OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Things are getting very tense in the Middle East slightly 100 days after Joe Biden set foot in the White House, after relative calm for the entirety of Donald Trump’s time in office.
On Monday, United States officials said that “13 armed speedboats of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard made “unsafe and unprofessional” high-speed maneuvers toward U.S. Navy vessels in the Strait of Hormuz,” The Associated Press reported.
It was the second time in two weeks that a U.S. ship opened fire to warn vessels of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard. The encounters come as the United States and Iran are in indirect talks in Vienna aimed at reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which the United States left in 2018.
Asked whether it appeared the Revolutionary Guard are trying to pick a fight with the U.S. Navy, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby declined to comment on the Iranians’ intentions.
“Sadly, harassment by the IRGC Navy is not a new phenomenon. It is something that all of our commanding officers and the crews of our vessels are trained to for,” he said. “This activity is the kind of activity that could lead to somebody getting hurt and could lead to a real miscalculation there in the region, and that doesn’t serve anybody’s interests.”
“They were acting very aggressively,” he said.
The Iranians have denied that its boats were responsible for the aggression in a message on the Guard’s website that the Americans are using “false narratives and unprofessional behavior” and that it should “abide by international regulations.”
The confrontation comes as the United States and Iran are engaged in talks to revive the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal.
It also comes as tensions between Israel and the Palestinians are escalating and rocket fire has been exchanged and at least 20 people have died.
At least 20 people have been killed as Israel has responded to a barrage of attacks with attacks of its own, The Daily Mail reported.
Israel launched deadly airstrikes on Gaza Monday in response to a barrage of rockets fired by Hamas and other Palestinian militants, amid spiraling violence sparked by unrest at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
At least 20 people were killed, including nine children and a senior Hamas commander, and 65 others wounded, Gaza authorities said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Hamas had crossed a ‘red line’ by directing missiles towards Jerusalem and that the Jewish state would ‘respond with force’….
Israel’s army said 150 rockets had been launched from Gaza, dozens of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome Aerial Defense System, with no casualties reported.
The Israeli military said it had targeted ‘two rocket launchers, two military posts’, a tunnel and eight Hamas operatives in Gaza.
“We will not tolerate attacks on our territory, our capital, our citizens, and our soldiers. Those who attack us will pay a heavy price,” Netanyahu said.
“Whoever attacks us will pay a heavy price,” he said. And he said that the fighting could “continue for a while.”
In what was no surprise, the female United States House of Representatives members are known as “The Squad” stood against Israel.
“Israeli airstrikes killing civilians in Gaza is an act of terrorism. Palestinians deserve protection. Unlike Israel, missile defense programs, such as Iron Dome, don’t exist to protect Palestinian civilians. It’s unconscionable to not condemn these attacks on the week of Eid,” Rep. Omar said in a tweet.
“Many will tell you Israel has a right to defend itself, to safety and security, but are silent on whether Palestinians have those rights too. Until we can defend the rights of Palestinians just as we do Israelis, we have no leg to stand on when it comes to justice or peace,” she said.