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The White House said Monday that Biden was “weighing his options” for a “very consequential” answer to the attack on a base in Jordan that killed three US troops. (AFP)

By The Smartencyclopedia Staff & Agencies  

In a critical development, three U.S. personnel lost their lives in a recent drone strike on a Syria border post in Jordan, marking the first fatalities in a months-long campaign by Iran-backed militias. The incident occurred in protest of Israel’s ongoing offensive in Gaza. As President Joe Biden promises retaliation, experts weigh in on the potential military options and the delicate balance the administration must maintain to avoid an all-out war.

Retired U.S. Army General Joseph Votel, former head of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Forces Command, sheds light on the likely targets under consideration. He suggests that U.S. officials are analyzing leadership, command and control, and supply chain targets associated with the specific militia responsible for the attack. The Islamic Resistance in Iraq, part of the Iran-backed “Axis of Resistance,” claimed responsibility for the strike on the Tower 22 base along the Jordan-Syria demilitarized zone.

Votel emphasizes that potential targets also include direct Iranian assets such as IRGC-QF leaders, key facilitators, and logistic nodes. However, the decision to strike within Iran poses significant challenges, and the Biden administration is likely exploring a wide array of options.

Drawing on his experience during a tense period in U.S.-Iran relations, Votel stresses the need for unambiguous action that holds Iran accountable. The selection of targets should convey that Iran and its proxies have crossed a significant red line by killing American service members. However, he warns against actions that could lead to open war, emphasizing the importance of a comprehensive approach involving diplomatic and economic measures.

Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper suggests a measured response, proposing a range of options that start with striking Iranian targets outside Iran and escalate strategically. His viewpoint aligns with targeting IRGC personnel and sites in Iraq and Syria, emphasizing the necessity of balancing military actions with diplomacy, particularly with regional partners.

Retired U.S. Army Major General Paul Eaton voices caution, warning against direct strikes on Iran as disastrous. He emphasizes the need for diplomacy to prevent further escalation and highlights the risk of continuous military actions without a broader strategic vision. Eaton urges the Biden administration to prioritize managing escalatory potential and avoiding a broader regional conflict.

As the Biden administration evaluates military options, the delicate dance between retaliation and avoiding all-out war becomes increasingly crucial. The situation underscores the complexity of the Middle East’s geopolitical landscape and the necessity for a multifaceted approach that encompasses military, diplomatic, and economic measures to effectively deter Iran and its proxies.

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