Published: Sat, February 27, 2021
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Militia strike constitutes key test of Biden’s plan to engage, restrain Iran

Militia strike constitutes key test of Biden’s plan to engage, restrain Iran

Thursday night's airstrike targeted a compound used by two Iranian-backed militias the usa believes are responsible for rocket attacks in Iraq that wounded Americans.

What meaning Tehran took from the attack on its proxies remains unclear.

Last week, the Biden administration offered talks with Iran led by European allies as it seeks to salvage a 2015 nuclear deal, left on the brink of collapse after Biden's predecessor Donald Trump withdrew from it.

She added that the national security team conducted a legal review in advance.

The president's comments - coming almost 24 hours after two U.S. F-15 Eagles dropped seven precision-guided bombs, destroying nine facilities and severely damaging two others - were his first about the strike, which has become the subject of a political debate in the U.S. Additionally, five other contractors were wounded as well as a USA service member.

Kirby said the targeted location was used by Kataeb Hezbollah and Kataeb Sayyid al-Shuhada, two Iraqi pro-Iran groups operating under the Hashed.

On the question of casualties, Kirby said an assessment was ongoing. Iraqi officials have said the bombing caused at least one fatality and wounded four, though some estimates from online accounts associated with militias said as many as 17 people had been killed.

"This really was a defensive strike meant to help protect".

Article II appoints the president as the commander in chief of the US military, while Article 51 states: "Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain global peace and security".

"These targets were chosen carefully, very deliberately, and struck in exactly the same manner", Kirby said.


Asked what the message was from the airstrike, Biden said: "You can't act with impunity".

For its part, Iran condemned the USA airstrike, with Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh labeling it an "illegal aggression".

Hours after the US attack in Syria, an Israeli-owned cargo ship sailing in the Gulf of Oman near Iran was damaged in an explosion, according to multiple reports.

The Iranian government has denied any involvement. "Clearly, we want there to be a deterrence message here, delivered straight to them about the repercussions of going after our people and our Iraqi partners and our facilities inside Iraq", John Kirby told reporters at the Pentagon.

"We're confident that these were legitimate targets", he said.

The sidelining of Congress ahead of military strikes or entering war is not a unique event in United States politics, especially since former President George W Bush signed the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) into law a week after September 11.

Following a meeting in Tehran with his Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hussein, Zarif said on Saturday the series of attacks could be aimed at damaging Iran-Iraq relations. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). "But Congress should hold this administration to the same standard it did prior administrations, and require clear legal justifications for military action, especially inside theaters like Syria, where Congress has not explicitly authorized any American military action".

"Yesterday's strikes were the correct, proportionate response to protect American lives, and I look forward to more information on the administration's response to Iran's aggression", said Sen.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that Biden "has the right to take action in a manner of his choosing" and that the USA strike was necessary and "pursuant to the right of self-defense".

Earlier, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the USA airstrikes send "an unambiguous message: President Biden will act to protect American and coalition personnel". "In the past year, 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.

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