Tel Aviv — Iran and its terror subsidiary, the Lebanon-based Hezbollah, appear to be responsible for a suicide bombing of a bus full of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, which killed seven people and wounded 33 on Wednesday .
“All signs point toward Iran,” said Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The timing of the strike coincided with the 18th anniversary of the joint Iran-Hezbollah bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people. Although it denies any involvement in the attack in Bulgaria, Iran’s leaders have ratcheted up their terror operations over the last few years, defying the international community’s attempts to reach a diplomatic accommodation with them.
Iran’s unabated war against Israel and the West includes a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States in an upscale Washington restaurant, and attempts over the last several months to murder Israelis as far afield as Georgia, Kenya, Cyprus, India, and Thailand.
#more#In addition to supporting acts of terrorism against Western targets abroad, General Ghasem Suleimani, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’s Quds Force, also has his minions working overtime to kill the rebels fighting Bashar Assad in Syria.
Iran’s increasing belligerence coupled with its pursuit of a nuclear weapon are a warning to the West.
Senator Joseph Lieberman summed up the urgency of the Iranian crisis at an event on Tuesday: “The question is not whether we can stop them, but whether we will choose to stop them.”
Economic sanctions have not dissuaded Iran’s leaders from chasing their nuclear ambitions. As time wears on, the U.S. and its allies need to embrace a serious and credible military doctrine against Iran. After the deadly attack in Bulgaria, the U.S. should press its European partners to place the Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah on their lists of sanctioned terrorist groups, denying them the ability to travel, raise funds, and coordinate openly in Europe.
The U.S.’s counterterrorism strategy is badly adrift. Earlier this month, U.S. Under Secretary of State Maria Otero delivered a speech at the Global Counterterrorism Forum in Madrid, in which she failed even to mention Israel as a country that has experienced terrorism.
“Last September at the official launch of the Global Counterterrorism Forum, I had the privilege to introduce the premier of a film ‘Hear their Voices,’ which tells the stories of eleven survivors of terrorist attacks from Pakistan, Jordan, Northern Ireland, Uganda, Turkey, Indonesia, India, Spain, Colombia, and the United States,” she said.
When Associated Press reporter Matthew Lee asked Otero why she hadn’t mentioned the Israelis as people who have suffered from terrorism, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell momentarily tripped over his words, before responding that “I don’t have the details of the undersecretary’s speech.”
As Lee told Ventrell, Otero’s speech is posted on the State Department website. At the Global Counterterrorism Forum’s first formal meeting in Istanbul last month, the U.S. also excluded Israel and hosted countries with a history of sponsoring radical Islamic groups.
Will the Bulgarian murders within Europe force the Obama administration and its allies to take the Iranian threat more seriously?
— Benjamin Weinthal is a Berlin-based research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.