Secretary of State Antony Blinken with the US Marine Corps embassy security guard detachment in Baghdad, Iraq, November 5, 2023.

US Deterrence Against Iran Proxy Attacks Ineffective, Evidence Shows

Wednesday, 11/08/2023

A Pentagon official has told Iran International that Iran's proxies have attacked US forces in the Middle East 40 times since the Israel-Hamas war began last month.

The attacks have taken place in Iraq (22 times) and Syria (18 times), the official said.

On Monday, the Pentagon announced that in the past month, at least 46 American troops have been injured in attacks by Iran-backed militias, who seem to have grown impervious to recurring threats of retaliation by US officials.

And it’s not hard to see why.

Top Biden spokesman John Kirby confirmed Monday that there have been no additional strikes against Iran-backed proxies in the past couple of weeks despite continued attacks on bases housing American troops.

Kirby emphasized that none of the attacks on US forces have been “effective” and “in many cases have been thwarted,” implying that retaliation has been unnecessary.

But the view from the ground seems to be different.

"We're in the bunkers about every other day. These f**kers will eventually get lucky with one of these drones and kill a lot of people."

This is part of a conversation James Hasson, an attorney and an Afghanistan veteran, says he’s had with a “buddy” serving in the region.

"We aren't doing shit in response… we bombed a few empty shacks in Syria."

Hasson says the US troops find it hard to fathom the Biden administration's “total inertia in response to the threat level.” He quotes his friend as saying, it’s “sheer luck” that no one has been killed so far.

Biden critics say his lenient approach towards the Islamic Republic has emboldened not just the regime but its proxies in the region. Armed militant groups backed (and often guided) by the Islamic Republic are targeting US troops almost daily.

“If you want to strangle Iran, you cut off their oil,” said Republican Senator John Kennedy on Monday. “The Biden admin is choosing not to do that, and now they wonder why Iran’s proxies thought they could get away with attacking Israel and, by extension, America.”

Many US lawmakers have become more vocal about Biden’s Iran policy since October 7, when Hamas forces attacked border regions of Israel, killing at least 1,400 and taking at least 200 hostage.

In response, Israel has been bombarding targets in Gaza relentlessly and has moved in to take the northern part of the enclave, which is the main bastion of Hamas. Thousands of Palestinian have been killed and injured, although there are no reliable and independent numbers.

The attack on Israel has galvanized US lawmakers against the Islamic Republic, which many see as the brains and the hands behind Hamas. Several legislative measures have been introduced in the past few weeks with the sole or primary aim of punishing the Iranian regime.

One such bill is No Funds for Iranian Terrorism Act, introduced by Michael McCaul, Chairman of the House foreign affairs committee.

The bill imposes new sanctions on the “$6 billion of Iranian funds transferred to Qatar as part of the 2023 Hostage Deal” McCaul said in his statement.

“It will be irresponsible to allow another cent to flow to Iran. So that’s why my bill ensures the funds remain permanently off-limits to the Iranian regime.”

Another bill was introduced by Senators Marco Rubio and Jim Risch.

The End Iranian Terror (End IT) Act “requires the creation of a strategy to counter China’s evasion of sanctions imposed by the United States with respect to Iran,” according to a press release by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Iran has earned $80B in oil revenue, mostly from Chinese purchases. It uses these funds to supercharge its terrorist proxies, like Hamas,” Senator Risch wrote on his X account. “My bill directs the Biden Admin to enforce Iran oil sanctions & start taking action to starve the regime of resources.”

Senator Risch is also a cosponsor of the Stop Harboring Iranian Petroleum (SHIP) Act, which, according to a press release Monday, “would direct new sanctions on illicit purchases of Iranian oil and hold the regime’s enablers accountable.”

Reports emerged Monday that the Biden administration has sent strong messages to Iran and Hezbollah via Turkey that the US will intervene immediately if they attack Israel.

The Pentagon announcement of 40 attacks on American forces in a month raises serious questions about the seriousness of these treats.

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