Biden Strikes Back After US Troops Are Injured in Terror Attack

( – In the early morning hours of December 25, Kataib Hezbollah militants attacked the US-operated Al-Harir Air Base in Erbil, Iraq, using unmanned aerial vehicles (aka drones), wounding three service members, one critically, according to a statement from US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. In response, President Joe Biden authorized retaliatory strikes on three locations the Kataib Hezbollah militants and their affiliates use to launch drone attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria, according to a statement from National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson.

The President Strikes Back

Austin and Watson agreed that the president placed a high value on protecting American service personnel and US interests in the region. Watson warned the US would act to protect those goals should attacks continue. Austin stated that while the US wasn’t seeking to escalate regional tensions, it remained prepared and committed to protecting its personnel and facilities.

US Central Command (CENTCOM) conjectured that the strikes, carried out against three positions in Iraq just before 9 p.m. EST, likely resulted in Kataib Hezbollah casualties, according to CBS News. According to Iraqi officials, who condemned the retaliatory strikes, the action killed only one militant but injured 18 more. Iraq interpreted the US strikes as infringing on its sovereignty. The US launched another retaliatory attack after a November 20 militant-launched ballistic missile attack on the al-Asad Airbase in Iraq injured several service personnel.

Is Iran the Common Factor?

However, since the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, the US claims militants funded primarily by Iran have launched more than three dozen attacks against US troops and facilities throughout Iraq and Syria. Houthi rebels based in Yemen and linked to Iran have also escalated attacks on US-based and other vessels in the Red Sea.

Tehran has denied any involvement in Houthi or Kataib Hezbollah attacks and blames the US for expanding the crisis in the Middle East by supporting Israel. Iran insisted that Houthi rebels and the Yemen government have acted independently.

Voices like David Schenker of the Washington Institute have warned the president and CENTCOM that just having a presence in the region with ships and airbases won’t deter Iran from escalating the Hamas-Israel conflict. In late October, he cautioned that using strategic US military force might become necessary to avert a wider conflict.

However, the situation threatens a delicate balance that seems contingent on the US avoidance of a direct confrontation with the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC). Another think tank, The Crisis Group, has made that point clear in its evaluation of the dangers the US currently faces in the Middle East while trying to navigate the conflict in Israel.

~Here’s to Our Liberty!

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