Political Analyst: ‘Doesn’t Seem’ Biden’s Middle East Strikes Hitting ‘Meaningful’ Targets

‘It took the Biden administration about five days to hit back after telegraphing what they were going to do.’

Former Republican congressional candidate and political commentator Bryan Leib expressed hope that U.S. military strikes over the weekend in Iraq and Syria will help prevent a wider conflict throughout the Middle East, but expressed doubts that the United States actually hit any significant military targets.

The U.S. strikes in Iraq and Syria, which started on Friday, Feb. 2, targeted locations of suspected Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) forces and militia groups believed to be loyal to be acting at Iran’s behest. The U.S. strikes came in retaliation for a Jan. 28 explosive drone attack in Jordan, believed to have been carried out by an Iran-backed terrorist group, that killed three U.S. service members and injured dozens more.

“I think all of us all Americans, whether we’re on the left or the right you know, we hope that these airstrikes are meaningful, and are hitting targets that are really going to stop the spread of this this terrorism and the war that’s happening in the Middle East right now,” Mr. Leib told NTD’s “Capitol Report” on Monday, Feb. 5. “But I think we also have to be candid about the situation.”

Mr. Leib noted President Joe Biden’s administration had said for days that it had decided on a course of retaliation for the Jan. 28 drone attack, before the U.S. strikes actually began.

“It took the Biden administration about five days to hit back after telegraphing what they were going to do. So, you know, we’ll see if these targets are actually hard targets that are being hit right now,” he continued.

Mr. Leib is urging a wait-and-see approach before celebrating the U.S. strikes.

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“It doesn’t seem like we’ve really hit some critical targets yet. So time will tell in terms of what the targets actually look like,” he said.

Another drone strike hit a base in Syria on Sunday, killing six U.S.-backed Kurdish militia fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The Syrian base that was hit on Sunday is known to host U.S. troops, though none were reported injured in the Sunday drone attack.

U.S. forces also carried out new rounds of strikes on Yemen over the weekend, targeting suspected locations of the Houthi terrorist group, which the U.S. government has assessed to be aligned with Iran.

The U.S. military began conducting strikes in Yemen on Jan. 11 in response to Houthi drone and missile attacks targeting merchant ships transiting the neighboring Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. The Houthis have continued to launch drone and missile attacks since Jan. 11.

Iran Condemns US Strikes

While the U.S. government has repeatedly asserted significant ties exist between the Iranian regime and factions around the Middle East directly attacking U.S. forces or fighting with Israel, the Iranian government has distanced itself from its alleged proxies.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry cheered the Oct. 7 attacks in which Hamas terrorists breached the Gaza barrier and killed over 1,200 Israelis in southern Israel and kidnapped hundreds more, but denied any direct involvement, casting the attacks as a “spontaneous” event.

The Iranian regime has also cheered the Houthi attacks on commercial vessels but has repeatedly denied arming the Yemeni group or directing its actions.

Following the attack Jan. 28 drone attack that killed three U.S. service members in Jordan, the Iranian regime again denied involvement.

“Iran is not involved in the resistance groups’ decisions about how to support the Palestinian people or defend themselves and the people of their countries in the face of any aggression and occupation,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kan’ani said of the Jan. 28 attack.

While the Iranian regime has denied direct ties with groups like Hamas, the Houthis, and other Islamist factions that have targeted U.S. troops in Syria and Iraq, it did condemn the recent U.S. strikes throughout the region.

On Saturday, Mr. Kan’ani said the strikes in Syria and Iraq “embroil the U.S. government in the region more than ever before and overshadow the Zionist regime’s crimes in Gaza,”—referring to the Israeli military’s retaliatory campaign in the Gaza Strip following the Oct. 7 attacks. The Iranian government spokesman said the Middle East won’t return to a sense of stability and security “without focusing on the root cause” of the current Gaza fighting and the broader Israel–Palestinian conflict.

Leib Calls for Return of Trump-Era Iran Policy

Mr. Leib, who has previously expressed support for President Donald Trump’s 2024 campaign, called for a return of the “maximum pressure” campaign that the Trump administration took against Iran, which included pulling the United States out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal—known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—and reimplementing sanctions against Iran.

“Our former president, President Trump, really had a very successful maximum pressure, maximum sanctions campaign that truly did isolate the Islamic Republic of Iran on the world stage,” Mr. Leib said.

According to U.S. Federal Reserve Economic Data, Iran’s share of gross international reserves fell from about $112.5 billion at the start of the Trump administration to about $13.7 billion by the end of his term. Since then, Iran’s gross international reserves have returned to about $24.2 billion.

“My advice to the U.S. and to our allies around the world that are serious about wanting to do something to hamper the Islamic Republic of Iran is it’s time to go back to that maximum pressure, maximum sanctions campaign that truly was working,” Mr. Leib said. “It was isolating the regime.”

Mr. Leib said Iran has grown “exponentially stronger” in recent years and its ties with powerful international partner nations like Russia and China are “at an all-time high.”

“So I don’t know if we could put genie back in the bottle,” Mr. Leib continued. “But if I was the president right now, I would reenact that maximum pressure, maximum sanctions campaign immediately.”

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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