Amid heightened tensions between Iran’s proxy militia and US forces in Syria, some American senators criticized Biden administration’s Middle East policy.
In separate conversations with Iran International’s correspondent Arash Alaei on Tuesday, Senators Josh Hawley (R-MO), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) blasted the administration’s policy – or lack thereof – about how to deal with the Islamic Republic’s destabilizing acts in the region.
Senator Hawley said, “I don’t think this administration has a strategy” to counter the threats posed by Iran against the US forces in the region. “What they are doing is playing footsie with Iran, making nice with Iran, at precisely the time that we ought to be strengthening our allies and partners in the region to be able to counter Iran,” he added.
“I don’t think this administration understands at all the security challenges facing this country or national interests,” Hawley said.
Despite attacks on US forces in Syria last week by Iran-backed militia, the White House said Monday that Washington will not back away from its deployment to Syria. Nevertheless, the New York Times reported Tuesday that the White House held off a retaliatory attack against the Iran-backed forces in Syria on Friday after a second attack on US bases.
“We’re going to do what we need to do swiftly and boldly to protect our people and our facilities in Syria,” White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said on Monday. “We’re not going to be deterred from continuing to go after this network in Syria… We’re not going to be deterred … by these attacks from these militant groups.”
Senator Rubio also defended the retaliatory attacks as “appropriate response”, saying that “Iran and their proxy groups are actively operating in both Syria and Iraq, trying to kill Americans.”
Senator Tuberville also voiced support for the US attacks, saying “I am glad we strike back… We did the right thing.” He added that the US should not allow Iran’s proxies to threaten the lives of Americans.
After a US civilian contractor was killed and six other Americans were injured March 23 in northeast Syria by a drone attack of “Iranian origin,” two US F-15 E fighter jets launched airstrikes against militant sites linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards – the IRGC – later in the day. The retaliatory strikes and exchanges of fire killed 19 Syrian and pro-Iranian forces. That prompted the proxy forces to launch rocket and drone attacks on Friday, injuring another American, but, according the NYT quoted a senior US official as saying the Biden administration did not give the go ahead for a second retaliation, while the American warplanes were poised to conduct a second round of reprisal strikes late Friday.
#BREAKING US Defense Secretary @SecDef: Iran or its proxies have launched 83 attacks against American positions in Iraq and Syria since Biden took office, and the Biden administration has launched four major strikes against Iran or its proxies in retaliation. pic.twitter.com/FwNTkXsa7T
— Iran International English (@IranIntl_En) March 28, 2023
Also on Tuesday, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill that the US had only responded to four of 83 Iran-backed attacks on US troops in Iraq and Syria since Joe Biden took office in January 2021.
He admitted that the Biden administration should have notified lawmakers earlier than it did about the deadly drone attack on American forces in Syria, after Republican lawmakers grilled him over an almost 13-hour delay between the time of the attack and when Congress was notified.
Iran’s foreign ministry has condemned US retaliatory strikes on its proxy forces in Syria, labelling them as “terrorist aggression” against “civilian targets.”
“So what kind of signal do we think this sends to Iran when they can attack us 83 times since Joe Biden has become President and we only respond 4?”
— Gabriel Noronha (@GLNoronha) March 28, 2023
Source » iranintl