Intel suggest Iran plans more proxy attacks in Middle East
Washington Free Beacon:
Intelligence indicates that the Iranian regime is using its terror proxy groups to conduct attacks on ships operating in the Strait of Hormuz, a critical Persian Gulf shipping lane that has become the center of international tensions as Tehran seeks to foment instability in reaction to President Donald Trump's efforts to strangle the hardline regime.The US needs to put more pressure on the Iranian proxies. It has had some success in doing so against Hezballah and it needs to put additional pressure on the Iraq proxies and the Houthis in Yemen. At the same time it needs to hold the Iranian regime responsible for these attacks.
U.S. intelligence collected over the past month had indicated that Iran has been installing missiles on small vessels in the Gulf region. Tehran is relying on a large network of terror proxies and allies to attack not only commercial vessels in the region, but also U.S. military assets stationed there.
Iran has a long history of conducting terror attacks in this manner, fueling worry in the Trump administration that Tehran could carry out a large-scale attack via its terror networks. In just the past two years, Iran has been identified as being responsible for at least 143 attacks against shipping vessels in the Gulf, according to expert analyses of the ongoing tensions in the region.
There is further evidence Tehran is developing a range of tactical weapons and smaller vessels that could pose significant problems for the U.S. Navy and its larger boats, according to U.S. intelligence assessments and experts.
The Trump administration has responded by sending greater U.S. military assets to the region and issuing a range of sanctions. Trump himself has warned the Iranian regime at multiple junctures, including during the weekend, that any attack on the United States or its allies will result in a crushing response.
Four commercial ships were damaged last week in the Gulf and carry the hallmarks of Iranian-backed attacks.
"While details remain murky, this development underscores how Tehran and its proxies may exploit maritime vulnerabilities in the region," the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, or FDD, a think-tank with close ties the Trump administration, noted in a recent policy brief on the situation.