The U.S. Military launched airstrikes against Iranian-backed terrorists near the Iraq-Syria border late on Sunday evening in response to those groups using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to attack U.S. forces in Iraq.
The Pentagon said in a statement that the “defensive precision airstrikes” were carried out on facilities known to be used by “Iran-backed militias that are engaged in UAV attacks against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq.”
The defense department did not disclose whether it believes anyone was killed or injured.
“The U.S. strikes targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq, both of which lie close to the border between those countries,” the statement added, noting that several terrorist groups, including Kata’ib Hezbollah and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, use the facilities.
The department said the actions show that the U.S. stands ready to act to protect U.S. personnel, who are in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government. U.S. and coalition forces have been fighting side by side with the Iraqi Security Forces in efforts to defeat ISIS.
“The United States took necessary, appropriate, and deliberate action designed to limit the risk of escalation—but also to send a clear and unambiguous deterrent message. As a matter of international law, the United States acted pursuant to its right of self-defense. The strikes were both necessary to address the threat and appropriately limited in scope. As a matter of domestic law, the president took this action pursuant to his Article II authority to protect U.S. personnel in Iraq,” the statement explained.
The strikes come a week after Iran elected a hardliner, Ebrahim Raisi, as its next president and also comes at the same time that the Biden administration is urging Iran to reenter the highly controversial Iran Nuclear Deal.
The New York Times reported, “At least five times since April, the Iranian-backed militias have used small, explosive-laden drones that divebomb and crash into their targets in late-night attacks on Iraqi bases — including those used by the C.I.A. and U.S. Special Operations units, according to American officials. So far, no Americans have been hurt in the attacks, but officials worry about the precision of the drones, also called unmanned aerial vehicles, or U.A.V.s.”
Terrorism expert Max Abrahams highlighted a portion of the Department of Defense’s statement about the strikes that said that the U.S. was only in Iraq for ISIS.
“We are in Iraq at the invitation of the Government of Iraq for the sole purpose of assisting the Iraqi Security Forces in their efforts to defeat ISIS,” the statement said. “The United States took necessary, appropriate, and deliberate action designed to limit the risk of escalation – but also to send a clear and unambiguous deterrent message.”
Abrahams raised the question of whether the statement was conveying that the U.S. was not in Iraq to “contain Iran.”
If so, that would mark a stark departure from the previous administration’s rather effective handling of the middle east. During the Trump administration, the United States killed the Iranian regime’s top military general Qassem Soleimani following attacks that Soleimani approved, using Iran-backed militia, on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, as well as numerous rocket attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in the area.
Author: Justin Joyner