Following the decision last week by President Donald Trump to take out Iran’s top enabler of attacks against Americans over nearly two decades, the regime in Tehran decided to respond to the death of Qassem Soleimani by sending a salvo of ballistic missiles hurtling towards U.S.-occupied military bases in neighboring Iraq.
According to after-action reports in the media and from the Pentagon, the missile salvo — about a dozen or so — did not cause any loss of life, according to a U.S. Coalition spokesman.
The barrage did cause some damage to hangars and structures on the Al-Assad airbase, according to commercial satellite photos shared with NPR. And, of course, Iran still possesses an expansive arsenal of ballistic missiles that it could deploy against U.S. and allied forces at some point in the future, should tensions continue to rise between Tehran and Washington, D.C.
That said, it is important to note how the Iranians may have been able to finance the development and mass production of these missiles — and President Trump provided the answer for the American people this week following the attack, much to the chagrin to Democrats: Barack Obama.
In address to the nation, the president said the missiles used in the attack were “paid for” by the Obama administration.
“The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for with the funds made available by the last administration,” Trump said, referencing $1.7 billion the former president sent to the regime in 2016 to pay an old arbitration claim, ostensibly, in exchange for the release of four Americans held hostage by Tehran.
So not only did Obama help a sworn enemy of our country finance its war-making abilities, he violated a longstanding U.S. policy of never paying for hostages.
There were other ways in which the Obama administration helped Iran finance its missiles and its spread of influence throughout the Middle East by supplying several militant proxy organizations. (Related: The escalation begins: Iran warns Israel will be “annihilated in half an hour” if the U.S. engages in kinetic attacks.)
— As reported by Politico in December 2017, Obama sidelined a top-level, aggressive U.S. federal law enforcement campaign against Iranian proxy Hezbollah that was targeting the militant group’s drug trafficking, just so he could secure his bogus “nuclear deal.”
The operation was code-named Project Cassandra and was launched in 2008 after the Drug Enforcement Administration collected evidence that Hezbollah had grown from a regional Middle Eastern terrorist and political organization into a global crime syndicate that some U.S. investigators say led to $1 billion annually in drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering and other criminal activities.
Having a billion-dollar income allowed the militant group to buy a lot of its own missiles and other weapons, which it regularly uses to threaten Israel as well as American interests in the Middle East.
— As The Wall Street Journal reported in December 2016, Obama and other world leaders may actually be responsible for financing the next Middle East war, thanks to the so-called “nuclear deal” they made with Iran. The latest windfall tally (at the time) in cash and gold that Tehran had received from around the world amounted to at least $10 billion:
The large shipments of gold and cash, from oil funds unfrozen in numerous countries, represent the kind of financial relief that made Iran’s leaders eager to complete the international nuclear accord. Some of the cash and gold went to Iran while the U.S. and other world powers negotiated with Tehran on a final nuclear deal. More shipments took place after the final deal went into effect last January.
Several American lawmakers, as well as U.S. allies in the region, said at the time that Iran would use some of the money to fund its own proxies “including the Assad regime in Syria, the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, and the Houthi political movement in Yemen.”
Barack Obama was the biggest financier of Iranian militancy in decades.