Pentagon: No war with Iran despite drone attack

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin vowed to defend U.S. troops after a deadly drone attack in Jordan, while the Biden administration stressed its diplomatic approach to Iran.

A drone attack by militants linked to Iran killed three U.S. soldiers and injured more than 40 others in Jordan on Sunday, prompting U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to promise “all necessary actions” to protect U.S. troops. However, the Biden administration also emphasized that it did not want a war with Iran.

This was the first fatal attack on U.S. forces since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war in October, which has increased the tensions in the Middle East.

Austin expressed his “outrage and sorrow” for the casualties at the Pentagon, where he met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. He said he and President Joe Biden would not tolerate attacks on U.S. forces and would defend the U.S. and its troops.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. would respond in a “multi-leveled, staged and sustained” manner, as Biden had said the day before.

But other officials in the Biden administration said they did not seek an escalation of the situation. They also suggested that Iran did not want a war with the U.S. either.

Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh said the U.S. did not seek a war and did not think Iran did either. White House national security spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. was not seeking a military conflict with the regime and that Biden was considering his response options.

The U.S. is investigating why the drone was not stopped by the defenses of the base in Jordan, known as Tower 22, where nearly 350 troops were stationed.

Two officials said a U.S. drone was near the base when the attack drone arrived. One of them said the attack drone was flying low, which may have made it harder to detect.

The U.S. military identified the victims, including a 23-year-old Army Reserve specialist, Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, who was the youngest.

U.S. troops have faced more than 160 attacks in Iraq, Syria and Jordan since Oct. 7, and warships have been attacked in the Red Sea as well. Houthi fighters in Yemen have also launched drones and missiles at them on the Red Sea.

The attacks have increased the political pressure on Biden to strike Iran directly, something he has been reluctant to do for fear of starting a wider war.

Biden discussed the latest developments regarding the attack with Austin and other members of his national security team in the White House Situation Room on Monday morning, the White House said.

The president’s options could include targeting Iranian forces inside or outside Iran or opting for a more cautious retaliatory attack only against the militants behind the attack, experts say.

Stoltenberg said Iran was continuing to destabilize the region by supporting terrorists who attacked U.S. ships in the Red Sea.

The attack and any possible U.S. response could raise the fears of a broader conflict in the Middle East, where a war began in Gaza after Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people.

The U.S. has already responded in Iraq, Syria and Yemen to previous attacks by groups backed by Iran.

Share this news
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments