Pressure mounting for Biden to bomb Iran
US President Joe Biden had hoped to avoid direct participation in the Israeli-Hamas war, even while wholeheartedly supporting Israel’s goal of defeating and destroying Hamas.
Instead, the US is now involved militarily along two fronts trying to deter Iran-supported militias from firing on American troops based in the region and on ships traversing the Red Sea.
The US will be hard-pressed to exit quickly either arena amid the raging Gaza war, which Israeli officials have estimated will last through 2024. With no near-term exit in sight, the US is left trying to deter Iran-backed adversaries by bombing them. And so far, it’s not working.
Over the weekend, a drone launched from Iraq by an anti-US militia sponsored by Iran flew into Jordan, struck a small US Army base there and killed three American soldiers while injuring over 30 others.
Meanwhile, Iran-backed Houthi insurgents in Yemen who for a month have been trying to sink commercial and military ships in the Red Sea, the gateway to the Suez Canal which provides a key trade route between Europe and Asia, have opened another US military front as it tries to protect the region’s shipping.
It is not just random militias that Biden has to take into consideration. The militias in Syria and Iraq harassing US forces as well as the Houthis attacking Red Sea shipping, are all sponsored militarily by Iran, a US adversary since the 1970s.
First, Biden must decide how to respond militarily to the drone attack and hope that response deters rather than motivates more attacks. Since October 7, when Hamas invaded Israel, there have been several attempts by roaming Iranian-backed militias to hit US forces stationed in Iraq and Syria.
However, none until the weekend had resulted in the