvement in the deadly attack in Jordan, although a US official said evidence showed the drone used in the attack was an Iranian-made Shahed drone.

“We have a strategic problem with Iran but we lack a strategic solution,” said Aaron David Miller, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“The choices that any and every administration has faced since the Iranian revolution are fraught with danger,” Miller said. “It's not between good and bad policies. “It is between bad policies and worse.”

Analysts: The United States has a strategic problem with Iran, but the American administration lacks a strategic solution

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Thursday that the administration will respond with a “multi-level response” aimed at weakening the capabilities of these groups.

A US official familiar with the plan said the retaliatory strikes would extend over several days and hit multiple countries, including Iraq, Syria and possibly Yemen.

The key question, experts said, is whether the administration is able to calibrate strikes to successfully deter Iran and its proxies without plunging the region into the “broader war” that Biden wants to avoid.

Analysts at the International Crisis Group’s “Iran Project” said, “The pattern in the past few years has shown that Iran always retaliates in kind, and from that point on, there are risks that tensions will spiral out of control despite the fact that neither side wants to retaliate.” In reality, there is no further escalation.”

Observers noted that Biden's decision-making process has become more complicated due to the looming election, in a year in which more Americans say foreign policy should be a major issue.

Former President Donald Trump, the Republican Party's front-runner for his party's nomination, said that last weekend's deadly attack on US forces was the result of Biden's "weakness and surrender," which calls into question his role as a global leader and commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

White House spokesman John Kirby told reporters earlier, “He does not look at political calculations, polls, or the electoral calendar while working to protect our troops ashore and our ships at sea — and any suggestion to the contrary is insulting.” week.

Meanwhile, some Democrats in Congress advise caution. Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton, a war veteran, said his colleagues who call for direct conflict with Iran are “playing into the enemy’s hands.”

 The vast majority of voters (84%) are concerned about the United States being drawn into a wider war after the Israeli war on Gaza.

“We must have an effective strategic response according to our terms and timetable,” he said in a statement. Deterrence is difficult and war is worse.”

“You have to ask yourself the question: When has war ever been kind to an American president?” said Miller, a former State Department diplomat.

A new poll conducted by Quinnipiac University showed that the vast majority of voters (84%) are concerned about the United States being drawn into a broader war after the Israeli war on Gaza .

During the years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, opinion polls showed that American public opinion was tired of American intervention in the Middle East. Biden said he was a critic of the Iraq war, but despite his insistence on withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan, he is still paying a political price for the chaotic US withdrawal.

“Wars don't help American presidents, certainly not in the polls,” Miller said. “So, I think the administration, from the beginning, has been too cautious — its critics say too cautious — in dealing with Iran.”

Ali Fayez of the International Crisis Group noted that the war in which Iran is participating will be different from previous conflicts in the region.

“Iran is a much larger and stronger country compared to Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. “War with Iran will make the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan look like a walk in the park.” “And I think the administration is fully aware of all of this, and is really not seeking another military involvement in the Middle East. For this reason, she acts with a high degree of wisdom. “But the main point is, at the same time, time, they are stuck in this escalation cycle.”

US strikes in Syria and Iraq in response to the Jordanian attack

Washington: The United States announced, on Friday, that it had “successfully” launched retaliatory strikes in both Iraq and Syria targeting Iranian forces and groups loyal to Tehran, at a time when US President Joe Biden warned that these strikes “will continue.”

Earlier Friday, at a base in the northeastern United States, the American President attended the official ceremony to return the bodies of three American soldiers who were killed last Sunday in Jordan, in an attack that Washington attributed to groups supported by Iran. A gray C-5 military transport plane returned the bodies in “transport boxes” draped in the American flag.

The US President said in a statement: “Our response began today. “It will continue at times and places of our choosing.”

He added, “The United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world. But let those who would seek to harm us know that if you harm an American, we will respond.”

The White House said that the American strikes launched on Friday in Iraq and Syria lasted about thirty minutes and were “successful,” reiterating that it does not want a “war” with Iran. The US Department of Defense (the Pentagon) stated that the operation involved several fighters, including long-range bombers.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told the press that the American fighters participating in this operation, which targeted a total of 85 targets in seven different locations (3 in Iraq and 4 in Syria), had fired “more than 125 precision-guided munitions in about thirty.” minute".

At least 18 pro-Iranian fighters were killed in US strikes on Friday in eastern Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The strikes on Friday night and Saturday targeted the sites of armed factions loyal to Iran in western Iraq, especially the Al-Qaim region located on the border with Syria, according to what two Iraqi security sources reported.

An official in the Iraqi Ministry of Interior, requesting that his identity not be revealed, reported that “one of the factions’ headquarters within the Al-Qaim area was targeted,” noting that the target in the strike was “a light weapons warehouse, according to preliminary information.”

An official in the Popular Mobilization Forces, an alliance of armed factions that have become part of the official Iraqi forces, confirmed the strike, noting that another bombing targeted a site in the Akashat area, located to the south.

An Iraqi Shiite group called “Harakat al-Nujaba” announced that a weapons depot belonging to the Popular Mobilization Forces was subjected to an American bombing in Anbar Governorate (west), bordering Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.

A Telegram account belonging to the Iranian-backed Shiite “Harakat al-Nujaba” militia in Iraq stated that a weapons depot belonging to the Popular Mobilization Forces in the Akashat area, Anbar, was subjected to American strikes.

An Iraqi army spokesman said that American air strikes targeted border areas in Iraq, and warned that these attacks may ignite instability in the region.

Spokesman Yahya Rasool added in a statement, “These strikes are a violation of Iraqi sovereignty, an undermining of the efforts of the Iraqi government, and a threat that will drag Iraq and the region into unforeseen consequences, the consequences of which will be dire for security and stability in Iraq and the region.”

The White House said that the United States informed Iraq before launching air strikes today, Friday, on three sites belonging to factions inside the country, minutes after the Iraqi army denounced the strikes, which it described as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty.

“We had already notified the Iraqi government before launching the strikes,” John Kirby, spokesman for the White House National Security Council, told reporters.

The White House announced on Friday that the United States is not seeking war with Iran, after American forces struck dozens of targets linked to Tehran in Iraq and Syria.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told the press, “We are not seeking war with Iran.”

The strikes are believed to be only the first wave of President Joe Biden's administration's response to weekend attacks carried out by Iranian-backed militants.

The American strikes did not target any sites inside Iran, but they are likely to fuel fears of escalating tension in the Middle East as a result of the Israeli war that has been ongoing for more than three months on Gaza.

Syrian regime media said on Friday that “American aggression” against sites in the Syrian desert and on its border with Iraq led to a number of deaths and injuries.

The announcement of the strikes came just hours after Biden and leaders from the Pentagon attended the arrival ceremony of the remains of the three American soldiers killed in the attack on Jordan to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

American officials said that the United States estimated that the drone that killed the three soldiers was Iranian-made.
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