America Should Follow Israel’s Lead on Iran

For years, Iran’s rockets, missiles, and drones have terrorized the Middle East and, more recently, Ukraine. With its recent attacks on multiple Iranian military interests, including reportedly targeting a meeting of Iranians and Syrians to discuss drone manufacturing on February 19, Israel appears to be the only country consistently and proactively countering Tehran’s threats to regional and global security. The United States should be encouraging, supporting, and joining Israel in taking strong action to prevent Iran from carrying out terrorism and advancing its nuclear program.

Israeli drone attacks struck three Iranian targets between January 28-30: an Iranian military facility in Isfahan overnight on January 28, a convoy of six Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)-linked trucks reportedly carrying Iranian weapons along the Syria-Iraq border on January 29, and Iranian-backed militia leaders in Syria on January 30.

These attacks continue Israel’s strategy to directly confront, roll back, and deter Iran’s military expansionism. Since Israel began its “campaign between the wars” in 2015, it has launched airstrikes to degrade the capabilities of Iran and its partner militias and prevent Tehran from proliferating precision weaponry. Under former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Israel adopted the “octopus doctrine” of imposing costs directly on the Iranian head in addition to the regime’s proxy tentacles across the Middle East.

Over the last eight years, the visible results of Israel’s approach amount to over 400 airstrikes against Iran’s regionwide military expansion, including 350 in Syria, over fifty in Lebanon, four in Iran, and one in Iraq, according to data compiled by JINSA.

The United States, in contrast, has been far more subdued in confronting Iran. In the two years since President Joe Biden took office, there have been eighty attacks on U.S. troops or contractors in Iraq and Syria, with Iranian-backed groups firing over 230 projectiles, including 170 rockets and sixty drones, according to JINSA’s Iran Projectile Tracker, which we compile. Yet, the Biden administration has launched only three rounds of airstrikes on Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Syria.

Originally published in National Interest.