'This Is a Global War': Iran Emboldened by 'Weak' US Response to 40+ Strikes on US Troops
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JERUSALEM - For the second time in two weeks, the U.S. military has targeted Iranian-backed forces in the Middle East after facing deadly provocation. However, critics say the Pentagon's response isn't strong enough, and that's projecting weakness to Iran.
Over 40 attacks on U.S. military bases in Syria and Iraq since October 7th. So far, at least one American is dead and more than 40 U.S. troops have been wounded. The aggressors are Iran-backed militias who see the U.S. and Israel as the same enemy.
Amir Avivi, former Brigadier General in the Israeli Defense Forces, said, "This is a global war. And I think there is an understanding that this is a global challenge and this is why the U.S. is bringing forces and threatening Iran and Hezbollah."
Former U.S. Marine Colonel Tim Miller said, "Those are acts of war... and the fact that they're repeatedly happening over and over again... the U.S. is weak, the U.S. military's hunkered down and afraid."
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Here at the Knesset, Israel's leaders are charting a forceful course in response to the October 7th atrocities. But while Israeli tanks roll into Gaza, the U.S. strategy remains unclear—despite dozens of attacks on its Middle Eastern bases. Experts warn that without a decisive U.S. stance, this perceived indecision could escalate the violence, inviting further aggression in an already volatile arena.
"Don't think that they're not noting the response or should I say the lack of response by this government. And all that will do is encourage them to do more," Miller said.
Jonathan Spyer, director of Research at the Middle Eastern Forum, said, "We see a prospect for much more significant escalation against U.S. forces and personnel in the near term... the road leads back to Iran."
This photo released by the Iranian army on Friday, Oct. 27, 2023, shows its ground force drill in central Iran. (Iranian Army via AP)
The Pentagon announced on October 31st an additional 300 troops will be deployed to the region, but clarified that this is not in response to the war in Gaza.
Pentagon Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said, "Our forces are in Iraq and Syria for one purpose, which is the enduring defeat of ISIS. That's why they're there. That's what they'll stay focused on. So this is separate and distinct from the situation in Israel between Israel and Hamas. And so, again, our message is we will take whatever necessary actions to protect those forces, to deter future attacks. And if and when we need to respond, we would do so at a time and place of our choosing."
For now, experts emphasize the need for a strong response to attacks in order to secure troops and deter escalation.
"If Iran becomes nuclear, we are all going to live in a completely different world. There will be darkness in the world. We cannot allow that. We need to fight together and stop the expansion of Iran," Avivi said.
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