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Updated January 29th, 2024 at 11:53 IST

GOP Hawks Urge Biden to Escalate Attacks on Iran-Linked Targets Following U.S. Soldier Deaths

According to U.S. Central Command, 25 service members were wounded in the attack and three service members lost their life.

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US President Joe Biden. | Image:AP
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US President Joe Biden is facing mounting pressure from congressional hawks to intensify strikes on Iran-linked targets, potentially extending the conflict beyond current hotspots such as Israel-Hamas tensions. The calls come in response to a drone attack near the Syria border in northeast Jordan, resulting in the deaths of three U.S. service members.

In a statement on Sunday morning, President Biden acknowledged the attack, stating that the U.S. is "still gathering the facts" but confirming that it was carried out by "radical Iran-backed militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq." According to U.S. Central Command, 25 service members were wounded in the attack.

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What is GOP saying?

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called for "serious, crippling costs" to Iran, not just on its front-line proxies but also on its Iranian sponsors. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) urged strikes on targets within Iran, emphasizing that attacks on Iranian proxies outside the country had failed to deter Iranian aggression.

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Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) took a more aggressive stance, stating that the only appropriate response would be "devastating military retaliation against Iran's terrorist forces, both in Iran and across the Middle East." Meanwhile, Senator John Cornyn suggested targeting Tehran directly, specifying a strike against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its Quds Force branch.

Here is what you need to know

The U.S. has been conducting strikes against Iranian-backed militias in Yemen and Iraq in response to attacks on U.S. forces amid American support for Israel. President Biden has faced criticism from both dovish and hawkish lawmakers, with hawks arguing that the current strikes are insufficient to deter Iranian aggression.

Mitch McConnell accused Biden of playing "whack-a-mole against warehouses and launch sites," emphasizing the need to threaten Iran's interests and its officers in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to halt attacks on U.S. forces.

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The calls for more aggressive actions pose a significant risk of expanding the conflict in the already volatile region. Biden, weighing the complexities, will need to navigate a delicate balance between responding to the loss of U.S. lives and preventing a broader escalation of the conflict involving Iran.

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Published January 29th, 2024 at 11:42 IST

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