Obama’s Neglect Increased Iran Danger
According to Iran Truth,
Hezbollah is present in ‘no fewer than fifteen metropolitan centers, stretching from New York to Los Angeles,’ according to Ilan Berman, Vice President of the American Foreign Policy Council, including: New York, NY; Newark, NJ; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL ; San Francisco, CA; Louisville, KY; Houston, TX; Miami, FL; Los Angeles, CA; Portland, OR; Atlanta, GA; and Tampa, FL. The Obama administration’s described Hezbollah as ‘the most technically capable terrorist group in the world.’ Clare Lopez, Vice President for Research and Analysis at the Center for Security Policy, indicates that Hezbollah’s objectives in North America include: pre-attack casing and surveillance; funding scams, intelligence collection, proscribed military equipment acquisition, and establishing sleeper cells.
Iran’s ability to afford what would be a costly conflict was strengthened during Mr. Obama’s tenure, when vast assets were unfrozen as part of the nuclear deal. The Daily Caller noted:
What Obama and Kerry did was resource the Iranian military with a windfall equal to 10 to 20 times its annual budget,’ Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon official and current resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute told The DCNF in an interview. ‘Even if the world re-imposes sanctions tomorrow, the Revolutionary Guards will have the resources to paralyze the region for a decade.
Tehran’s geopolitical standing was enhanced by the destabilization of the entire region following Obama’s premature withdrawal from Iraq. America’s credibility as a counterbalance was reduced by the former President’s failed “redline” In Syria, and his refusal to use military assets to rescue his own ambassador in Benghazi. The influence once held by the U.S. was replaced by Russia, which has strong ties to Tehran.
The risk of Iran miscalculating that President Trump will be as pacifist in his response to aggressive and unlawful actions is significant, although his administration recently made its position clear:
“Recent Iranian actions, including a provocative ballistic missile launch and an attack against a Saudi naval vessel conducted by Iran-supported Houthi militants, underscore what should have been clear to the international community all along about Iran’s destabilizing behavior across the Middle East. The recent ballistic missile launch is also in defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which calls upon Iran ‘not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology. These are just the latest of a series of incidents in the past six months in which Houthi forces that Iran has trained and armed have struck Emirati and Saudi vessels, and threatened U.S. and allied vessels transiting the Red Sea. In these and other similar activities, Iran continues to threaten U.S. friends and allies in the region.
The Obama Administration failed to respond adequately to Tehran’s malign actions—including weapons transfers, support for terrorism, and other violations of international norms. The Trump Administration condemns such actions by Iran that undermine security, prosperity, and stability throughout and beyond the Middle East and place American lives at risk.
President Trump has severely criticized the various agreements reached between Iran and the Obama Administration, as well as the United Nations – as being weak and ineffective.
Instead of being thankful to the United States for these agreements, Iran is now feeling emboldened.
As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice.”
The President has stated that “nothing is off the table” in terms of what the U.S. may do in response to Iranian actions.
The Washington Free Beacon called President Trump’s position a “vast departure” and noted that,
Retired Gen. Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, accused Iran of breaching international accords governing the nuclear agreement. He lashed out at the Islamic Republic for threatening American military assets in the Persian Gulf region.
Flynn’s remarks represent a break with the previous administration, which worked to hide Iranian transgressions and declined to publicly state that Iran’s behavior violated the nuclear deal.
One senior White House official disclosed to the Washington Free Beacon that “the restraint of recent years” when it comes to Iran “will end.”
Originally published on the New York Analysis of Policy and Government.