More US-Driven Escalations Toward War In The Middle East

Caitlin Johnstone
5 min readJan 29, 2024

Listen to a reading of this article (reading by Tim Foley):

Well, it finally happened. The scores of attacks on US troops in the middle east in response to Israel’s US-backed atrocities in Gaza have resulted in American deaths, just as critics of US foreign policy have been saying would happen for months. At least now we can stop bracing for it, I guess.

Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp, among those who have long warned of this eventuality, writes the following:

“Three US troops were killed by an overnight drone attack in northeastern Jordan, the first Americans to die by enemy fire in the region since President Biden threw the US’s weight behind the Israeli onslaught in Gaza.

“According to CNN, one-way attack drones hit Tower 22, a small US outpost in Jordan near the Syrian border. Over 30 troops were also wounded in the attack.

“Since mid-October, US bases in Iraq and Syria have come under attack over 150 times in response to US support for the Israeli slaughter in Gaza. The overnight drone attack in Jordan appears to be the first time Tower 22 was targeted.”

The Biden administration immediately claimed the attack was backed by Iran, with profoundly influential news agencies like AP and Reuters regurgitating this claim as established fact in their headlines immediately thereafter. As DeCamp notes in the aforementioned article, back in October a US official acknowledged to CNN that that there’s actually a “persistent intelligence gap” as to how much these Shia militias are in fact beholden to the orders of Tehran, but apparently this attack being linked to Iran is now being treated as established gospel truth anyway.

This attribution has allowed perpetually war-horny Republican senators Lindsey Graham, Tom Cotton and John Cornyn to call on Biden to attack Iran directly. US officials actually told the press last week that Biden would consider direct strikes on Iran if and when the attacks on US troops led to American deaths, with The New York Times reporting the Biden administration knew it was “only a matter of time” before this occurred.

In a statement on the attacks Biden said the US “will hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner our choosing,” meaning yet another military escalation in the middle east is on its way under this murderous administration. A full-scale war with Iran would be the absolute worst-case scenario resulting from the violence which erupted in the middle east this past October, potentially with mass deaths on a scale that would make what’s been happening in Gaza look like child’s play.

In that same statement Biden said the US troops who were killed in the “despicable and wholly unjust attack” died working “to fight terrorism”, which is of course ridiculous. People who live in the middle east have far more legitimacy attacking US troops in resistance to a US-backed genocide than US troops have in being in the middle east to begin with, and the US military presence they attacked is there to shore up geostrategic control, not to fight terror.

As Aris Roussinos explains in a new article for Unherd, the US base by the Jordan-Syria border that was struck by Iraqi forces functions as a support base for America’s al-Tanf garrison, a sprawling “deconfliction zone” (read: illegal military occupation) in Syria which the US has for years been using to disrupt Iranian activities in the region and help Israel carry out its constant airstrikes in Syria. “Fighting terrorism” is just the pretense for the US military presence in the region; as always, the real reason is to facilitate the geostrategic domination of the US empire.

Those three US military personnel didn’t die fighting terrorism. They didn’t even die advancing the interests of ordinary Americans. The real reason they died was summed up nicely by Responsible Statecraft’s Trita Parsi:

“They didn’t die defending US interests, they died defending Biden’s refusal to press Israel for a ceasefire. Their lives were put at risk by Biden to defend Israel’s ability to continue its carnage in Gaza.”

Parsi has spent months arguing that the only thing that can de-escalate the rapidly expanding hostilities in the middle east is a ceasefire in Gaza, since that’s what they all ultimately arise from. The massive increase in attacks on US troops, the Yemeni blockade in the Red Sea, the brinkmanship with Hezbollah in Lebanon and the skyrocketing tensions with Iran are all the direct result of Israel’s massacre in Gaza and the opposition thereto.

Instead of pushing for a ceasefire, the US is preparing to send Israel 50 fighter jets and 12 Apache helicopters in preparation for the next war while stepping toward the horrifying prospect of a hot war with Iran. Meanwhile Nancy Pelosi is saying there needs to be an FBI investigation into people calling for a ceasefire, because they might be Russian secret agents.

Every US military fatality in the middle east is the fault of the US government for putting them there. US troops shouldn’t be in the middle east at all, and the US has no legitimacy in retaliating against efforts to kick them out of the region by the people who live there. Iraqi militias have 100 percent legitimacy in attacking US troops in the middle east during a US-backed genocide, and the US has zero legitimacy in retaliating.

To the managers of the US empire:

Get out of the middle east. Just get the fuck out. Stop backing a genocide in Gaza, stop murdering people to shore up domination of world resources, and leave. Leave before you unleash something far worse than the nightmare you’ve already inflicted upon our species.


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