After 3 U.S. soldiers in Jordan were killed and 40 others wounded by a drone attack carried out by an “Iranian-backed militia” on January 28, The Biden Administration waited 5 days before ordering a retaliation, striking Iranian-backed Iraqi militias on the border of Syria and Iraq. Subsequent reporting showed that no Iranian personnel were harmed, although “dozens” of Iraqi militiamen were reported killed. Prior to the attack the following phrase was repeated by multiple media outlets:
“With an increasing risk of military escalation in the region, U.S. officials are currently working to conclusively identify the precise group responsible for the attack.”
According to the U.S. Department of Defense, the attack which killed U.S. personnel was the 150th attack on U.S. and coalition facilities since October, when Iran-sponsored Hamas carried out the horrific massacre of Israeli civilians on October 7.
Again, according to a DOD spokesperson the attack that killed the three soldiers, as well as the previous attacks, were carried out by Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-backed groups. The spokesperson said:
“We know that Iran is behind it. And certainly, as we’ve said before … Iran continues to arm and equip these groups to launch these attacks, and we will certainly hold them responsible.”
Despite the admission that the U.S. knows the Iranians are directing this rocketing and attack drone campaign against U.S. forces—no doubt with the intention of prompting a U.S. withdrawal from the Middle East—right from the start there was never any intention of holding the Iranians accountable for the killing and wounding of U.S. soldiers.
To make matters worse, there were reports that when the U.S. did respond with air strikes on militia facilities in Syria and Iraq, the administration may have telegraphed the punch, enabling elements in Baghdad to warn Iranian IRGC personnel—and who knows who else— to vacate the facilities before the strikes were carried out.
This kind of weak American response to Iranian terror and aggression is nothing new. Iran has been fighting a proxy war against the U.S. for decades, and only twice—once during the Trump administration and once during the Reagan administration—did the U.S. retaliate with strength against the Iranians themselves. Is it any wonder that Iranian-backed jihadis have launched 150 attacks on U.S. forces in just 4 months’ time?
It’s not just the Houthis and Iraqi militias. Iran has carried out attacks directly on Americans. Here is a partial list of what the Iranian regime has done over the past 40 years:
- On November 4, 1979, Iranian “students” stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran and held 52 hostages for 444 days until January 1981.
- In April 1983, Iranian-backed Hezbollah carried out suicide truck bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, killing 17 Americans. It is worth noting at this point that Hezbollah is essentially a branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. It could be regarded as an Iranian Foreign Legion.
- On October 23, 1983, Iranian-backed Hezbollah carried out suicide bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks at the Beirut airport. 241 Marines, sailors and soldiers were killed in that attack.
- On April 14, 1988, the USS Samuel B. Roberts struck a mine illegally laid by Iran in the Persian Gulf, wounding 69 U.S. sailors.
- In 1996, Iran, and Hezbollah, took part in the bombing of the U.S. Khobar Towers barracks in Saudi Arabia, killing 19 U.S. service men and women and wounding 372 more.
- In June 2004, two Iranian security guards at Iran’s U.N. mission in New York were expelled after they were caught conducting reconnaissance of sensitive sites in New York.
- Back in 2010, it was revealed that two jihadists convicted in Manhattan for terrorist conspiracy had ties to Iran. The two had plotted to bomb JFK airport.
- In 2011, U.S. law enforcement disrupted a plot involving the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. by bombing a restaurant in Washington DC. An Iranian-American was sentenced to 25 years for his role in the plot.
- In March 2012, the head of the New York Police Department’s Intelligence Division, revealed to a Congressional panel that Iranian personnel had been caught conducting reconnaissance of New York targets at least a half dozen times since 9/11.
- In January 2016, Iran seized and held 10 U.S. Navy sailors in the Persian Gulf.
- In June 2017, two Hezbollah jihadists were arrested in Dearborn, Michigan for conducting surveillance of law enforcement and military facilities in New York and the Panama Canal. The investigation revealed a previously unknown level of Hezbollah operational activity in North America.
- The evidence that Iranians are willing to support wide variety of Sunni jihadist groups has long been clear, including Hamas. In April 2018, a U.S. federal judge ordered Iran to pay $6 billion to the families of 9/11 victims for Iran’s “material support” for Al Qaeda. Wikileaks documents disclosed in 2010 direct ties between Iranian leaders and Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders. In November 2017, the CIA released files taken from the Osama Bin Laden raid showing evidence of ties between Iran and Al Qaeda.
- In August 2018, two Iranian agents were arrested for conducting surveillance of Jewish targets in Chicago.
- In September 2018, the U.S. closed diplomatic facilities in Iraq after repeated rocket attacks and threats from Iranian-backed militias there.
- In April 2019, the Pentagon declassified a report indicating that Iran was responsible for the death of in Iraq during the insurgency there.
What the past 40 years has demonstrated is that the Iranians do not fear U.S. force because feckless U.S. politicians have been running scared of “escalation with Iran.” So, instead of holding Iran accountable for its terror and aggression, the U.S., for the most part, has tolerated Iran killing Americans and plotting to kill more.
Only twice has the U.S. responded directly against Iran with force—and neither time resulted in today’s much-feared escalation.
In April 1988 after Iranians mined the Persian Gulf damaging the U.S. Navy frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts, the President Reagan launched Operation Praying Mantis. During that naval operation in the Persian Gulf, the U.S. Navy sank two Iranian Navy warships, severely damaged another and destroyed two Iranian offshore platforms.
On January 3, 2020, after receiving intelligence as to the whereabouts of Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps General Qassem Soleimani, a man responsible for commanding multiple terrorist attacks on U.S. and allied forces, President Trump ordered a strike which killed Soleimani. There is no definitive evidence of an escalation of Iran’s already ongoing violence in Iraq and Syria after the operation.
History shows that the Biden Administration’s claim that you can’t punish Iran for attacking Americans and American interests without events spiraling out of control is simply wrong. It also shows that failing to deter Iranian aggression invites more attacks on Americans.
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Author: Christopher Holton
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