Let’s take a look at what’s going on in the Middle East

January 31 — For many years, the Middle East has been an area of the world that has seen a lot of strife and conflict. 

The United States has military bases scattered around the area, including Iraq, Syria and Jordan. A number of the bases are not known to the public. 

The past Sunday, an Iranian sponsored group launched a heavily armed suicide drone into one of the American Special Ops bases in the northeastern corner of Jordan, where the Jordanian border meets with Iraq and Syria. 

Three Special Forces soldiers were killed and 34 other soldiers were wounded, some critically. 

PA State Senator Doug Mastriano said, “This is not the first Iranian sponsored attack. The Iranians have been using proxies in Syria and Iraq and Yemen, as well as Hezbollah against the Israelis and Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza against Israel. But this is a catastrophic attack There’ve been about 140 attacks against military bases and personnel in the region. These are not the first American casualties. We’ve had some contractors injured in Iraq about a month ago. When you hear contractors, most of them are former military, working as a contractor advancing American interests in the region. This is a big deal. There’s going to be a counter strike. I imagine it will be sizable, and I just feel like we’re stumbling into a global war.”

In addition to the attack in Jordan, there is the current conflict in Gaza as well as Houthi militia firing off rockets toward shipping vessels in the Red Sea. 

Mastriano said, “Iran is behind it all. Plus, Iran is conducting direct action in the Persian Gulf. They have boarded at least one ship recently. This is a problem when you have the vast majority of the world’s oil reserves going through the Persian Gulf, as well as a good chunk of international trade going through the Red Sea, which passes through the Middle East and Africa, this is causing a problem. Now we have the Houthis taking advantage of this narrow 16 mile straight to attack international shipping. The attacks included American vessels, American naval assets. Iran is pulling strings. They’re encouraging and arming the Houthis in Yemen to attack international shipping. They were behind the attacks and the planning on the 7th of October against Israel. They armed the Islamic Jihad, they armed Hamas in Gaza, and they’re behind Hezbollah on the Israeli border with Lebanon. Now we’re seeing these continued attacks against American bases in Syria and Jordan and Iraq. Iran’s end game is to get the United States out of the region. Iran’s end game part two is to solidify their faith and support that ranges from Persia, Iran, all the way to the Mediterranean Sea and to maintain permanent power over that region.”

Iran has its own internal issues, including protests and youth unemployment. 

Mastriano said, “Iran sees the United States and the Biden administration as failed, as weak, lacking resolve. When you have an administration that has this embargo that’s breaking their economy, that’s designed to get them in line to behave. Then like Obama of old, ship off billions of dollars of cash to them. They’re like, this is fantastic. America is a paper tiger and we’re going to go ahead and redouble our efforts to force the Americans out of the Middle East. They hide behind these proxies, so you’re hard pressed to actually launch a full scale war against Iran. They cause us casualties, they cause us money, they cause turbulence. They disrupt the global economy and trade. Prices are going up now on top of the Biden economics.  Iran is putting pressure on the United States. They are pushing to see how far we’ll go. If you listen to Joe Biden, they promise some kind of response. It sounds like the same old response from before which was feckless and weak and did nothing to intimidate or deter Iranian aggression.”

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “The Biden administration has painted us into a really bad corner right now because you have the hawks who are saying bomb Iran, go ahead and send bombs to Tehran. Then you have the Biden administration, which didn’t use the peace through strength ideals at all and have given the world, including Iran, this impression that we are weak. They think we’re at the verge of a civil war. Thank you, dispute over the border between Democrats and Republicans with the media hyping it the way that they do. What is the next good move here? Because any little move or aggression towards Iran right now could plunge us into World War III. We are so precarious now, especially that we have dead soldiers on top of that. At the same time, what can we do to try to regain that idea of peace through strength when on every front we’ve convinced the world that we are weak?”

“That’s the problem,” Mastriano confirmed. “We had the big lesson learned from appeasement in the 1930s. Hitler occupied the Rhineland, which was a demilitarized zone, industrial Rhineland in 1936 and nobody did anything. Historians like me believe had France and the UK with the League of Nations responded to Hitler, they could have put them in the box right there. Next step, of course, was the strong defensive border areas of Czechoslovakia, then Hitler took all of Czechoslovakia and then he took Austria. After that the Allies were like, next time we’re going to really do something and Hitler’s like, I don’t believe you and he attacks Poland and, of course, World War II breaks out then. We’re finding ourselves in this position now, where there has been a policy of appeasement and weakness by the Biden administration vis a vis Iran. That’s the danger — now we might respond with resolve and Iran might do something that takes us even beyond that.”

What will the Biden administration do? 

Mastriano said, “I think it’s going to be a continuation. There’ll be a couple of dozen missiles fired, either by ship and/or by aircraft and take out a few locations of these proxy terrorist groups in Yemen, and in Syria and Iraq, and it’s a signal of some strength. What I do recommend is that we hit hard, a multi pronged attack. This is me now. I’d be surprised if the Biden administration does this. We should go after all of their commanding locations of senior leaders of these Iranian groups and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, located these locations, coordinating these attacks. We should hit them hard and fierce in Syria and Iraq and Yemen and then any other further strikes need to be with overwhelming force, and they need to be smacked down so much that it sets them back several weeks.”

