Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

The United States on Thursday reportedly carried out an airstrike ordered by President Joe Biden on a structure in Syria. (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

The United States on Thursday reportedly carried out an airstrike ordered by President Joe Biden on a structure in Syria. (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

'Joe Biden Just Dropped Bombs on Syria. Here We Go Again': US Responds to Rocket Attacks With Airstrikes

The president ordered the strikes on facilities the administration says belonged to Iran-backed militia groups.

Common Dreams staff

This is a breaking story… Please check back for possible updates...

Sparking swift criticism of U.S. imperialism, the United States on Thursday carried out airstrikes ordered by President Joe Biden on facilities in Syria that government officials told reporters belonged to Iran-backed militia groups—retaliation for a trio of recent rocket attacks on bases in Iraq that house U.S. troops.

"We cannot escape the realities of how we got here, decades of U.S. war in the Middle East and a continued belief that bombs will somehow bring peace."
—Win Without War

Reuters, Politico, and other news outlets reported that the president ordered the strikes, which was confirmed by the Pentagon.

"Joe Biden just dropped bombs on Syria. Here we go again," tweeted the Gravel Institute, a progressive think tank.

Electronic Intifada co-founder Ali Abunimah accused Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris of "escalating the wars started by" former President Barack Obama, adding #BackToNormal.

Shahed Ghoreishi, a fellow at Defense Priorities, where he advocates for restraint in U.S. foreign policy, cautioned that the strikes "shouldn't be blown out of proportion" in terms of negotiations on the the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly called the Iran nuclear deal.

Despite warnings that it boosted the chances of another U.S. war, then-President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in May 2018 and implemented a series of devastating economic sanctions; as a candidate for president, Biden vowed that he would return the United States to the JCPOA.

Reuters foreign policy correspondent Idrees Ali reported that "while the strikes appear to be the first retaliatory moves by the United States for what it says are attacks by Iranian-backed forces, the move was limited in scope and narrowly tailored to try and not lead to an escalatory cycle."

Recognizing such reporting, the U.S.-based Win Without War said in a series of tweets Thursday that "we hope all parties will avoid further military force."

"We cannot escape the realities of how we got here, decades of U.S. war in the Middle East and a continued belief that bombs will somehow bring peace," Win Without War said. "History has shown how utterly failed that mentality is, with a cost of countless lives and massive destruction. It must end."

"And we also know that the current crisis is the direct result of Trump's failed 'maximum pressure campaign,'" the group added. "The only path forward is for President Biden to follow through with his commitment to turn from war towards diplomacy, starting with rejoining the JCPOA."

The New York Times on Thursday evening reported on remarks that Pentagon press secretary John Kirby made to journalists traveling with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin:

The American airstrikes on Thursday "specifically destroyed multiple facilities located at a border control point used by a number of Iranian-backed militia troops, including Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada," Mr. Kirby said.

"This proportionate military response was conducted together with diplomatic measures, including consultation with coalition partners," Mr. Kirby said. "The operation sends an unambiguous message: President Biden will act to protect American and coalition personnel."

Kirby added that the move was intended as a response to the rockets but did not aim to escalate hostilities with Iran. As he put it: "We have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq."

The strikes came hours after a report from the Costs of War Project at Brown University's Watson Institute and USA Today detailing "counterterrorism" operations by the U.S. military in 85 countries since 2018 as part of its "Global War on Terror," published amid calls for an end to endless war.

In a pair of letters to the White House and Congress earlier this month, coalitions of advocacy groups called for an end "forever wars" and the pursuit of a U.S. foreign policy "consistent with the nation's legal, human, and civil rights obligations, and the moral authority that the United States has long claimed on these issues."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

As Other States Try to Copy Texas, SCOTUS Asked to Find Abortion Ban Unconstitutional

The request from healthcare providers comes after a Florida Republican filed a copycat bill and advocacy groups called on Congress to affirm the right to abortion nationwide.

Jessica Corbett ·


As Bids to Slash Pentagon Budget Fail, US Military Spending Slammed as 'Height of Absurdity'

"Spending $780 billion on weapons and war while our communities starve, while the climate crisis worsens, while a pandemic that has killed millions and affected countless more rages on, is a national shame."

Brett Wilkins ·


'This Is Big': House Passes Amendment to Cut US Complicity in Saudi Bombing of Yemen

The vote, said Rep. Ro Khanna, "sent a clear message to the Saudis: end the bombing in Yemen and lift the blockade."

Andrea Germanos ·


Praised for 'Braving the Smears,' Tlaib Votes Against $1 Billion in Military Aid to Israel

One rights group thanked Tlaib "for speaking truth to power" while being attacked "for simply insisting that Palestinians are human beings who deserve safety, security, and freedom from Israeli apartheid."

Brett Wilkins ·


'A Choice Point for Humanity': Women Demand Visionary Shift at UN Climate Talks

"This is the time to unite together to build the healthy and just future we know is possible for each other and the Earth."

Julia Conley ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo