US reaction to Tower 22 assault in Jordan: Much less intense, extra restrained than expected


At the night of Saturday, Feb. 3, native time, US warplanes bombed amenities utilized by Iranian forces and Iran-backed militias in Syria and Iraq, in retaliation for the loss of life of three US carrier individuals in a Jan. 28 drone assault on Tower 22, a US army base in northeastern Jordan at the Syrian border. The airstrikes essentially centered places in jap Syria and western Iraq.

In Syria, six primary amenities had been bombed, together with the Syrian Border Guard construction and al-Sekkeh crossing in al-Bukamal, the cattle marketplace space at the outskirts of al-Mayadin, east of Deir ez-Zor, and munitions depots on Cinema Fouad and Port Mentioned streets within the heart of Deir ez-Zor town. West of town, the airstrikes centered the strategic Ayyash guns depot and an Iranian defense force base within the wasteland out of doors al-Tabni the town.

In the meantime, in Iraq, the airstrikes principally centered al-Anbar Governorate, particularly the border spaces with Syria, together with a facility utilized by the Fashionable Mobilization Forces (PMF) and pro-Iran militias in al-Qa’im and Akashat, the place their command and conversation facilities are situated on all sides of the Syria-Iraq border.

Consistent with initial studies, the airstrikes in Syria killed 29 individuals of Iranian militias, together with 9 Syrians, 6 Iraqis, 6 individuals of Lebanese Hezbollah, and eight unidentified individuals, more likely to be Afghans and Iranians. In general, 10 other folks had been killed in al-Mayadin and 10 in Deir ez-Zor and the Ayyash depot.

In Iraq, the airstrikes killed 16 other folks and injured 24, in line with the Iraqi executive, which mentioned that “the bombing in al-Qa’im and Akashat in western Anbar led to civilian deaths.”

Except the truth that they sought to discourage and reply to the newest assault, america airstrikes differed from earlier army movements in numerous tactics, each on the operational degree and when it comes to their total function.

The operational shift used to be transparent within the selection of goals: For the primary time, US warplanes bombed army goals affiliated with pro-Iran militias within the heart of Deir ez-Zor. The airstrikes centered guns and munitions depots close to al-Umran Establishment on Port Mentioned Boulevard and a guns depot on Cinema Fouad Boulevard, along with the al-Jabal outlook overseeing Deir-ez-Zor town and its army airport.

Those are one of the most maximum tightly guarded places within the densely populated town, utilized by Iranian militias as guns depots and facilities to supervise operations towards US forces stationed within the Inexperienced Village on the al-Omar oil box base and the Conoco gasoline box base, that are the 2 maximum essential US bases in Deir ez-Zor Governorate.

Along with the operational shift, america airstrikes had been additionally marked by way of a transformation of their total function. The moves didn’t search to reason the best conceivable collection of casualties or goal the leaders of Iranian militias in Syria and Iraq; quite, they sought to undermine the army features and the command and keep an eye on posts of the ones militias, in an try to cut back their talent to hold out identical assaults someday.

A transparent indication that america function used to be to wreck the ones militias’ army features is the character of the goals selected. In Anbar, the airstrikes centered the posts of the PMF and Iranian militias in al-Qa’im and Akashat, used to coordinate between their Iraqi and their Syrian branches. Those posts additionally oversee the delivery of guns and opponents between the 2 nations and arrange the intelligence used to release assaults towards US forces, maximum just lately the Tower 22 and al-Omar assaults.

The airstrikes additionally centered many guns and munitions depots, together with the ones of the PMF in al-Qa’im and Akashat, Iranian defense force depots in al-Bukamal and central Deir ez-Zor, and the Ayyash depots. Whilst this very much undermines the features of the ones militias, the latter nonetheless pose a risk, given their talent to refill their guns and munitions from Iran thru Iraq.

In spite of their depth and the variety of goals, a number of components minimized the have an effect on of america airstrikes. First, Washington misplaced the component of marvel by way of stating its goal to strike the ones chargeable for the assault that led to the loss of life of three US carrier individuals. The real moves had been performed just about per week after the announcement, which gave the ones events considerable time to evacuate and move into hiding. This can be a sign that america didn’t need to exacerbate the war within the area, which might give an explanation for why no senior leaders had been killed within the airstrikes.

2nd, america didn’t goal Iran to keep away from increasing the continued conflict and attractive Iran without delay. The moves had been performed in spaces managed by way of pro-Iran militias at the Syria-Iraq border within the towns of al-Mayadin, Deir ez-Zor, al-Qa’im, and in other places. Actually, those spaces are mechanically centered by way of america and from time to time Israel to keep away from hanging goals on Iranian soil and even the leaders of Iranian forces in Iraq and Syria who oversee the ones militias’ actions.

After america reaction, a number of eventualities had been expected: First, that the moves would deter militias in Iraq and Syria from attacking US forces briefly, for the reason that america attempted to keep in touch the message that the loss of life of its carrier individuals is a pink line that may entail an army reaction.

The second one situation, which grew to become out to be true, anticipated the assaults by way of armed teams towards US goals to proceed, because of the restricted scope of the airstrikes towards the militias in Syria and Iraq. In truth, as US warplanes had been bombing their goals, the so-called “Islamic Resistance” factions centered the Ain al-Asad Airbase in Anbar Governorate and the al-Harir Airbase in Iraqi Kurdistan. America base at al-Omar oil box in jap Deir ez-Zor, Syria, used to be additionally struck by way of missiles, which killed six individuals of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a key US best friend.

In gentle of the above, it may be mentioned that america reaction to the Tower 22 assault used to be much less intense and extra restrained than expected, in keeping with the calculated escalation technique governing the war between america and Iran. At the one hand, this permits the 2 nations to keep away from an instantaneous war of words this is in neither celebration’s pastime in this day and age; and, however, america moves, given their restricted nature, didn’t elicit a retaliation from militias in Syria and Iraq towards US forces and pursuits in each nations.

Following this incident, Iran is more likely to reconsider its technique vis-à-vis its proxies within the area to forestall an escalation that Tehran needs to keep away from at the present, particularly because it has reiterated on each and every instance that it does now not search an instantaneous war of words barring an assault on Iranian soil.


Mohammed Hassan is a Non-Resident Pupil with MEI’s Syria Program and a grasp’s scholar within the Division of Global Family members on the Upper College of Journalism in Paris. His writings focal point at the areas of northern and jap Syria, particularly extremist Islamic teams and tribal societies.

Picture by way of Ameer Al-Mohammedawi/image alliance by means of Getty Pictures

The Center East Institute (MEI) is an impartial, non-partisan, non-for-profit, instructional group. It does now not have interaction in advocacy and its students’ critiques are their very own. MEI welcomes monetary donations, however keeps sole editorial keep an eye on over its paintings and its publications mirror most effective the authors’ perspectives. For a list of MEI donors, please click on here.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share post:


More like this