MS Risk Blog

The United States Military Response – What Does this Mean for Biden’s Plans in Iran?

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In the United States, President Joe Biden has released his first military action seen in his presidency so far. In a powerful and co-ordinated attack, Biden had released an air strike all over facilities at a border control point in Syria aiming at Iran backed militia groups, killing at least 22 people in the process. As reported by militia officials only 1 person was killed but a war monitor has reported at least 22. Despite Biden’s strong intentions, his administration aims not to create any further tensions with Iran to secure a nuclear deal, but likewise, he will still not want to be resisting any threats to the US.

The response planned by the United States had resulted from a civilian contractor that had been killed in a rocket attack in Irbil on United States targets on 15th  February 2021. Five other contractors had also been injured including a United States service member. A military base used by the US coalition had also been targeted during the attack.

As a result of this, ten days later, the US alongside consulting coalition partners, had constructed a missile strike in retaliation. Syria had condemned the attack, considering it as a “bad sign” for the administration. Their foreign ministry elaborated by stating that it “strongly condemns the cowardly American aggression”. Despite this, the strike had been carried out at the Syrian border between Boukamal and Qaim with the level of devastation expected from this type of attack.

The Pentagon’s location target of the attack was on Syrian facilities at a border control point used by a number of Iran-backed militia groups such as Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada of which allies with the Damascus government. Strikes had been reported by officials to of hit an area along the border of Boukamal and the Iraqi town of Qaim.

When compared to the previous administrations policies on attacks under the Donald Trump administration, Biden’s administration aimed to not escalate tensions with Iran, and simply punish the militias. This is due to President Biden wanting to instead aim to try and recreate discussions around a nuclear deal that had previously been abandoned. This deal was originally involved around a 2015 nuclear deal to limit its uranium enrichment and allow international inspectors to access areas of their nuclear facilities to check everything was under control. Trump had withdrawn from this deal, instating economic sanctions in an effort to negotiate a new accord. Now, under the Biden administration, he says that he will not lift the sanctions until the terms agreed under the 2015 deal are applied.

Despite Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby stating that the strike wasn’t designed to raise any aggression or tensions with Iran but instead create a detrimental effect on the militias, it does strike a clear message in the difference in attitudes compared to the Trump administration. President Joe Biden wants to explore and protect the chances of reviving his nuclear deal with Iran, but in doing so he also does not want Iran to get the impression that threats such as Iran-backed militias can continue to cause problems and that he will allow these dangerous groups to continue.