US President Joe Biden has defended the American air strikes in the Iraqi-Syrian border area. The target was the establishment of pro-Iranian militias that were responsible for attacks against Americans in Iraq. Biden said on Monday (local time) at a meeting with the outgoing Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in the White House.
Turning to Tehran, he said Iran would never get a nuclear weapon while he was in office. Rivlin said after the meeting that he was “very pleased” with Biden’s comments on Iran. Israel and the US “must cooperate”. The attacks come at a time when negotiations are in progress for the US to return to the nuclear deal with Iran.
In addition, Biden rejected criticism from Congress. MPs had questioned the president’s authority to initiate the air strikes. Biden stressed that he had the power as president according to the constitution. The Pentagon had called the attacks “retaliation” for dozens of attacks on American targets in Iraq in the past few months.
According to the Pentagon, the US military launched air strikes on several targets in the Iraqi-Syrian border region on Monday night. From these facilities, Iranian-backed militias launched drone attacks on US personnel and facilities in Iraq. There are two targets in Syria and one in Iraq. The Pentagon spoke of a necessary and appropriate defensive strike. Criticism came from Iraq.
Missiles against Americans in retaliation
Shiite militias loyal to Iran threatened retaliation and, according to activists, attacked a base of the US army on Monday in eastern Syria. When you shot down several rockets at the Omar oil field in Dair as-Saur province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Monday evening. There was property damage. The armed groups are considered to be the extended arm of Shiite Iran, are active in both Iraq and Syria and are demanding the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.
The spokesman for the U.S. operation in the region, Wayne Marotto confirmed via Twitter, American troops in Syria had been attacked by several missiles and would have shot back with artillery. There were no injuries.
Biden plans to meet Bennet
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in Washington that Biden would “soon” receive Israel’s new Prime Minister Naftali Bennet. There is no date for this yet.
Israel’s new Foreign Minister Jair Lapid and the right-wing hardliner Bennett managed to forge a new coalition government with parties from across the political spectrum in mid-June, thereby ending the era of long-term Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Immediately after taking office, the previous opposition leader Lapid announced that he wanted to improve relations with Europe and Biden’s democrats.