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December 26, 2023

The U.S. Must Reign in Regional Escalation Before Wider War Breaks Out

Washington, DC – NIAC released the following statement regarding escalating tensions in the Middle East:  

“We are deeply concerned that the United States is being pulled into an all out regional war in the Middle East. Instead of blindly supporting Israel’s disastrous war in Gaza and engaging in a tit for tat escalatory cycle with Iran, the Biden Administration must take control of its Middle East policy and secure a ceasefire before it is too late.

“There have already been many actions that risk full-blown regional war since October, including over 100 drone and rocket attacks from groups to Iran against U.S. positions in Iraq and Syria, several U.S. strikes on militia forces and their facilities, attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and many attacks across Israel’s northern border.

“Israel’s killing of an Iranian general in Syria, which evokes prior assassinations of prominent Iranian military leaders, and subsequent U.S. strikes on Kataib Hezbollah targets in Iraq have further intensified tensions.

“It should be very apparent that further military responses will exacerbate the situation and undermine any efforts towards a sustainable peace and security. The U.S. and Iran are on an escalation ladder that will only end with full-blown regional war unless diplomatic efforts are undertaken to end the war in Gaza and address underlying regional tensions.

“Every day of this war that passes with shocking civilian death tolls, increasing regional conflict, and no plausible endpoint, it becomes even more clear that the priority for the U.S. must be a sustainable ceasefire. Emotions are charged in the region and reckless decisions on any side could bring about catastrophic consequences.

“The kinetic strikes that the Biden Administration and his predecessors have undertaken against Iran-linked militias have failed to deter attacks on U.S. bases for two decades, regardless of who sits in the Oval Office. Only political solutions, brokered through serious diplomatic undertakings, have succeeded in calming these tensions and reducing attacks. This was the case in the brief period in which the Iran nuclear deal was in place, as well as the short span of an apparent de-escalation agreement between the U.S. and Iran that was upended on October 7.

“Only a ceasefire can stop this crisis from spinning out of control and provide the space for serious diplomacy and leadership to address the underlying challenges fueling this war. The alternative increasingly looks like a broader conflict that spills across multiple borders and pulls in the United States. President Biden must act before it is too late.”

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