Former US intelligence chief on ‘Post’: Biden surrenders to Iran – opinion

President Joe Biden’s national security team appears to insist on overturning policies simply because they were attached to the Trump administration, regardless of the dire consequences. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Middle East, where we have traded four years of peace by force for four months of violence by weakness.

The Middle East is like an ancient puzzle of interconnected interests, histories, alliances and suspicions. For decades we have tried to put pieces of ill-fitting pieces together, or sometimes to explode the puzzle and start from scratch.

The Trump administration took an entirely different approach that began with seeing every piece of the Middle East puzzle – allies and adversaries – as it was, with clear eyes. This clarity has enabled policymakers to take bold action to support our friends and deter our enemies.

Alarmists, including current Secretary of State Antony Blinken, have warned that keeping a decades-old promise to move the US embassy to Jerusalem would set a regional powder keg on fire. Many of the same detractors have said removing Iranian terrorist leader Qasem Soleimani from the battlefield will start a war.

In both cases, the opposite happened. Our potential partners, Arabs and Jews, saw that it was possible to break out of archaic molds and approach old problems with new ideas – and potential troublemakers realized that there were real consequences to them. malicious actions.

But rather than build on that foundation of stability, the Biden administration has inexplicably reverted to the failed and chaotic policies of the past, especially when it comes to the main patron of terror in the Middle East: Iran. .

In 2015, the Obama-Biden administration sent an unmarked plane containing $ 400 million – stacked on wooden pallets – to the Iranian regime, coinciding with the formal implementation of the Iran nuclear deal. But even that turned out to be just their down payment on a staggering $ 100 billion that was ultimately paid to the regime when sanctions were lifted and Iranian assets were unfrozen.

As the Trump administration faced the deadly domino effect of the world’s leading terrorist sponsor state being newly overflowed with money, our intelligence was consistent and clear: Iran used that money to fund attacks in the region against American interests and allies.

Armed with this intelligence – and other in-depth knowledge of the Iranian regime’s strategies and tactics – policymakers devised a campaign of maximum pressure that crippled the regime’s ability to export terror. An idea at the heart of this approach was simple: We should no longer be giving billions of dollars to America’s enemies in the hope that they might decide to love us after all, or to radical regimes in the hope that they will love us after all. ‘they will suddenly become responsible citizens of the world.

The strategic realignment of the Middle East and the resulting wave of Arab-Israeli normalization agreements negotiated by the United States were not the result of cash payments: it happened because the Arab nations wanted actually do it.

Even in the US Congress, another turbulent environment, the Abraham Accords produced an overwhelming two-party system, with ninety-one senators co-sponsoring a supporting resolution. Such bipartisanship in foreign affairs produces long-term continuity, unlike the Iran deal which was – and continues to be – almost universally opposed by Republicans.

By stepping up the pressure on Iran, alongside Israel, and welcoming Arab partners into the fold, the Trump administration has created an environment for negotiation that has in fact produced peaceful and prosperous results. With this clear track record of success, why would America’s leaders consider reverting to the failed model of the past?

And yet one of the first acts of the Biden administration was to return hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to Palestinian organizations, supposedly set up as humanitarian aid programs, which in reality only perpetuated the conflict. by removing the responsibility of local authorities to care for and protect their citizens.

Less than a month after this decision, rockets are raining again on Israel. But even then, the attention of Biden’s foreign policy team was focused 1,500 miles away, on Vienna, where they are desperately trying to revive the deal with Iran that made it possible. in Tehran to finance terrorism in the region in the first place. These two things are inextricably linked.

There is little doubt among intelligence officials and analysts in various countries that many rockets in the stockpile launched by Hamas were either purchased by Iran, built by Iran, or launched by militants who have been trained by Iran. It’s no wonder then that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei recently hailed the terrorist group’s “show of power” in Gaza – and in turn Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh thanked Iran for “providing funds and arms” to their efforts.

If the Biden administration continues its momentum, reinstates a nuclear deal with Iran and lifts sanctions against the regime, that will be tantamount to giving them another plane full of cash. Billions of dollars will again be used to wreak havoc in the region and allow the Islamic Republic to continue seeking to fulfill its mission of eradicating Israel from the map.

One of the goals of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is to establish and maintain control over territory in Syria that would allow them to launch rockets at Israel at their discretion.

During this time, they will continue to fund Hezbollah in Lebanon, giving them another geographic location from which to attack the Jewish state. Soon, geography and mathematics could combine to overwhelm Israel’s Iron Dome defense system. At this point – and perhaps long before – the prospect of major regional conflict would likely be inevitable.

Tragically, even though the connection between the Iranian regime and the recent violence is so clear, any condemnation of Iran has been conspicuously absent from the talking points of the Biden administration. Instead, Biden appeared to take part of the credit for the Israel-Hamas ceasefire, like an arsonist showing up to take credit for putting out a fire he helped start.

Perhaps even more disconcerting, Team Biden put Israel, our close ally, on a par with Hamas, a terrorist organization, by claiming that both sides were responsible for the violence. It is a disturbing foreign policy approach and a staggering false moral equivalence.

Instead, the Biden administration should focus on expanding the Abrahamic Accords, promoting a normalization deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel, and establishing an Israeli peace bloc in the Emirates that would isolate Iran and would in fact create a real incentive for them to change their position. .

One foreign policy challenge that threatens to undermine the ability of the United States to move forward on global security issues is that our foreign adversaries are simply waiting for us. They endure the uncompromising approach of an administration long enough to be relieved when a new group arrives. It must stop.

We need a bipartisan consensus on our most important security concerns. We’re getting there on China, our main national security threat – and another area where the Trump administration has taken a fundamentally different approach.

Now we need it on Iran, and we must stick to the approach that has produced results and exported peace, rather than terror. And it doesn’t matter which US administration created it.

John Ratcliffe was the 6th US Director of National Intelligence and President of the America First Policy Institute.

About Keith Tatum

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