Jansen wondered, “What do you think of the chances that we strike back hard like this?”

Mastriano said, “Well, I mean, it’s election year, so I remember in 1992 after Desert Storm, I came back to the states and after going to the US Army Intelligence School for the advanced course, I was shipped off to the Pentagon, a real, real fun place to be as a captain. I was at the army watch desk, near the National Military Command Center, and had a lot of problems in Somalia. President Bush was poised and it looked like he was going to lose the presidential election because of Ross Perot stealing a third of the votes away and giving Bill Clinton the advantage, but we had Somalia brewing and he was on the cusp of deploying our troops to Somalia. Had he done that before the election, he would have won because you have a surge of support for the incumbent. George Bush, Sr., a very honorable man. We got word at the Army watch, the Army desk that he was going to wait until after the election. He did not want to unduly influence the outcome. Imagine that, a politician with integrity and honor. Wow. But he lost as a result. In this case here, the Biden administration, whoever is calling the shots, I think they’ll play it anyway that they think it’s going to help Joe Biden win re-election. That includes having a war going on.”

What about a potential hostage exchange with Gaza? 

Mastriano said, “This is all part of the equation. This is all in the context of the region and the biggest of the course is Israel, and what happened to them on 7th October. What those terrorists, murderers, rapists did was a violation of international agreements of normal law, violation of the Nuremberg process and those Gazans, whether they are in Israel, killing and raping, or beating and spitting on bodies of beautiful Israeli women and children in the streets, they’re culpable and guilty. In 1940, only 10% of the German population were Nazis. It didn’t matter. The Nazi Party ran Germany and called the shots. So although we hear a lot of oh, we need a ceasefire. Imagine if this attack had happened to America. The equivalent would be 30,000 dead Americans and none of us would tolerate restraint, ceasefire. Every American with a brain would be like smack those people down, avenge our losses, secure our borders and get the job done. Hamas, they’re disgusting. They’re using innocent women and children and men as hostages. We see them paraded on TV, disgustingly, in awful shape, with blood on their faces, unkept, starving, and they’re using them as pawns to try to get something out of the Israelis. They said about 80% of these tunnels are still being used by Hamas to run around and store weapons, to conduct terrorist raids from schools, and so they need to get the job done. But what they’re seeing from the Biden Administration is more weakness. The Biden administration is saying to be measured, slow down. Let’s talk about a ceasefire. We’re going to cut off our weapons shipment if you don’t work with us on this and this does not help us because Iran sees the and is like that is fantastic. We’re seeing more weakness from the United States, let’s keep the pressure up. We need to pray. We need to pray that our leadership has wisdom and discernment to make the right decisions and no longer fall into this weakness and this appeasement and it’s very Wilsonian that I’ll be able to talk us out of this crisis. No, you can’t. A lot of these groups in Iran, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, the Houthis, they want us dead. And that’s what you’re dealing with.”

Congressman John Joyce said, “I want to take a moment and recognize the incredible bravery of our men and women in uniform during harm’s way. The three service members that were killed, as well as the dozens who were injured and wounded. These are all truly American heroes and their commitment to our nation and to the security of each of us. That represents the best our nation has to offer. These brave men and women served in harm’s way and they deserve civilian leadership that projects strength and makes it clear that attacks on Americans, either at home or abroad will never be tolerated and that those who commit attacks on Americans will be swiftly and fiercely punished. Ultimately, Biden has failed to provide that leadership and since October 7th attacks perpetrated by Hamas, more than 150 additional attacks have been carried out on American bases and on American ships. These drone attacks represent a dangerous escalation from Iran-backed terrorists. They’re terrorists and their continued attacks are evidence of the fact that the current slate of missile strikes have failed to deter these threats. Under President Trump, we all remember, we killed Iranian leaders who authorized these types of attacks. It’s clear that the United States needs to return to the strong leadership that kept our American troops safe and as we respond to terrorism we need to bind together and hold accountable the terrorists who threaten American lives.”

Jansen said, “It’s astounding. This administration has backed itself into a corner. We’ve had three years of missteps by almost everything that’s been done in the foreign venue. What do you anticipate is going to happen now?”

Joyce noted, “We saw the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal that Biden was unable to successfully do. He is not up to the task of leading during this international crisis. The evidence is clear that we need new leadership in the White House. The evidence to me is clear that we need Donald J. Trump to return to the White House. What are we going to do? Boy, I’ll tell you, I look for leadership, and I don’t see it occurring. I don’t see it occurring with Lloyd Austin. I don’t see it occurring with President Biden. I think it’s going to be up to a strong House of Representatives to take those necessary steps. But we need to be included as they evolve. And we’re not seeing it right now. I’ll tell you so far, I haven’t seen that courage, I haven’t seen that leadership occur from the Biden administration.”