On February 25, 2021, President Biden ordered an airstrike in Syria against an Iran-backed militia group, according to POLITICO. It is believed that the airstrike was a response to rocket attacks carried out on Irbil International Airport, Balad Air Base, and the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. A contractor was killed, and ten people were wounded in the attacks.
Critics of Biden have questioned the effectiveness of the airstrike in providing deterrence to the Iranians. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, appearing on ‘The Ingraham Angle,’ said
“You’ve got to protect your force, you’ve got to establish deterrence… I hope it just wasn’t bombs in the desert. I hope it really went after something that threatened the United States of America. If not, it’s useless.”
Criticism of the strike was not confined to the GOP alone. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) expressed concerns over Biden’s unilateral decision to approve retaliatory strikes. Sen. Murphy said,
“Congress should hold this administration to the same standard it did prior administrations, and require clear legal justifications for military action, especially inside theaters like Syria, where Congress has not explicitly authorized any American military action,”
While on his way to survey damage caused by the Texas snowstorm, President Biden told reporters, “You [Iran] cannot act with impunity. Be careful.” This statement provides a marked contrast to the administration’s Iran-friendly policy characterized by their decision to begin negotiating a re-entrance into the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran nuclear deal. As time progresses, we shall see whether President Biden will be willing to back up his words of warning.
Photo credit: Timothy Kassis