The Rise of Air & Drone Attacks Across the World 

The resurgence of air and drone attacks on several parts of the Middle East is indicating that the region is on the edge of a broader war. 

There are intense discussions on social media regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict. Many people express sympathy for Israel, which faced an unprecedented attack by Hamas in October 2023, while some sympathesise with citizens of Palestine. In recent weeks, there has been a resurgence of violence across the Middle East, raising concerns about further conflict in an already unstable region.

Drone Attack on US Military in Syria 

On Sunday, January 29th, an unmanned aerial drone attacked a US military base in Jorden, resulting in the death of three American service members and injuries to dozens. The US Defense Department released the names of the deceased the following day Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46, from Carrollton, Georgia; Spc. Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, from Waycross, Georgia; and Spc. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, 23, from Savannah, Georgia.

This incident marked the first time that American military personnel were killed by hostile fire in the Middle East since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war. The attack is said to be backed by Iran, according to the US, and it is expected to escalate tensions in the region, raising concerns about a broader conflict involving Iran.

The Pentagon reported that US and allied forces in Iraq and Syria have faced over 150 attacks since mid-October. In response, the US has carried out retaliatory strikes in both countries. The Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a loose alliance of Iran-linked armed groups opposing US support for Israel in the Gaza conflict, has claimed responsibility for many of the attacks on US personnel.

Balochistan Conflict 

Iran and Pakistan, the two neighbouring countries, are facing attacks by Balochistan separatist militants as they both share grounds in the Balochistan region. In response, Iran unexpectedly launched a missile and drone attack in Balochistan under Pakistani territory. Iran claimed it was targeting a Sunni Muslim militant group called Jaish al-Adl, which has carried out attacks inside Iran. Pakistan announced the fatalities of two children and promptly responded by firing missiles at suspected terrorist hideouts situated on the Iranian border. Iran reported the deaths of three women, two men, and four children.

This escalation has increased tensions in a region already facing numerous crises. Although the location of these retaliatory strikes is far from the main areas of conflict in the Middle East, the border remains volatile, and further incidents could rapidly escalate, especially if Jaish al-Adl decides to retaliate against Iran in a region. 

Yemen and The Red Sea 

Over the past two weeks, there have been several instances of missile strikes carried out by the US Navy against the Houthi Zaidi Shia movement in Yemen. These strikes were in response to Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea, which is a critical waterway for global trade. The Houthis, whom Iran supports, increased their attacks in November following the start of the conflict in Gaza. They declared their intention to target ships associated with Israel as long as Israel’s military actions continued, as a gesture of support for the Palestinians.

As a result, all commercial shipping in international waters has been endangered, a situation deemed unacceptable by Western powers. Last week, the US and UK, along with their allies, launched airstrikes against the Houthis in an attempt to dissuade them, but the group has remained defiant.

On January 15, the Houthis successfully attacked a US vessel in the Gulf of Aden, marking what appeared to be their first successful strike against an American ship since their campaign began. Another attack occurred on January 17 in the same area, raising concerns about the possibility of additional US strikes and whether Iran will feel compelled to respond. 

Middle East on the Verge of Broader War 

These conflicts in Balochistan, Yemen, the Red Sea, Syria and Gaza show increasing tensions throughout the Middle East. When viewed collectively, these occurrences depict a clear image of a region on the brink of a larger conflict. The United States has expressed growing worries regarding the escalating violence across the Middle East. In response to the recent surge in violence, the U.S. approach concentrates on using both high-level diplomacy and increased U.S. military involvement to prevent further escalation and bring back stability to the area. U.S. policymakers aim to find a careful equilibrium between military actions designed to discourage additional attacks and extensive diplomatic initiatives to halt the spread of the Gaza conflict.

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