United States Undermines Deterrent Value of Its Strikes Against Iran-linked Targets

Overnight on October 26, the United States conducted its first airstrikes against Iran-linked tar-gets since the start of the Israel-Gaza war on October 7. The U.S. airstrikes were clearly in-tended to build deterrence against the Iranian regime and its proxies amid an Iran-backed escalation against U.S. forces in the Middle East. Yet, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s statement after the airstrikes and reporting that the Biden administration only launched the strikes after learning of an American fatality undermined their deterrent value by indicating a reluctance to use military force. Regardless of the cost that the recent U.S. airstrike imposed, deterring Tehran and its proxy groups will require consistent and strong military force that holds the Iranian regime directly accountable for the aggression it enables alongside a surge of air defense assets to the Middle East that can better protect U.S. personnel and regional partners.

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Ari Cicurel – Assistant Director of Foreign Policy