United States
Iranian-Backed Groups Implicated in US Soldier Deaths in Jordan

US President Joe Biden has confirmed that three US service members were killed and many wounded in a drone attack on US forces stationed in northeastern Jordan near the Syrian border. The attack was carried out by Iran-backed militant groups in Syria and Iraq, and President Biden pledged to continue fighting terrorism and holding those responsible accountable.

The attack took place late on January 27 and at least 34 personnel were being evaluated for traumatic brain injuries. Gregory Brew, a historian and analyst with Eurasia Group, said the attack represented a “major escalation” and the US will respond forcefully and promptly. He suggested that the response will likely come through more intense US action against Iran-backed militias in Syria and Iraq. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Kairim Sajadpour stated that US deterrence against Iran is not working and that Iran and its proxies are killing US soldiers and publicly taking credit for it.

Republican Senator Tom Cotton has criticized Joe Biden for his lack of military retaliation against Iran’s terrorist forces. Jordan has condemned a “terrorist attack” on a military site, stating it is cooperating with the US to strengthen its border defenses. The attack is believed to have occurred at Tower 22, a site hosting a contingent of US troops in Jordan along the Syria border.

Jordan is a close ally of the US in the Middle East, with the Pentagon basing around 3,000 troops there, often supporting actions in Syria. If confirmed, the attack would be the first targeting US troops in Jordan since the start of Israel’s war in Gaza with Hamas, which has been declared a terrorist organization by Washington and the European Union.

The Middle East is facing a potential widening conflict following Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7, resulting in at least 1,200 deaths and retaliatory actions resulting in over 26,000 Palestinian deaths. The US, due to its support for Israel, has been targeted by Islamist groups in the Middle East, including Iranian-backed Huthi rebels and militia groups in Iraq supported by Tehran.

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