Pakistani security officials inspect the scene of a blast in Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan province, Pakistan, today.Credit...Fayyaz Ahmed/EPA, via Shutterstock

Iranian Missile Strikes in Syria, Iraq and Pakistan Raise Fears of Broadening Regional Conflict

Iran has launched attacks within the borders of Syria, Iraq, and Pakistan over the last few days, raising more fears that the spillover from the Israel-Hamas War will spiral into a regional conflict.


Iran has launched attacks within the borders of Syria, Iraq, and Pakistan over the last few days, raising more fears that the spillover from the Israel-Hamas War will spiral into a regional conflict.

  • Iran conducted airstrikes on targets in northern Iraq and Syria on Monday, and in southwestern Pakistan on Tuesday targeting what it said were bases of the Sunni militant organization Jaish al-Adl. 
  • Tehran claimed the strikes on Syria were against groups linked to the Islamic State, while the attacks on Northern Iraq were targeting what it claimed as an Israeli “spy headquarters” near the US Consulate in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s self-governing Kurdistan region. 
  • Pakistan and Iraq both recalled their ambassadors over the attacks, with Islamabad blasting the strikes as a “blatant breach” of Pakistani sovereignty.  
  • Islamabad said the attacks on southwestern Pakistan killed two children, and that Iran could face “serious consequences” for its “completely unacceptable” behavior. 
  • The Iranian strikes come as a US-led coalition has begun bombing the Iranian-backed Houthi militias based in Yemen that have menaced international shipping in the Red Sea since October.  
  • President Joe Biden’s administration reversed its 2021 decision to remove the Houthis from the list of designated terrorist groups on Wednesday, an implicit admission that its Trump-era designation was correct all along.
  • The Biden administration decision to re-designate the Houthis as a terrorist group came months after the Houthis began attacking US personnel in the region.
  • US-UK strikes on the Houthis have so far failed to deter attacks on Red Sea shipping and the Houthis continue to attack vessels seeking to transit the Suez Canal.
  • Several shipping companies have diverted their assets to sail through the Cape of Good Hope, an expensive detour likely to have costly implications on the price of goods and the overall inflation rate.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • The New York Times reported on Pakistan’s deliberations as Islamabad weighs a response to the Iranian attacks on their territory. “The strike on Tuesday was not the first time Iranian forces had hit inside Pakistan, but the attack was the deepest inside Pakistani territory,” the Times noted. “The latest Iranian strike, amid the heightened political tensions in Pakistan before the election scheduled for Feb. 8, was seemingly timed to take advantage of that turmoil.” 
  • CNN reported “China urged Iran and Pakistan to exercise restraint in handling their ongoing conflict after the deadly strike,” but within a day “Pakistan on Wednesday recalled its ambassador from Iran and suspended all Iraninan high-level visits.” 
  • According to the Washington Post, Iran’s attacks on Syria “hit ‘the commanders and the main agents’ behind two explosions earlier this month in the city of Kerman that killed at least 95 people, according to the Revolutionary Guard statement. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the Kerman attack, and Iranian officials pledged to punish the perpetrators.”



  • Fox News covered Iranian threats to continue using its proxy forces to attack American and Israeli targets in the Middle East for the duration of the Israel-Hamas War. The Iranian foreign minister claimed that the terrorist attacks Iran sponsors – and has sponsored since the regime took power in 1979 – would actually halt if Israel stops its war on Hamas. 
  • National Review’s Luther Abel dissected the “sleight of hand” in Biden’s Houthi redesignation. “In short, Biden’s SDGT ploy allows him plausible deniability concerning inaction while also ensuring that U.S. strength cannot be applied to Houthi forces in any real capacity besides telegraphed and ineffective air strikes against a rebel force that has made a living of dodging similar Saudi strikes for years,” Abel wrote. “The Biden administration has no capacity to act because its namesake, even at his best, was incapable of anything approaching competency in war. Dotage, a desire to protect his shared legacy with Barack Obama regarding Iran, and the discordant opinions of his aides and caretakers, means the best we can hope for are reactionary promises married to half-measures.” 
  • The redesignation comes after President Biden removed the Houthis from the nation’s “Foreign Terrorist Organization” and “Specially Designated Global Terrorists” lists in February 2021, undoing one of the final actions by the Trump administration before its departure from office a month earlier,” the New York Post noted. “However, the redesignation will not go into effect for another 30 days ‘to allow us to ensure robust humanitarian carve-outs are in place so our actions target the Houthi and not the people of Yemen,’ the official said.”


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© Dominic Moore, 2023