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Biden prepares decisive response to Iran after U.S. soldiers' deaths, Bloomberg

Biden prepares decisive response to Iran after U.S. soldiers' deaths, Bloomberg President of the United States Joe Biden (Photo: Getty Images)
Author: Daria Shekina

U.S. President Joe Biden faces escalating pressure for a confrontation with Iran after three American soldiers were killed in a drone strike in Jordan, according to reports from Bloomberg.

A person familiar with the U.S. position said that the drone strike, which also injured at least 34 people, would elicit a more decisive response than the measures the U.S. took after Hamas militants attacked Israel on October 7, sparking a new flare-up in the Middle East.

Biden prepares decisive response to Iran after U.S. soldiers' deaths, Bloomberg

One possibility is covert actions where the U.S. would strike Iran without publicly acknowledging its involvement, but sending a clear signal. The Biden administration could also target Iranian officials, as former President Donald Trump did when he ordered the killing of General Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad in 2020.

As Bloomberg notes, this attack presents Biden with one of the most significant decisions of his presidency. He wants to hold those responsible for the attack accountable and deter Iran from further actions in the region. However, this could lead the U.S. into a direct confrontation with Tehran's leadership, which has already escalated actions in the region after the Hamas attack, launching attacks in Iraq and Pakistan.

He also has to weigh the potential for further economic shocks as the U.S. grapples with Houthi rebels – another Iranian proxy – who have disrupted global shipping by attacking commercial vessels in the Red Sea, which accounts for 12% of world trade shipping.

Biden has already promised to take action in response to the attack on the base called Tower 22, located in northeastern Jordan near the borders of Iraq and Syria.

"We will hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner our choosing," he said in a statement.

Attacks on U.S. bases

U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria have repeatedly come under fire from groups supported by Iran since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas on October 7. While many servicemembers in these two countries have been wounded, none have died.

The attack in Jordan marked the first death of Americans in a hostile attack since Israel and Hamas went to war. Two Navy SEALs were expected to have died last week after they went missing on January 11 during the confiscation of Iranian weapons intended for the Houthis.

Pressure is mounting on Biden in the U.S. to take direct action against Iran, and Republican lawmakers in Congress have accused Biden of a timid response to Iranian proxies.

"The Biden administration’s responses thus far have only invited more attacks," said Senator Roger Wicker, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee. "It is time to act swiftly and decisively for the whole world to see."

In any case, analysts argue that the U.S. is on the verge of further involvement in a regional conflict. The U.S. has conducted dozens of strikes against Iranian proxies in Iraq and Syria and launched a wave of strikes against the Houthis in Yemen.

None of this has worked so far. In fact, as Republicans like Wicker argue, Iran has only been emboldened.

Strike on Jordan's base

On January 28, a drone attacked U.S. forces in northeastern Jordan near the Syrian border, killing three soldiers and injuring many others.

Brent crude oil prices jumped 1.5% at the start of trading on January 29, then fell to around $84 per barrel. Last week, they rose more than 6% as regional tension escalated and the Houthis, supported by Iran, attacked a tanker carrying Russian fuel.