While speaking with reporters at the White House, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby accused Iran of “actively facilitating” attacks against American forces in Iraq and Syria.
Kirby noted an uptick in “rocket and drone attacks by Iranian-backed proxy groups” against American personnel in the region, adding that the United States is “deeply concerned about the potential for any significant escalation of these attacks in the days ahead.”
His statements come amid a wave of rocket, drone, and mortar attacks against American forces at airbases and garrisons in Iraq and Syria over the past week. The Islamic Resistance of Iraq, an umbrella organization of Iran-backed Shia militias, has taken responsibility for every attack so far.
Kirby did not note any American casualties when referring to the attacks. As previously reported, the Pentagon has confirmed that an American contractor died from an medical emergency during an attack against al-Asad Airbase in Iraq last Wednesday, but other than that, there has been no statements in regards to any other casualties.
He went on to add that at the direction of President Biden, the Department of Defense has ordered the military to take steps in preparing for escalation to ensure proper posturing “both in terms of being able to defend our forces and respond decisively as needed.”
He reiterated that two carrier strike groups have been deployed to the Middle East and that more air defenses will be supplied to American airbases in the region. US defense officials have previously stated that the deployment of the carrier groups is to deter Iran, as well as Hezbollah and other proxy forces, from escalating fighting against Israel.
While explicitly saying that these groups behind the attacks are backed by the IRGC, Kirby warned that the US won’t allow “any threats to our interests in the region to go unchallenged.” Referring to the interception of Houthi rebel missiles and drones from Yemen last week by the USS Carney, Kirby ended by saying that “we demonstrated last week that we have and will use the military capabilities available to us to protect and defend those interests.”