Analysis: Jordan under scrutiny after US service members killed

The killing of three American service members in Jordan has brought attention to northeast Jordan and the US role in the Jordan-Syria-Iraq border region. Iran denied any involvement in the attack, but the US has blamed Iranian-backed militias. It is clear that Iranian-backed groups are the only ones that would likely have access to the kind of drones used in the attacks. In addition, Iran’s own Tasnim News bragged about the “Islamic Resistance” in Iraq targeting US forces. The Iranian-backed Houthis have called the attack a message. Jordan had sought to create distance between the Kingdom and the attack on Sunday night, asserting that the attack took place in Syria and that the US garrison at Tanf was the target. Iranian media claimed that the Iranian proxies targeted both Tanf and a site called Rukban. Rukban sometimes refers to a displaced person’s camp in Syria on the Jordanian border. There is a facility called Tower 22 in Jordan which overlooks the site. This facility has US forces. Jordan has now condemned what it calls a terrorist attack. Jordan has expressed condolences to the Americans who were killed. Jordan now says that it will continue to “confront the threat of terrorism and the smuggling of drugs and weapons across the Syrian border into Jordan, and will confront with all determination and power anyone who attempts to attack the security of the Kingdom. The Jordanian statement does not reference Iran or Iranian-backed militias. The US drone attack, the death of US servicemen and Jordan’s comments now shed light on the important role that the US has been playing in Jordan. If you zoom out from the Tanf garrison and look at the larger picture, this area has an important role to play. The Iranian regime has sought to dominate an area in the Euphrates river valley that stretches from Albukamal on the border with Iraq, to a series of waypoints along the way toward central Syria. The US role in this part of Jordan and Syria is important because it creates influence and security that has an essential role to play in the stability of the region. Iran is trying to erode stability. It uses militias that threaten the US, Israel, Jordan and other countries to do this.