Jake Sullivan Confirms Continued ‘Action’ Will Be Taken, Says US Isn’t Looking For ‘Wider War’ With Middle East

[Screenshot/CNN/"State of The Union"]

Hailey Gomez General Assignment Reporter
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White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan confirmed Sunday on CNN there will be “further action” in the Middle East but noted the U.S. is not looking for a “wider war.”

Sullivan appeared on “State of the Union” to discuss the U.S. retaliatory strikes Friday against Iraq and Syria, in response to a Jan. 28 drone attack on American troops in Jordan. Sullivan stated the approach taken was “straightforward,” while noting the plan is to “pursue a policy” which does not lead to war but responds with “force and clarity.” (RELATED: US Begins Retaliatory Strikes In Iraq And Syria)

“Well, first of all, Dana, the President has approached this with a straightforward principle, which is that the United States will step up and respond when our forces are attacked. And the United States also is not looking for a wider war in the Middle East. We are not looking to take the United States to war,” Sullivan stated. 

“So we are going to continue to pursue a policy that goes down both of those lines simultaneously that responds with force and clarity, as we did on Friday night, but also that continues to hue to an approach that does not get the United States pulled into a war that we have seen too frequently in the Middle East. Past presidents have had to deal with a significant number of American casualties and American deaths in the Middle East because of war. This president is looking to defend our interests and to defend our troops. That’s what he’s going to continue to do going forward.”

Bash pushed on Sullivan’s previous statement describing the action as “just the beginning,” asking if he meant there will be “more strikes” in the coming days. Sullivan confirmed that while it meant the U.S. will continue “further action,” he would not describe the “character” of any upcoming actions. (RELATED: US Conducts Self-Defense Strikes Against ‘Deeply Buried’ Houthi Targets)

“You said it’s ‘just the beginning,’ I just want to clarify: that means that there will be more strikes coming in the next few days?” Bash asked.

“What it means is that we will take further action. I’m not going to, obviously, describe the character of that action because I don’t want to telegraph our punches. But there will be further action,” Sullivan stated. 

“Inside Iran? Would you rule that out at this point?” Bash asked. 

“Look, sitting on a national TV program, I’m not going to rule in and rule out any activity anywhere. What I am going to say is that the president will do what he thinks needs to be done and, again, reinforce the point that he’s going to defend our forces and also that he is not looking to get into a war,” Sullivan stated. 

Three U.S. service members died from the Jan. 28 drone attack; the U.S. responded by hitting Iran-backed militant groups Friday. The U.S. Central Command confirmed the response struck over 85 targets with aircraft, including long-range bombers.

The deceased are Sgt. William Jerome Rivers of Carrollton, Georgia; Spc. Kennedy Ladon Sanders of Waycross, Georgia and Spc. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett of Savannah, Georgia. The trio were assigned to the 718th Engineer Company, 926th Engineer Battalion, 926th Engineer Brigade, Fort Moore, Georgia, according to the Department of Defense.

Officials stated the strike hit Iran’s paramilitary force and other groups associated with it, beginning the first wave of retaliation from the U.S. Since the initial strike, a second from both the U.S. and U.K. hit targets Saturday within Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen.