In response to rocket attacks against United States targets in Iraq, President Joe Biden authorized air strikes against Iranian-backed facilities in eastern Syria last Thursday.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby announced that President Biden authorized air strikes after consulting with US allies, which include coalition partners. They happened at about 6 p.m. ET. The Russian military was given a warning about the future events “four or five minutes” before it was delivered, said Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday according to TAAS, the Russian state news agency.
According to a US official, the site struck by the US on Thursday is apparently used as part of a weapons smuggling operation by the militias. They were conducted to degrade the groups’ ability to carry out attacks and send a message about the recent attacks, a US official said. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby stated “President Biden will act to protect American and Coalition personnel. At the same time, we have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq.”
An anonymous US official reported the decision to carry out these airstrikes was meant as a signal to convey the message that Washington wanted to punish the militias, but did not want the situation to result in a larger conflict. Michael McCaul, top Republican on the House’s foreign affairs committee, said the airstrikes “remind Iran, its proxies, and our adversaries around the world that attacks on US interests will not be tolerated.” These strikes could result in complication of diplomatic efforts with Iran.
They come as Washington and Tehran prepare for negotiations regarding Iran’s nuclear program, which is already a fragile process. President Biden’s decision, which marks the first known action of the US military under his presidency, has received support and backlash from both the Democratic and Republican parties. The strikes could potentially create tension with lawmakers who otherwise would support Biden’s agenda, and whose support he’ll need now and in the future. Rep. Ro Khanna, a California Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee said “This makes President Biden the fifth consecutive US president to order strikes in the Middle East.” “There is absolutely no justification for a President to authorize a military strike that is not in self-defense against an imminent threat without congressional authorization. We need to extricate from the Middle East, not escalate (Khana).” “The President should not be taking these actions without seeking explicit authorization instead of relying on broad, outdated authorization for use of military force laws.” “I spoke against endless war with Trump, and I will speak out against it when we have a Democratic President (Khana).”
ARTICLE: EMILY HINES
EDITOR: LUKE LEBAR
PHOTO CREDITS: POLITICO