slot machine kloem-US airstrikes on Iran
In this file photo a US Bradley Fighting Vehicle fires an AGM-114 Hellfire during a heavy-weaponry military exercise in the countryside of Deir Ezzor in northeastern Syria, on March 25, 2022. US President Joe Biden on August 23 ordered air strikes in eastern Syria targeting facilities used by Iranian-backed militias, a US military spokesman said. Photo: AFP
US airstrikes against Iran-linked targets in areas of eastern Syria are a tactic used by Washington to pressure Iran to make concessions on the nuclear deal, a Chinese expert said on Wednesday. He said the airstrikes are likely to be used more frequently by Washington in the Middle East as a way of flexing muscles and creating chaos in the region.
The airstrikes conducted by the US military targeted Iranian-backed groups in Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria, the US Central Command said in a statement on Wednesday.
The strikes targeted "infrastructure facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps," the US military's Central Command spokesperson, Colonel Joe Buccino, said in a statement, CNN reported.
He said the attack was at US President Joe Biden's direction. "These precision strikes are intended to defend and protect US forces from attacks like the ones on August 15 against US personnel by Iran-backed groups," Buccino was quoted by the CNN as saying.
There was no immediate acknowledgment by Syria's state-run media of the strikes hitting Deir Ez-Zor. Iran did not immediately acknowledge the attack, the Guardian reported.
Yet Zhu Yongbiao, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies in Lanzhou University, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the US simply used "defense and protection" as an excuse, and the real reason is Washington's wish to make Iran bow down in the negotiations to revive the nuclear deal.
There is information floating saying that the US and Iran are inches closer to sealing the deal, the Al Jazeera reported on Tuesday. Yet the report noted that everything could hinge on what happens in the coming days.
Zhu also noted that Washington may be using the move to show support for its Middle Eastern allies, as some of its allies, such as Israel, are unhappy over US and Iran inking the nuclear deal.
The Israeli government is ramping up pressure on the Biden administration to walk away from international efforts to revive the Iran nuclear deal, US media Politico reported on Wednesday, noting that the White House is not budging.
Yin Gang, a research fellow at the Institute of West-Asian and African Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday, "after taking office, Biden rejoined the Iran nuclear deal, which has already upset the Gulf countries," and ironically, the current energy crisis is making the US go cap in hand to the OPEC members, mainly Gulf countries.
The US now hopes that OPEC will release enough capacity, and the easing of relations with Iran will be an important part of the process, Yin said. "If the Iran nuclear talks go well and Iran's oil export sanctions are lifted, Iran is expected to be able to release 1.5 million barrels of oil supply per day," Yin remarked.
Zhu said that another sign is that US attacked the Iran-linked area with airstrikes, the same method it used when killing al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul, Afghanistan in early August.
It is clear that airstrikes will be used by Washington more frequently in this region to attack its targets, as a way of "flexing muscles," said Zhu, warning that unrestrained attacks by the US in the region are pushing the war-torn region into bigger chaos.
In early August, the China Society for Human Rights Studies published a white paper elaborating the US' serious crimes of violating human rights in the Middle East and beyond. It said that according to data released by the United Nations, US military intervention has claimed at least 350,000 lives in Syria, displaced more than 12 million people, and left 14 million civilians in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. The Syrian refugee issue has been called by the United Nations "the biggest refugee crisis of our time."