In a recent interview with CNN’s Abby Phillip, Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper expressed satisfaction with the recent U.S. strikes in Iraq and Syria.
The strikes, initiated on Friday, targeted groups supported by Iran in retaliation for an attack on a Jordanian base that resulted in the death of three U.S. service members.
U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) stated that the airstrikes aimed at Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force and affiliated militia groups involved more than 85 targets.
The operation utilized numerous aircraft, including long-range bombers flown from the United States, deploying over 125 precision munitions.
Esper emphasized the importance of assessing the outcomes of the strikes, anticipating a clearer picture once the battle damage assessment is available. He highlighted the significance of observing Iran’s and its militia groups’ responses following the airstrikes.
John Kirby, the White House national security spokesperson, clarified that the strikes aimed to diminish capabilities and convey a message to Iran and its supported groups, urging them to cease attacks on Americans. Kirby emphasized that the objective is not to engage in a war with Iran.
In response, an Iraqi government spokesperson accused the U.S. of violating international law and distorting the circumstances related to the retaliatory strikes.
The spokesperson, Bassem Al-Awadi, claimed that the U.S. deliberately deceived by falsely asserting prior coordination for the aggression, aiming to mislead international public opinion and evade legal responsibility.
As the situation unfolds, the aftermath of the strikes and potential responses from Iran and affiliated groups remain uncertain.
The U.S. government justifies its actions as a deterrent against attacks on American interests, emphasizing the goal of preventing further hostilities rather than seeking an escalation into a broader conflict.