SECDEF Austin Warns Iran-Backed Militias That a Forceful Response Is Coming

( — According to United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Iran-backed militias should expect a strong response from the United States military due to their attacks on U.S. troops. Austin didn’t clarify how the Pentagon would respond to the attacks but promised to reduce the militias’ capabilities substantially through a retaliatory strike. Austin also promised a “multi-tier” response, indicating multiple attacks against the Iran-backed groups.

While discussing the impending response, Austin reiterated a common talking point amongst the Biden administration: the United States doesn’t want the ongoing conflict in the Middle East to become a wider global conflict. Austin said that while the United States wants to prevent further conflict, the military will protect its troops and citizens in the region from further attacks. Despite Austin’s refusal to elaborate on the planned strikes, CBS News recently reported on a group of strikes approved by the Biden administration.

The CBS News report indicates the United States military will carry out strikes in various countries, including Syria and Iraq. The attacks are meant to target Iran-backed militias but also include several facilities operated by Iran, along with Iranian citizens within the targeted countries. The proposed strikes come as a retaliation for recent attacks against American troops that occurred in Jordan.

The militias attacked United States troops stationed at Tower 22, a military base in Jordan located near the country’s border with Syria. Following the attacks, the perpetrator remained anonymous, but the White House blamed the Islamic resistance in Iraq for the strike. According to Austin, the Islamic Resistance purposely targeted the base’s sleeping area with a drone to kill unarmed and unaware troops. The Tower 22 drone strike killed three American troops and injured approximately 40 more.

The Tower 22 drone attack is the latest assault from Iranian-backed militant groups, an increasingly common occurrence in the Middle East. Since the Gaza conflict began, there have been more than 160 attacks on United States forces by Iran-backed forces. Another such attack happened in Yemen when Houthi rebels attacked commercial and military ships. The United States responded with strikes against Houthi forces, but the latest response Austin discussed will likely include more extensive strikes against Houthi troops.

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