Is Biden Reenlisting in the Forever Wars?

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by Pat Buchanan, Townhall:

Thursday, in its first military action, the Biden Pentagon sent two U.S. F-15Es to strike targets of Kataib Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia just inside the eastern border of Syria.

The U.S. strikes were in retaliation for a missile attack on a U.S. base in Irbil, capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, which killed a contractor and wounded a U.S. soldier.

“We’re confident that the target was being used by the same Shia militia that conducted the strikes,” said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

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But Democratic Sens. Tim Kaine and Chris Murphy want to know where President Joe Biden got his authority to launch attacks in Syria, where there was no clear or present danger to any U.S. troops.

Days before the U.S. strike, Kataib Hezbollah issued a statement denying any complicity in the Irbil attack: “We absolutely did not target Erbil or the Green Zone and have no knowledge of the group that did.”

Iran has also denied any involvement in the missile attack on the Americans. On a visit to Baghdad, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif called for an investigation as to who is initiating the attacks inside Iraq.

“We emphasize the need for the Iraqi government to find the perpetrators of these incidents,” said Zarif.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russian forces in Syria got only four or five minutes’ notice that U.S. planes were on their way to a strike.

Bottom line: Those conducting these attacks on U.S. bases and troops in Iraq, provoking American counterstrikes, seek to ignite a conflict between the U.S. and Iran, and its proxies in Iraq and Syria.

And they are succeeding.

Biden broke with former President Donald Trump on the latter’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal and impose “maximum pressure” sanctions to compel Iran to negotiate a more restrictive deal. But Biden has yet to reveal his own strategy or goals in dealing with Tehran.

Is he willing to accept a return to the nuclear deal the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, China and Russia negotiated with Iran in 2015? And if that deal is now no longer adequate, how does Biden propose to get Iran to negotiate and agree to a tougher deal?

The leverage we have are the sanctions Trump imposed. If Biden lifts those in return for Iran returning to the terms of the 2015 deal, he surrenders all of his leverage for a new deal covering Tehran’s missile development and aid to Shia militias in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

But if Biden refuses to lift the Trump sanctions, Iran is likely to revive its nuclear enrichment program, give up on the U.S. and elect a hardline regime this year that could adopt a policy of attacking U.S. interests and personnel across the region until the Americans go home.

Six weeks into his administration, Biden seems in danger of being drawn back indefinitely into the forever wars of the Middle East.

In Afghanistan, under the terms of the peace deal negotiated with the Taliban in 2020, all U.S. troops are to be out of the country by May 1.

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