Balancing Act: Biden’s Response to Attack on US Troops in Jordan

US President Joe Biden has reached a decision over the US’s response to a drone strike that killed three US service members and injured about 40 others in Jordan. He declined to elaborate on what the response would be. The drone attack was on a US military base known as Tower 22 in northeastern Jordan near the border with Syria. It’s the first time American troops have been killed by a strike in the region since the Israel-Hamas war began on Oct. 7. The Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for the attack and vowed to “continue its attacks on the strongholds of the enemies in support of the Gaza Strip and in response to the Israeli massacres against the strip for 114 days.” The US response is expected to be larger than any in recent months when the US has only occasionally responded to attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria. The administration has said that the response will not be a one-off attack but will be a series of kinetic responses to the killing of US service personnel. The basic premise “is that the US will try to find a balance between showing strength and doing whatever it can to re-establish the degree of deterrence and not do something that leads to a wider regional conflagration,” said one expert. Iran denied involvement in the attack. The conflict comes at a sensitive time as presidential elections will be held this November. Prominent evangelical leader Dr. Mike Evans has urged former President Donald Trump to rally the Republican Party in advocating for military action to target Iran’s Kharg Island. But it’s unlikely that Biden would attack Kharg Island, as doing so would knock out more than a million barrels per day in global oil exports and affect oil infrastructure elsewhere in the Persian Gulf.