A drone strike that killed three US soldiers in Jordan on Saturday sparked debates in Congress about the best course of action, after the US Treasury announced sanctions against some entities deemed responsible.
The attack carried out by Iranian-backed militant groups based in Iraq and Syria, and hit a US base near the Syrian border involved in coordinating efforts to contain and degrade the Islamic State terrorist group, the US Central Command reported .
Iran’s Foreign Ministry has denied responsibility.
Even though they were united in their desire to send a message to the perpetrators, the members of Congress were divided the exact method in the answer. Democratic Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi spoke to Voice of America that sanctions are a “first step” but that more options should be considered in the future.
“I think the most important thing is that our opponents know we’re going to respond,” Krishnamoorthi said. “We will do everything in our power to keep our men and women safe (…) I think you know we’re going to send a strong message, and we’re sending a strong message.”
The more aggressive interpretation of Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher is supported by some in Congress who question the effectiveness of sanctions alone.
“Sanctions alone are not going to deter anyone,” Gallagher told the VOA. “Only kinetic military action can do that, so sanctions can support that effort. But until we have a coherent strategy in the region to reduce Iran’s influence and attack Iranian targets after they are killed the Americans, I don’t think the sanctions will have a big impact,” said the lawmaker.
Representative Carlos Giménez is more in favor of sanctions due to the escalation of military actions in the na tense region because of the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
“I think we need to do some strong sanctions against Iran. Iran is the country that supplies funds to Hezbollah. It provides funds to terrorist groups around the world,” said Giménez sa VOA. “I’m not pushing for military action. Now, there has to be an answer to what happened. You can’t kill American soldiers with impunity, and we have to show that.”
Some politicians took to social media or press releases to share their thoughts on the response to the attack. While some advocated for sanctions or military action, others tried to draw attention to the lack of preventive action by the White House.
“The media is clamoring to know what Biden is going to do to punish Iran or its proxies for killing our soldiers,” said Senator Rand Paul of X. our soldiers in Jordan.”
Senator Tim Kaine said that while a quick response by the US is necessary, it should not risk being drawn into a conflict in the region.
“We must do everything we can to keep American troops safe and hold accountable those who attack our service members,” Kaine wrote to Congress.
The attack marked the first US military death in the region, as retaliatory attacks between US-backed militia groups and Iran have intensified across the Middle East. American support for Israel in the war in Gaza.
(VOA Persian Service contributed to this report)
Connect with the Voice of America! Subscribe to our channels the YouTube, whatsapp et al newsletter. Turn on notifications and follow us Facebook, X e Instagram.