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Biden's policies towards Iran led to attack on Israel

The Iranian regime on Saturday launched a massive and unprecedented attack on Israel, firing over 300 projectiles, including drones, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles, toward the Jewish state. It was the first time that Iran attacked Israel from its own territory, though the attack also relied on its proxies in Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen.

Thanks to an impressive joint response from Israel and the U.S. (with help from allies including Jordan), nearly all of the projectiles were intercepted — even over Jerusalem, Israel’s capital. There was minimal damage to an Israeli air base, which remained functional, and sadly a seven-year-old girl from a Bedouin village suffered a serious head wound. Given what was fired at Israel, the successful defense was an amazing achievement.

Iran has claimed that the attacks were a retaliation for Israel’s recent strike on an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps hangout in Damascus, which killed several top commanders, including Quds Force commander Mohammad Reza Zahedi, who is believed to have been involved in the drone attack in Jordan that killed three U.S. troops.

Though President Biden did the right thing by deploying American assets to assist Israel’s defensive response, the reality is that things never would have gotten to this point had it not been for his accommodating policies toward Iran and months of chastising Israel. Looking further back, the origins of last night’s Iranian aggression could be traced to his former boss.

In pursuing a disastrous nuclear deal, the Obama administration sought to reorient the Middle East around an improved relationship with Iran and more “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel. In pursuit of the deal, the administration overlooked Iran’s malign activity around the world — its sponsorship of terrorism and its destabilizing attacks through its proxies in the region. The ultimate deal funneled tens of billions of dollars in sanctions relief to Iran and allowed the regime to become a greater conventional threat, all while preserving its nuclear ambitions in the long term.

While President Trump pulled out of the deal and reestablished U.S. deterrence against Iran by ordering the killing of IRGC commander Qasem Soleimani, Biden and his team — many of the same people responsible for Obama’s failed policies — sought to resurrect the deal. Once again, in doing so, they tried to downplay Iran’s bad behavior and funneled tens of billions of dollars in sanctions relief to Iran.

Within weeks of taking office, Biden removed the terrorist designation on Iran’s proxy in Yemen, the Houthis, and in 2023, he allowed the U.N. sanctions against the Iranian missile and drone program to expire. Those were the types of weapons not only that were used last night but that Iran has sold to Russia for use against Ukraine.

Since October 7, whenever Biden has been asked about the possibility of Iran getting involved in the fighting, he has simply said “Don’t,” without offering any explanation of what would happen if it did. What Iran has seen from the U.S., sadly, has been weakness. For months, Iran has had its proxies fire at U.S. military assets in the region and harass shipping lanes. Aside from a few symbolic retaliatory strikes, the Biden response has been muted.

More recently, what Iran has witnessed has been Biden and other U.S. officials berating Israel for its response to the worst attack on Jews since the Holocaust. Biden has chastised Israeli actions as “over the top” and its bombing as “indiscriminate.” He has cited Hamas casualty figures uncritically and warned Israel against finishing off the terrorist group in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, threatening to condition aid to Israel. And he has tried to pressure Israel into ceding more and more ground in cease-fire talks, while Hamas keeps rejecting every deal that has been put on the table, and won’t even disclose how many of the 130 hostages it still holds are alive.

Biden’s actions sent a clear signal to Iran’s leaders that the U.S. had abandoned Israel and that it was now free to launch the type of attack that it had resisted doing for over 40 years. The question is, now what? I

In a statement following a call to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden referred to “America’s ironclad commitment to the security of Israel” and touted the joint Israel-U.S. response to blunt the Iranian attacks. Publicly, he did not offer any support for an Israeli response or warn against it. Privately, there have been multiple leaks, some claiming merely that the U.S. would not be participating in any response, others claiming that Biden would outright oppose a response. Axios reported that Biden was trying to convince Netanyahu to see the thwarting of the Iranian attack as a “win” and leave well enough alone. Even if the U.S. opposes the response, however, it’s not clear whether Biden would put roadblocks up to an Israeli response as he has to Israel’s advance into Rafah.

Any effort to impede Israel’s retaliation would be morally disgraceful and strategically inane. Iran just fired hundreds of projectiles, including ballistic missiles, toward Israel’s capital city, after decades of its proxies launching attacks on Israel. The Iranian attacks were thwarted through great efforts and incredible technology, but they also paralyzed the nation, closing schools and its only major airport — which connects the country economically with the rest of the world.

Thanks to the policies of the Obama and Biden administrations, Iran — which has vowed to destroy Israel as a step toward its ultimate goal of “Death to America” — has thousands more ballistic missiles it could fire at Israel. If Iran is not stopped, eventually those missiles could be nuclear. No nation could live under a situation in which another nation vowing to destroy it can threaten its population in this manner, and rest on the hope that it can meet every future attack with the same amount of success in shooting down weapons.

Any action by the Biden administration to prevent Israel from doing what must be done after months of warning Iran “Don’t” would only further embolden Iran, leading to more frequent and ambitious attacks, and inviting the very regional conflict Biden is desperate to avoid. Instead, Israel must have our unwavering support for a devastating response against Iran.

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