Pentagon Secretly Frustrated With Biden’s Muted Response To Attacks On US Forces In The Middle East

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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Pentagon officials and top military officers are alarmed at the Biden administration’s overall lack of response to drone attacks on U.S. forces in the Middle East and refusal to acknowledge the escalation in hostilities, Politico reported.

A U.S. Navy destroyer on Sunday shot down at least three drones the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen fired in the warship’s direction while responding to distress calls from commercial vessels also attacked by the Houthis. The Biden administration said there’s not enough information to decide whether Sunday’s five-hour bombardment and other recent incidents represent deliberate Houthi efforts to threaten U.S. service members in the Red Sea, but four officials told Politico the Houthis are definitely endangering U.S. service members.

“If our ships see something is coming near them or toward them, they are going to assess it as a threat and shoot it down,” one Department of Defense (DOD) official speaking on condition of anonymity told Politico. “You’d be hard-pressed to find another time” U.S. naval forces have faced the same challenges in the region. (RELATED: Pentagon Identifies Special Operations Soldiers Killed In Blackhawk Crash Over The Mediterranean)

The Biden administration is minimizing the threat in the Red Sea to avoid provoking further tensions as the region is simmering over the war between Israel and Gaza, another US. official told Politico.

“People are thinking this is an Israel thing, and because they are heavy-handed in Gaza no one is saying anything,” the official told Politico, suggesting that interpretation was incorrect. “The world should be condemning this.”

Another U.S. official acknowledged that the administration is “trying to avoid unnecessary escalation” by refusing to confirm that the Carney was targeted, Politico reported. But, the official pointed out the administration incorporated ambiguity in statements on the incident.

“We are not hesitating to take action against forces or militia groups that could be a threat to our forces,” the official said.

The U.S. has not struck back at the Houthis so far, but one official did not rule out that possibility in statements to Politico.

Adm. Christopher Grady, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called attacks on international shipping in the Arabian Gulf a “big deal” at an event in Washington on Monday, Politico reported.

“This is very much an expansion of perhaps the larger conflict between Israel and Hamas,” he said, contradicting repeated lines from Pentagon spokespeople that the Iran-backed attacks are “separate and distinct” from the ongoing conflict in Israel.

“There’s undoubtedly an Iranian hand in this. So this looks a little bit like horizontal escalation,” he said.

The U.S. has also launched three retaliatory attacks on facilities known to support Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and proxy activities, and on at least one separate occasion directly targeted and killed militants who had just launched a drone at U.S. and Coalition base in Iraq. U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria have been attacked with suicide drones and missiles 76 times since Oct. 17.

U.S. and coalition troops in Iraq killed five militia fighters in a drone strike as the militants were preparing to launch a suicide drone attack on a posting near Kirkuk on Sunday.

The National Security Council did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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