Why John Bolton Is Right to Threaten Military Action against Iran

Jan. 17 2019

Earlier this week, reports circulated that National Security Adviser John Bolton had asked to see the Pentagon’s plans for striking the Islamic Republic after one of its Iraqi proxy forces fired mortars in the direction of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. Ray Takeyh argues that, contrary to the horrified response of the media, force—and even the credible threat of force—has a track record of success in dealings with the ayatollahs, unlike the approach taken by some American presidents:

No president was more concerned with the Islamic revolutionaries’ sensibilities than Jimmy Carter. Even after Iranian militants stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took American diplomats hostage, Carter hoped to resolve the crisis in a manner that did not jeopardize the possibility of resuming ties with the theocracy. Such deference helped prolong the crisis for 444 days and essentially doomed Carter’s presidency. . . .

[By contrast, in] the summer of 1988, there was an ongoing conflict between American naval ships and Iranian speedboats laying down mines in the Gulf waters. As the confrontation on the high seas was taking place, an Iranian passenger plane was making its way to Dubai. As the aircraft approached, the USS Vincennes mistook it for a hostile vessel and shot it down, killing 290 passengers.

Despite days of mourning and incendiary speeches, Iran’s reaction was basically subdued, as Tehran appreciated that the asymmetry of power militated against escalation of the conflict. The one dramatic consequence of the downing of the passenger plane was that it finally convinced the clerical elite that it was time to abandon the war with Iraq, [which had been going on for eight years, since] they mistakenly believed [it] was a prelude to America’s entering the war on Saddam Hussein’s behalf with the purpose of overthrowing the Islamic Republic. Even Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who was indifferent to loss of human life, proved too respectful of American power to persist with a war that he felt might now include the United States. . . .

Donald Trump and Bolton are the latest American policymakers to unsettle the Islamic Republic. The signs coming out of the White House may at times be ambiguous, but the tough talk and the tough actions have had an impact in Tehran. The U.S. has withdrawn from the flawed Iran nuclear deal and re-imposed sanctions on Iran that have knocked off nearly a million barrels from its oil exports and crippled its economy. And yet the U.S. has faced no retaliatory Iranian response. . . . Why? Because it respects and fears the power of the United States when wielded appropriately.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Iran, Iran-Iraq war, Jimmy Carter, John Bolton, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy

Terror Returns to Israel

Nov. 28 2022

On Wednesday, a double bombing in Jerusalem left two dead, and many others injured—an attack the likes of which has not been seen since 2016. In a Jenin hospital, meanwhile, armed Palestinians removed an Israeli who had been injured in a car accident, reportedly murdering him in the process, and held his body hostage for two days. All this comes as a year that has seen numerous stabbings, shootings, and other terrorist attacks is drawing to a close. Yaakov Lappin comments:

Unlike the individual or small groups of terrorists who, acting on radical ideology and incitement to violence, picked up a gun, a knife, or embarked on a car-ramming attack, this time a better organized terrorist cell detonated two bombs—apparently by remote control—at bus stops in the capital. Police and the Shin Bet have exhausted their immediate physical searches, and the hunt for the perpetrators will now move to the intelligence front.

It is too soon to know who, or which organization, conducted the attack, but it is possible to note that in recent years, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has taken a lead in remote-control-bombing terrorism. Last week, a car bomb that likely contained explosives detonated by remote control was discovered by the Israel Defense Forces in Samaria, after it caught fire prematurely. In August 2019, a PFLP cell detonated a remote-control bomb in Dolev, seventeen miles northwest of Jerusalem, killing a seventeen-year-old Israeli girl and seriously wounding her father and brother. Members of that terror cell were later arrested.

With the Palestinian Authority (PA) losing its grip in parts of Samaria to armed terror gangs, and the image of the PA at an all-time low among Palestinians, in no small part due to corruption, nepotism, and its violation of human rights . . . the current situation does not look promising.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Jerusalem, Palestinian terror