On Thursday, a self-destructing drone attacked a coalition base in northeast Syria, crashing it into a building, killing an American contractor and wounding five members of the U.S. military as well as another contractor.
The Pentagon said the drone was of “Iranian origin.”
So in response, Defense Sec. Lloyd Austin ordered retaliatory strikes against facilities in Syria that were connected to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
“The airstrikes were conducted in response to today’s attack as well as a series of recent attacks against coalition forces in Syria by groups affiliated with the I.R.G.C.,” Mr. Austin said in a statement released late Thursday.
“These precision strikes are intended to protect and defend U.S. personnel,” the statement said. “The United States took proportionate and deliberate action intended to limit the risk of escalation and minimize casualties.”
According to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, eight pro-Iranian fighters were killed in the actions.
Then, in response to those retaliatory strikes, Iranian proxy forces launched about seven rockets targeting a U.S. base in Northeast Syria. Initial indications indicate that there were no U.S. casualties on the base.
We still have over 900 troops and hundreds of contractors in Syria, to prevent any resurgence of ISIS.
Now it turns out that the missile defense system on the coalition base that was hit by the drone wasn’t “fully operational,” which was likely why the drone was able to hit and injure so many people. That’s more than a little concerning.
US officials tell @EricSchmittNYT that the main air defense system at a military base in northeast Syria was “not fully operational” when an Iranian drone attack killed a US contractor and injured six other Americans yesterday.https://t.co/HRrDNP8F8d
— Joseph Haboush (@jhaboush) March 24, 2023
Maybe Joe Biden and the Pentagon could be more concerned about protecting our people rather than having all their focus appear to be on weapons and money for Ukraine. You can have retaliatory strikes in response, but if your defense is not working, you’re still going to get nailed. Why was it “not fully operational” and why wasn’t it taken care of?
National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby got asked some interesting questions on the matter on MSNBC and CNN, and his responses were less than reassuring. This was before the news came out that the air defense system was not operational, and he did not tell the media that. CNN’s Don Lemon asked a good question, noting that these proxies have attacked American forces at least 78 times with these unmanned vehicles, how do you stop it preemptively?
“Iranian proxies have attacked U.S forces about 78 times [since 2021]…how do you stop it from happening?”
Biden Spox John Kirby: “I appreciate the question, look……..” pic.twitter.com/6rQ72QAE45
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) March 24, 2023
Kirby’s response — after we’ve been attacked yet again — is: “We’re not seeking conflict with Iran.” Unbelievable.
You may not be seeking conflict with them, but when they’re constantly attacking us, they are seeking conflict with us. When you do not do more and you’re saying things like this, you look incredibly weak. And these are the folks that they kept wanting to make the Iran Deal with. You need to send a more permanent message that this behavior is not acceptable. You haven’t, which is why they keep doing it. So good for Lemon for asking a real question.
But notice something else: Kirby has to know at this point that the base defense wasn’t “fully operational” but he doesn’t say that to either CNN or MSNBC. Why not?
Here’s Andrea Mitchell asking about their response as well.
Does John Kirby not know when a drone strike killed an American in Syria? pic.twitter.com/QyfuhtlyiH
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) March 24, 2023
As we’ve noted, Kirby’s responses are less than satisfactory. They have to take more serious action to be able to protect our folks on the ground.
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