I’m a little concerned that National Security Advisor John Bolton is looking for a war. But as it stands now, the Iran policy he and President Trump are pursuing is working.
In short, the idea is to try to do something about problems every other administration has kicked down the road: Iran’s nuclear program cannot be permitted to resume and get to a point where they can build ICBMs, all of which they can do under the deal Barack Obama negotiated with them, as long as they wait a few years. Iran’s influence around the Middle East must be rolled back. And Iran must stop killing Americans, something they have been doing for years and that has simply been tolerated.
No more. As this great piece by Marc Thiessen makes clear, the increase in U.S. forces in the Gulf was ordered because while Trump tightens the screws with sanctions – hoping to force Iran back to the negotiating table – the country is about to start attacking Americans, maybe in a big way, as they have in the past.
The message is: We are the superior power, and we will not be threatened by you.
From the Thiessen piece:
When Trump came into office, Iran was on the march across the Middle East — in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen — thanks to the Obama administration’s failure to confront Iranian aggression and the massive infusions of cash it received from sanctions relief under President Barack Obama’s Iran deal. Trump withdrew from the deal, but he did not simply restore sanctions imposed before it; he ramped them up to unprecedented levels. The sanctions have already “wiped $10 billion from Iranian revenue since November,” The Post reported, citing administration officials.
This month, the administration tightened the screws even further, eliminating waivers for eight countries that had previously been allowed to continue importing Iranian oil. The goal, according to American officials, is to reduce Iranian oil exports to “zero.” It’s working. Bloomberg News reports that “Iran’s oil shipments tumbled this month after the U.S. ended sanctions waivers. . . . So far, not a single ship has been seen leaving Iran’s oil terminals for foreign ports.”
The new sanctions are forcing Tehran to cut funds to its terrorist proxies. According to The Post, “Iran’s ability to finance allies such as Hezbollah has been curtailed,” while in Lebanon, the New York Times reports, “Syrian militiamen paid by Iran have seen their salaries slashed” because, to quote one fighter, “Iran doesn’t have enough money to give us.” On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Congress that “Iran’s proposed defense budget has been reduced by 25 percent and the [Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’] proposed budget by about 10 percent.”
Iran is obviously unhappy with this, and U.S. intelligence saw signs that Iran was preparing to respond with attacks on Americans using terrorist proxies — just as they did in the 1983 Beirut Marine barracks bombingand the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia, and by supplying Shiite militias in Iraq with armor-penetrating roadside bombs that killed hundreds of American soldiers.