Snap Insight: US has begun retaliation strikes for fatal drone attack. The message to


MUSCULARITY OF US ACTION

The first is that this is just the start. There will be more actions in the days to come: In a statement, Mr Biden said “our response began today. It will continue at times and places of our choosing”.

Also of note was the muscularity of the US action. The attacks were reportedly carried out by B-1B bombers dispatched from America, not assets that had been deployed to the Middle East. This demonstrates the reach of US power, and sends a clear warning to Iran and its proxies.

Before the attacks, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin noted that Iran and its allies “have a lot of capability”. But, he added pointedly: “I have more”.

The “gas and go” mission by bombers flying thousands of kilometres non-stop demonstrated this. By not using in-theatre assets, the Americans have signalled both their reach and that they have plenty of power in reserve.

It should not be overlooked that no attacks were carried out on Iran itself.

In the days since US troops were killed, there was much speculation over whether Washington would go after Tehran. This resulted in a climbdown from the Islamic Republic, which said it was not looking to go to war with the US, as well as the group believed to be behind the fatal attack in Jordan, Kata’ib Hezbollah.

Earlier this week, it said it would suspend operations against US forces in the region – recognition that it had gone a step too far.



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