Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) describes the relationship between Iran and Hamas in simple terms. If your neighbor owns a pit bull, feeds it, cares for it, and decides one day to let it roam the neighborhood with no supervision, and that dog bites someone, we know who is to blame. Society puts the dog down - the immediate threat - and then turns to deal with the owner. Hamas is the attack dog of Iran. Israel's first issue is dealing with that vicious attack dog. But a larger issue still looms.
What to do about Iran? There's no question Iran is involved in Hamas's terrorist strikes against Israel. The US State Department has listed Hamas and Hizballah as terrorist organizations since 1997. The Trump administration added the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to the list in 2019. All of these are arms of Iran. They're funded, supported, and given material instructions by the Iranians.
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani praised Hamas in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. He said, "What took place today is in line with the continuation of victories for the anti-Zionist resistance in different fields, including Syria, Lebanon and occupied lands." Meanwhile, "Iranian state television showed clips of parliament members standing and chanting 'Death to Israel' and 'Palestine is victorious.'"
Iran then "pledged Iranian support to the Hamas operation against Israel." Iran Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei went further, saying, "God willing, the cancer of the usurper Zionist regime will be eradicated at the hands of the Palestinian people and the Resistance forces throughout the region."
There's no distance between how the Iranians think and talk about Jews and how Adolph Hitler described Jews in Mein Kampf. Khamenei's quote is nearly identical to this line from Hitler, "Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord."
Groups like Yad Vashem help record these lines to remind the world what the worst monsters of humanity think and believe. It's awful to read, but we cannot turn away. When people tell you who they are, believe them. Hamas entered Israel to kill Jews. Full stop.
John Podhoretz wrote of the mindset Israel will have moving forward: "When a Jew dies of natural causes, we say 'may his memory be for a blessing.' But as COMMENTARY's Meir Y. Soloveichik reminded us in the wake of the Tree of Life slaughter five years ago, when a Jew is murdered, we say something starker. We say Hashem Yikom Damam. We say: May God avenge their blood."
The trail of blood ends in Iran. Everyone knows this, including the Biden administration. The White House is trying to play a semantic song-and-dance where they say, "Iran is a state sponsor of terror, and has always been that." But also claim simultaneously, "there's no evidence Iran was involved here."
It makes no sense. Iran built Hamas, funds them, and shares the same mission. The leading report we have right now is that Iran helped plan the Hamas attack and gave final approval. It also wasn't a random attack - Hamas terrorists had extensive maps and military plans; they identified and attacked critical weak points in Israeli security.
The WSJ Editorial Board was correct in noticing a missing word in Biden's speech on Hamas and Israel: "President Biden on Tuesday showed appropriate outrage at the wanton slaughter by Hamas this weekend, and his pledge of support for Israel is welcome. But there was a crucial word missing from his remarks at the White House: Iran. Tehran is Hamas's terror master, and its assault on Israel exposes the failure of his Iran strategy."
Iran got this far because of the combined nearly 12 years of pro-Iranian foreign policy from the Obama and Biden administrations. And now a 9/11-like attack on Israel sits at the feet of this absurd policy, and now the world faces a reckoning with it.
Clearing Gaza is the first step of Israeli policy, which will keep them busy for now. But it's clear that the United States, Israel, and everyone else is looking beyond that to Iran. Reports of Iran trying to distance itself from the attack, as compared to earlier cheers, are telling. It's likely Iran and Hamas realize they've overstepped by a lot. And now they've gone from pursuing the extinction of Israel to being in survival mode themselves.
US Senators are thinking along these lines, too. Senator Marco Rubio is leading an effort to get the Biden administration to reveal what it knows about Iran's nuclear program. A nuclear Iran changes the calculations on this front considerably. Knowing where the Iranians stand with their nuclear program is critical in establishing what comes next.
Israel wants vengeance on Hamas and Iran. Since 2005, it has grown easy to live with terrorists on its doorstep. That's no longer acceptable. We're at the early stages of determining what comes next. While I don't believe WWIII is a given here, it's not hard to see how this becomes a larger conflict. At a minimum, a regional conflict where Israel and Saudi Arabia aim their forces at Iran is a strong possibility.
And even in a regional conflict, the United States, Russia, and China must determine their roles. Iran let its dog, Hamas, off the chain, and what you'd expect to happen did. We know what's going to happen to the dog. The next question is, what happens to the owner? Whatever the answer is - it won't be nothing.