US strikes Iran-linked targets in Iraq and Syria

US retaliation ‘likely to be a series of strikes over days’
We’ve heard snippets all week about what this US response might look like.

Earlier this week President Joe Biden said he had made a decision about how the US will respond.

Biden didn’t elaborate but said he held Iran responsible “in the sense that they’re supplying the weapons to the people who did it,” adding: “I don’t think we need a wider war in the Middle East.”

Then White House national security spokesman John Kirby said: “It’s very possible that what you’ll see is a tiered approach here, not just a single action but potentially multiple actions.”

On Thursday, officials told the BBC’s US partner CBS News the US had approved plans for a series of strikes over a number of days against targets including Iranian personnel and facilities inside Iraq and Syria.


The officials said weather will be a major factor in the timing of the strikes – and although the US has the capability to bomb in bad weather, it prefers to have eyes on the target as a safeguard against civilians straying into the target area at the last moment.

Posted at 11:4011:40
Missed opportunity, says former US Marine
Mick Mulroy, a former US Marine, says it is likely most of the personnel – primarily Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) – will have moved before the US strikes occurred.

“Some will say we missed an opportunity to really inflict consequences on Iran,” adds Mulroy.

“We may however be able to reduce these Iranian proxies’ ability to attack our forces by striking these supply lines, storage facilities, and launch sites.”

Mulroy says “proof” that Iran really intends to deescalate is whether it stops supplying weapons “to these proxy forces”.

”If they keep supplying them, then they are responsible for the consequences.”

Posted at 11:1611:16
Why are there US bases in the Middle East?
Rafi Berg

Digital Middle East editor

A US Army soldier walks towards a burning oil well in Iraq’s vast southern Rumaila oilfields
ReutersCopyright: Reuters
A US soldier walks towards a burning oil well in southern IraqImage caption: A US soldier walks towards a burning oil well in southern Iraq
The base which was hit in a deadly drone attack in a north-west corner of Jordan is one of more than a dozen where US military personnel operate across Iraq, Jordan and Syria. In recent months, these bases – ranging in size from a military outpost such as Tower 22, to the Al Asad air base in western Iraq – have been attacked by militias trained, funded and equipped by Iran.

There are about 3,000 US troops based in Jordan, a key US ally, and 2,500 in Iraq – there at the invitation of the Iraqi government as part of a US-led coalition to prevent a resurgence of the jihadist Islamic State group, which still has a presence there after being routed in 2017.

There are also about 900 US personnel in Syria, officially there to support its anti-IS ally the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in Syria’s semi-autonomous north-east region.

The Syria government opposes the US presence in its country, calling it an occupation. The US also maintains many more bases further afield across the Middle East, including three major air bases in the Gulf and a port in Bahrain which serves as the headquarters of the US Naval Forces Central Command and the US Fifth Fleet.

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