National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan teased that the Biden administration is planning to launch additional retaliatory strikes on Iranian proxy targets.
Last week, the US fired off two separate rounds of strikes on Iranian proxy targets in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen following last month’s killing of three soldiers in Jordan from a drone strike.
“The president has been very clear from the beginning,” Sullivan told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
“When American forces are attacked, we will respond and we’ve responded several times.”
“We intend to take additional strikes and additional action to continue to send a clear message that the United States will respond when our forces are attacked.”
Sullivan revealed that the military is still assessing the casualty account from the strikes conducted Friday and Saturday.
“We do believe that the strikes had a good effect in degrading the capabilities of these militia groups to attack us,” he said.
Sullivan refrained from divulging any numbers about civilian or military casualties from the two sets of retaliatory attacks carried out late last week.
“What we do know is that the targets we hit were absolutely valid targets from the point of view of containing the weaponry and the personnel that were attacking American forces,” he said.
On Friday, the US struck over 85 targets in seven outposts in Iraq and Syria with over 125 precision-guided munitions, according to national security officials.
The strike hit the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an umbrella group backed by Iran, which the US blamed for the deadly drone attack that killed three US troops and wounded 40 at the Tower 22 military base in Jordan last month.
That attack began mere hours after the conclusion of a dignified transfer ceremony honoring the three soldiers at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
Then, on Saturday, the US and the United Kingdom blasted 36 Houthi targets in Yemen.
All of those attacks were intended to degrade the military capabilities of those Iranian proxy groups, according to military officials.
Between the Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas attack on Israel and the drone strike in Jordan, there had been over 158 attacks on US and allied assets in the region, per the Pentagon.
When asked if the administration was bracing for a counterattack, Sullivan stressed that “we are prepared to deal with anything that any group or any country tries to come at us with.”
President Biden has faced withering criticism from some Republicans such as House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) for waiting almost a week before carrying out the retaliatory strikes.
“I find it somewhat strange,” Sullivan said, recalling how Biden previously made it clear that prior to the Jordan drone strike, the US would respond.
“Of course, there will always be armchair quarterbacks but we are confident in the steps that we have taken so far.”
Sullivan also declined to rule out striking Iran directly.
“Sitting here on television, it would not be wise for me to talk about what we’re ruling in and ruling out.”