In November, the tide of daily cable traffic to the U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan brought a chilling message for Ambassador Matthew Bryza, then the top U.S. diplomat to the small Central Asian country. A plot to kill Americans had been uncovered, the message read, and embassy officials were on the target list. . . .
The threat, many details of which were never made public, appeared to recede after Azerbaijani authorities rounded up nearly two dozen people in waves of arrests early this year. Precisely who ordered the hits, and why, was never conclusively determined. But U.S. and Middle Eastern officials now see the attempts as part of a broader campaign by Iran-linked operatives to kill foreign diplomats in at least seven countries over a span of 13 months. The targets have included two Saudi officials, a half-dozen Israelis and — in the Azerbaijan case — several Americans, the officials say.
This is just the latest incident in Iran’s war against the West, and against the United States specifically. Iran has facilitated deaths of Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. It plotted to kill a Saudi diplomat on our soil. And now this.
Does the Obama administration retaliate for these acts of aggression? No, and in fairness the Bush administration enacted no penalty either for the deaths of U.S. troops in Iraq or Afghanistan attributable to Iranian IEDs.
This administration does, however, spend time “getting to know” the Iranians (sorry, but I can’t get the image of State Department flunky Wendy Sherman in 19th-century garb breaking into song). Instead of exacting a price, we offer bribes — lifting sanctions on aircraft parts, for example — and we seek to develop “trust” so we can have another meeting . . . where we can agree on holding another meeting.
If Iran’s uninterrupted progress toward nuclear weaponization were not enough, if Iran’s repeated violations of United Nations resolutions were not enough and if its gross and mass violations of human rights were not enough, you’d think a years-long campaign to assassinate Americans would be sufficient to enlighten the administration as to the danger and motives of a revolutionary jihadist state. But no.
With a competent and responsible administration, we’d be very publicly drawing up a military option, putting ships in the region and consulting with Congress about our options. We might even discuss with Israel its “red lines” — and let that discussion become public. We would be justified in taking all steps needed to unleash a military option and/or to support Israel in the event of hostilities. But we don’t.
In not doing anything other than talking and insisting against all evidence that sanctions ar “working,” we encourage the Iranians to move faster and faster toward attainment of a nuclear weapons capability. To be blunt: By sins of omission, the administration is helping to bring about what Obama said was not “acceptable,” a nuclear-armed Iran.