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Retaliatory Strikes: US Targets Iranian Proxies in Iraq and Syria After Deadly Drone Attack

U.S. military goes for Retaliatory Strikes

In the aftermath of a deadly drone attack on a U.S. military base in Jordan, the United States executed a robust response through a series of retaliatory strikes. Targeting 85 locations associated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and its proxies in Iraq and Syria, the retaliatory strikes underscored President Joe Biden’s assertion that any harm to Americans would be met with a decisive response.

The extensive offensive, hitting seven key locations, included command and control headquarters, intelligence centers, rocket and missile facilities, drone sites, ammunition warehouses, and other crucial facilities. President Biden, commenting on the operation, stated that the strikes were a stern warning to those who might contemplate harming Americans. “If you hurt an American, we will respond,” he emphasized.

The retaliatory strikes, carried out with precision, involved the deployment of long-range B-1 bombers from the United States, utilizing 125 precision weapons. U.S. Central Command reported nearly 40 casualties, with approximately 23 individuals sustaining injuries. The operation’s success was evident in the initial battlefield damage assessment, confirming that every planned target had been hit.

Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Sims, the director of operations for the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, provided insights into the execution of the mission, stating, “We hit exactly the targets we were going to hit.” The airstrikes, spanning approximately 30 minutes, targeted three locations in Iraq and four in Syria, causing casualties among fighters and civilians.

Despite the success of the operation, criticism emerged regarding the timing of the retaliatory attack. House Speaker Mike Johnson expressed discontent with the Biden administration’s delay in responding to attacks in the preceding week. He argued that public anxiety and delayed signals had undermined the U.S.’s ability to decisively end the attacks suffered in recent months.

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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, however, defended the administration’s response, asserting, “This is the beginning of our response.” Austin clarified the U.S.’s stance, emphasizing that while they are not seeking conflict in the Middle East or any other region, attacks on U.S. forces will not be tolerated.

Iran swiftly condemned the retaliatory strikes, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani stating that the airstrikes violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and Iraq. Kanaani characterized the U.S. actions as “another adventure and strategic mistake” that would escalate regional tension and instability.

In Baghdad, Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades spokesman Hussein al-Mosawi denounced the U.S. attack, expressing a desire to avoid an escalation of regional tensions. Al-Mosawi emphasized their reluctance for heightened conflict, despite condemning the retaliatory strikes.

The U.S. government clarified that Iraq, and not Iran, had been notified before the strikes, signaling an attempt to distinguish between the two countries. U.S. officials highlighted that the strikes were not aimed at Iranian personnel but rather focused on disrupting logistics.

An anonymous U.S. military official provided additional insights, stating that the attacks were designed to disrupt key supply chain elements. The official clarified that while some Iranian personnel and militiamen were killed in the process, they were not the primary targets of the retaliatory strikes.

Despite the success of the initial offensive, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby informed reporters that additional response operations were imminent in the coming days. This announcement suggested an ongoing commitment to address the situation and maintain pressure on entities posing a threat to U.S. interests.

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The retaliatory strikes were triggered by a drone attack on a Jordanian base that claimed the lives of three U.S. military personnel and injured over 40 individuals. U.S. military spokesperson Bryant disclosed that there was no communication between the United States and Iran following the attack, further underscoring the complexity and sensitivity of the geopolitical situation.

The events echoed a pattern of rising tensions in the region, with the U.S. taking a decisive stance in protecting its personnel and interests. Israel, in response to a terrorist attack on October 7, had previously launched airstrikes on Gaza. The ensuing conflict resulted in a significant loss of life and a humanitarian crisis, with United Nations officials highlighting the dire situation faced by a quarter of Gaza’s 2.3 million people, who are now at risk of starvation.

In the realm of U.S. domestic politics, reactions to the retaliatory strikes varied along party lines. Jack Reed, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, commended the attacks, emphasizing that they signaled a clear intent to protect U.S. personnel and interests. On the other hand, Senator Roger Wicker, a senior Republican member of the committee, criticized the Biden administration for what he deemed actions that were “too little, too late.” Wicker argued that the strikes were merely a basic response and called for a more decisive approach against Iran and its proxies.

As the situation unfolds, the international community remains watchful of developments in the Middle East. The retaliatory strikes have injected a new dynamic into the complex geopolitical landscape, with uncertainties lingering over the potential consequences and the future trajectory of U.S. engagement in the region.

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