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Kirby Asserts U.S. Retaliation for Attack on U.S. Military in Jordan Won’t Be a ‘One Off’

Regarding alleged Iranian involvement in the militia attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria, a reporter at the White House asked National Security Council spokesman John Kirby yesterday about Iranian warnings that the U.S. should “show restraint” before launching retaliatory attacks on those it claims are responsible. “Well, the folks that need to show restraint are these groups that Iran backs,” he said, completely ignoring the high level of violence that the U.S. has brought to the region. “First of all, as we’ve said many times, we don’t seek a war with Iran. We’re not looking for a broader conflict,” he said. “We’re not looking for a war with Iran. That’s number one.”

Secondly, he went on, “we have obligations in the region, including those to our troops and our facilities. And now ... those attacks have taken the lives of three of them. We will have to do—we will do what we need to do to make sure that—that those responsible are held properly accountable.”

As for who was responsible for the attack on the Tower 22 base in Jordan on Jan. 28, “We believe that the—the attack in Jordan was—was planned, resourced, and facilitated by an umbrella group called the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, which contains multiple groups, including Kata’ib Hezbollah,” Kirby insisted.

As for what the U.S. might do to retaliate, Kirby told another reporter that “the first thing you see won’t be the last thing,” a statement which appears to be coherent with recent press headlines claiming that the U.S. is preparing a military campaign of some duration. “And when you’re talking about what we’re anticipating here, which won’t just be a one-off—there’s a lot of moving pieces in that, in terms of what you’re going to choose to go after and what you’re electing not to go after and why. And—and [President Biden] asks all those questions. He did that in this case,” Kirby went on. He added, that because “this will be a response over time, you should expect that the President will continue to weigh options ahead of him, continue to ask tough questions, continue to talk to his national security team as things go forward.”