This Isn't Your Fight, Iran Warns US

Pentagon bolsters force in Mideast in anticipation of strikes against Israel
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 12, 2024 4:45 PM CDT
This Isn't Your Fight, Iran Warns US
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah speaks via a video link during a ceremony near Beirut to commemorate the deaths of Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi and six officers. They were killed by an airstrike on Iran's consulate in Syria last Monday.   (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

If Iran and Israel start exchanging airstrikes, the US has been warned to stay out of it. All sides are expecting retaliation against Israel for a strike against the Iranian embassy in Syria on April 1. And the US has told Israel it wants to be in on its decision about whether to fire back once Iran attacks, Axios reports. But joining Israel in firing at Iran would put US bases in the region at risk, American officials were told this week. "The Iranian message was we will attack the forces that attack us," a US official said, along with a warning along the lines of "don't mess with us, and we won't mess with you."

Still, the Pentagon is moving troops and equipment to the region. US officials said that the goal is to deter Iran from starting anything, per ABC News, and that the moves would better enable the US to help with air defenses in the region. Another goal is to protect American troops; there are about 3,400 in Iraq and Syria, as well as tens of thousands more elsewhere in the Mideast.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby said Friday that while the US is helping to make Israel's defenses ready for attack, "it would be imprudent if we didn't take a look at our own posture in the region, to make sure that we're properly prepared as well." American intelligence officials expect that Iran would attack US sites only if it takes part in an Israel counteroffensive, per Axios. (More Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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