Preventable Tragedy: The Lost Lives of 3 American Troops

There has been an occurrence of American bloodshed in a Middle Eastern conflict, and it is the first time in quite a while. On Sunday, Iraqi guerillas supported by Iran ambushed three U.S. troops and injured many others along the Jordanian-Syrian border using an explosive drone. President Joe Biden has vowed to hold those behind the attack accountable.

Several members of Congress have called for a robust response, with Republicans even calling for a potential war with Iran. However, the government of Jordan has refuted claims that the attack took place on its side of the border. Iran has denied responsibility for the bombing and is insisting that the matter is solely between the United States and “resistance groups in Iraq and Syria.”

The attack is linked to the war in Gaza, which caused Iraqi militias to break a truce they had with the U.S. military. The attack was targeting Tower 22, part of the al-Tanf base in Syria, which the U.S. military uses for unclear purposes.

The base was initially set up during the war against the Islamic State. However, the group they supported, the Revolutionary Commando Army, faced a severe defeat, prompting U.S. forces to turn to Kurdish-led forces.

The U.S. military continued to stay at the base due to its strategic location near the Iraqi-Syrian border, allowing it to counter Iran and its allies. Additionally, the base’s proximity to the border crossing point between Baghdad and Damascus served to hinder Iranian movements in the region, and it also allowed U.S. military and Israeli intelligence to intercept Iranian communications.

Israel used the base’s airspace to carry out airstrikes on Iranian and pro-Iranian forces in Syria, with direct U.S. involvement. Iran, recognizing the American troops’ involvement in the attacks, retaliated by bombing the al-Tanf base.

The U.S. military presence in the region lacked a legal mandate, with no legal grounds to support Israel in bombing Iranian troops. Despite the lack of a legal mandate, U.S. forces under the Trump administration stayed at the base until Biden took office.

Many have expressed concerns about the base becoming a potential liability, with calls for the withdrawal of U.S. forces. Fast forward to the present, the killing of the three American troops has raised questions about how the U.S. will respond and whether it will prevent further violence or further escalate the situation.