You knew it was coming when the NYT set the stage yesterday with its latest anti-Assad hit piece titled "Having Won Syria’s War, al-Assad Is Mired in Economic Woes" (which makes only a passing reference just why Syria is mired in economic woes namely that "most of the country’s oil fields and much of its agricultural land are in the northeast, which is controlled by Kurdish-led forces backed by the United States") and sure enough, just over a month since his inauguration, Biden reminded the world that the military-industrial complex is back in control by carrying out air strikes in eastern Syria against facilities that allegedly were used by "Iranian-backed" militia, the U.S. Defense Department said on Thursday night.
The strike marked the first (of many) overseas military attack ordered by Joe Biden, which in its first weeks has emphasized its intent to put more focus on the challenges posed by China.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said that the strikes took place "at President Biden's direction" and were authorized "in response to recent attacks against American and coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel.”
"Specifically the strikes destroyed multiple facilities located at a border control point used by a number of Iranian backed militant groups including Kait'ib Hezbollah and Kait'ib Sayyid al Shuhada," Kirbry said.
"The operation sends an unambiguous message; President Biden will act to protect American coalition personnel. At the same time, we have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to deescalate the overall situation in both Eastern Syria and Iraq."
The site is reportedly used as part of a weapons smuggling operation by the militias. The strikes were carried out to degrade the ability of the groups to carry out future attacks and to send a message about the recent attacks, the US official said.
The assault came after a series of rocket attacks in recent days on facilities in Iraq used by the U.S., including one that killed a contractor working with the U.S.-led coalition in the country.
What is amusing is that on one hand Biden is attacking "Iran-backed" militia in Syria, while at the same time he is reportedly seeking to restore the Nuclear deal with Iran and restore cordial relations. As Bloomberg notes, "by hitting a facility in Syria said to be operated by an Iranian-linked militia, the U.S. avoids raising tensions that would come with a strike directly on Iran, which the Biden administration is seeking to persuade to return to a 2015 nuclear deal that former President Donald Trump withdrew from three years ago."
Of course, that's hardly how the attack will be spun by Iran, where Biden just burned any political capital he may have had, and may soon have to resort to paradropping pallets full of billions in cash, similar to what Obama used to do.
I think Biden just launched them into Syria. https://t.co/YeD86WVZSl— The Columbia Bugle 🇺🇸 (@ColumbiaBugle) February 26, 2021
What is even more amusing is that as usual, the deep state never actually had any proof (but it is always highly confident in everything, including that Russia is behind every evil in the world), and the US had not definitively blamed any specific group for the rocket attacks or attributed them to any Iranian proxies in the region, but the administration had made it clear where they place the blame.
Earlier this week White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the US holds Iran accountable for the actions of its proxies, which is of course quite different from what she said back in April 2017 when Trump ordered a similar airstrike on Syria.
It gets better...
Syria. pic.twitter.com/topGlqGbAQ— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) February 26, 2021
In any case, Biden administration officials condemned the Feb. 15 rocket attack near the city of Irbil in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish-run region, but as recently as this week officials indicated they had not determined for certain who carried it out. Officials have noted that in the past, Iranian-backed Shiite militia groups have been responsible for numerous rocket attacks that targeted U.S. personnel or facilities in Iraq.
Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, had said Tuesday that Iraq is in charge of investigating the Feb. 15 attack.
“Right now, we’re not able to give you a certain attribution as to who was behind these attacks, what groups, and I’m not going to get into the tactical details of every bit of weaponry used here,” Kirby said. “Let’s let the investigations complete and conclude, and then when we have more to say, we will.”
So... launch attacks first, and then conclude who is responsible later. Sounds like the good old MIC is back in action.
In any case, the strikes come as Washington and Tehran position themselves for negotiations about Iran's nuclear program, potentially crippling the already fragile process.
The U.S. launched the strike one day after Biden spoke with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. The two leaders “discussed the recent rocket attacks against Iraqi and coalition personnel and agreed that those responsible for such attacks must be held fully to account."
Now if only the US had determined who that was before actually, well, launching the attacks...
Biden taking his first step towards the Nobel Peace prize by bombing Syria.— matt’s idea shop (@MattsIdeaShop) February 26, 2021