U.S. officials are facing the challenge of formulating a response to the escalating attacks by Resistance movements in Iraq and the Yemeni Armed Forces on US troops in both Syria and Iraq and Israeli, Israeli-affiliated, and Israeli-bound ships in the Red Sea, aiming to deter such operations without provoking a wider war in West Asia, as per a report by CNN.
The United States is actively deploying various measures to address the escalating attacks and challenges posed in the Red Sea and against its troops and bases in Iraq and Syria. Employing a multifaceted approach, the US, fearing further attacks, carried out strikes against fighters and infrastructure in Iraq and Syria, allegedly intercepted missiles and drones launched by Yemeni Armed Forces in Yemen, and delivered stern warnings to Iran and the Resistance movements through diplomatic channels.
The recent lethal action taken by the US, targeting Yemeni Armed Forces attempting to capture a commercial vessel in the Red Sea heading to the Israeli occupation, underscores the US dilemma.
Despite the Pentagon presenting multiple options for potential strikes inside Yemen, US officials revealed, as quoted by CNN, that the Biden administration has been hesitant to escalate beyond “defensive” military actions and diplomatic engagements through backchannel communications, as per the report.
Since “Israel” initiated its aggression on Gaza, the United States has been working discreetly to prevent the outbreak of a more extensive war involving multiple countries. However, managing this challenge has become increasingly difficult, especially with heightened tensions this week due to an Israeli strike on a Hamas leader in Lebanon and a significant ISIS terrorist attack in Iran.
Proceeding with caution: Concerns about disrupting the Yemen truce
The United States has reportedly shown significant caution to avoid undermining a truce brokered by the US and the United Nations between Saudi Arabia and Yemen—a diplomatic success seen as crucial by the Biden administration, citing its interests in the Red Sea.
A senior US official revealed that there is concern within the administration that the Yemeni Armed Forces might benefit from prolonged war and may seek to involve US forces in an extended engagement. Officials have highlighted that despite years of Saudi-led war on Yemen, the Yemeni Armed Forces have not been “eliminated”.
The persistent Yemeni Armed Forces operations on commercial shipping in the Red Sea may exacerbate disruptions to global trade, prove the maritime coalition futile, and diminish President Biden’s capacity to promote a robust economy as he approaches the 2024 election, as per the report.
There is an ongoing concern about the potential for an Iranian response, although it is considered less likely, according to the report, citing officials. Iran demonstrated support for Yemen by deploying a warship to the southern Red Sea, just a day after the US Navy’s aggression on members of the Yemeni Armed Forces.
Even in Iraq, where the US has been more willing to directly confront Resistance factions targeting American troops, White House officials are cautious due to potential repercussions with the Iraqi government, but still, they carried out a strike and assassinated Hajj Moshtaq Taleb al-Saidi (Abou Taqwa), under the pretext of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) official’s role in targeting US bases in the region.
Although the US has carried out several strikes against the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, which includes several Iraqi Resistance factions, such as martyr Abou Taqwa’s al-Nujabaa Movement, targeting PMF officials marks an unprecedented escalation.
The Pentagon did not shy away from accepting responsibility for the attack, as its spokesperson Pat Ryder detailed the US plot just a few hours later.
“I can confirm that on January 4, approximately 12:00 p.m. Iraq time, US forces took necessary and proportionate action against Mushtaq Jawad Kazim al-Jawari, aka Abu Taqwa, who is a Harakat-al-Nujaba leader. Abu Taqwa was actively involved in planning and carrying out attacks against American personnel.”
This prompted the Iraqi Prime Minister, Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, to emphasize today, Friday, the importance of remaining true to the promise of ending the presence of the US-led international coalition in Iraq.
In a speech commemorating the lives of “the leaders of victory,” in reference to martyrs Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the Iraqi Premier affirmed Baghdad’s “steadfast and principled position,” which “is to end the presence of the (US-led) coalition, as it has overstayed its purported mission.”
The report also highlighted the intricate diplomatic tightrope the US is navigating in the region, as US officials refrained from condemning “Israel’s” apparent assassination of a senior Hamas leader in Lebanon. Despite the possibility of increased tensions between “Israel” and Hezbollah, US officials privately drew parallels between this targeted killing and how the US conducts drone strikes against Resistance leaders globally. Nevertheless, the White House took action by sending senior envoy Amos Hochstein to “Israel” on Thursday to “address and mitigate tensions between Israel and Lebanon.”
This is yet another dilemma that the US has to deal with in the region’s quicksand, bringing forth the question of whether the US will actually be able to prevent a regional war.
Yet, the question remains: Will he be successful amid all these flagrant violations in the region?