Pentagon: Don’t expect Houthis or other Iran-backed groups to stop shooting

by Braxton Taylor

The Pentagon expects Iran-backed militias to continue their attacks despite dozens of United States airstrikes on targets in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, a spokesman said Monday. 

“It would not be surprising to anyone if they attempt to conduct attacks in the future,” Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters, as he answered multiple questions about whether the White House considered its efforts to deter Iranian-proxy aggression successful.  

On Saturday, Iranian-backed groups fired two rockets at Mission Support Site Euphrates in Syria with no injuries, Ryder said, and Sunday, Iran-backed forces fired a one-way attack drone that landed a few kilometers away from MSS Green Village, also in Syria. 

One of the chief aims of the U.S. strikes, Ryder said, is to make it much more difficult for adversarial forces to attack the United States. 

That echoes what the Defense Department said last month after the U.S. and UK responded to an unprecedented Houthi drone attack with their own strikes on Houthi targets. Officials said then that the strikes had degraded Houthi capabilities and made a repeat drone swarm attack of that size less likely. 

The Houthis “have a finite amount of capability,” Ryder said Monday. ”The question is how much of that capability they want to sacrifice to a doomed cause? Because again, we’ll continue to diminish and disrupt that capability.”

The targets of the most recent U.S. strikes in Syria and Iraq “were facilities that have been used—or are being used—by the IRGC and affiliated militias to attack U.S. forces,” Ryder said. They included “command and control operations centers, intelligence centers, rockets, missiles, unmanned aerial vehicle storage and logistics, munition supply chain facilities. And so again, our focus here is on attacking capability.”

On a Sunday appearance on Meet the Press, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said “the targets that we hit [On Friday], we believe with conviction, were valid military targets…They were the instruments that Iranian-backed Shia militia groups were using to attack American forces.”

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