Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024
alert-–-weak,-distracted-biden-has-let-iran’s-mullahs-get-away-with-murder-–-and-now-risks-an-unholy-war:-andrew-neil-spells-out-how-the-appeasing-president-must-strike-back-with-a-vengeance-to-save-his-own-skin…-and-avert-disasterAlert – Weak, distracted Biden has let Iran’s mullahs get away with murder – and now risks an unholy war: ANDREW NEIL spells out how the appeasing president MUST strike back with a vengeance to save his own skin… and avert disaster

It was, alas, inevitable that sooner or later Americans would die.

After 159 attacks by various Iranian-backed proxy militias on US military bases dotted around the Middle East since Hamas invaded Israel on October 7th, it was nothing short of a miracle that nobody had been killed – though some did suffer horrendous, life-changing injuries which the rest of us all too easily forget.

Then came the 160th attack on Sunday, on a US outpost in north-east Jordan, right on the border with Syria and Iraq, known as Tower 22.

It was there to monitor the movements of Islamic State, and to provide logistics and supplies for the Al Tanf garrison close by on the Syrian side of border.

Three US personnel were killed, over 30 injured, some very seriously.

It is remarkable that it has taken 160 attacks and three fatalities for the Biden administration to realize there must now be a robust American response.

For the past four months, US retaliation has been half-hearted and ineffective. Far from being deterred from further attacks, the Iranian proxies have been emboldened. The attacks escalated.

This is President Biden’s worst nightmare — and it is entirely of his own making.

It is remarkable that it has taken 160 attacks and three fatalities for the Biden administration to realize there must now be a robust American response.

It is remarkable that it has taken 160 attacks and three fatalities for the Biden administration to realize there must now be a robust American response.

For the past four months, US retaliation has been half-hearted and ineffective. Far from being deterred from further attacks, the Iranian proxies have been emboldened. The attacks escalated. (Pictured: Iran launches missile during military drill).

For the past four months, US retaliation has been half-hearted and ineffective. Far from being deterred from further attacks, the Iranian proxies have been emboldened. The attacks escalated. (Pictured: Iran launches missile during military drill).

This is President Biden¿s worst nightmare - and it is entirely of his own making. (Pictured: Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei).

This is President Biden’s worst nightmare – and it is entirely of his own making. (Pictured: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei).

He knows his weak response to Iranian-backed aggression has merely encouraged more attacks. He realizes that, with American deaths, he cannot simply continue with the same token retaliation. But he’s also desperate to avoid a wider regional conflict in an election year, especially if it threatens a global economic downturn during a presidential campaign in which just about the only thing he has going for him is the strength of the US economy.

But the predictable price of appeasement, as evidenced throughout history, is always that you end up having to do more than if you’d stood up to the enemy in the first place, instead of allowing them to act with impunity.

Like many leaders before him, Biden will now have to relearn that lesson the hard way, which should surely have been unnecessary for a man with supposedly decades of foreign policy experience.

The Washington air is now thick with the saber-rattling of right-wing Republican hawks calling for attacks on Iran itself.

It might come to that. But not yet.

Taking on those who use proxies to wage war is never easy. After all, NATO has provided Ukraine with weapons to resist the Russian invaders. But we would regard it as beyond the pale for Putin to attack a NATO country as a result. Even Donald Trump, rightly seen as tougher on Tehran than Biden, did not attack Iran (though he once came close, pulling back only at the last minute).

Nonetheless, Biden needs to stop pussy-footing around with Iran.

The mullahs see a weak, distracted president who lets them get away with murder (now, literally). He needs to disabuse them of that pronto.

For a start, he needs to mount robust, relentless strikes on Iranian proxy bases to degrade their ability to mount further attacks on US bases. This will have to be on a far greater scale than anything Biden has so far been prepared to contemplate.

At the same time the economic sanctions, which the Biden administration stupidly loosened because it thought there was a deal to be done with Iran, need to be reimposed with renewed vigor, especially on Tehran’s oil exports, which have poured billions into its coffers and financed the mayhem it is now causing across the region, from Gaza to southern Lebanon, to Syria and Iraq.

But even that will not be enough. Iran’s leaders don’t really care about the deaths of Arab militia. Tehran sees them merely as useful idiots, Arab blood that is expendable on the road to becoming the region’s superpower, dominant everywhere from the Gulf to the Mediterranean.

The predictable price of appeasement, as evidenced throughout history, is always that you end up having to do more than if you¿d stood up to the enemy in the first place, instead of allowing them to act with impunity. (Pictured: Strike victim Breonna Moffett).

Pictured: Strike victim Kennedy Ladon Sanders.

The predictable price of appeasement, as evidenced throughout history, is always that you end up having to do more than if you’d stood up to the enemy in the first place, instead of allowing them to act with impunity. (Pictured: Strike victims, specialists Breonna Moffett, left, and Kennedy Ladon Sanders).

