How many countries are bombing the USA

It was the first test for US President Joe Biden as Commander in Chief: 107 millimeter artillery rockets hit a US base in Erbil, the capital of the Iraqi Kurdish regions. A Filipino civilian employee of the US military was killed, a US soldier and five other people were injured. "I want to convey to you that diplomacy is a priority in this administration," said Biden's spokeswoman Jen Psaki when asked about the president's reaction. One will wait until the perpetrators of the attack are clearly identified. Biden reserves the right to respond at a time and in a way of his choosing.

On Friday night the time had come: ten days after the attack in Iraq, US fighter jets bombed the facilities of two Iranian-backed Shiite militias in eastern Syria. Seven 250-kilogram bombs were dropped on a building complex near Albukamal, which serves as an unofficial border crossing between Iraq and Syria. It was used by the Shiite militias Kata'ib Hezbollah and Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, among others, said Pentagon spokesman John F. Kirby.

It is known that a number of Shiite militias supported by Iran, as well as the Revolutionary Guards themselves, bring fighters, weapons and material to Syria via the transition, where they fight on behalf of Tehran on the side of the regime of Bashar al-Assad. According to activists, 22 militiamen were killed, the groups themselves only reported one death; only vacant buildings were hit.

Kata'ib Hezbollah is one of the strongest and most important Tehran-backed militias in Iraq, trained, financed and supplied with weapons by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Their long-time leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was killed together with the Revolutionary Guard General Qassem Soleimani in a US drone attack at Baghdad airport in early 2020.

Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada is seen as a split off from the group and works closely with the Badr organization, which the Revolutionary Guards helped set up as a Shiite combat group against the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

According to the Pentagon, the bombardment sends a clear message: Biden will act

Iran strongly condemned the US air strikes. Such "aggression" would only further escalate the crisis in Syria and undermine peace efforts, said Foreign Office spokesman Said Chatibsadeh on Friday evening. Pentagon spokesman Kirby spoke of an "appropriate military response" which would go hand in hand with "diplomatic measures, including consultations with our allies". Iraq investigated the attack and provided helpful information about the perpetrators. Biden had also called the Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Tuesday and talked about the attack in Erbil. Kirby said the military operation sends an unequivocal message: President Biden will act to protect US soldiers and those of the international military coalition in Iraq.

Responsibility for the attack in Erbil was assumed by a group called Saraya Awliya al-Dam. The group is considered by Western intelligence services to be one of the front organizations that have established double-digit numbers in Shiite militias such as Kata'ib Hezbollah in Iraq, which are controlled and financed directly by Iran.

Biden's reaction was eagerly awaited after his predecessor Donald Trump put massive pressure on the Baghdad government. Trump's Foreign Secretary Mike Pompeo had threatened Iraq with closing the embassy in Baghdad for such attacks and with air strikes on Iraqi territory. Trump had also ordered the drone attack on Soleimani.

The US is demanding talks from Iran about its missile program and regional policy

Biden was under suspicion that he might take a softer stance on Iran in order not to jeopardize the chances of a revival of the nuclear deal with Tehran. As government officials in Washington indicate, he has chosen the minimum of several options put forward by the military. The attacks were deliberately designed to de-escalate the situation in eastern Syria and Iraq, said Pentagon spokesman Kirby. It largely corresponds to what the Pentagon regularly undertook to retaliate under Trump.

Biden's government has always insisted that a return to the nuclear deal would have to be followed by negotiations on Iran's role in the region as well as on the ballistic missile program. The hardliners in Tehran, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have so far categorically excluded both.

The presence of the Revolutionary Guards and militias they control in Syria is viewed as a grave threat to Israel; the air force regularly flies attacks on positions, weapons depots and other facilities of the Iranians in the neighboring country. Tehran's network of militias, the best known of which is Hezbollah in Lebanon, is seen by many other states in the region as evidence of Tehran's aggressive and expansive foreign policy and interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries.

If Biden does not address this threat effectively, the US could lose significant influence in the region - and an alliance made up of Israel and the Sunni Gulf states that Trump promoted could take the problem into its own hands and confront Iran.