January 16, 2024 | The Wall Street Journal

Iran Will Escalate Until It Pays a Price

Weakness in Washington only emboldens Tehran, writes Mark Dubowitz.
January 16, 2024 | The Wall Street Journal

Iran Will Escalate Until It Pays a Price

Weakness in Washington only emboldens Tehran, writes Mark Dubowitz.

A U.S.-led international coalition bombed multiple Houthi military targets in Yemen in response to 27 attacks against international ships in the past three months (“Hitting the Houthis, at Last,” Review & Outlook, Jan. 13). In a statement, President Biden didn’t mention the role of Iran in supporting these Houthi attacks. Nor did he order the U.S. military to hit any Iranian targets, including an Iranian spy ship that was providing intelligence and targeting information to Iran’s Houthi allies. The president even telegraphed that an attack was imminent to give the Iranians and the Houthis a chance to escape.

Yet again the Biden administration stepped away from a direct fight with Tehran. This weakness will only embolden Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. Already, he has escalated: Iran’s proxies targeted a U.S. Navy warship and an American commercial ship, and Iran itself fired missiles near the U.S. consulate in Erbil, Iraq, killing Kurdish civilians.

The U.S. is being pulled into a deeper Middle Eastern quagmire on the supreme leader’s terms. Only direct strikes against the military assets of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards will persuade him that he will pay a severe price for his aggression.

Mark Dubowitz is Chief Executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).

Issues:

Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Military and Political Power U.S. Defense Policy and Strategy