Is The U.S. Committed To Countering Iran Or Israel?

One of the latest official statements from the U.S. State Department regarding Iran is that “The United States is committed to countering Iran’s destabilizing influence in the region and around the world.”

Does the U.S.’s commitment include countering Iran’s deadly hostilities against Israel? It is an appropriate question when one considers the Biden administration’s stance towards official Iranian statements against Israel (and the U.S.), Iran’s funding of terror groups on Israel’s border, and Iran’s repeated threats to annihilate Israel.

Majid Rafizadeh recently reported the many ways the Biden administration is working against Israel’s interests in favor of Iran’s interests even though the U.S. officially designates the Iranian regime as the “top state sponsor of terrorism.”

According to Brigadier General (res.) Amir Avivi, a former deputy commander of the Israel Defense Forces’ Gaza Division, “for the last year and a half, Iran stated clearly that its main strategy is to make the Samaria region another Gaza,” adding that Iran is “pouring money and smuggling weapons into the region. They are supporting Hamas and the PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] and other factions within the Palestinian Authority.”

Rafizadeh notes that because of the Biden administration’s reluctance to enforce U.S. sanctions against Iran, the Iranian regime is likely using the extra revenues to fund and arm terror groups across the Middle East. He also references a recent article from the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board that asks “Why does President Biden go out of his way to snub, criticize and give marching orders to the government of Israel?” stating:

“At least rhetorically, the President and his Administration treat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his governing coalition worse than they do the ruling mullahs in Iran. The effect of this piling on is for Israelis to see that the U.S. sides with their opposition parties. This is no way to treat a democratic ally and no way to pursue U.S. interests while Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud Party is in power, as it has been for most of the past 25 years.”

According to Joe Truzman, more than 19 Iranian regime-backed groups targeting Israel and U.S. interests in the region meet the U.S.’s “terror designation criteria,” but the Biden administration has not added them to the list of foreign terror groups.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant recently confirmed that the ongoing terror wave was being directed by Iran. Netanyahu observed, “We are in the midst of a terrorist onslaught that is being encouraged, directed, and financed by Iran and its proxies.” Gallant warned, “Iran is looking for any way to harm the citizens of Israel. We will take various actions that will restore security to the citizens of Israel,” adding that “all options are on the table.”

In the same article, the Times of Israel reported the “Palestinian shooting, stabbing, and car-ramming attacks in Israel and the West Bank have left 29 people dead and several others seriously wounded since the beginning of the year. Also this year, rocket fire from the Gaza Strip killed two people during a round of hostilities in May, and an attack by an Egyptian policeman on the border in June left three soldiers dead.”

Last year, 27 Israeli civilians and foreigners were killed in terror attacks committed by Palestinian or Arab Israeli terrorists in Israel or the West Bank. Another three soldiers were killed in attacks directed against troops, and one police commando was killed during clashes with Palestinian gunmen in a West Bank operation.

Netanyahu warned Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah of Israel’s “red lines” on the buildup of militant forces or weapons to its north, as the Israel Defense Forces prepare to hold an artillery drill on a contested hill on the border with Lebanon and Syria. Netanyahu said, “We are determined to fight Iran’s attempts to develop a nuclear arsenal. We are determined to fight any attempt by Iran to entrench itself on our northern military frontier in Syria. We are determined to fight all attempts by Hezbollah to show aggression against us from Lebanon.” He added “Those who need to be given a reminder of our red lines in this matter will receive it.”

Rafizadeh says the Islamist regime of Iran has repeatedly made its policy clear: it wants Israel to be wiped off the map. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who enjoys the final say in all of Iran’s domestic and foreign policies, proclaimed to the youths of Iran that they will soon witness the demise of Israel and all of American civilization.

The Commander-In-Chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Major General Hossein Salami, also made the strategy of the Iranian government clear, stating “Our strategy is to erase Israel from the global political map. And, it seems that, considering the evil that Israel is doing, it is bringing itself closer to that.”

Unfortunately, as the Gatestone Institute observed, the U.S.’s recent move to give Iran access to at least $16 billion, including $6 billion held in South Korea, as part of a prisoner exchange deal, will undoubtedly benefit Tehran’s Palestinian terror proxies: Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The two terror groups, which seek the destruction of Israel, have long been receiving financial and military aid from Iran’s mullahs.

Rafizadeh believes the recent prisoner swap between the U.S. and Iran will only serve to weaken the U.S.’s position against future terrorism. In another article for Gatestone Institute, Rafizadeh writes, “Appeasing terrorists, as we all know, only incentivizes them, and breeds more terrorism and hostage-taking; it seems to be an endless, deliciously profitable jobs and extortion program for the Iranian regime and all terrorists.”

Ironically, Iran is a member of the International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages, but the regime has taken foreign hostages as pawns to extract economic concessions and achieve geopolitical and financial gains, possibly more than any other country in the modern era, as reported by Rafizadeh. The Obama administration shipped $400 million in an unmarked plane to Iran for the release of four Iranian-American prisoners. “Predictably,” as former White House Security Official Richard Goldberg noted, “Iran took more hostages in the months and years thereafter, believing it could get an even better price from a future U.S. president.” And it did.

Rafizadeh predicts Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which is listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department, will likely be the first beneficiaries of any extra revenues and the $6 billion from the hostage/prisoner exchange. 

The Iranian regime will likely use additional funds to deliver weapons to Russia and strengthen its military. Increased revenues will also allow the IRGC and Khamenei to crack down more easily on any domestic unrest against their government. The other priority of Iran’s regime is to “export the revolution” and military domination, with Israel in the cross-hairs. Recipients of Iranian funds include Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Latin America, and its militia and terror groups.

Rafizadeh concludes by saying the Biden administration criticizes Israel but then ignores Iran’s military buildup near Israel’s borders, all while Iran fires missiles into Israel from Syria, ships ballistic missiles to Israel’s self-declared enemy, Hezbollah, and continues to threaten the extermination of Israel.

By Geoff Hetrick and Dr. Matthew Dodd