Beirut-Since President Biden entered the White House, Iranian-backed Middle Eastern militants attacked an airport in Saudi Arabia with an explosive drone and were accused of assassinating a critic in Lebanon and targeting the United States at an airport in the United States Military personnel. In northern Iraq, a Filipino contractor was killed and six others were injured.
On Thursday, the world saw for the first time how Biden is dealing with one of the greatest security concerns of US partners in the region: the militia network supported by Iran and committed to subverting the United States and its interests. Allies.
U.S. officials said that overnight airstrikes ordered by Biden attacked a building on the Syrian side of the border crossing with Iraq on Thursday and attacked members of the Iranian-backed militia Katab Hezbollah and an affiliated group.
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A Kataib Hezbollah official said that a fighter from the organization was killed in an air strike. However, Iranian National Television and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a conflict monitor based in the United Kingdom, reported that the airstrike occurred near Abu Kamal in Syria, bordering Iraq, and killed 17 combatants.
Although the exact death toll is not yet known, Biden seems to have calibrated the strikes, hoping that they will cause enough damage to show that the United States will not conduct rockets like the Erbil airport in northern Iraq on February 15 Bomb attack, but that is not the case. At the risk of triggering a wider fire.
Maha Yahya, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, said: “It’s a bit like he hit the first red line.”
She said that the strike sent a signal to Iran that his desire to return to the nuclear agreement would not cause Biden to ignore other regional activities of Iran and its allies, especially attacks on the U.S. military.
Yahya said: “This is a message: the most important thing is that we will not tolerate this, and we will use military power when we feel that you have crossed the line.”
Iran-backed organizations used the Sabalin news channel on Telegram to say that the militiamen escaped from six of the seven buildings that were attacked during the strike when they discovered what they believed to be a US reconnaissance plane.
Sabahlin said that tensions between the Iraqi government and Iran-backed organizations that are also part of the Iraqi security forces have intensified. Sabahlin said that the US attack was shepherded by Iraqi intelligence officials.
In an interview with a local television network on Thursday, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hussein said that those who claim to be “resistance forces” and launch rocket attacks in Iraq are nothing but terrorists.
Sabhalin called Hussein’s comments “a green light for the international community to target and eliminate resistance under the pretext of terrorism.”
In a recent interview with The New York Times, Hussein said: “We treat these attacks as attacks on the Iraqi government.” Refers to attacks on the US embassy and other US targets. Hussein is one of several Iraqi officials who have traveled to Iran in recent months to try to persuade Iran to use its influence to control the militia.
He said: “I went to Tehran with others and had frank and open discussions with the Iranians.” “For some time, it stopped these attacks.”
Hussein said: “Finally, the area of conflict is in Iraq.”
Senior Iraqi officials said they hope the Biden administration will adopt a more nuanced policy towards Iraq. Hussein said that Baghdad does not expect the government to make Iraq the focus of its foreign policy, but the long-term experience of Biden and major government officials with Iraq and Iraqi politicians will help the development of relations between the two countries.
Katab Hezbollah says it maintains a presence at border crossings to prevent Islamic State fighters from infiltrating Iraq.
Since mobilizing with the Islamic State in 2014 to fight against the Iraqi powers, the Iraqi government has been trying to control the influence of Iran-backed militias. The country lost its last territory two years ago, and many paramilitary groups supported by Iran have been absorbed by Iraq’s official security forces.
Iraq warned that the conflict between the United States and Iran raged on its soil and could destabilize the country.
In 2020, the United States killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and senior Iraqi security officer Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in a drone strike in Baghdad, intensifying attacks by allegedly Iranian-backed militias on US interests in Iraq.
Renad Mansour, Director of Iraq Initiatives at Chatham House, a London-based policy organization, said: “In the past year, Iraq has become an escalation driven by the United States and Iran. Battlefields and battlefields for similar activities.” “These groups began to rise after being killed.”
He said: “Everyone has a clear message: revenge for death is not over yet.” “For them, time is not a problem.”
Mansour, who tracks Iraqi armed groups, said that the newer armed groups appear to consist of combatants armed with weapons connected to larger paramilitary forces linked to Iran.
As part of Iran’s security forces, some paramilitary groups supported by Iran are on the Iraqi government’s payroll, but nominally only under government control.
When the tit-for-tat attack took place, the Biden administration embarked on an arduous task to try to restore the nuclear agreement with Iran’s President Donald Trump withdrawing from the United States in 2018. The issue of Iran’s destabilizing activities throughout the Middle East is particularly related to US allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Iran has spent decades building a network of partnerships with militia organizations in the region, which has allowed Iran to project power beyond its sphere of influence. These groups include the Palestinian Hamas group in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, some groups in Iraq and the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Over the years, all these groups have received at least some funding, support, and weapons from Iran. They all have an ideology of “resistance” or fight against the interests of Israel and the United States in the region.
These groups have developed many low-cost methods that often cause headaches for the United States and its allies. Hezbollah has grown into Lebanon’s most powerful military and political force, with more than 100,000 rockets aimed at Israel and experienced fighter jets that have helped reverse the situation of the Syrian civil war and benefit President Bashar al-Assad. (Bashar Assad).
This month, the organization’s enemies in Lebanon accused the organization of assassinating Lokman Slim, the organization’s distributor, film producer and voice critic, and close ties to Western officials. . Hezbollah officials denied any connection with Slim’s killing.
A few days after Slim’s death, the Houthi rebels in Yemen have been bombed since 2015. The Arab League led by Saudi Arabia has been bombing. They used drones full of explosives to target Saudi cities. An airport in Abha blew up a civil airliner.
The previously unknown armed group claimed to be an Edby rocket attack, calling itself the “Guardian of Blood.” US officials said it appeared to be connected to one or more well-known Iraqi militias, and the strike in Syria on Thursday targeted their facilities.
This article was originally published in The New York Times.
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