Biden Warns Iran: ‘Be Careful’

Biden Warns Iran: ‘Be Careful’

America's Voice Admin
February 27, 2021

U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday warned Iran to tread carefully in Iraq following a U.S. airstrike that destroyed parts of a compound used by Iranian-backed militias as they travel between Syria and Iraq.

“You can't act with impunity,” Biden told reporters in Houston, when asked what message he was trying to send Tehran by ordering the airstrike, carried out late Thursday, that hit a compound in Boukamal, on the Syrian side of the border with Iraq.

“Be careful,” he added.

The president’s comments — coming nearly 24 hours after two U.S. F-15 Eagles dropped seven precision-guided bombs, destroying nine facilities and severely damaging two others — were his first about the strike, which has become the subject of a political debate in the U.S.

Administration officials spent much of the day defending the strike, arguing it was necessary to protect American forces in the region following a series of rocket attacks, including two in the past two weeks in Irbil and Baghdad.

Kirby said while Baghdad did not provide any intelligence that helped in targeting the Iran-backed militia facilities, Iraqi intelligence “was able to help us better determine who was responsible” for the rocket attacks on U.S. and coalition troops.

For its part, Iran condemned the U.S. airstrike, with Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh labeling it an “illegal aggression.”

Syria’s Foreign Ministry likewise chastised Washington, saying, “It [the Biden administration] is supposed to stick to international legitimacy, not to the law of the jungle as [did] the previous administration."

Whether the U.S. strike will send a message and do much to deter the Iranian-backed militias, however, remains to be seen.

“It sent the signal that Biden won't be a pushover on [Iranian] proxy activities, though the Iranians may not even register that,” said Phillip Smyth, an analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who studies Shiite militias in the region.

“It's a softer, but still a rather nuanced hit,” Smyth added of the U.S. decision to strike a target in Syria, saying the response from the militias so far had been somewhat muted.

“I get the impression it will cool down for a little bit and then possibly heat up,” he said.

VOA White House correspondent Patsy Widakuswara and Reuters contributed to this report.

Original Article