Iranian Attacks in the Persian Gulf Require a Firm Response

June 17, 2019 | David Adesnik
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In the past few days, Iran has carried out several attacks on oil tankers in the vicinity of Persian Gulf, and attempted to shoot down a U.S. observation drone. These attacks follow other recent acts of sabotage on the oil trade in the region—and that’s not to mention the Iran-backed Houthi militia’s missile strike last week on a Saudi civilian airport that injured 26 people. David Adesnik urges the White House to send a clear message to Tehran:

It’s important to keep in mind that the Iranian attack on the tankers is just the latest in a long series of aggressive and unprovoked military actions that Iran has launched in the Middle East. Iran is waging an offensive across the region designed to undermine America and its Arab allies. And Iran has pledged to wipe Israel off the map and funds terrorist groups that attack the Jewish state to achieve that goal. . . .

On top of this, Americans should never forget that Iran is responsible for the death of about 600 American troops during the war in Iraq. . . . Here’s the lesson we need to remember: when America avoided confronting Iran in Iraq, the Iranian attacks intensified. . . . . When our troops went on the offensive, Iran and its Iraqi proxies started pulling back.

This does not mean we need to take an eye for an eye and sink two Iranian ships. That would be fair, but there are smarter ways to hurt Iran, [although] the American Navy should ramp up its presence in the Gulf to give President Trump [a military] option. Just this week the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on an Iraqi front company that the department said “trafficked hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of weapons” into Iraq on behalf of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. . . .

The one option that won’t work is for the U.S. to try to make concessions to Iran, hoping that if we are nicer to the Islamic Republic its leaders will be nicer to the U.S. and our allies. . . . Iran will launch terrorist attacks so long as it can get away with them.

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