The award winning student newspaper of Lake Oswego High School

Lake Views

The award winning student newspaper of Lake Oswego High School

Lake Views

The award winning student newspaper of Lake Oswego High School

Lake Views


Do you have a March Madness bracket?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

The evolution of the war in the Middle East

Following Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks, the United States has been drawn into what may feel like a new era of conflict across the Middle East. When looking further, it becomes clear that it is a continuation of a much longer-lasting war. On Jan. 28, 2024, a United States military outpost, Tower 22-on the Jordan-Syria border, was hit by an explosive strike. The base was not equipped with air defense systems capable of downing the drone. The Islamic Resistance, an “Iran-backed” militia group based in Iraq, claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed three U.S. soldiers and injured at least 34 others. The U.S. has been active in the region, recently unleashing a series of strikes against the Houthi rebels in Yemen – another “Iran-backed” group. Following the attack on Tower 22, 85 targets were hit with more than 125 “precision munitions,” with more retaliation expected later. 

Following the attack, President Biden said, “We will hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner our choosing.” Other officials like Lindsey Graham said, “Hit Iran now. Hit them hard.” Biden doesn’t think “we need a wider war in the Middle East,” but with actions already being taken against the Houthis for disrupting shipping chains in the Red Sea and Israel’s rising tensions with other Iran-backed groups Hamas and Hezbollah, direct actions towards Iran would likely make wider war inevitable. The U.S. has already lost significant diplomatic incentives, such as their allowance of back door oil being sold to China by Iran, in hopes that China would use its Middle-Eastern influence to reduce political tensions in the region. China’s involvement and the U.S.’s tolerance to illegal oil transactions are now questioned. Removal of this tolerance could result in $102 per barrel price increases, felt worldwide. With only military intervention remaining, it seems that the best solution to avoid “wider war” would be to withdraw all troops left over from an Obama-era war. 

After a multi-decade history of U.S. involvement in the Middle East, about 30,000 troops remain scattered across a few countries following the Afghan withdrawal. Since Israel’s war with Hamas escalated, the U.S. has sent additional troops and warships. Syria has not permitted U.S. troops to stay in the country. Tower 22 looks over a 15 thousand-person Syrian refugee camp, likely explaining the motivation for the target. Former Green Beret, now running for Congress in Washington state, Joe Kent, described the location as “vulnerable,” saying that there have been at least 150 attacks since Oct. 7. He said that the troops were left there “undefended essentially” and that “We left them there as bait.” D.C. has wanted war with Iran for years. Iran has formed close and essential relations with China and Russia in recent decades. Disrupting Iran’s ability to trade would hamper Russia’s aspirations in Ukraine and reduce resources to China, which plans to invade Taiwan by 2025 – leading the U.S. into another war. In addition, a war in Iran would benefit the military-industrial complex, enrich domestic oil companies and private investment firms and would greatly benefit Israel. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been claiming that the Iranians have been “three to five years” from developing nuclear weapons since 1992 and that they were only months away in 2012. Netanyahu was also a peddler of misinformation regarding claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction in 2002. Recent claims have been made by the Institute for Science and International Security, alleging that Iran could have enough Uranium for six weapons in one month. For this to happen, Iran would have to enrich its supply of 60 percent enriched Uranium into 90 percent  Uranium. In 2015, the U.S. and other major powers agreed on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal. The JCPOA’s goal is to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons while still allowing them to pursue peaceful nuclear activities such as energy. Under the agreement, Iran would reduce their atomic programs and open facilities to regular inspection. Iran was limited to enrichment levels not exceeding 3.67 percent. After Iran violated the term, along with others, the U.S. withdrew from the deal in 2018. While the agreement is still in place without U.S. involvement, Iran has been unfaithful to the agreed-upon terms, leaving many to fear Iranian potential nuclear threats in the future. Still, since similar past claims have been false, it is hard to tell whether the current claims are valid or just more politically driven fear/warmongering. 

Since their initial deployment in 2001, U.S. troops have not entirely left the Middle East despite ending multiple wars in the timespan, leaving many to wonder what they are still doing there. In a November 2023 statement, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin claimed troops continued to conduct “counter-ISIS missions.” In 2021, the Pentagon claimed that forces in Syria “probably lacks the capability to target the U.S. Homeland” (unless they come in through the border). Americans are being put at risk to go after groups that pose no direct threat to the U.S. Homeland, and most of the Senate is fine with that. 

In December of 2023, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul unsuccessfully issued a joint resolution to remove all U.S. troops from Syria within 30 days. Paul’s claim that Congress never approved the deployment of soldiers was insufficient, and the bill failed with a vote of 13 to 84. In a Feb. 10 post, the OSNITdefender reported that “according to several U.S. Defense Officials, preparations are now underway for a Total or Partial Withdrawal of U.S. and Coalition Forces from Eastern Syria and Iraq due to continued Pressure and Escalations by Iranian-Backed Groups including Kata’ib Hezbollah, while also making it a Priority of getting American Servicemembers to “Safety” prior to any kind a Regional War; the Full Withdrawal could take up to 90 Days but that depends on its Size, Scope, and Urgency.” In a post earlier from the same day, an Arabic source reported that Syrian Democratic Forces commander Mazloum Abdi “confirmed that he had received firm assurances from officials in Washington that the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria was not on the table.” According to OSNIT, two new attacks on U.S. bases in Eastern Syria happened after Abdi’s announcement, potentially leading to a change in plans.

As conflicts across the Middle East intensify, attacks on U.S. troops and bases will increase in frequency. If attacks on U.S. property and soldiers result in American retaliation, then a “wider war” will be inevitable. It is time to bring Americans home and out of harm’s way. It is time to stop wasting money and lives to fight wars on behalf of Israel. It is immoral to go to war for the financial benefit of the elite. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Lake Views Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *