US President Joe Biden’s Thursday night airstrikes, carried out in eastern Syria against the Iran-aligned Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS) factions of the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU) in response to the February 15th rocket attack on a US airbase in Erbil, northern Iraq, carried out by the hitherto unknown group Saraya Awliya al-Dam, came as little surprise to onlookers.
As Vice-President to Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017, who’s administration launched the initial regime-change project against Damascus in 2011 involving the arming and training of Salafist terrorist groups seeking to depose the secular leadership of Bashar al-Assad, it was a matter of when, not if, that Biden would make a move militarily on the Arab state – indeed, the airstrikes came only a week after the Delawarean made his ominous ‘America is back’ speech at the Munich Security Conference, signalling that his administration would pursue a far more hawkish and interventionist stance than that of his predecessor Donald Trump, despite the fact that the previous administration had also engaged militarily with the Arab Republic, namely a 2017 cruise missile strike and 2018 air strikes, both targeting Syrian government positions in response to alleged chemical attacks.
What differentiated Thursday night’s air strikes from previous US military action in Syria however, is that it was the first time that Washington had engaged militarily with Iranian-backed forces in the Arab State, with Tehran being present in the country on an official anti-terrorist mission at the invitation of the Syrian government, and all previous military action against its forces in the country instead being carried out by Israel.
With Tehran’s intervention in the conflict having first begun in 2013, the government of Benjamin Netanyahu has long expressed concern about what it sees as ‘Iranian influence’ in the region, with the Islamic Republic being a steadfast foe of the Zionist State since the 1979 Revolution saw the pro-Western Shah of Iran deposed and replaced with the anti-American and anti-Zionist Ayatollah.
To this end, Tel Aviv has engaged in numerous air strikes targeting Iran-backed forces in the Arab nation since the outset of the conflict, with the most recent coming only last month when Israeli bombing of the eastern city of Deir ez-Zor led to the deaths of more than 57 Syrian Arab Army troops and Iran-backed fighters.
With the US Air Force having carried out Thursday night’s attack however, signs would now indicate that Washington is now preparing to take a much more direct role in engaging Iran-backed forces in the Arab State, taking over from that of Tel Aviv.
US Military action on behalf of the Zionist State should come as no surprise to onlookers, indeed, Israel itself has played a key role in the Syrian conflict since its beginning, arming and training the aforementioned Salafist militants in tandem with the United States since the outbreak of fighting – with the government of Assad, like its Iranian allies, also being a long-time opponent of Tel Aviv.
Extensive Zionist lobbying for the Iraq war also took place in the run-up to the 2003 US-led invasion of the Arab country, with Netanyahu himself infamously testifying before a US House of Representatives committee that the removal of Saddam Hussein would lead to ‘enormous positive reverberations on the region’.
As devastating as that conflict was however, with its repercussions still being felt in the wider Middle East today, further US intervention against Iran-backed forces in Syria under the Biden administration may ultimately trigger a wider conflict that would make all previous wars of the 21st century seem pale in comparison.
*(Top image: The aftermath of US air strikes against Iraqi militias at an unofficial crossing on the Iraq-Syria border near Al-Qaim. Credit: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE)