Effective Deterrence Against Iran-Backed Terror Requires Both Capabilities and Credibility
‘In practical terms, deterring Iran and its web of terrorists means meeting attacks on U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria with swift, lethal, and overwhelming military force. It means working with allies to deploy crippling economic sanctions and inhibit Iran’s support for terror.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Iran:
“Forty-four years ago last week, shock troops chanting ‘Death to America’ and ‘Death to Israel’ led Iranian revolutionaries across Tehran, overran the U.S. embassy, and took 66 Americans hostage for 444 days.
“Iran’s war against America, the Great Satan, and Israel, the Little Satan, has continued ever since.
“The regime has supported Shi’a terrorists, Sunni terrorists, and secular terrorists. It’s underwritten violence across the world:
“From the 1983 Marine barracks bombing in Beirut… to the 1992 Israeli embassy bombing in Buenos Aires… to the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia… to the hundreds of attacks, masterminded by Qassem Soleimani, on U.S. forces in Iraq.
“Tehran has invested its time and resources into cultivating the terrorists of Hizballah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
“The Iranian regime bears responsibility for their savagery. And it’s also responsible for more than a hundred attacks on U.S. personnel and interests in Iraq and Syria just since President Biden took office.
“These attacks have spiked since October 7th. Two weeks ago, an Iranian-made suicide drone hit a U.S. military barracks in Iraq. Thankfully, the drone’s explosive payload failed to detonate.
“But the message it sent about the state of President Biden’s deterrence of the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism was as clear as day.
“In recent weeks, U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria have been targeted at least another 38 times with lethal force. And more than 40 servicemembers have been injured.
“Let me say that again: Iran-backed terrorists have attacked U.S. forces at least 38 times since October 7th.
“U.S. personnel are, of course, not the only targets of the Iranian war on Western influence in the Middle East. America’s Arab allies have endured repeated attacks, as well.
“This ongoing siege is not the behavior of an adversary that is being effectively deterred. And how we got here is no mystery.
“When the Biden Administration took office, it rushed to restore a failed nuclear agreement with an Iranian regime that had long since proven it wasn’t to be trusted.
“When Iran-backed Houthi rebels killed three people at an airport in the United Arab Emirates and aimed two ballistic missiles at its capital last year, the Administration responded with silence.
“And in response to the latest wave of attacks on U.S. forces, the President authorized a strike on an ammunition facility. His Secretary of State felt compelled to reiterate that, ‘We are not looking for conflict with Iran.’
“So clearly, Iran is looking for conflict with us. The Iranian regime is working hard to kill Americans, undermine our influence, and sow chaos among our allies. And so far, you would have to say they’re succeeding.
“Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad perpetrated the deadliest day of violence against Jews since the Holocaust. Hizballah stands ready – at Iran’s behest – to escalate this conflict into a two-front war. And years of careful progress toward normalized relations between Israel and more of its Arab neighbors has been stalled.
“Demanding that Israel cease fire against Hamas would lock in these gains for Iran. It would grant amnesty for both the terrorists and their sponsors.
“We have a responsibility to reject these demands. Not just on behalf of our ally, Israel, but because amnesty for terrorists would embolden the Iran-backed threats to U.S. interests in the region.
“As I’ve said before, effective deterrence requires both capabilities and credibility. It requires that a global superpower actually act like one.
“In practical terms, deterring Iran and its web of terrorists means meeting attacks on U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria with swift, lethal, and overwhelming military force. It means working with allies to deploy crippling economic sanctions and inhibit Iran’s support for terror.
“And it means finally taking the advice I offered President Biden when he took office: Set aside the failed nuclear deal, work with Republicans, and build an Iran policy that can endure long after he leaves office.”
Related Issues: Iran Nuclear Deal, America's Military, Iran, Israel