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Attacks on US forces spark escalation, geopolitical shift

Feb 04,2024 - Last updated at Feb 04,2024

The recent targeting of American forces has thrust the conflict in the region into a new dynamic, compelling Washington to formulate a unique response. US President Joe Biden, in the wake of soldiers’ deaths, has vowed retaliation, attributing the act to “factions loyal to Iran”. The timing of this incident during the US presidential election campaign underscores the imperative for a robust response, as a perceived failure to act decisively may inadvertently bolster the Republican campaign.

The scope of the conflict has taken an ominous turn, introducing a new geopolitical dimension and signalling an anticipated escalation. The expansion of attacks on American interests into strategically vital areas, coupled with casualties among the US military, demands a resolute response from Washington. Jordan is urged to heighten its readiness, recognising the broader geographical shift in the conflict.

Despite a prior drone attack on the base, where American forces successfully intercepted them before reaching their target, the nature, timing and location of the most recent incident could draw an imminent and forceful American response. The upcoming US presidential election adds further significance to the timing of the attack.

Criticism from the Republican side could intensify, potentially influencing political dynamics and putting pressure on the Biden administration to deliver a clear and strong response.  Strategically, a response is deemed necessary to establish a high cost for targeting the United States, providing an opportune occasion for Republicans to critique the Biden administration.

The current stage is marked by escalating open fronts in the region, presenting new dimensions and objectives. The presence of armed militias poses a sustained threat to regional stability. Shifting focus from peripheral issues to the core, Iran emerges as the foundation for various militias, intricately linked to the gradual escalation in the region. The reluctance to address this issue has allowed open fronts to proliferate, posing risks across the Red Sea, Syria, Iraq and Jordan.

The ongoing conflict reflects a transition from avoiding direct confrontation with Iran to grappling with its repercussions. Iran’s influence is evident in the actions of militias, like the Houthis, Popular Mobilisation Forces in Iraq, Hizbollah in Lebanon and armed forces in Syria.

The United States’ inability to persuade Israel to halt military operation has resulted in Netanyahu successfully drawing the US into direct confrontation within the framework of seven open fronts. This escalation is a natural consequence of the persistent conflict and the imperative to safeguard Israel from threats on various fronts.

The region enters a second phase of the conflict with the de-escalation of the war in Gaza and the opening of new fronts in the West Bank, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. This model could lead to a new type of operation where attacks on the Jordanian border prompt responses in Syria, Iraq, or Lebanon, aligning with the envisioned seven open fronts.

In conclusion, the recent attack stands as one of the largest in recent times, marking the first direct attack resulting in US soldiers’ deaths since October 7. The targeting of the troops, symbolically expanding the geographical scope, signals a need for a different kind of response from the US. Indeed, Jordan faces a potential long-term crisis, impacting social and economic stability, exacerbating clashes with smugglers and maintaining constant border alertness.

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