Blinken Warns There Is A ‘Likelihood’ Of Escalation By Iran Against American Forces

[Screenshot/NBC News: Meet the Press]

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned there is a “likelihood” of Iranian escalation against U.S. forces during a Sunday interview with NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced the Pentagon’s plan to ramp up military personnel in the Middle East to respond to “recent escalations by Iran and its proxy forces” across the region, according to a statement released Saturday. This plan intends to protect U.S. forces against recent threats and attacks by Iran over President Joe Biden’s administration’s support for Israel.

“We are concerned,” Blinken said regarding concerns about Iran escalating the war. “In fact, we expect that there’s a likelihood of escalation, escalation by Iranian proxies directed against our forces, directed against our personnel. We are taking steps to make sure that we can effectively defend our people and respond decisively if we need to. This is not what we want, not what we’re looking for. We don’t want escalation. We don’t want to see a second or third front develop. We don’t want to see our forces or our personnel come under fire. But, if that happens, we’re ready for it.”

Blinken said the U.S. and Israel share the view of wanting to prevent a second or third front on the border of Lebanon and northern Israel. He said the U.S. has taken steps in an attempt to “deter” Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed terrorist group, and Iran from opening up the front. (RELATED: Rockets Hit Iraqi Air Base Hosting US Troops: REPORT)

The Department of Defense (DOD) sent two aircraft carriers to the region to “increase our force posture and strengthen our capabilities and ability to respond to a range of contingencies,” Austin’s statement reads. Blinken said this move is determined to “deter,” and not to  “provoke,” aggression in the region.

Armed factions tied to Iran attacked U.S. troops stationed in Iraq with rockets Friday which resulted in no casualties, according to The Economic Times. In northern Iraq, three Iraqi bases backed by U.S.-led coalition troops have been targeted in five attacks.

U.S. forces fought off three drones attempting to attack the al Asad airbase used by U.S. forces in western Iraq, and a separate drone strike targeted a base in northern Iraq. U.S. forces successfully intercepted the two drones before they could strike in the first incident.

Kata’ib Hezbollah, a powerful Iran-backed Iraqi militia, had threatened to attack U.S. military bases with drones and missiles if the U.S. provided military aid for Israel in its war against Hamas.