Our recent actions involving Iran are not only correct but long overdue. The mainstream media and unfortunately, many in our own government, have constantly tried to downplay the danger Iran poses to the United States and its interests.
The assault on the US Embassy in Baghdad on December 31st 2019 was not a protest, it was an intentional attack with extreme prejudice. The meeting of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad Airport was nothing short of deliberate with intention to direct more attacks on Americans in Iraq and to disrupt Iraq’s stability.
Many, unfortunately, don’t know the history of our issues with Iran nor the very dangerous yet indirect tactics Iran employs.
Iran’s Islamic Revolution and the 1980’s
In 1979, Iran went through its Islamic Revolution which overthrew its ruler “The Shah”. The Shah was widely criticized for his excesses and abuses of power, allowing the religious leaders of Iran, namely Ayatollah Khomeini, to rally Iranians against the Shah and remove him from power. The Shah was a strong ally of the United States and key figure in countering communism and as he entered exile received tremendous support from the US and its allies.
In late October 1979, President Jimmy Carter, against the advice of key cabinet members, allowed the Shah to enter the United States for medical treatment in New York City. This infuriated the new Islamic regime in Iran, and on November 4th 1979, Iranian protestors seized control of the US Embassy in Tehran, Iran and took 52 American hostages. Despite intense negotiation, military posturing and ultimately a failed rescue attempt called “Operation Eagle Claw”, the hostages would remain in captivity for 444 days. The November 4th taking of hostages was after several kidnapping attempts over the past several months as well as an Iranian sponsored assassination of the US Ambassador to Afghanistan. The authorities in Iran quickly rallied to support the hostage takers. On January 29, 1980, in the final hours of Carter’s administration, the hostages were released. But this was only the beginning of Iran’s belligerence and terrorism.
By 1983, Lebanon was in civil war, a war that also drew the Syrians and Israelis. At the center of the violence in Lebanon was, and continues to be, Hezbollah (“The Party of God”) which is both a political and paramilitary organization backed by Iran. When the United States and France entered Lebanon as part of the multinational peacekeeping force, along with other nations, Iran leveraged Hezbollah to wage acts of violent terrorism against the peacekeepers. The bombing of the US Embassy in Beirut in April 1983 and the murder of 241 US Marines and almost 60 French Paratroopers on October 23rd, 1983 were all the work of the Iranian backed Hezbollah. Throughout the 1980’s Iran sponsored hijackings, kidnappings, and the murder of Americans across Europe and the Middle East.
(For an in-depth account of that go to: https://www.americangrit.com/2019/10/17/marine-history-101-beirut-and-grenada/)
The “Tanker War” of the late 1980’s was another episode of Iran’s menacing. Iran conducted a campaign of violence, extortion, and intimidation against its Arabian Gulf neighbors. This resulted in a major expansion of US Naval presence in the region and the reflagging of tankers to insure the protection by the US.
Iran Slips into Obscurity
In 1990, Iran was exhausted and bloodied from almost a decade of war with Iraq. And with Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait on August 2nd, 1990, the US and its allies were no longer focused on Iran but now Iraq. Through the 1990’s and even through the Global War on Terrorism of the 2000’s , Iran wasn’t seen as a relevant player. But make no mistake, Iran took full advantage of this obscurity and the chaos happening around it in Iraq, Afghanistan, and its usual areas of meddling such as Lebanon. During this time, Iran was continuing to develop a nuclear weapons program and truthfully never stopped menacing the flow of trade in the gulf region. In a recent interview with retired USMC Brigadier General Joseph Medina, it was clearly stated that in the early to mid-2000- ‘s, Iran continued to be a problem for maritime forces. Medina had led an Expeditionary Strike Group in the region during that time. Iran also made every attempt to meddle with Iraq’s rebuilding by supporting Shiite insurgencies in the predominantly Shiite areas of Basra and Najaf.
Outside of military operations, nuclear developments, and support for its proxies like Hezbollah, Iran was taking yet another step into the absurd. Between 2005-2013, Iran was led by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who was determined to get Iran back on the radar for all the wrong reasons. Ahmadinejad loved using the media to promote his political stunts, namely his annual holocaust denial event that drew anti-Semites from around the world. Iran also entered an odd alliance with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, which despite their best efforts ended up being a bad episode of “Dumb and Dumber.”
In January 2016, Iran tried to play games by seizing US Navy patrols, taking US Sailors prisoner and were not met with any consequence. This of course, was exploited by Iran to garner support and intimidate other Gulf States. Not to mention the famous nuclear deal and releasing of financial assets in 2015.
Not Playing Anymore
Iran has been dealt some hard lessons recently that the United States simply is not playing their game anymore. This past summer, Iran attempted to give new life to the “Tanker War” of the 1980’s, threatening movement through the Strait of Hormuz. The US Navy along with key players in the region, such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), sent a clear message to Iran as to who is “ruling the waves”.
Then of course we have the Iranian instigated and supported assault on the US Embassy in Baghdad on December 31, 2019. No doubt the Iranians were banking on no response such as Mogadishu in 1993 and of course 2012 in Benghazi.
The immediate response by 100 members of 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines assigned to the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force, supported by significant air assets put an immediate stop to the assault on our embassy and secured it in short order. The operation by Marines, and now follow on forces from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, should send a loud message that we are ready in every situation and place to do what needs to be done in the name of American security.
Don’t Believe the Hype
The mainstream media, many in congress, and of course pop culture would like us all to believe we are provoking war with Iran. The airstrike killed top Iranian military leaders including General Qasem Soleimani who oversaw organizing and leading Iranian sponsored operations outside of Iran against the US and its Allies. His death was a necessary step in disrupting Iran’s operations outside of Iran, therefore avoiding war. Iran has played games with us for the better part forty years and always leaned on our fears of retaliation from them and the media hype that we are seeking war.
What we are doing is responding accordingly to protect American personnel and property. This is what the world needs to see from us and the message Iran needs to receive, plain and simple.