This National Review article is by military historian Victor Davis Hanson.
Here are the 5 mistakes:
All of the areas are important, but I want to focus on the one that I think is going to hurt us the most: Iran.
Dr. Hanson writes:
Sanctions were starting to squeeze Iran, which had been unable to absorb Shiite-dominated Iraq. Unrest in Iran was rising, spearheaded by pro-Western young reformers. Less than a month after Barack Obama’s inauguration, over a million Iranians hit the streets to protest their country’s rigged elections. The Europeans were beginning to understand that a nuclear Iran posed a greater threat of nuclear blackmail to the EU than to the U.S.
Poland and the Czech Republic had agreed to partner with the U.S. in creating an anti-ballistic missile system to deter Iran’s growing missile program. The U.S. and its friends occasionally sent armadas slowly through the Strait of Hormuz to remind Iran that we were determined that international waters would always remain international.
So what happened?
The new Obama administration kept silent as the pro-Western Iranian protests deflated. In herky-jerky style, Obama at first upped the sanctions as Tehran ignored his serial empty deadlines on curbing enrichment. Then, unilaterally and without much warning, Obama relaxed sanctions. He reopened negotiations, even as Iran’s centrifuges multiplied. Currently, Iran is on the cusp of nuclear acquisition, and it quietly advises its supporters that the U.S. is both weak and naïve — and will soon be gone from the region.
Tehran is creating a sort of Co-Prosperity Sphere at the expense of Sunni and Western interests, as it sabotages Iraq, Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon. There is no longer talk of regional U.S.-led missile defense.
In brilliantly diabolical fashion, Iran has maneuvered a deer-in-the-headlights U.S. into an embarrassing de facto alliance with it against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The partnership was designed by Tehran to save the pro-Iranian Assad government, to bolster Hezbollah, to relieve diplomatic pressures on its own nuclear-enrichment program, and to increase tensions between the U.S. and the Sunni moderate states like Jordan and the Gulf monarchies.
There has never been a greater likelihood than there is now, under Obama, that Iran will get the bomb, that it will create a radical theocratic Shiite alliance from Yemen to Iraq to Syria to Lebanon, and that it will direct Hamas and Hezbollah to start another war against Israel — this time backed by an Iranian nuclear deterrent.
Right now, people are making a lot of noise about Islamic State, and that is a significant threat in the near term. But that will not be nearly as bad as the development of nuclear weapons by Iran. They have already stated that they want to wipe Israel off the map. With our porous southern border, we should expect to be targeted as well. Iran has had their Al Quds special forces deployed to Venezuela for years now.
The Washington Times reported this in 2010:
Iran is increasing its paramilitary Qods force operatives in Venezuela while covertly continuing supplies of weapons and explosives to Taliban and other insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to the Pentagon’s first report to Congress on Tehran’s military.
The report on Iranian military power provides new details on the group known formally as the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), the Islamist shock troops deployed around the world to advance Iranian interests. The unit is aligned with terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, North Africa and Latin America, and the report warns that U.S. forces are likely to battle the Iranian paramilitaries in the future.
The Qods force “maintains operational capabilities around the world,” the report says, adding that “it is well established in the Middle East and North Africa and recent years have witnessed an increased presence in Latin America, particularly Venezuela.”
[…]The report gives no details on the activities of the Iranians in Venezuela and Latin America. Iranian-backed terrorists have conducted few attacks in the region. However, U.S. intelligence officials say Qods operatives are developing networks of terrorists in the region who could be called to attack the United States in the event of a conflict over Iran’s nuclear program.
[…]The report links Qods force operatives and the larger IRGC to some of the deadliest terrorist attacks of the past 30 years: the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut in 1983, the bombing of a Jewish center in Argentina in 1994, the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia and many insurgent attacks in Iraq since 2003.
That was 2010, but fast forward to 2011, and we have Iran attempting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador on U.S. soil.
The radically leftist Huffington Post reported this in 2011:
When Attorney General Holder announced today that federal authorities had thwarted a “made for Hollywood” murder-for-hire plot by alleged Iranian-linked operatives tied to Mexico drug cartels to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S, it came as no surprise to counter-terrorism experts familiar with Iran’s terrorist activities in Latin America. Iran’s terror plotting south of the border has been a well-known fact — orchestrated by the Al Quds paramilitary wing of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a terrorist organization very well versed in the the art of the tango and tortillas for some time.
For over two decades, Al Quds operatives and their proxies from terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East have been deployed throughout Iran’s embassies in Latin America — most recently in Venezuela and Mexico.
Starting in the late 1980s and early 1990s, using Hezbollah as initial cover, Al Quds masterminds began populating the “failed state” region in Latin American known as the Tri-Border Area (TBA) of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay as a base from which to train Islamic extremists. The 1992 and 1994 attacks against Jewish and Israeli interests in Buenos Aires originated in the TBA. A veritable Star Wars bar scene of terrorists have reportedly been trained by Al Quds in the TBA and have taken shelter at one time or another there, including Iran proxy terrorists belonging to Hezbollah, Hamas, and al-Gama al Islamiya — all under the watchful patronage of Iran’s Al Quds operatives.
The TBA is ideal for laundering terrorist identities because once an operative enters Paraguay he/she can just drive into Brazil and return without the need for showing a passport.
Obama has been as serious about this threat from Iran as he has been about prosecuting the IRS for targeting Tea Party organizations, as he has been about defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court, as he has been about lowering the costs of health care, and so on. He wants to be on the golf course or giving speeches where he jabs his Republican opponents.
With respect to this Iran problem, Obama’s policy has been to effectively tell them go ahead and build the nuclear weapons. We are not going to be able to just make 8 years of clowning around disappear. This is going to hurt. People are going to die.
Filed under: News, Border Security, Egypt, Foreign Policy, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Libya, National Security