US Airstrikes on Proxy Militias Unlikely to Deter Iran, Says Defense Think Tank
Recent US air strikes on Iran-backed militias in Syria are unlikely to deter Iran from further attacks, a defense think tank assessed on Thursday.
The air strikes, which took place on June 27, were directed against Iran-backed militias along the Syrian-Iraqi border, following an attack on a US military base.
The Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) issued a national security brief pointing out that the US is withdrawing its missile defense systems from the region, and arguing that this sends the “wrong signal” to Iran as the US attempts to renegotiate the 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran, stated the brief, “is likely to continue perceiving the withdrawal of US air defense systems and personnel from the region as a victory, continuing, if not further increasing its attacks, in order to achieve its goal of driving the United States out of the Middle East.”
The brief called Iran’s escalating use of proxies to attack US assets a “counterpressure strategy” intended to force a reduction of its regional footprint and exact American concessions in the ongoing nuclear deal talks in Vienna.
On Thursday, Russian envoy Mikhail Ulyanov said that “some participants” at those talks needed “more time” before negotiations could continue.
The JINSA brief also argued that the US should see Iran’s attacks as part of a regional strategy — one that must be resisted as such.
The US, it said, should leave its air defense systems in place, forge an international coalition to stop Iranian arms shipments, increase collaboration with Israel and Arab allies, and retaliate against Iranian attacks in a consistent manner.
“America’s retaliatory US strikes have clearly been too limited to create deterrence and do not compensate for the US removing regional air defenses and lifting sanctions on Iran,” commented JINSA President and CEO Michael Makovsky.
“They also are not enhancing American leverage in the nuclear talks,” he posited. “The United States needs a more forceful response to create deterrence on the ground and bolster its negotiating stance.”