New York Correspondent
Joe Biden and his senior defense and national security officials deliberated for ten days the timing, objective and extent of the first military attack by his government. Biden’s debut as commander-in-chief in an operation on foreign soil was a matter of the utmost delicacy and could set the tone for his foreign policy for the next four years. It was produced in the powder keg of the Middle East, after a missile attack on a US military base Shiite militias backed by Iran were perpetrated in northern Iraq.
Biden had been in the White House for less than a month and needed to give an answer to Tehran, in a relationship that is going to be very complicated, between attempts to resuscitate the nuclear agreement from which his predecessor emerged, Donald Trump, and to contain Iran in the region.
«You are the owner of the watch», Said his Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, according to the account of the events that has now revealed ‘The Walls Street Journal’. It was a way of saying that the answer didn’t need to be rushed.
After countless meetings, it was determined that the attack would be at dawn on February 25, focused on two targets of Shiite militias in Syria, near the border with Iraq, and at night, to minimize the number of victims.
With the American F-15Es on their way to their targets, just half an hour before the attack, there was a last minute change. According to the New York newspaper, an intelligence information determined that there were women and children in the second of the attack targets.
Biden had to quickly decide whether to call off the attack or keep the operation on the first of the targets. Your Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, recommended to keep the first objective. This was done, and the missiles fell on one of the militia bases. One died and two were injured.
«We knew it was the first time that we were going to make a decision like this and that we were going to be under a lot of scrutiny», Said one of the senior officials who gave details of the deliberations to the ‘Journal’.
In the past two years, attacks by Shiite militias on US bases or facilities of the US-led military coalition in Iraq have been frequent. After one of them, in which an American contractor died, Trump launched a series of airstrikesAs in the one that died at the beginning of last year Qassem Soleimani, one of the main leaders of the Revolutionary Guard of Iran, and that strained relations between Washington and Tehran to the maximum.
The Biden Administration knew that the Shiite militias would soon test them with attacks, as they eventually did. The intelligence information that arrived half an hour before the first attack of Biden allowed to avoid a less favorable result for the new president.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism