US hawks call for action against Iran following attack on troops in Jordan

Amidst escalating tensions, US lawmakers call for a strong response to Iran after a drone attack on American troops in Jordan intensifies calls for action.

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Following a drone strike on a military base in Jordan near the Syrian border, which resulted in the deaths of three American troops and injuries to dozens, calls for a retaliatory response against Iran have intensified among US lawmakers. Despite Iran’s disavowal of any involvement, members of Congress from both parties have urged President Joe Biden to enact swift military action.

Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) stated, “The only answer to these attacks must be devastating military retaliation against Iran’s terrorist forces, both in Iran and across the Middle East.” This call for action was mirrored by Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.), who labeled Iran as “an existential threat to the U.S. and our allies in the region,” demanding accountability for the attack that led to the loss of American lives.

The advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran, chaired by former Senator Joseph Lieberman, also pressed for a forceful US military response. The organization advocated for strikes against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and their training facilities, emphasizing the need to dismantle Iran’s proxy networks.

In the wake of the attack, President Biden attributed the aggression to “radical Iran-backed militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq,” while noting that the US is still investigating the incident. He assured that those responsible would face consequences, though the specifics of the response remained undefined.

The attack has heightened the already tense situation in the Middle East, where US forces have encountered increasing hostility since the escalation of the Israel-Gaza conflict in October. This recent incident marks a significant escalation, with American casualties bringing the conflict closer to the forefront of US foreign policy considerations.

Despite the aggressive rhetoric from some quarters, the Pentagon maintains its stance that the US is not engaged in active conflict in the Middle East. This position comes amid concerns that retaliatory measures could lead to a broader regional conflict.

Calls for a ceasefire in Gaza and diplomatic resolutions have emerged as counterpoints to the demands for military action. Figures like Jamal Abdi of the National Iranian American Council have critiqued the push for escalation, advocating for diplomatic efforts to resolve the underlying tensions.

Trita Parsi of the Quincy Institute cautioned against retaliatory strikes, suggesting that such actions could entangle the US in an unwinnable and costly conflict. He advocated for troop withdrawals from conflict zones in Iraq and Syria as a means to de-escalate the situation.

As discussions around the appropriate US response continue, the incident has become a focal point for debate on US foreign policy in the Middle East. “President Biden must demand a cease-fire in Gaza now,” said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), directly calling for an end to hostilities and a shift towards diplomatic engagement to prevent further loss of life.

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