Mid West

Biden had said 'nothing will change', true to his words, US bombs Syria

American citizens are demanding a 2000 dollar stimulus.

Credit : Voice of America

After Trump’s presidency, most middle countries looked forward to a change in the USA’s leadership. They were rooting for Joe Biden, irrespective of the military actions carried out by the Democrats against the Middle East under Barack Obama’s presidency and Biden’s vice-presidency. However, on Thursday - Joe Biden’s 36th day as the US President - he approved the military to conduct an airstrike in Syrian buildings that the Pentagon said were being used by Iranian-backed militia. This is the first explicit military action Biden has overseen since he has taken office almost a month ago. He has now become the seventh consecutive US President to order strikes in the Middle East.

Unquestionably, Biden received criticism for the airstrike as it contradicted his campaign promise of ending forever wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East, which he said had cost the USA “untold blood and treasure”. Biden had stated that “staying focused on unwinnable conflicts only drained the country’s capacity of tending to issues that required immediate attention”.  He had thus promised to focus on the USA’s mission on Al-Qaeda and ISIS while bringing back troops from Afghanistan and other countries.

Despite this campaign promise, Biden justified going ahead with the airstrike that killed at least 22 people by saying that it was in retaliation for the Kurds attacking the US military base in Iraq. However, there is no information about why there was a US military base there, in the first place. Moreover, several critics have stated that the airstrike was less of retaliation, and more of a message to US adversaries in the Middle East that it had no intentions of leaving the arena anytime soon, thus defying what Biden repeatedly said during election campaigns and rallies.

An airstrike on Syria also highlights the USA’s motive of wanting to remove Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad from a position of leadership as he has strong ties with Russia. The Douma attack of 2018 is strong proof of this USA motive. When the USA, Britain and France carried out air and missile strikes against Syrian government forces in 2018, they justified it saying al-Assad’s forces had attacked the areas around Damascus and Douma first causing the death of 49 people. However, after a Wikileaks investigation, it was revealed that it was not al-Assad, but the USA that had planned the Douma chemical attack and then blamed the Syrian government to weaken al-Assad’s credibility.

On the other hand, attacking the buildings occupied by Iranian-backed militia highlights the USA’s efforts to establish a stronghold in the Middle East by trying to single out Iran - the only nation with a Shia majority. A majority of the other Middle East countries have a Sunni population and share good ties with the USA. Perceptibly, Iran shares problematic relations with its neighbours and the USA.

Under Trump, the USA withdrew from the nuclear deal with Iran and even ordered the killing of General Qasim Soleiman, a close friend of Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Not only did this make the hardliners want revenge, but it also made it difficult for them to negotiate with the USA. However, during Biden’s election campaign, he stated multiple times that he wanted to use diplomacy and re-enter the nuclear deal with Iran. Thus, the Iranians hoped for a Biden win that would ease the sanctions on them. But Biden’s latest military decision has changed that after he said yesterday that the airstrike was a warning to Iran to be careful. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said that the USA only wanted to defend itself and protect its own interests. “We are certainly going to act to defend our people”, he said.



The airstrike has also stirred a discussion about Biden denying a $2000 stimulus cheque due to lack of funds, but anyway went ahead with an airstrike that must have cost US a lot of money. Twitterati was also seen complaining about the move after Biden administration hasn’t yet decided on forgiving student loans or giving the people a $15 federal minimum wage. Moreover, USA is currently the leading in COVID-19 cases with 28.5 million active cases currently and 5,10,000 deaths. The medical staff too has complained about not receiving proper government aid for safety gear and extended work hours.



Following the airstrike, even Democrats have questioned Biden’s actions. Representative Ro Khanna of California said in a statement, “There is absolutely no justification for a president to authorize a military strike that is not in self-defence against an imminent threat without congressional authorization.” The airstrike was approved without consulting Congress, making Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia demand “rationale for these strikes and its legal justification for acting without coming to Congress”. The world too – especially US adversaries in the Middle East - have demanded answers to Biden’s decision and aren’t sure of his capability and intentions of ending forever wars in the region just yet.