The stakes couldn’t be higher, analysts say. If Russia, purposefully or not, oversteps America’s red line for tolerating gray zone aggression—it could spark a nuclear war. And Iran’s brinkmanship campaign against U.S. interests in the Middle East is hovering on the razor’s edge of igniting a regional war.
Analysts also warn that Iran’s use of proxy forces is a major concern. One lesson from Russia’s operation in eastern Ukraine is how erratic those proxy forces can be—and how a rogue element could spark an unplanned escalation.
Accordingly, U.S. officials have made their position crystal clear, repeatedly warning Iran that an attack by one of its proxy forces would not go unpunished.
“If Iran organizes, trains, and equips and provides targeting assistance for an operation and does everything except pull the trigger, they are responsible for that operation,” Brian Hook, U.S. special representative for Iran, told reporters during a telephonic press briefing on June 24.
“We do not make a distinction between Iran’s government and the proxies that it supports with lethal assistance and training and funding,” Hook said.
Nolan Peterson, a former special operations pilot and a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, is The Daily Signal’s foreign correspondent based in Ukraine.
This first appeared in The Daily Signal here.