According to the American newspaper “Washington Post,” citing unnamed authorities, US President Joe Biden “is considering striking Iranian proxies who attacked American forces in Iraq and Syria.”
“Biden is facing increasing pressure from Republicans to respond to the attacks targeting American forces in Iraq and Syria,” according to a separate story in the newspaper.
Republicans in Congress urged Biden to respond to the strikes as the US government expands its fighting capability and military assets in the Middle East.
According to the American Al Hurra station, retired General Joseph Votel joined the list of individuals requesting a response on Wednesday. His previous post, as director of the US Central Command in the area, offered him a clear view at Iran’s backing for militias throughout the Middle East.
During an online panel discussion, Votel stated that the US “unfortunately allowed the attacks to become somewhat of a norm by not responding to them uniformly.”
“We’ll have to do it,” he continued. I believe we have arrived at a position where we can and should do it.”
“With additional military assets sent to the region, we can and must respond more directly to these threats to our forces,” he said.
On Wednesday, Biden delivered a clear threat to Iran’s leader, Ali Khamenei, stating that “if Tehran continues to move against American forces, we will respond.”
“My warning (to Khamenei): If they continue to move against our forces, we will respond, and he must be prepared,” Biden continued.
During the last week, American personnel in Iraq and Syria have been assaulted with missiles and drones, with one incident resulting in “minor” injuries, according to the US military.
The Pentagon said on Tuesday that US and coalition personnel in Iraq and Syria were attacked with drones and missiles at least 13 times in the previous week.
According to a Defense Department official, “An additional attack was recorded on Wednesday after three missiles were fired at an American site in northeastern Syria, and one missile landed inside it, but there were no reports of any casualties.”
Several armed forces connected to Iran warned to target American interests, despite Washington’s backing for Israel after the Hamas onslaught on October 7, which killed over 1,400 Israelis.
As part of its efforts to combat ISIS, the US has approximately 900 soldiers in Syria and 2,500 soldiers in Iraq. ISIS controlled large areas of territory in both countries before being defeated by local forces supported by air strikes carried out by an international coalition led by Washington.
“With the recent proxy attacks, Iran is testing the United States and looking for weaknesses,” said Bradley Bowman, senior director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Center for Military and Political Power.
He went on to say: “From Tehran’s perspective, there is no downside to doing so, as the United States says it wants to avoid a large-scale regional war.”
He said that “one reasonable approach may be to launch air strikes specifically against militias in Syria only, to prevent Iranian officials from inciting Iraq’s internal politics against the United States.”
“The goal (of responding to these attacks) is to prevent a small problem from becoming a larger problem,” he stated. We cannot tolerate unrestricted attacks on our military.”