It is unclear whether Iran chose the exact date and time of the Hamas attacks, but the detail is irrelevant. The Islamic Republic of Iran has funded, coordinated, trained, and armed Hamas and other proxies for years. Should Israel not definitively succeed in eliminating Hamas, Iran will learn a critical lesson: its strategy works. What does Iran want from this war? Eventually, hegemonic control of the Middle East; in the meantime, derailing normalization between Israel and the Arab states, eliminating any moderate Palestinian political players, and total control of the revitalized Palestinian question in the region. Iran’s influence isn’t limited to its proxies in the Middle East either – it has an unprecedented strategic alliance with Russia and a growing partnership with the People’s Republic of China. So, why the international equivocation on Iran? Sanctions are needed, tightening the loopholes for Iranian financing of terrorist proxies is needed… Iran must pay a price for fomenting this war.
Kenneth M. Pollack is a senior fellow at AEI, where he works on Middle Eastern political-military affairs, focusing in particular on Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf countries. Before joining AEI, Dr. Pollack was affiliated with the Brookings Institution, where he was a senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy. Before that, he was the center’s director and director of research. Dr. Pollack served twice at the National Security Council, first as director for Near East and South Asian affairs and then as director for Persian Gulf affairs. He began his career as a Persian Gulf military analyst at the CIA, where he was the principal author of the CIA’s classified postmortem on Iraqi strategy and military operations during the Persian Gulf War.