By: Casey Harper | The Center Square
The world is awaiting President Joe Biden’s response to a drone attack in Jordan over the weekend that left three U.S. service members dead and more than 30 injured.
In his statement Sunday, Biden said “we know [the attack] was carried out by radical Iran-backed militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq” and pledged to respond to the “despicable and wholly unjust attack.”
That statement raised questions about what the response could look like and if it would be severe enough to escalate to a broader war in the region.
White House National Security Spokesman John Kirby said at the White House briefing Monday that the administration “does not want a war” and “does not want to escalate.”
“But we will absolutely do what is required to protect ourselves and to continue that mission and to respond appropriately to these attacks,” Kirby said.
Kirby went on to say he would not get ahead of the president’s decision-making or give much information about what a response could look like. He said Biden is “weighing the options before him” and reiterated that the groups responsible for the attack are “backed by Tehran,” the capital of Iran.
The weekend drone strike is the latest in a string of attempted attacks by various terror and militia groups in the region. Those attacks have amplified since the Iranian-backed Hamas fighters carried out their deadly Oct. 7 attack on Israel.
Some experts and U.S. lawmakers called for a retaliatory strike against Iran, which has nuclear capabilities, but that strike could quickly grow into a wider regional war involving Israel and other Middle East nations.
Iran has publicly pushed back against the claim it is tied to the deaths of the U.S. servicemembers.
So far, the U.S. has not responded with a strike in the region, which is already on edge.
Biden’s response could be crucial for the Israeli-Hamas war and for determining whether the ongoing Middle East issues escalate into a larger conflict.
Meanwhile, Houthi rebels in Yemen have fired on ships in the Red Sea attempting to pass through the Suez canal, forcing billions of dollars in shipping to begin going south around the tip of Africa instead.
Biden responded by sending a U.S. mobile Naval base to the region, where U.S. forces are shooting down Houthi missiles and drones. Houthis have targeted the U.S. forces as well.
The Department of Defense released the names of the servicemembers, “Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46, of Carrollton, Ga.; Spc. Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, of Waycross, Ga.; and Spc. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, 23, of Savannah, Ga.”
In his statement Sunday, Biden honored the fallen troops.
“These service members embodied the very best of our nation: Unwavering in their bravery. Unflinching in their duty,” he said. “Unbending in their commitment to our country – risking their own safety for the safety of their fellow Americans, and our allies and partners with whom we stand in the fight against terrorism. It is a fight we will not cease.”