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Business News/ Politics / Mint Explainer: Death of US soldiers in Jordan drone attack and implications
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Mint Explainer: Death of US soldiers in Jordan drone attack and implications

Some suggest targeting Iranian assets directly, but this risks escalating the West Asian conflict, an outcome the Biden Administration seeks to avoid

Satellite view of the U.S. military outpost known as Tower 22, in Rukban, Rwaished District, Jordan. (File Photo: Handout via Reuters)Premium
Satellite view of the U.S. military outpost known as Tower 22, in Rukban, Rwaished District, Jordan. (File Photo: Handout via Reuters)

Three US military personnel were killed in a drone strike at an American facility in Jordan, close to the Syrian border. This incident marks the first American casualties from enemy action in the region since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas conflict on 7 October. It's seen as a significant escalation in the already volatile West Asian situation.

US President Joe Biden has blamed Iran-backed groups for the drone attack and has said that Washington would respond, though details remain unspecified.

Mint looks at the implications of this attack for the broader conflict in the region.

What exactly happened?

On Sunday, a drone attack on an American military facility in Jordan killed three US military personnel and injured around 34. The facility was located at Tower 22, which is close to Jordan’s border with Syria. While American troops have been at the receiving end of enemy fire since the crisis began, this was the first time such a strike has led to fatalities.

How has the US government reacted?

US President Joe Biden has condoled the deaths and promised a response after the attacks.

“We know it was carried out by radical Iran-backed militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq," he was quoted as saying. 

Over the last few months, the US has targeted Iran-linked groups in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq. US political leaders have advocated direct action against Iran in response to the Jordan attack.

What does this mean for the wider conflict?

While Iran has denied connections to the attack, numerous experts argue that America will have to retaliate in some fashion. 

“Unless those responsible for this campaign of violence—above all, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps—are made to pay a steep price, Tehran will conclude that it can kill Americans with impunity and deadly attacks like these will continue," according to Nathan Sales, a former US Ambassador. 

Some suggest targeting Iranian assets directly, but this risks escalating the West Asian conflict, an outcome the Biden Administration seeks to avoid.

India's stance

New Delhi aims to prevent further escalation in West Asia, given its strong diplomatic ties and significant economic and political interests in the region. The ongoing conflict has already disrupted India's maritime trade, necessitating increased Indian Navy deployments in the area.

An escalation, particularly one that involves Washington and Tehran trading blows, is an outcome India will want to avoid.

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Published: 29 Jan 2024, 12:28 PM IST
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