Will the “Al-Aqsa Flood” change the nature of the confrontation between Washington and Tehran? | Policy

Washington- The attacks carried out by American forces – at dawn on Friday – on two facilities in eastern Syria, were not, he claimed Pentagon That the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and its affiliated groups used it – a surprise to many observers inside the American capital.

After the launch of the Islamic Resistance Movement (agitation) practical “Al-Aqsa floodOn October 7th, and the unprecedented Israeli aggression that followed Gaza stripMany American circles, especially those known for their close proximity to Israel, began to hold Iran responsible for the Hamas attacksHizb allah Lebanese on northern Israel.

American sources say that these precise strikes came in “self-defense” after a series of continuous and unsuccessful attacks against the American military presence in Iraq and Syria during the past days, which resulted in the injury of 21 American soldiers and the death of an American contractor from a heart attack while he was taking shelter from the attacks.

Washington has 900 soldiers in northern Syria and 2,500 soldiers in Iraq (Getty)

a task

The United States has 900 soldiers in northern Syria and 2,500 inside Iraq on a mission to “advise and train the Iraqi army.”

It was the president’s administration joe biden The aircraft carrier group “Dwight Eisenhower” was sent to the Middle East, joining the aircraft carrier group “USS Gerald Ford” in the eastern Mediterranean. Each set consists of 12 marine pieces.

Washington also deployed batteries of Patriot and THAAD air defense systems, both of which can intercept missiles. Each aircraft carrier carries approximately 70 combat aircraft on board. In addition, Biden has placed thousands of American forces fully prepared to move to the region if necessary.

Even before the ongoing Gaza war, the United States and Iran were engaged in a “low-intensity war,” said Jawdat Bahjat, a professor at the Near East and South Asia Center for Strategic Studies at the Pentagon’s National Defense University.

Bahjat added to Al Jazeera Net that, for decades, Tehran was determined to remove American forces from the Middle East, and Washington was resisting that. Non-state actors (Hezbollah and the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq), supported by Iran, have been engaging US forces in small military operations using largely drones and missiles.

Observers believe that Iran is determined to remove American forces from the Middle East (Reuters)
Observers believe that Iran is determined to remove American forces from the Middle East (Reuters)

Limited responses

According to Bahjat, the goal was to raise the price of the American military presence in the region without escalating into a large-scale war. It is a very delicate balance, so Washington takes limited responses, and it and Iran do not want escalation and all-out war.

But it is almost certain, Bahjat adds, that these low-intensity and low-level operations will continue. The challenge is to make mistakes or miscalculations that can lead to serious unintended consequences.

Although the Wall Street Journal claimed – citing sources within Hamas – that Iran helped plan the attack, there is no analytical consensus and no consistent public evidence confirming the veracity of this report.

The newspaper noted that Hamas fighters recently received some specialized training in Iran, although this was not specifically linked to the October 7 attacks.

US Defense Secretary Austin and General Milley hold a joint press conference at the Pentagon
US Secretary of Defense: The strikes aim to protect American personnel in Iraq and Syria (Anatolia)

The severity of the attacks increased

Charles Dunn, a former White House and State Department official and currently an expert at the Middle East Institute and lecturer at George Washington University, said that the escalation of attacks across the region is interconnected and cannot be separated from the current conflict in Palestine and Israel.

Dan added to Al Jazeera Net, “As the situation intensifies, I expect that the intensity of the attacks on American forces will increase, and the American response will become more heated.”

While Iran shares an anti-Israel agenda with Hamas, many experts estimate that Tehran did not have the ability to control Hamas, nor did it wait for prior authorization for its activities.

Charles Dunn considers, “It is reasonable to assume, as the United States said, that Iran was surprised, albeit happy, by the operations of October 7.”

In turn, Barbara Slavin, an expert on Iranian affairs at the Stimson Institute in Washington, believes that what is happening is “similar to the escalation of attacks after the United States unilaterally withdrew from the Iranian nuclear deal and reimposed full sanctions.”

She added to Al Jazeera Net, “There were many such incidents in 2019 and 2020 after the United States assassinated Qassem Soleimani.”

Washington and Tehran have some red lines in their years-long paramilitary conflict. The threat of Iranian-backed militias in Iraq or the Houthi group in Yemen to launch attacks on American targets if the United States intervenes in the Gaza conflict represents an important development.

Iran warns against any Israeli strikes on its territory, and Hezbollah also hinted that any attempt by Israel to eliminate Hamas will be met with a major response.

Washington reiterates that it does not seek to enter into a conflict with Iran, and has no intention or desire to engage in further hostilities, and has warned Tehran of the consequences of participating in the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip.

Wrong calculations

Miscalculations – from Iran, Israel, Hezbollah, or the United States – could quickly lead to a multi-front regional war that none of the major parties wants.

Slavin does not expect these attacks to deter Iran’s allies in the region from launching more attacks against the American presence in Syria and Iraq.

“Iran will continue to give the green light to its proxies, while Israel continues to strike Gaza with Washington’s support. The fighting is taking place primarily in Syria, a country whose territory it does not control. So far, it has not escalated beyond the usual pattern,” she said.

Dan confirms that the American strikes on the targets and sites of “Iranian-affiliated militias” are intended to be a warning and a deterrent, but they will most likely not succeed in preventing further attacks as tensions escalate.

He continues, “However, the United States has few options other than to respond, and its attacks could succeed in causing severe damage to militia forces and even their infrastructure, which limits their capabilities.”

It is noteworthy that US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement at dawn on Friday, “The aim of these strikes, designed specifically for self-defense, is to protect and defend American personnel in Iraq and Syria. They are separate and distinct strikes from the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, and do not constitute a shift.” In our approach to that conflict.”

He added, “We continue to urge all governmental and non-governmental entities not to take measures that would expand the conflict into a broader regional conflict.”

The post first appeared on www.aljazeera.net

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