US hits Iranian facilities following attacks on US troops

Iranian proxy groups including the IRGC and Hezbollah have been attacking U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria for weeks now, with dozens of American military personnel being injured and at least one of our contractors dying. Pundits have been asking if or when Joe Biden was going to do something about it. 

We finally received the answer. 

A pair of American F-16 Fighting Falcons unleashed precision munition strikes on Thursday, taking out two munitions sites and an unknown number of personnel. No American losses were recorded during the strikes. 

Some may look at this as an “escalation” in the ongoing chaos in the Middle East, but a strong message was sent to the Mullahs who have, up until now, clearly felt that they could attack both Israeli and American forces with impunity.

The United States struck two facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran and its proxies in response to attacks against U.S. troops in the region, the Pentagon announced late Thursday.

President Biden ordered U.S. military forces to carry out “self-defense strikes” on a weapons storage facility and an ammunition storage area used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and affiliated groups in eastern Syria, according to a Defense Department statement.

“These precision self-defense strikes are a response to a series of ongoing and mostly unsuccessful attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-backed militia groups that began on October 17,” the release states.

“The President has no higher priority than the safety of U.S. personnel, and he directed today’s action to make clear that the United States will not tolerate such attacks and will defend itself, its personnel, and its interests,” the statement adds.

U.S. and coalition forces have been attacked at least 16 times in the Middle East since last week, including four times in Syria and 12 times in Iraq — the most recent of which took place on Thursday, Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters.

The United States has not provided evidence as to who is to blame for the assaults — which have consisted of a mix of one-way attack drones and rockets — but claims that Iran is behind them.

Twenty-one American troops have suffered minor injuries from the attacks, many of them traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

One U.S. citizen contractor also died of a heart attack during a false alarm while sheltering in place at al-Asad Airbase in Iraq.

The Pentagon stressed that the United States “does not seek conflict and has no intention nor desire to engage in further hostilities,” but that the Iranian-backed attacks “are unacceptable and must stop.”

It added: “Iran wants to hide its hand and deny its role in these attacks against our forces. We will not let them. If attacks by Iran’s proxies against U.S. forces continue, we will not hesitate to take further necessary measures to protect our people.”

Attacks on American forces have jumped since Hamas first attacked Israel on Oct. 7, with U.S. officials concerned that Iran and its proxies may seek to widen the conflict and destabilize the region.

The Pentagon said the U.S. strikes in Syria — which it called “narrowly-tailored” and “intended solely to protect and defend U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria” — were separate from the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

The DOD added that the strikes “do not constitute a shift in our approach to the Israel-Hamas conflict. We continue to urge all state and non-state entities not to take action that would escalate into a broader regional conflict.”

It’s a rare day when I get the opportunity to praise Joe Biden for much of anything, but this was definitely the right thing to do. I also haven’t been terribly impressed with Lloyd Austin’s performance as Defense Secretary, but we should also recognize that his hands are largely tied by the Commander in Chief. I won’t attempt to surmise how “with it” Joe Biden might have been when he gave the order to pull the trigger, particularly given the late hour, but at least it was given and some Iranian-sponsored offensive hardware and personnel were taken out.

Calling these “precision self-defense strikes” is mostly a public relations maneuver to deflect criticism from the doves. Make no mistake. This was an offensive military strike against legitimate Iranian military proxy targets that have already been attacking us. The strikes took place in Al Bukamal, Syria, just north of the Iraqi border, far from the Hezbollah strongholds too the southwest. So the attack was probably more of a direct response to Iran’s attacks against our troops in Iraq than the shots they’ve been taking at northern Israel.

This was a good start, but much remains to be done. It’s unlikely that one pair of strikes on a couple of outposts far from Iranian soil will make the Mullahs suddenly realize this was a bad idea, but they may at least begin taking us more seriously. The game is afoot and now the United States military is officially in the mix on the front lines. We should probably be taking out the Hezbollah forces and munitions in southern Syria, but that’s a bit harder to justify since we don’t have American troops for them to shoot at down there.

Still, there is more that needs to be done directly against Iran to show them that they can no longer attack America and our allies without consequences. It’s time to stop pretending that this isn’t a war or that it’s “somebody else’s war.” Iran is attacking the United States every bit as much as they are attacking Israel. There are sanctions in place that should prevent Iran from exporting the majority of the oil they ship to China and other adversaries. Until now, Joe Biden has ignored those sanctions. It’s time to start enforcing them again and we have the naval forces already in place to do it. The time is now. Turn back the Iranian oil tankers or sink them if they won’t comply. If Iran want’s to tangle with the big boys, it’s time for Joe Biden to put on his big boy pants and show them what they get when they do so.

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