Clock ticks on Biden as Iran’s tentacles grow

by Jason Shvili

While it is certainly necessary to hit terrorist groups supported by Iran, that won’t halt terrorism in the Middle East.

(JNS / FLAME) President Joe Biden and his administration tenaciously cling to the two-state solution as a cure-all for the Middle East’s problems—and for Biden’s re-election campaign. But the idea of rewarding the Palestinians with a state after they just committed the worst act of genocide against the Jewish people since the Holocaust has generated disbelief and revulsion in Israel. 

While half a century ago many political leaders believed an Israel-Palestinian peace was the linchpin to Middle East peace, 20 years of history in the region have destroyed that illusion. Reflecting this reality, large majorities of Israelis and Palestinians actually oppose two states. So, fantasies aside, what, factually, is the main cause of instability and conflict in the Middle East?

Which nation has its hands in every violent conflict in the region? Who finances most of the armed terrorist groups in the region? Who provides weapons to these terrorists? Who provides intelligence, training and technological know-how for most of the terrorists in the Middle East? While most Americans know the answer to these questions, Biden and the U.S. State Department prefer to shroud the Iranian monster. 

Iran’s mullahs have their blood-soaked hands in all the Middle East’s conflict zones, like an octopus’s tentacles that stretch over the entire region and beyond. These tentacles come in the form of proxy terrorist militias, which, although possessing a significant degree of autonomy, still serve Iran’s hegemonic agenda over the entire region. 

Iran’s proxies are everywhere in the Middle East—the Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria (aka, the West Bank), Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula. Recently, an attack by Iranian-backed terrorists killed three U.S. Service members in northeastern Jordan. The Biden administration retaliated by striking Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Syria—but not Iran itself. 

While it is certainly necessary to hit terrorist groups supported by Iran, that won’t halt terrorism in the Middle East. Whatever losses the terrorists sustain will be resupplied by the Iranians. In other words, the United States and its allies can continue to lop off the tentacles of the octopus, but those appendages simply grow back. To stop the tentacles from their inexorable growth, Washington needs to damage or sever the head of the octopus—the Islamic Republic itself. 

While Team Biden was hoping for an easy win—and a pre-election boost—by forcing Israel to accept a peace agreement with the Palestinians, it dramatically underestimated both antagonists’ appetite for a deal. Instead, Biden faces mounting pressure to stop daily attacks by Iranian proxies on U.S. assets, as well as on international commerce in the Red Sea. Delaying will only hurt his election prospects.   

Iran has proxy terrorist militias in every part of the Middle East. There are at least 19 armed groups on Israel’s borders alone, including Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah. There are also other groups, like the Houthis in Yemen, who are now targeting commercial shipping in the Red Sea, as well as lesser-known groups like Kata’ib Hizballah in Iraq. 

Iran generously finances its proxies in the region. Since 2012, Iran has spent more than $20 billion to support foreign terror groups in the Middle East and beyond. The Islamic Republic sends $100 million per year to Hamas, $700 million a year to Hezbollah and tens of millions to Palestinian Islamic Jihad, just to name a few examples. 

Iran provides extensive training for its terrorist proxies. For example, according to The Wall Street Journal, hundreds of Palestinian terrorists underwent “specialized combat training” in Iran just weeks before the Oct. 7 massacre. Iran has trained Hamas members since the early 1990s. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a branch of the Iranian military that answers directly to the country’s Supreme Leader, has been giving Hamas engineers weapons training for almost two decades. 

Iran also provides intelligence to its proxy groups. In Yemen, for instance, Iranian paramilitary forces provide intelligence that the Houthis use to attack ships in the Red Sea, according to WSJ, which also reported that an Iranian vessel stationed in the region is “enabling the Houthi drones and missiles to accurately target the ships.”

Iran also ensures that all its terrorist proxies are well-armed. It provides everything from small arms to missiles and drones. Hezbollah, for example, has up to 150,000 rockets and missiles, ranging from unguided and short-range rockets to more advanced long-range missiles. 

The United States and its allies have repeatedly attacked Iran’s proxies, but not Iran itself—a policy that has been largely ineffective. Recent strikes on the Houthis, for example, have not stopped attacks on Red Sea shipping. Likewise, U.S. strikes on Iranian proxies in Iraq and Syria have not stopped these terrorist militias from launching more than 160 attacks on U.S. forces since Oct. 7. 

The Biden administration can no longer delay—the situation grows more treacherous and costly by the day. Biden has actually made matters worse by trying to renegotiate the Iran nuclear deal, relaxing sanctions, and giving Iran $6 billion in exchange for American hostages—money the mullahs will surely use to finance more terrorism. His administration looks increasingly weak in the eyes of the international community and American voters. It’s time for the president to act before the costs of Iran’s belligerence become unbearable. 

Iran is the main instigator of conflict in the Middle East, and will continue to wreak havoc in the region whether or not there is a Palestinian state. Thus far, the United States and its allies have targeted only its proxies, and that’s not enough. The West needs to target Iran itself, since without the Islamic Republic, the various terrorist militias of the region cannot endure. It’s become obvious to the world and the American people that the United States is losing its undeclared war with Iran. Without a determined, urgent response, Biden’s floundering re-election hopes will soon sink irretrievably.

The United States and its allies must attack Iran directly. Only then will the mullahs realize there is a heavy price to pay for backing terrorists. In the words of Sen. Lindsey Graham, “Hit Iran now. Hit them hard.”

Originally published by Facts and Logic About the Middle East.

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