In less than a month, the Islamic Republic of Iran and its proxies have greatly accelerated their global terror campaign against the United States and its allies. Iran’s attacks and plotting prove the regime’s imperial ambitions. U.S. policy, however, has yet to catch up.
On Wednesday, Iranian-backed forces the Houthis stormed the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, Yemen. According to the Middle East Media Research Institute, the Houthis looted “large quantities of equipment and material.” The raid, MEMRI noted, “comes after the Houthis kidnapped three Yemeni nationals affiliated with the U.S. Embassy from one of the employee’s private residences.” Three weeks earlier, the Houthis had kidnapped 22 others who were tasked with the embassy’s security.
Some press and policymakers assert that the Houthis are merely a homegrown movement in Yemen’s long-running civil war. Iran’s support, they claim, is purely an example of Tehran’s opportunism. Accordingly, some hailed the State Department’s February 2021 decision to remove the Houthis from their list of designated terrorist groups. But the Houthis are a terrorist group. And they are also a subsidiary of Iran, as Middle East analyst Oved Lobel has thoroughly documented . Indeed, the Houthis are but one of many in the Islamic Republic’s large and increasingly active terror network.
Three days before Iranian proxies stormed the U.S. Embassy in Yemen, pro-Iranian militias tried to murder Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi. Aerial drones carrying explosives launched a brazen attack at the prime minister’s residence in Baghdad. Al Kadhimi escaped largely unhurt, but several of his bodyguards were injured. Kataib Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al Haq, both groups trained and supported by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, are assessed as responsible.
Nor are Iraqis the only target of Iran’s drones. The regime has recently used drones to attack U.S. troops. Iran is responsible for drone attacks on U.S. forces in both northern Iraq and eastern Syria.
U.S. allies have also had to contend with an increasingly emboldened Tehran.
The day of the attempted assassination of al Kadhimi, Israel’s Channel 12 reported that the Mossad, Israel’s external intelligence agency, had foiled Iranian terrorist plots in Africa. The IRGC Quds Force had “reportedly been trying for months to target Israeli businessmen in Senegal and Ghana, as well as in Tanzania, where Israelis are used to going on safari.” The Islamic Republic has long maintained a presence in West Africa. Hezbollah has smuggled arms, ivory, diamonds, and narcotics in the region.
Iran’s terror tentacles extend to the seas, as well. On Oct. 24, 2021, the IRGC seized a Vietnamese oil tanker, the MV Sothys, in the Gulf of Oman. U.S. forces, the Associated Press reported , “monitored the seizure, but ultimately didn’t take action.” Piracy and hostage-taking are, of course, nothing new — the Islamic Republic has employed both since its founding more than four decades ago.
But Iran’s ramped-up terror campaign is a costly reminder — not only of the imperial ambitions of its ruling theocrats but of the nature of the regime itself.
Some Western policymakers, both in the U.S. and Europe, have believed that they can separate Iran’s malign activities from negotiations over its illicit nuclear weapons program. Indeed, the Biden administration’s special representative for Iran, Rob Malley, has previously argued for such a separation. But the last several weeks make clear that it is not possible.
Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons isn’t the primary problem. The Islamic Republic is.
Source » washingtonexaminer