Monday, June 28, 2021
“Biden shows that he is acting”
US is flying air strikes on Iran allies
Talks on the continuation of the nuclear deal with Iran have been going on in Vienna for weeks, and now the USA is again flying air strikes on militias allied with Tehran. Washington invokes its right to self-defense, but wants to send a clear “chilling message”.
With another military strike under the orders of President Joe Biden, the US has increased pressure on Iran and its allies. The US military flew air strikes in the Iraqi-Syrian border region on several targets that were used by pro-Iranian militias, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby announced on Sunday evening (local time) in Washington. From these facilities, Iranian-backed militias launched drone attacks on US personnel and facilities in Iraq. There are two targets in Syria and one in Iraq. Weapons were stored there, among other things.
The Pentagon spoke of a necessary and appropriate defensive strike. Kirby said the background was the ongoing series of attacks by Iran-backed groups against US targets in Iraq. The US President ordered military action to stop further such attacks, and the US acted in accordance with its right to self-defense.
With this attack, Biden had shown that he was acting to protect US forces, the Pentagon spokesman said. The air strikes are both “necessary to counter the threat” and “appropriate in scope”. The procedure is designed in such a way that it limits the risk of escalation, but at the same time sends out a “deterrent message” in a clear and unmistakable manner.
Negotiations on the nuclear deal are running in parallel
The US military had already carried out air strikes in the east of the civil war country Syria at the end of February – numerous supporters of pro-Iranian militias were killed in the process. It was the first military strike since Biden took office. The US Department of Defense had also rated this as a pure “defensive strike” – as a “proportionate” reaction to previous attacks against US soldiers and their international partners in Iraq. A civilian contractor belonging to the international military coalition had been killed in a rocket attack on the northern Iraqi city of Erbil in February. Several people were injured.
In the past few months there had been further attacks in which rockets were fired at bases in Iraq used by the US Army. Militias that are closely linked to Iran have long been suspected. They are calling for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, which are supporting the Iraqi army in the fight against the terrorist militia Islamic State (IS). Iraq, but also Syria, have developed into theaters of conflict between the USA and Iran.
The US air strikes come at a time when international negotiations are underway over a possible US return to the nuclear deal with Iran. The agreement was concluded in 2015 between Iran and the USA, Germany, France, Great Britain, Russia and China. Under Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump, the US unilaterally withdrew from the agreement in 2018 and imposed massive sanctions on Iran. In return, Iran gradually no longer adhered to its obligations.
Talks have been going on in Vienna for several weeks about a return of both countries to the requirements of the nuclear deal. Both Tehran and Washington had recently spoken of progress in the negotiations. However, US negotiators emphasized that there are still “serious differences” and that no agreements have yet been made: “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”