May 8, 2021


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First US military action under Biden draws criticism | Middle East News

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US President Joe Biden’s authorization on Thursday for military air raids in eastern Syria drew criticism in the Middle East.

The US military said it carried out measured attacks on facilities in eastern Syria used by Iranian-backed militias, in response to rocket attacks on US targets in Iraq.

The air raids were “deliberate” and aimed at “defusing the general situation in eastern Syria and Iraq,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.

‘Same as Trump’

Some commentators have said there was a clear effort to distinguish Biden from his predecessor Donald Trump, who, in response to attacks on coalition forces in Iraq, used “the most disproportionate force in killing the Iranian General (Qassem) Soleimani, ”Al Jazeera said. Shihab Rattansi in Washington, DC.

Seyyed Mohammad Marandi, professor of English literature and Orientalism at the University of Tehran, said the move shows just how identical Biden and Trump are.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke with his Syrian counterpart on Friday hours after the US airstrikes.

“Both sides have stressed the need for the West to adhere to UN Security Council resolutions regarding Syria,” Iranian government website said.

US journalist Ayman Moyeldin has drawn a timeline to show the similarities between Biden’s decision and several former US presidents.

The United States has long been criticized for its military intervention in several Muslim-majority countries such as Iraq and Libya and for forcing regime change leading to political chaos and instability.

‘No de-escalation’

In the United States, this decision was also condemned.

Hillary Mann Leverett, CEO of political risk consultancy Stratega, said if the air raids sent a message about the loyalty of the Biden administration to the region, they would not dispel the situation in the Middle East.

“The Biden administration tries to present this first military attack as measured in consultation with its allies. But that will not defuse anything.

“In fact, it signals a message to Iran very strongly that … the Biden administration is in fact trying to increase its pressure and influence on Iran.”

The rocket attacks on U.S. positions in Iraq came as Washington and Tehran sought a way to revert to the 2015 nuclear deal abandoned by former U.S. President Trump.

It was not clear how, or if, the raid could affect US efforts to bring Iran back into a two-party negotiation to resume compliance with the deal.

Mary Ellen O’Connell, professor at Notre Dame Law School, criticized the American attack as a violation of international law.

“The Charter of the United Nations makes it clear that the use of military force on the territory of a foreign sovereign state is only lawful in response to an armed attack against the defending state for which the target state is responsible” , she said. “None of these elements were encountered during the strike in Syria.

Justin Amash, a US attorney who was previously the representative of Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District, said the ruling was unconstitutional.

“ Deterrence necessary ”

Still, some observers have shown their support for the air raids.

Representative Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the attacks were the right move.

“Responses like this are a necessary deterrent and remind Iran, its proxies and our adversaries around the world that attacks on US interests will not be tolerated,” McCaul said.

Suzanne Maloney, of the Brookings Institution think tank, said the attacks showed the Biden administration could negotiate with Iran over the nuclear deal while pushing back militias it supported.

“Good move from… Biden (the administration) showing that the United States can walk and chew gum at the same time,” she said on Twitter.

In the February 15 attack, rockets struck the US military base at Erbil International Airport in the Kurdish-run region, killing a non-US contractor and injuring a number of US contractors and a member of the American service.

Another salvo struck a base hosting US forces north of Baghdad days later, injuring at least one contractor.

Rockets struck the Baghdad Green Zone, which is home to the US embassy and other diplomatic missions, on Monday.

Earlier this week, the Kata’ib Hezbollah group, one of the main Iraqi militia groups aligned with Iran, denied any role in the rocket attacks.

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