Sunday, 09 May, 2021


Biden calls USA airstrike in Syria a warning to Iran

Map of Damascus Syria also showing the Golan Heights Damascus Syria
Kristine Garrett | 28 February, 2021, 00:14

Responding to a question on the legal authority of conducting the strikes in Syria, Psaki said as a matter of domestic law, the president took this action pursuant to his article two authority to defend United States personnel.

The hypocrisy which is so prevalent here, is that you have a situation where exactly what President Trump did, President Biden basically did.

"Be careful", he added, speaking in Houston during a tour of relief efforts after a huge winter storm in Texas.

Syria and Iran on Friday condemned a deadly USA airstrike on Iranian-backed militias with Damascus calling it a "bad sign" from the new Biden administration and Tehran saying it would further destabilize the region.

"Be careful", Biden said when a reporter asked what message he had meant to send with the airstrikes, which the Pentagon said destroyed several buildings in eastern Syria but were not meant to eradicate the militia groups that used them to facilitate attacks inside Iraq.

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., said Friday she was concerned about the White House's "legal rationale" for launching airstrikes in Syria a day earlier without congressional approval.

"The operation sends an unambiguous message: President Biden will act to protect American and coalition personnel", Kirby told reporters Thursday.

"We took this action that I think was focused, proportionate, but also effective in degrading some of the capacity that the militia in question had to perpetrate new attacks, and also to be very clear, notably to Iran, that they can not act with impunity against our people, our partners, our interests".

"And I think - and expect - that that message was clearly received", Blinken said.

"I condemn meddling in Syria's civil war".

"It is a bad sign regarding the policies of the new USA administration which should adhere to global (norms)", the Foreign Ministry said.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh condemned the US strike, calling it "illegal aggression" and a violation of human rights and worldwide law. The action was a response to recent rocket attacks against USA interests in Iraq. But Iranian state television and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a conflict monitor based in Britain, reported that 17 fighters had been killed in the airstrikes, which occurred near Abu Kamal, Syria, just across the border from Iraq. Iran responded by launching a barrage of missile attacks on a base that housed US troops in Iraq.

The Pentagon's chief spokesperson John Kirby said: "This proportionate military response was conducted together with diplomatic measures, including consultation with coalition partners". He also would not say what was located in the destroyed facilities such as weapons.

The Thursday airstrikes, which mark the first overt military action ordered by Biden, destroyed multiple facilities located at a border control point used by several Iranian-backed militant groups, including Kait'ib Hezbollah and Kait'ib Sayyid al Shuhada. The group said 22 fighters from the Popular Mobilization Forces, an Iraqi umbrella group of mostly Shiite paramilitaries that includes Kataeb Hezbollah, were killed. "In the a year ago, Iraq has become a playground and battleground for this type of activity driven by the U.S. -Iran escalation", said Renad Mansour, the Iraq Initiative director at Chatham House, a London-based policy group.

Kirby responded to criticism by Lavrov that Moscow had been notified just four or five minutes before the US struck the targets.

"We did what we believe was the proper amount of notification for this", Kirby said. "It shouldn't come as a shock to anybody that we're going to do what we have to do to notify but we're also going to do what we have to do to protect our forces". "We know that this compound was used by these groups to help resource and help facilitate their ability to conduct these kinds of attacks inside Iraq".

Among the recent attacks cited was a February 15 rocket attack in northern Iraq that killed one civilian contractor and wounded a United States service member and other coalition troops.

Washington and Tehran are seeking maximum leverage in attempts to save Iran's nuclear deal reached with world powers in 2015 but abandoned in 2018 by then-President Donald Trump, after which regional tensions soared.

Iran is believed to be searching for an opportunity to avenge the US assassination of top figure Gen. Qasem Soleimani one year ago.

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