AhlulBayt News Agency

source : Al-Waght News

6 February 2024

10:38:59 AM

Analysis: Biden dogging “Checkmate”, a success or a downfall?

The so-called deterrent attacks by the United States on the headquarters of resistance forces in Iraq and Syria not only failed to diminish threats against US forces in the region but also emboldened these groups to carry out more extensive operations against the occupiers.

AhlulBayt News Agency: The so-called deterrent attacks by the United States on the headquarters of resistance forces in Iraq and Syria not only failed to diminish threats against US forces in the region but also emboldened these groups to carry out more extensive operations against the occupiers.

Several days subsequent to the verbal warnings issued by senior US officials regarding a decisive reaction to the recent attack on "Tower 22" at the Al-Tanf base in Jordan, resulting in the fatalities of three American soldiers, the US Department of Defense ultimately authorized strikes on certain positions affiliated with resistance forces on Friday night. The US Central Command (CENTCOM) affirmed in a statement that it had targeted more than 85 locations within the territories of Iraq and Syria.

The US military disclosed the deployment of various aircraft, including long-range bombers originating from the United States, in the attacks on these positions. According to the statement, the nation's Air Force aircraft struck three sites in Iraq and four sites in Syria with 125 precision-guided missiles, conducting bombardment for over 30 minutes.

CNN additionally reported the involvement of several B-1 bombers and F-16 fighter jets in these assaults. CENTCOM asserted that "command and control operations centers, intelligence centers, rockets and missiles, drone storage facilities, and logistical supply chain installations" were struck in these operations.

According to sources in Iraqi security, these strikes targeted centers affiliated with Hezbollah factions in the city of Al-Qa'im in western Al-Anbar, resulting in the deaths of five members of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) due to the American bombardment.

John Kirby, the spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, affirmed, "Prior to the operation, we had informed the Iraqi government." Consequently, some reports suggested that these areas had been evacuated before the US operation and had not suffered significant casualties.

Nonetheless, the spokesperson for the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces, in a statement denouncing the US attacks, remarked, "These airstrikes breach Iraq's sovereignty and pose a threat that could result in undesirable consequences with serious ramifications for Iraq's and the region's security and stability."

In Syria, the assaults were focused on the Deir ez-Zor province bordering Iraq, targeting the Al Bukamal base in the province's eastern part, the Hajin neighborhood in the city, and the Al-Hari area nearby. A field source informed Al Mayadeen, "US aggressions targeted a Syrian Army unit in the city of Ayyash, a gas station in the eastern side of Deir ez-Zor city, and a food warehouse in Deir ez-Zor city." The source also verified that concurrently with the initiation of the invasion of the city of Al-Qa'im, 7 US fighter jets, 6 unmanned missile-firing aircraft, and one strategic B1 bomber were observed in the airspace of Deir ez-Zor province.

Joe Biden, the President of the United States, asserted in his initial statement regarding this targeting: "Under my orders, US forces attacked facilities in Iraq and Syria, and we targeted facilities used by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and their allies."

Limited operation accompanied by significant publicity

Following recent pronouncements from senior Washington officials pledging a resolute and multifaceted response to resistance groups, many anticipated a substantial reaction from the United States. Some media outlets and international observers even speculated about potential attacks on positions within Iran. However, the specifics of the aerial operations in Iraq and Syria revealed that the heavily publicized actions were not as extensive as expected. This indicates that the White House is not inclined toward a widescale confrontation with the Axis of Resistance. Immediately following the attacks, the White House asserted that it does not seek war with Iran, and President Biden affirmed that the United States is not seeking involvement in the Middle East or elsewhere in the world.

The United States' reluctance to engage in a broad confrontation with the Axis of Resistance is tied to these groups' ability to respond to enemy assaults. Developments over the past four months since the onset of the Gaza conflict have demonstrated that the initiative in military affairs rests with the resistance groups, dissuading Washington from embarking on any risky ventures.

The actions undertaken by Yemen's Ansarullah in the Red Sea against Zionist and Western vessels, alongside numerous attacks by Iraqi factions on US installations, and hundreds of Hezbollah strikes in the northern occupied territories, collectively signal the readiness of the resistance to retaliate against adversaries. Should the United States broaden the scope of the conflict, the Axis of Resistance may face attacks from various fronts. Currently, the presence of resistance groups in the region and their precise intelligence oversight enables them to manage tensions and prevent the United States and the Zionist regime from dragging regional countries into crises for their own interests.

Although the limited attacks by America provided some relief and were intended for domestic consumption to quiet local critics, they also failed to meet the expectations of the American public.

Senator Roger Wicker, representing the Republican party, criticized the Biden administration, asserting, "Iran and its proxy forces have made 165 attempts to kill American soldiers and sink our warships, while the Biden administration pats itself on the back for minimal efforts. Biden, nearly a week ago, imprudently disclosed America's objectives to our adversaries, giving them ample time to relocate and hide."

