In a breaking story on Sunday night in Washington, the Associated Press is reporting that the Biden Administration has hit Iranian-backed militia facilities that have been recently used to stage attacks on US troops in Iraq using “unmanned aerial vehicles.” The facilities are reported to be along the border between Iraq and Syria.
The Department of Defense put out the following statement for the press:
“At President Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces earlier this evening conducted defensive precision airstrikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region. The targets were selected because these facilities are utilized by Iran-backed militias that are engaged in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq. Specifically, 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. Several Iran-backed militia groups, including Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS), used these facilities.
As demonstrated by this evening’s strikes, President Biden has been clear that he will act to protect U.S. personnel. Given the ongoing series of attacks by Iran-backed groups targeting U.S. interests in Iraq, the President directed further military action to disrupt and deter such attacks. 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 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.”
According to ABC News, the locations were thought to include both munitions storage facilities and command-and-control operations with regard to the UAV flights. There was no information available yet on the extent of the damage or any casualties involved. The strikes were carried out by US F-15 and F-16 aircraft using precision-guided munitions.
A defense official said this is the second such attack ordered under the Biden administration, the last being on Feb. 25 against Iranian-backed militia groups in response to rocket attacks.
Since April, there have been five “one-way UAV attacks,” as well as “ongoing rocket attacks,” on U.S. and coalition facilities in the region, according to Pentagon spokesperson Cmdr. Jessica McNulty
There were no U.S. or coalition casualties from those five attacks, a defense official confirmed.
At least we can credit CIC Biden (or whoever stands in for him in that role) for not waiting until a US military member was killed before taking action. I guess that’s something. But it would be nice to know why it took from April to almost July to make the decision to hit the sites.
Could it be because it was only last week that Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi ruled out a meeting with Biden to discuss returning to the 2015 nuclear arms agreement reached between the Obama Administration and Iran?
Maybe Joe can send some note cards to the Iranians with a list of the “Don’ts” for them to follow as he did with Russian President Putin.
If that doesn’t work, he can try shipping them a pallet full of $100 bills like Obama did.
UPDATE: Agence France-Presse provided this updated report within the past hour:
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) June 28, 2021