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Biden Slaps Wrists of Iran Proxies

Weak responses only embolden terrorists in the Middle East.

The Joe Biden administration’s Treasury Department has taken an anaemic step to deter Iran proxies from attacking US outposts and bases in Syria and Iraq. The president’s tool for dissuading Tehran surrogates from sending rockets and explosive drones to harm and kill Americans is one that ignites horror in the hearts of terrorists: The United States is imposing sanctions. C’mon, let’s get serious.

Iran Proxies Continue Attacking US Facilities

Attempts to deter persistent attacks on US military outposts and forward-deployed bases have not done much, as the number of such attacks now stands at 61. In contrast, retaliatory airstrikes by the US military in the region are less than ten and have more often than not destroyed warehouses and training facilities. Did the United States go after Iran, the source of finance, training, and weapons support for the mullahs’ militias? No. It made merely a gesture, just like the sanctions levied on the Iran-backed militants in Iraq. As the Associated Press explained:

“The US on [Nov. 17] imposed sanctions on six people affiliated with the Iranian-backed Iraqi militia Kataeb Hezbollah, which is accused of being behind a spate of recent attacks against US forces in Iraq and Syria following the October 7 attacks by Hamas against Israel. Included in the sanctions are the militia’s foreign affairs chief, a member of its governing council, its military commander and a media spokesman.”

New Banner Military AffairsOne can only imagine the severe financial pain and inconvenience of sanctions like blocking access to US property and closing off bank accounts. The assumption is that those sanctioned had not already closed their accounts and sold their property. Such lackluster responses have finally raised objections. “‘There’s no clear definition of what we are trying to deter. Are we trying to deter future Iranian attacks like this? Well, that’s clearly not working,’ said one defense official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid,” a prominent District of Columbia newspaper reported.

And such weak US responses seem to have fostered expansion of the Israel-Hamas war. Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon continue to attack Israel from the north, and the brazen Houthi rebels in Yemen, after drone and rocket attacks on Israel, declared, “All ships belonging to the Israeli enemy or that deal with it will become legitimate targets.”

Yemeni Houthi Terrorist Rebels Now Want to Be Pirates

To that end, “Iran-backed Yemeni rebels said they hijacked an Israeli-linked cargo ship with 25 crew members in the Red Sea over the weekend, heightening tensions in the Gaza conflict,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “The Houthis … said on X, formerly Twitter, that they are taking the vessel to the Yemeni coast and would continue to target vessels linked to Israel because of its attacks on Gaza.” The Houthis do nothing in the region without Iran’s permission. Whether it is shooting down an American MQ-9 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle over international waters or sending drones to attack Israel, Iran is calling the shots.

“[W]e aim to send a strong message intended to deter a wider conflict, to bolster regional stability, and, of course, to make it clear that we will protect and defend our national security interests,” US Air Force Brigadier General Patrick Ryder, Defense Department spokesman, said at a recent Pentagon press briefing. But what exactly is that “strong message”? Though the Biden administration claims it wants to prevent the Israel-Hamas conflict from engulfing the whole region, its efforts so far have been worryingly ineffectual. Taking away the bank accounts of Tehran-backed militants is not impressive. Really just a slap on the wrist.

The views expressed are those of the author and not of any other affiliation.

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