America Signals Weakness in Syria

Last week, an Iranian proxy group launched a drone attack on a U.S. military base in Syria, killing a contractor and wounding five soldiers. In response, American warplanes struck military targets affiliated with Tehran—taking care, according to the Pentagon, “to limit the risk of escalation and minimize casualties.” Iran-backed forces attacked two other sites with a U.S. troop presence the next day, wounding another serviceman. Clifford May comments:

This was not an isolated incident. U.S. troops in the region have come under attack from Tehran-backed groups 78 times since the beginning of 2021, according to General Michael “Erik” Kurilla who, as head of Central Command, oversees American troops in the Middle East.

If you’re a proponent of peace through strength, the conclusion you draw is that deterrence has failed, and that re-establishing deterrence must now be a top priority. Those who don’t see the situation this way are calling for retreat from Syria—the response Iran’s theocrats intended to elicit.

To do so would repeat the strategic error President Biden made in 2021 when he surrendered Afghanistan to the Taliban and, by extension, to its ally, al-Qaeda. President Obama made the same mistake when he withdrew from Iraq in 2011, giving rise to Islamic State, which went on to conquer 40 percent of Iraq and 33 percent of Syria, establish affiliates in at least eight other countries, spark a refugee crisis, and launch terrorist attacks in the U.S., France, and elsewhere.

Read more at FDD

More about: Iran, ISIS, Syria, U.S. Foreign policy

Hamas Wants a Renewed Ceasefire, but Doesn’t Understand Israel’s Changed Attitude

Yohanan Tzoreff, writing yesterday, believes that Hamas still wishes to return to the truce that it ended Friday morning with renewed rocket attacks on Israel, but hopes it can do so on better terms—raising the price, so to speak, of each hostage released. Examining recent statements from the terrorist group’s leaders, he tries to make sense of what it is thinking:

These [Hamas] senior officials do not reflect any awareness of the changed attitude in Israel toward Hamas following the October 7 massacre carried out by the organization in the western Negev communities. They continue to estimate that as before, Israel will be willing to pay high prices for its people and that time is working in their favor. In their opinion, Israel’s interest in the release of its people, the pressure of the hostages’ families, and the public’s broad support for these families will ultimately be decisive in favor of a deal that will meet the new conditions set by Hamas.

In other words, the culture of summud (steadfastness), still guides Hamas. Its [rhetoric] does not show at all that it has internalized or recognized the change in the attitude of the Israeli public toward it—which makes it clear that Israel still has a lot of work to do.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security