The attack left seven dead and targeted facilities used by Iranian-funded militias that have hit US interests.
As the president rested at the Camp David vacation home, US bombs fell on Iraq and Syria. A priori, only seven known fatalities are known from these attacks launched in the Syrian province of Deir al Zour and the eastern side of the Iraqi border, on facilities allegedly used by the militias financed by Iran, but the message that Joe Biden has launched is intended to be much more powerful.
“As these attacks have shown, Biden has made it clear that he will act to protect American personnel,” said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby. Since April, Iranian-supported militias in the region had launched at least four drone strikes on US interests, sometimes used by special forces and sometimes by diplomats. No American soldier or diplomat had been injured, but the precision of the drones worries lawmakers, who pressured the president to retaliate and send the message that the suspects received yesterday.
Congress, of course, supported the president in what has been his second bombing in Syria since it opened in February. Congressional spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi expressed her support for what she considers a “surgical and proportionate” attack. For Pelosi “protecting our heroes and defending our freedom is a sacred priority.” One detail was pending: formal notification. According to the War Powers Act, Biden should have notified the body of legislators earlier, but US presidents do not trust their ability to keep a secret and have become used to sending the notification a posteriori with the argument of defending lives.
“Destabilizing the region”
The message that Washington intended to send did not reach its destination with the same clarity. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh considered that “what the US is doing is destabilizing the region.” In fact, he allowed himself to give him advice that will not be accepted on the other side either: “correct your actions and let the people of this region shape their own destiny.”
For his Iraqi colleague Yahya Rasool, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry, the US action, allegedly aimed at protecting the 2,500 troops that back Baghdad, is “a blatant and insolent violation of sovereignty.” Harder was the reaction of those who have laid the dead. “We are prepared to respond and retaliate,” Ahmed al-Maksusi said on behalf of the Popular Mobilization Forces, known as Hashd al-Shaabi. Another of its spokesmen, Kataib Hezbollah, promised that the answer will be “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” The Pentagon assures that the bombings were designed to minimize casualties and damage the facilities in which weapons and drones used to attack targets were stored.
Pro-Iranian militias respond
Pro-Iran militias fired shells Monday night at a US base in eastern Syria, and the international anti-jihadist coalition responded with gunfire, according to an NGO, following US bombings of Tehran-like factions in Iraq and Syria. .
The US military base is located in the Al Omar oil field, near Deir Ezzor, in eastern Syria, causing material damage but without causing casualties, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH).
After those bombings, US planes and the international anti-jihadist coalition led by Washington flew over the area, reported that NGO, which has a wide network of informants in Syria, a country in which several foreign militias – including Iraqis – are fighting in support of the Bashar al-Assad’s regime.