Another Republican senator, Deb Fischer, observed, "These attacks, announced before their execution, likely haven't effectively deterred the Iran axis, and President Biden's next move must be much stronger." Senator Pete Ricketts also commented on social media, "For effective deterrence, Biden needs to target critical points in Iran. Predictable and feeble responses won't deter them. We require leadership, not theatrics."

The actions taken by Washington produced a contrary outcome

Following the US airstrikes on Iraq and Syria, Biden reiterated his previous stance, stating that the US response has commenced and will persist at their discretion, aiming to disrupt the activities of the Axis of Resistance. However, the retaliatory actions by resistance groups targeting US bases within the last 24 hours demonstrated that such warnings do not deter them, and Washington's strategy to escalate military confrontation with these groups has backfired.

In response, the Iraqi Islamic Resistance Group announced early Sunday in reaction to the US strikes that it had targeted three US military installations in Iraq and Syria. As reported by Al Jazeera, the Iraqi Resistance disclosed that it had aimed at the Al-Tanf and Al-Khazra villages in Syria, as well as the Ain al-Asad base in western Al-Anbar province, utilizing drones and rockets. The swift response from the Iraqi Resistance to the US assault illustrated that the Axis of Resistance remains undeterred by such threats and is prepared for any outcomes.

Furthermore, a security informant at the Iranian advisory center in Syria informed Al Mayadeen that the US airstrikes will only further incite the resistance groups, and the Iraqi resistance's determination to oppose US occupation in solidarity with Palestine will undoubtedly persist with increased momentum.

In the scenario of the US and UK assault on Yemen, where they anticipated Ansarullah to suspend its activities in the Red Sea, their estimations faltered, prompting Yemenis to broaden the scale of their assaults. Presently, even US naval vessels are vulnerable to Ansarullah's missile threat.

From Iraq and Yemen to Lebanon, resistance leaders have repeatedly cautioned that as long as the Zionist regime's assaults on Gaza persist, they will persist in their operations in solidarity with the Palestinian cause. Iraqi factions are actively seeking opportunities amid the Gaza conflict to drive out American forces from their territories and remain resolute in their chosen course.

Had America genuinely sought retribution for its losses, it would have conducted its operations without Iraqi government coordination, catching the resistance groups off guard and inflicting significant losses. Nevertheless, the robust counterattacks of these groups have compelled policymakers in Washington to reassess the repercussions of their actions.

Targeted attacks to pave the way for ISIS

Although Washington officials claimed to have targeted the headquarters of Iran-affiliated groups in Iraq and Syria, these areas were deliberately chosen. These attacks were carried out in areas previously occupied by the terrorist group ISIS, which in recent years has sought opportunities to revive its former strength using instability in Iraq and Syria, an opportunity provided by the United States to the terrorists. Al-Nujaba satellite network in Iraq reported on Saturday that ISIS, taking advantage of US aggression in Iraq, launched an attack on the Iraqi army and Popular Mobilization Forces at kilometer 160 of the Al-Sakr highway in Al-Anbar province.

While the central nucleus of ISIS in Iraq and Syria has been destroyed, some fugitive elements of this terrorist group, scattered in the two countries, engage in limited activities to create instability and seek to establish safe areas for military and territorial reconstruction with the support of the United States.

In the past two years, Washington has been involved in activities to strengthen dormant ISIS cells in Syria and Iraq to be able to use them if necessary for its failed plans in the region. The release of some ISIS members from Syrian prisons in areas controlled by the Kurds and the transfer of ISIS families from the Al-Hol camp to Iraq are part of this project. It is not far-fetched to think that the United States, to remain safe from attacks by Iraqi groups, is once again strengthening ISIS and engaging the Popular Mobilization Forces in fighting this terrorist group.

In contrast, the United States carried out its strikes targeting the gas and oil-rich regions of Syria. The Al-Omar oil field and the Conoco gas field in Deir ez-Zor province have remained under American control since 2016. These attacks convey Washington's firm stance: it has no plans to relinquish its hold over these valuable resources. Reports indicate that the United States has amassed billions of dollars over the years by plundering and exporting Syrian oil, even to occupied territories. With these recent strikes, the aim is to neutralize threats to these oil and gas fields posed by the Axis of Resistance and to continue exploiting Syria's energy reserves without hindrance.

The US assaults on the strongholds of resistance factions underscore that they not only fail to bolster the security of these bases and the military interests of the region but also, in response to these acts of provocation, tensions will escalate. The repercussions of this conflict will draw attention to the fragile security dynamics of the region and exacerbate the precarious political situation facing Biden in the White House during the election year.