Three U.S. soldiers were killed and at least 34 others injured by a drone strike in northeast Jordan near the border with Syria yesterday. The Biden administration blamed an Iran-backed militia—although they have yet to conclude which one—for the U.S. fatalities. The attack follows months of tit-for-tat exchanges of fire between the U.S. and militias based in Iraq and Syria since the start of the Israel-Hamas war. (New York Times)
The death of U.S. service members has been a dreaded but, frankly, almost inevitable development in the recent flare-up of hostilities between U.S. troops and Iran-backed militias in the region. Though the most recent exchanges of fire began with the war in Gaza, the Iran-backed militias in Iraq, especially, have a long history of antagonism toward U.S. forces, for some of them dating back to the U.S. occupation of Iraq.
Now, with that antagonism at a peak, the biggest concern is that this strike will be the spark that sets off a powder keg, escalating what has been a low-level proxy conflict into direct confrontation with Iran.