The U.S. Response to the Oct. 7 Israel-Hamas Conflict and the Iran-Iran Promise to Resiliently Respond
The American strikes on a weapons storage facility and an ammunition storage facility, conducted by Air Force F-16 jets, were in response to rocket and drone attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria, which the Pentagon said caused traumatic brain injuries to 19 troops. The targets of the American strikes have been before, including the assassination of Iran’s general Qassem Soleimani.
These strikes were designed to defend U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria. “They are separate and distinct from the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, and do not constitute a shift in our approach to the Israel-Hamas conflict.”
Austin said the U.S. does not seek a broader conflict, but if Iranian proxy groups continue, the U.S. won’t hesitate to take additional action to protect its forces.
The Biden administration has not accused Iran of having a direct role in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel and has said it appears so far that Tehran was not aware of it beforehand. But the U.S. has noted that Iran has long supported Hamas and has raised concerns that Iran and its proxies could turn the conflict into a wider war.
The Pentagon has beefed up air defenses in the region. The U.S. has said it is sending several batteries of Patriot missile systems, a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery and additional fighter jets.
Pressure is growing on the United States to respond with military force after at least 16 attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria over the past 10 days.
Biden said Wednesday that he had warned Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, that if Tehran continues to “move against” U.S. forces in the Middle East, “we will respond.”
American Response to Iranian Retaliatory Attacks on the Defense of the Al-Asad Air Base and a Garrison in the Middle East
General Ryder said on Thursday that 15 of the 17 service members injured at al-Tanf and all four of the troops hurt at Al Asad had subsequently been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries.
The Defense Department previously claimed that 21 service members received minor injuries and were back to work after the attacks on the al- Asad Air Base and al-Tanf garrison.
The militia has carried out at least 12 attacks against the US in Iraq and at least four in Syria. The spokesman for the Pentagon said on Thursday that Patrick S. Ryder had said it. There are 2500 troops in Iraq and 9000 in Syria who are helping local allies fight the Islamic State.
In March, U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that a self-destructing drone of “Iranian origin” killed a U.S. contractor and injured another contractor and five U.S. service members in an attack on a maintenance facility on a coalition base in northeast Syria.
There are situations where a member may self report ringing in the ears and headaches after being injured, as has been the case in the past.
The retaliatory strikes came as no surprise. The Pentagon and White House made it clear that the US would respond at a time and place of its choice, as they said in a statement Thursday.
If the attacks on our forces by Iranian proxies increase, it will force us into a kind of overt military confrontation with Iran that both nations have avoided since the Iranian revolution in 1979.
Both sides could quietly back away, free to resume the fighting that has characterized the relationship in the past, if the attacks stopped.
Few of which have worked in the past have been used by the United States to modify Iran’s behavior. And now, with the backdrop of a new war in the Middle East, President Biden is signaling that Tehran’s best bet is to stay clear of involvement. The main goal, said John F. Kirby, a White House spokesman, is “to deter and to prevent future attacks.”
There were no injuries or damage on the ground in western Iraq as a result of the attack drone launched by Iran later on Friday.
But the Iranians wanted to do something to pressure the United States to rein in Israel and to remind the Americans of Tehran’s power, U.S. officials said.
The American response is meant to be proportional and designed to deter strikes against U.S. personnel who are involved in the fight against the Islamic State group.
It’s not clear whether such finely tuned messages are received as they were intended. Past attempts to try to control Iran’s behavior have fallen flat.
President Barack Obama struck a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran in hopes that it would begin a new era of modest cooperation between the two countries, once Iran began to reintegrate into the world economy. That never happened. President Donald J. Trump claimed leaving the deal would prompt Iran to work on a new agreement because of the sanctions. That didn’t happen either.
The economic sanctions on Iran were meant to stop its support of Hezbollah and Hamas, which are both powerful militias in Lebanon. The strategy has been discovered not to work by both Democratic and Republican presidents. Iran has been selling 1.5 million barrels of oil a day in the last few months, and most of them are going to China.
The U.S. provides weapons to Israel that have been used to kill Palestinians in Gaza, and the Iranian government has openly criticized the U.S.
The latest spate of strikes by the Iranian-linked groups came in the wake of a deadly explosion at a Gaza hospital, triggering protests in a number of Muslim nations. The Israeli military has relentlessly attacked Gaza in reaction to the Hamas rampage in southern Israel nearly three weeks ago, but they have denied responsibility for the al-Ahli hospital blast.
The Mission of the Interaction of the Boukamal Militant Force with the Infra-Red Brigades of the Integrated Air Defense Force
He told reporters earlier in the day that they maintain the right to defend their troops and would protect their interests overseas.
According to the Pentagon, all the U.S. personnel hurt in the militant attacks received minor injuries and all returned to duty. A contractor died while seeking shelter from a possible drone attack, and he also had a cardiac arrest.
A senior defense official said the IRGC stores the types of bombs that were used during the strikes on U.S. bases. The two officials briefed reporters after the strikes on condition of anonymity to provide details on the mission that had not yet been made public.
According to a senior U.S. military official, the precision strikes were carried out near Boukamal by two F-16 fighter jets, and they struck weapons and ammunition storage areas that were connected to the IRGC. The official said there had been Iranian-aligned militia and IRGC personnel on the base and no civilians, but the U.S. does not have any information yet on casualties or an assessment of damage. The official would not say how many munitions were launched by the F-16s.
Fort Liberty in North Carolina is one of the places where the batteries of the THAAD will be sent. An Avenger air defense system from Fort Liberty is also being sent.
The officials have said that as many as two battalions of the fighters are going to be deployed. A battalion can include at least three Patriot batteries, which each have six to eight launchers.
About 900 troops have deployed or are on their way to the Middle East region, including some who are associated with the air defense systems.