A night described by Iranian media as hot said that US forces stationed in eastern Syria suffered because of rocket attacks and suicide marches that hit the bases of the Koniko and Omar oil fields. How is the context of the recent attacks understood, what messages they carry and from whom?

The US military's response to the attacks came quickly, with raids on militia sites affiliated with Iran, where reports said that they left dead among their ranks, despite US President Joe Biden's assertion that his country does not seek any conflict with Iran.

Iran's response came through the National Security Council, which said Washington's accusations of attacking U.S. bases in Syria were untrue. The council added that attacks on bases established at the request of the Syrian government would be retaliated.

Iran's Messages

Regarding the messages of this escalation, Professor of Political Science at Kuwait University Abdullah Al-Shayji said – in his speech to the program "Beyond the News" (2023/3/25) – that the escalation is Iranian and not American, as Biden does not want to conflict with it, explaining that Tehran reads many things in the position of the US administration, the first of which is related to the total retreat on the Iranian nuclear file, and therefore wants to bring it back to the fore again.

Iran also sees the Biden administration as weak and fully engaged in Russia's war on Ukraine, as well as entering into an open confrontation with China. Despite the approach and reconciliation that has taken place between Riyadh and Tehran, the latter wants to send a message to Washington that it still has cards that it can use to inflame the situation in the region.

Al-Shayji also pointed out that Iran believes that Republicans have sought over the past two weeks to besiege Biden, as there have been two attempts in Congress to end the authorization to use US forces in the Middle East and withdraw them from the Gulf states, Iraq and Syria, but they failed to achieve this.

At the end of his speech, he concluded that Iran sees the American scene in general as having a kind of confusion and lack of interest in Iranian affairs, and therefore wanted to alert the Americans that it has cards capable of disturbing them, so the militias loyal to it moved northeast Syria and worked to attack American bases.

Struggle for influence

Fatima al-Smady, senior researcher at the Al Jazeera Center for Studies and an expert on Iran, said the latest confrontation is not the first of its kind, but stressed that it takes an inseparable dimension from the political context in the region.

Smadi explained that America and Israel aim to curb Iran's influence and get it out of Syria. On the other hand, Iran aims to remove US forces from the region, explaining that this conflict of objectives constitutes the main umbrella for this confrontation between them.

In the context of the struggle for influence in the region, Al-Smadi explained that the confrontation in Syria cannot be separated between what Israel and America want, as they are two sides of the same coin, and therefore considered that the strengthening of attacks in Syria and targeting militias comes within a plan based on the fact that Iranian influence can only be curtailed by targeting its allies by offering them privileges to attract them away from the Iranian camp or make the alliance with Tehran costly, whether in terms of lives or military and political gains.

It is noteworthy that the political and field developments between Tehran and Washington concern other countries in the region, especially Israel. In this context, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US forces, General Mark Milley, held video talks with his Israeli counterpart, Herzi Halevy. The spokesman for the US Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that military officials discussed regional security affairs, as well as coordination to counter Iran's threats in the region.