Friday, August 19, 2016

America's Deadly Tango with Iran

  Professor Daniel M. Zucker 

Codex-Politics, Omedia, January 18, 2008                                                            Israpost, August 2, 2008                                                       

[The following essay is re-issued eight and a half years later in the hopes that the next president of the United States will realize the utter folly of Obama’s policy of “leading from behind”, and re-assert a forceful American response towards any aggressive behavior by Iran or other Islamist entities. The IRGC Navy’s recent behavior in the Gulf (31 aggressive incidents towards the U.S. Navy alone this year) indicates that this essay’s premise still holds true.]

In the convoluted world of Middle East politics and diplomacy, the American relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) remains one of the most difficult to fathom. However, of late, the dense fog that emanates from the Persian Gulf and also swirls so frequently along the shores of the Potomac that the area is known locally as “Foggy Bottom”—that veil of fog has lifted, and for once a relatively clear view is possible for those willing to look. Islamic Iran’s policies on the ground, particularly in Iraq, are directly related to our own forcefulness or timidity towards the mullah regime. It has been noted that the Iranian supply of the EFPs (Explosively Formed Penetrators) that have been so deadly for our troops (and have been the single largest cause of fatalities for Coalition troops) dropped in the final several months of 2007.[1] However, General David H. Petraeus reports that during the first two weeks of 2008, the trend has reversed and Iranian supply of EFPs is definitely once again significantly on the rise.[2]
In the deadly tango in which the United States of America and the Islamic Republic of Iran are currently engaged on the dance floor known as Iraq, the choreography frequently has been difficult to ascertain. However, now the steps are clear: when the U.S. advances, Iran retreats, and when the U.S. acts timidly, Iran advances. The reduction in EFP supply by Iran and usage by its proxies was a direct result of the “Surge” strategy and the aggressive (and long overdue) application of the label of “Foreign Terrorist Organization” by the U.S. State Department to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Conversely, the renewed supply and increased usage of EFPs more recently is a reflection of Iranian regime confidence in the wake of the State Department’s ill-timed release in December of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran. As soon as Tehran felt that the U.S. had blinked in its confrontation with Tehran over the Iranian nuclear weapons program, the mullah regime returned to the offensive.
The January 6th IRGC Navy confrontation with the U.S. navy in the Straits of Hormuz was a further example of the regime seeing itself in a position of advantage as a result of the NIE. Timed to cause President Bush embarrassment, it failed when the U.S. warships didn’t follow the example of the British Royal Navy’s surrender in late March 2007.
There will be, no doubt, those that see no connection between American diplomatic actions and how Iran behaves toward it in Iraq, the Persian Gulf, or elsewhere in the Middle East. I would suggest that such a view suffers from serious myopia.
It’s time for the U.S. and the West to realize that, as inventors of the game, the Iranians are playing chess, while we’ve been playing checkers. Unless we in the West (the U.S. State Department included) continue to keep applying serious pressure on all fronts against the Tehran mullocracy, the IRI will continue on the offensive.
After all, in the warped view of these mullahs militant Islam caused the downfall and collapse of the USSR through its defeat of the Soviets in Afghanistan. With the aid of al-Qaeda, a U.S. defeat in Iraq will mean the demise of the “global Arrogance” (i.e., the United States), the opportunity to eradicate the “Little Satan” (i.e., Israel), and the chance to establish a global Islamic empire, led by Iran.
Reality, of course, is different, but it is that myth of militant Islamic superiority that drives the mullahs to exploit every occasion when they sense timidity or retreat on our part. Never was Teddy Roosevelt’s advice more apt: “Walk softly, but carry a BIG stick.”
Rabbi Dr. Daniel M. Zucker, author of over one hundred articles on the Middle-East, is founder and Chairman of the Board of Americans for Democracy in the Middle-East, an organization dedicated to teaching the public about the dangers posed by radical Islamic fundamentalism. Rabbi Zucker may be contacted at:  and/or

[1] Yochi J. Dreazen & Jay Solomon, “U.S. Officials Differ Over Iran”, Wall Street Journal, December 27, 2007,
[2] Emily Schultz, et. al., “U.S.: Iranian bombs rise in Iraq”, CNN, January 12, 2008,

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