Biden expresses concerns about wider war in Middle East after fatal drone attack 

US President Joe Biden | Credits: AP Photo
US President Joe Biden | Credits: AP Photo

United States: In a series of comments on Tuesday, President Joe Biden said he had decided what to do after Sunday’s killing of three US service members by a drone attack in Jordan that the administration has linked with Iran-backed militia groups without any elaboration about details later. 

Biden Navigates Delicate Diplomacy

US officials said Iran-support groups were responsible for the killing of American troops in a wave of attacks against US forces in the region since October 7 Hamas assailant on Israel. Facing the reporters asking him what he had decided on the matter, Biden stated that he was hopefully trying to avoid further escalation and intended to attend the dignified transfer to pay respects when fallen troops finally returned home to American soil. 

Biden, while departing for a fundraising trip to Florida, said, “I don’t think we need a wider war in the Middle East; that’s not what I’m looking for.” 

It was, however, not yet certain that Biden intended to state he had a concrete plan in mind when it came to retaliation. The US, according to an official who spoke with The Associated Press regarding the operations at the Pentagon, is still reviewing counter-options for action in Jordan following an attack that left two US contractors dead. 

Spokesman to the National Security Council, John Kirby, answered reporters on Air Force One that he would not preview America’s answer, but another phase began. 

National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications – John Kirby | Credits: Reuters

“It’s very possible that what you’ll see is a tiered approach here, not just a single action, but potentially multiple actions over a period of time,” he said. 

At the same time, on Tuesday, Kataib Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia that is suspected as one of several groups targeted by US officials, said in a statement, “the suspension of military and security operations against the occupation forces in order to prevent embarrassment to the Iraqi government.” 

Iran’s increased attacks on the US forces deployed in Iraqi land for almost four months have put the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani in an awkward position, and persistence Sudani ruled in the United States after having come to power through Iran-backed factions and even tried to remain in favor with American officials while establishing actions associated with foreign commission on fight against Islamic State attack other US forces who served Iraq as a part of international coalition to uproot the terrorism. Iraq and US government officials Saturday finalized negotiations in an effort to bring some closure to the workforce that has run out of its mandate. 

Kirby stated that Biden communicated with the families of the soldiers via a telephone call, reflecting their mourning, and gave his condolences, voicing readiness to offer all possible support to grieving relatives. 

Biden Engages with Grieving Families

Biden had separate calls with families to assess their leanings towards his presence during the cremation of remains of service members who died in Afghanistan at Dover Air Base; he said that after all the discussions, everyone felt it was right for him to be present there. 

President of the United States – Joe Biden | Credits: The White House

“He was grateful for their time. He expressed to them how proud we all are of their service,” Kirby said of Biden’s calls with the families. “How we mourn and feel sorrow over their loss.” 

Kirby added, “The president will be going to the dignified transfer on Friday.” 

The solemn ceremony, which is the posthumous homecoming of service personnel to American soil as they head to rest, involves an honor guard bearing a flag-wrapped transfer case containing remains exiting carrier planes on transport to military vehicles. 

Solemn Dignified Transfer

In turn, those of the Pentagon who died in the act of attack were specified as Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, aged 46, from Carrollton, Georgia, and Spc. Kenned James Ladon Sanders, 24-Year-Old of Waycross Georgia; and Spc. Twenty–three–year–old Breonna Alexsondria Moffettof Savannah, Georgia. The Army Reserve promoted Sanders and Moffett to sergeant a few days after their deaths. 

According to a US military official, there have been 166 attacks on the U.S.-military-run facilities so far since Oct. 18, including 98 in Syria and 70 in Iraq. Now, one attack took place recently in Jordan, thus reaching six nations out of the most influential countries globally, and all these states were buckling under Sand. On Tuesday, Al-Asad Air Base in Western Iraq was targeted again by a single rocket, but fortunately, it was non-lethal; no one was injured in this attack. 

The strike is not an immediate threat to US interests or forces in Iraqi territory, according to a statement made by defense officials for the Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman, who released it after he consulted. The three soldiers killed in the Jordan strike were the first fatal US Army casualties of war that happened in the Middle East since the disagreement between Israel and Hamas began. This December, they also had a fatality after the strike of Al-Asad when one of the contractors died from a heart attack. 

He attended the honors transfer ceremony in 2021 of the remains of 13 troops who died after a suicide attack as the US was forced out of Afghanistan. 

Meanwhile, separately, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany could admit 3 US service members who were injured in this drone attack, including one who is listed in critical and stable condition. At least 40 US service members were injured alongside the three taken out in combat.