Joe Biden said Tuesday that “yes,” he has decided how to respond after the killing of three US service members, a response that will likely take the form of “multiple” retaliations.
In response to a question about Iran, the US President said: “I hold them responsible to the extent that they are providing weapons to the people who did this,” in this case the fighters responsible for Sunday’s deadly attack in Jordan near the Syrian border.
The 81-year-old Democrat, who is facing intense pressure from his Republican opponents to respond firmly to Tehran, did not provide further details during a quick exchange with reporters at the White House, before leaving to campaign today in Florida (southeast of the country). ).
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby added on Air Force One: “It is very possible that we will see a tiered response, not one action, but potentially multiple actions.”
The previous day, the head of US diplomacy, Anthony Blinken, had mentioned retaliation “on several levels, being implemented in stages and spreading over time.”
Before leaving for Florida, where he must raise money for his campaign, Joe Biden spoke with the families of the three soldiers who were killed.
According to their agreement, according to John Kirby, he will go to the Dover base (northeast) on Friday, to attend a ceremony marking the return of the remains.
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The US President also repeated on Tuesday that he does not want a “broader war in the Middle East,” which has been the prevailing idea among Americans since the beginning of the war between Israel and Hamas.
On Sunday, a drone attack targeted an American logistical base located in the middle of the Jordanian desert, on the borders with Iraq and Syria. The attack killed three people and injured dozens, according to the US military.
This is enough to revive the American right's criticism of Joe Biden's strategy towards Iran, which it considers to be too complacent.
Former President Donald Trump, the front-runner in his party's primaries, responded Sunday by criticizing his successor's “weakness.”
For his part, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell announced: “The whole world is waiting to see whether the president will finally decide to use American power to force Iran to change its behavior.”
The United States has been subjected to numerous strikes against sites in the Middle East since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas on October 7, but until Sunday it had not announced any casualties.
The US military has already responded in a targeted way against pro-Iranian groups in Iraq and Syria, just as it has struck Houthi rebels in Yemen, who are backed by Tehran and who are increasing their attacks against ships in the Red Sea.
Above all, Joe Biden, in the middle of an election year, does not want to be drawn into a large-scale regional conflict.
It has so far refrained from directing a direct strike at Iran, whether by targeting its territory or senior military officials.
The American president, who presents himself as a guarantor of order and democracy at the international level, must accept, in addition to criticism from his political opponents, calls for calm from America's two great rivals, Russia and China.
“We consider that the level of tension is very worrying and that the time has come to take measures to defuse the tension,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced on Tuesday to the press, who questioned him about the risk of American retaliation against Russia. Iran is an ally of Moscow.
For its part, Beijing called on “all parties concerned” to “calm and exercise restraint.”