To deter Iran, Biden must be bold

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On November 21, the Ministry of Defense Confirmed At least 62 US soldiers were wounded in the fourth round of retaliation against Iran-backed proxy militias, which launched 66 attacks on the US last month. Considering the nature of the conflict and the previous three attacks, it will not deter Tehran.

First round strike It happened On October 26, Iran-backed attacks caused 21 casualties and one contractor He died Heart failure during a false alarm of an airstrike in Iraq. Pentagon reported In the year November 6 Iranian proxies have carried out 38 attacks against US forces in Iraq and Syria since October 17. A total of 45 US service members were wounded. The administration Hit him In Iran’s proxies, November 8, but this retaliation could not deter Iran.

Five days later, the Pentagon confirmed the number He was up. To 46, with 11 more injured. Of the 56 service members injured, 2 dozen were injured. He suffered Traumatic brain injuries. However, the administration did not succeed in attacking Iran’s proxies Hit him The proxy force in Iran again on November 13, which also failed to achieve its deterrence objective.

However, the attacks and damage continued, leading to the latest, fourth round of similar attacks. As expected, Iranian proxy attacks Continue every dayeven if.

Sanctions can only be enforced if the Biden administration targets the Islamic Republic’s strategic assets. If not, Iran’s strategy to drive a wedge between the United States and Israel may succeed.

Defense requires resolve and skills. Iran fears Israel’s determination and capabilities (although the October 7 attack may signal a change), but America, despite its capabilities, does not inspire fear. So while Israel is conducting military operations against Iran in Syria and Iraq and taking covert action against its nuclear facilities, Iran in turn is targeting US forces in the Middle East in a double proxy war with Israel. Iran has used its American proxies to thwart Israel, hoping that the US government will turn around and pressure Israel to escalate. Simply put, America has become a proxy for Iran to retaliate against Israel.

According to the New York Times, the administration reached an agreement with Iran in the summer that Iran would end its proxy attacks to release seized Iranian assets. Iran will abide by this agreement until the seized assets under Qatari control are released and the Gaza war begins. Since then, he It got worse His attacks.

In addition to four rounds of airstrikes, the Biden administration Engaged. Two aircraft carrier groups to the region. None of these actions deterred Iranian proxies. Instead, the number of attacks increased. Iran will continue to escalate, leaving the US government with three options: accept the Islamic Republic’s demands to end the attack; Make no adjustments and continue to resist the attack; Or retaliating to stop Iran. Could Iran succeed in pushing the Biden administration to end Israel’s operations in Gaza in order to stop escalating attacks on US military personnel?

But punishment can be prevented. The United States has never been successful in deterring or coercing Iran by punishing its proxies. But it succeeded in implementing deterrence only when it spent directly and systematically against the Islamic Republic. The first was a tanker war in 1988 under President Reagan. He drowned Six of Iran’s 12 ships. He It ended He invaded Iran and convinced then leader Ruhollah Khomeini to end the Iran-Iraq war.

Second, in Since then, attacks on American forces have continued and gradually escalated.

Iran does not have the stomach for a direct confrontation with the US. In the country, it is more exposed than ever. The regime feared that Iranians would not rally around its banner, and the US assassination of Soleimani confirmed the core of those fears. Although the funeral was covered by the American media, it failed to note that they were “mourners”. They are forced and financial incentives are provided To attend, Iranians were in such high spirits that bakeries ran out of cakes, and days later they took to the streets to protest the shooting down of a Ukrainian airliner during a regime retaliation attack. Some young Iranians today look out “Cutlet Qassem” to the slain general, mocking his charred corpse.

The Gaza war has re-emphasized that Iranians do not stand behind the regime’s values, including anti-Zionism. Coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has once been more conservative in domestic media coverage of the current war, and more emphasis has been placed on successful Palestinian attacks.

The regime doesn’t just want to create demand for direct action on its own. The regime is confident that its increasingly bold attacks against US forces will not pay for its actions. Even on the two occasions when the US military directly attacked Iran, both took place far from Iranian soil.

Demonstrating military commitment by punishing Iran directly and severely would force the regime to drastically change its strategy. Forty-five years of sanctions have limited the power of the regime, but it has not been deterred. Tehran’s attitude toward human life bears no resemblance to the US government: it does not view the loss of life as punishment. Instead, Iran’s emphasis on martyrdom devalues ​​human life. He does not see the killing of his proxies and lower military personnel as a price or a political liability.

Hamas, Hezbollah and other proxies of the regime throughout the Middle East claim to ensure the existence of the Islamic Republic, not the other way around. Simply put, isolating Iran’s tactical assets will not result in strategic or policy change because they are expendable mercenaries. To bring about such a change, the US must destroy strategic military assets or threaten the regime’s hold on power.

If the US does not impose a deterrent, the Islamic Republic will escalate its proxy attacks, taking advantage of the administration’s fear of a new military front and possibly succeeding in driving a border between Washington and Jerusalem. It will fuel Washington’s fear of Tehran. The regime’s cautious reluctance to attack U.S. troops directly, denying its rhetoric, exposed Tehran’s reasonable fear of confrontation with the U.S. military.

Exploiting this fear will deter Iran. If the US is serious about deterring Iran and protecting the lives and health of its forces in the region, it will use the assassination of Soleimani as a prime example of a successful strategy.

Seth Cropsey is the founder and president of the Yorktown Institute. He served as a naval officer and undersecretary of the Navy and is the author of “Mayday” and “The Low Sea.” Shay Katiri is vice president of development and senior fellow at the Yorktown Institute.

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This article may not be published, distributed, rewritten or redistributed.

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