“I’m sure there is a hope that [the U.S. strikes] would have a deterrent effect, but clearly they have not,” said Jonathan Lord, the director of the Middle East Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. “I don’t suspect that they would because these groups that are conducting these strikes are trying to [get] the U.S. into a larger conflict. That is their purpose in targeting the U.S. forces at this point.”
Lord described the steady uptick of attacks on U.S. troops as “increasing escalation on a dimmer switch,” injecting a bit of uncertainty into American decision-making.
“Historically, the red line that has drawn a U.S. response has been either serious injury or, more often than not, the killing of U.S. forces or personnel,” he said. “Obviously that creates a pretty terrible dilemma for the president because no one wants to sit around and wait for these attacks to ultimately claim another American life before responding.”
”The fear and concern for broader escalation, [wherein] the Israel-Hamas conflict then leads to broader regional war, is very real,” Lord said.
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