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Counter-Terrorism Expert: US Retaliatory Strikes in the Middle East Fail to Hold Iran Accountable

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U.S. air strikes have increased on targets in Iraq and Syria, especially following the deaths of three U.S. soldiers in Jordan. 

Last week, they struck facilities used by the Kataib Hezbollah militia, who is believed to be responsible for carrying out that fatal attack. This week, a mission eliminated one of the group's top commanders. 

"Initial assessments indicate that there were no additional militants injured or killed beyond the one Kataib Hezbollah commander who was targeted," said Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Gen. Patrick Ryder during a recent press conference.

Counter-terrorism experts say while the U.S. campaign is significant, the strikes aren't hitting targets that matter to Iran.

"The broader point here is the IRGC, Iran's elite terrorist force, is the one that funded, equipped, and supported these attacks. And they haven't been held accountable at all. In the strikes last week as well as the one this week, we didn't see any of their terrorists killed. They were given well enough notice to be able to all escape back into Iran," said former Special Advisor for Iran, Gabriel Noronha. 

He compared the situation to a game of chess.

"They don't care how many of their pawns die, but if you hit their rooks, their bishops, their queens, that's when they really start hurting, and that's when they change their behavior," Noronha told CBN News.

Meanwhile, an Iran watchdog group warns the country now has enough weapons-grade uranium to build a nuclear weapon in just a week. While Noronha questions that assessment, he warned that the current situation in the Middle East makes a potentially nuclear Iran more dangerous than ever.

"If a country says they want to wipe Israel off the map if they want to destroy America, we should take them at their word. And so there's a reason the last six presidents have all declared that Iran will never get a nuclear weapon because the things they would do with it are far worse than any other country that has nuclear weapons would ever dream of doing," Noronha said.

He also worries about recent comments made by President Biden, stating that the Israeli, "response in the Gaza strip has been over the top."

"I think it sends the message that if you attack an ally of ours, and you shame them enough, and you use your propaganda machine enough inside America, you can get America to back down from its allies," Noronha said.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken also criticized Israel this week, specifically on the humanitarian toll of the war. In Tel Aviv, Blinken warned the attacks of Oct. 7 shouldn't give Israel, "license to de-humanize others."

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About The Author

Caitlin Burke Headshot

Caitlin Burke serves as National Security Correspondent and a general assignment reporter for CBN News. She has also hosted the CBN News original podcast, The Daily Rundown. Some of Caitlin’s recent stories have focused on the national security threat posed by China, America’s military strength, and vulnerabilities in the U.S. power grid. She joined CBN News in July 2010, and over the course of her career, she has had the opportunity to cover stories both domestically and abroad. Caitlin began her news career working as a production assistant in Richmond, Virginia, for the NBC affiliate WWBT