Like many leaders before him, Biden will now have to relearn that lesson the hard way, which should surely have been unnecessary for a man with supposedly decades of foreign policy experience. The Washington air is now thick with the saber-rattling of right-wing Republican hawks calling for attacks on Iran itself. It might come to that. But not yet. (Pictured: Tower 22).

Like many leaders before him, Biden will now have to relearn that lesson the hard way, which should surely have been unnecessary for a man with supposedly decades of foreign policy experience. The Washington air is now thick with the saber-rattling of right-wing Republican hawks calling for attacks on Iran itself. It might come to that. But not yet. (Pictured: Tower 22).

Biden needs to stop pussy-footing around with Iran. The mullahs see a weak, distracted president who lets them get away with murder. He needs to disabuse them of that pronto. For a start, he needs to mount robust, relentless strikes on Iranian proxy bases to degrade their ability to mount further attacks on US bases. (Pictured: Putin and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei).

Biden needs to stop pussy-footing around with Iran. The mullahs see a weak, distracted president who lets them get away with murder. He needs to disabuse them of that pronto. For a start, he needs to mount robust, relentless strikes on Iranian proxy bases to degrade their ability to mount further attacks on US bases. (Pictured: Putin and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei).

No, the Iranian leadership needs to pay a price — and this is where Biden should take a leaf out of the Trump playbook.

In 2020, Trump authorized a US drone strike on Major General Qassem Soleimani, head of the Iran Revolutionary Guard Counsel’s Quds Force, which finances, trains, organizes and arms Iran’s proxy fighters across the region.

His assassination didn’t end the Quds Force’s nefarious activities, but it did curtail its operations lest more leaders one day found a deadly drone hovering above their heads.

Biden needs to go further and target Quds Force leaders everywhere they are active, which is Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon. US allies, especially Israel, will be able to help with the necessary intelligence to mount this cull. The US government might even make it explicit that for every subsequent US death a Quds leader will be taken out, starting with General Ismail Qaani, who replaced Soleimani. That should concentrate minds in Tehran.

Even after the tragedy of Tower 22, the administration don’t quite seem to get it. Within hours of America coming to terms with its latest loss of military lives, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby was droning on about how ‘we don’t seek a war with Iran’ and America’s fear of a ‘wider conflict’ in the Middle East.

Of course we’re not seeking war with Iran. But there is no need to tell Tehran that. Indeed, the mullahs need to think that if they continue on their current course they will face the full might of US aerial attacks on all their precious energy infrastructure and military bases, undermining their grip on power in a country where they are already deeply unpopular.

In the democratic West, we’ve lost the ability to deal robustly with dictators, nowhere more so than in Biden’s America, which is why autocrats have made so much headway in the 21st Century.

It’s why President Putin thought invading Ukraine would be a breeze. Why China’s President Xi is forever threatening Taiwan with invasion or blockade. Why Iran is on the rampage in the Middle East.

Eventually the democracies do get their act together – but belatedly and at the cost of so much more blood and treasure than would have been necessary if we’d shown a bit more gumption from the start.

Many may say, with some justice, that Biden is simply not up to standing up to Tehran.

The Iranian leadership needs to pay a price - and this is where Biden should take a leaf out of the Trump playbook.

The Iranian leadership needs to pay a price – and this is where Biden should take a leaf out of the Trump playbook.

In 2020, Trump authorized a US drone strike on Major General Qassem Soleimani (middle), head of the Iran Revolutionary Guard Counsel¿s Quds Force, which finances, trains, organizes and arms Iran¿s proxy fighters across the region. Biden needs to go further and target Quds Force leaders everywhere they are active, which is Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon.

In 2020, Trump authorized a US drone strike on Major General Qassem Soleimani (middle), head of the Iran Revolutionary Guard Counsel’s Quds Force, which finances, trains, organizes and arms Iran’s proxy fighters across the region. Biden needs to go further and target Quds Force leaders everywhere they are active, which is Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon.

Nor is the current inaction entirely his fault. It can be traced to President Obama’s days in power, when Biden was his faithful vice-president. In many ways Biden is merely a continuation of Obama’s weak and distracted foreign policy.

But Biden needs to realize he will pay a heavy price if he continues with more of the same. Jimmy Carter was the last president to allow Iran to walk all over him and he went down to ignominious defeat, a one-term president, at the hands of a more belligerent Ronald Reagan in 1980.

Trump is wrong to say we’re on the brink of World War Three. But we are on the brink of – indeed we are already in – a world at war on multiple fronts.

That will only get worse – and hostilities will only spread – as long as the dictators think we’re a soft touch.

One way to make Iran think again would be for the US Navy to sink that Iranian spy ship that’s been helping the Houthis in the Red Sea. I suspect that Tehran would then realize that, at last, we now really mean business.

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