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Opinion Iran may stand down, as Trump says, but cyber and terror attacks are the real threat

18:30  09 january  2020
18:30  09 january  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

Iran Abandons Nuclear Deal as Killing of Iranian General Upends Mideast

  Iran Abandons Nuclear Deal as Killing of Iranian General Upends Mideast The ramifications of the American assassination of a top Iranian general rippled across the Middle East and beyond on Sunday with Iran ending commitments it made to limit its nuclear program, Iraqi lawmakers voting to expel American forces and the international campaign against the Islamic State suspending operations. President Trump has said the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani on Friday was aimed at preventing war. But so far, it has unleashed a host of unintended consequences that could dramatically alter where the United States operates and Iran’s ability to develop advanced weapons.

President Donald Trump says Iran appears to be standing down after retaliating in a limited way to last Real -time test: Trump crisis mismanagement on full display with roll of dice on Iran , Iraq and Trump must be steadier on Iran . On both terrorism and cybersecurity, the United States will need to

President Donald Trump said in a briefing Wednesday that Iran “appears to be standing down ” after the country launched a missile attack at U.S. bases in Iraq on Those days are over. Iran has been the leading sponsor of terrorism , and their pursuit of nuclear weapons threatens the civilized world.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

President Donald Trump says Iran appears to be standing down after retaliating in a limited way to last week’s U.S. strike killing Iran’s top military commander, Qasem Soleimani. We will see whether that’s true, at least from an overt military perspective. But we should not relax our vigilance when it comes to other types of threats to Americans and U.S. regional security partners.

Key events leading up to US-Iran confrontation

  Key events leading up to US-Iran confrontation The two countries are now engaged in their most serious confrontation since the 1979 Islamic revolution and takeover of the U.S. Embassy. The two countries are now engaged in their most serious confrontation since the 1979 Islamic revolution and takeover of the U.S. Embassy. Both sides have signaled restraint following the missile attack, but the threat of an all-out war remains.

Iran has not escalated its attacks in response, continuing its cyberoperations against the United States government and American corporations at a steady That’s why cyberweapons have only just begun to spread. “And cyber is the perfect weapon for a country that’s broke.” “And we can confirm that

The new cyber finding further emboldened the CIA’s operations against Iran , according to former officials. Even before Trump signed the directive “It was obvious that destabilization was the plan on Iran ,” said one former official, and Trump administration officials were eager to have the CIA conduct

Iran’s capacity to conduct asymmetrical warfare, such as terrorist acts, targeted assassinations and cyberattacks, is far greater than its conventional military capabilities. That’s where Iran is most likely to focus any additional retaliation.

Making contingency plans and bolstering our defenses against this type of retaliation will require the concerted effort of the U.S. intelligence, law enforcement and homeland security communities, and not just a resort to military tools and troop deployments. The nature of this work also requires deft diplomacy and close cooperation with a wide range of allies and security partners in the region and across the globe in the hopes of deterring further escalation of the conflict.

Trump addresses the nation amid showdown with Iran

  Trump addresses the nation amid showdown with Iran President Donald Trump faces one of the greatest tests of his presidency.EARLIER: WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump faces one of the greatest tests of his presidency after Iran launched ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops and planned to address the nation on Wednesday. Iran's attack was its most brazen direct assault on America since the 1979 seizing of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

President Trump says he wants to make sure Iran never acquires nuclear weapons. His policy, however, is having the opposite effect: It is giving The Iranians are likely to launch more covert attacks against tankers and oil facilities in the Persian Gulf and employ proxies to attack American

The US launched a cyber - attack on Iranian weapons systems on Thursday as President Trump pulled out of air strikes on the country, US reports say . It was in retaliation for the shooting down of a US drone as well as attacks on oil tankers that the US has blamed Iran for, the New York Times said .

Iran's many partners in terrorism

The United States first designated Iran a state sponsor of terrorism in 1984. In the decades since, Iran has cultivated a network of terrorist organizations, proxies and criminal organizations stretching from Afghanistan to West Africa and including the Western Hemisphere. This gives Iran a wide range of options in responding to Soleimani’s death.

Nevertheless, Iran’s primary strategic focus has been in its neighborhood — and it intensified efforts to build networks after U.S.-led wars removed two of Iran’s chief rivals, the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

One of Iran’s key partners is Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shiite terrorist organization founded with Iran’s support in 1982 during Israel’s invasion of Lebanon. Hezbollah has served as a force multiplier for Iran in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, as both military advisers to other Iranian proxy groups and as combatants in their own right.

Its Missiles Did Little Damage, but Iran Has More Potent Weapons

  Its Missiles Did Little Damage, but Iran Has More Potent Weapons American military and intelligence officials were stunned at the precision, scale and sheer boldness of what they later concluded was an Iranian attack. Four months ago, a swarm of low-flying armed drones and cruise missiles struck oil tanks in the central hub of the Saudi petroleum industry, catching Washington by surprise and temporarily knocking out 5 percent of the world’s oil supply. Almost no country in the region — Israel may be the exception — could have defended against it.

President Trump said Wednesday that Iran "appears to be standing down " after Tehran fired missile barrages on US targets in Iraq. But the U.S. will "immediately impose additional punishing economic sanctions on the Iranian regime," Trump said . And he vowed that " Iran will never be allowed to have

Trump continued to make his case against Iran , a message popular with his base of supporters, and defended his killing of Soleimani, calling the Iranian general the "world's top terrorist ." "The civilized world must send a clear and unified message to the Iranian regime: Your campaign of terror , murder

U.S. officials have also linked Hezbollah to criminal enterprises like money laundering, human trafficking, drug smuggling and counterfeiting operations in the Western Hemisphere — including in the United States.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah just threatened the United States, saying America will pay a price for killing Soleimani. Though Hezbollah has never directly attacked the U.S. homeland, there is some evidence of attempts to position sleeper cells and develop operational capabilities in America. In June 2017, for instance, an individual was arrested in New York and charged with casing John F. Kennedy International Airport for a possible Hezbollah attack.

Real-time test: Trump crisis mismanagement on full display with roll of dice on Iran, Iraq and Soleimani

Iran's Quds Force, a special unit in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, has demonstrated its capability to use this network to carry out attacks both in the region and far from Iran, including in Europe, South America and South Asia. It even planned an attack against Saudi Arabia’s ambassador in Washington, D.C., in 2011. More recently, France accused Iran of plotting a major terrorist attack in 2018.

Iran got its revenge for Qasem Soleimani's killing but the U.S. Navy is still a target

  Iran got its revenge for Qasem Soleimani's killing but the U.S. Navy is still a target Amid intensifying tensions between Tehran and Washington, the U.S. Navy is in Iran's crosshairs.ABOARD A U.S. NAVY SHIP IN THE PERSIAN GULF – In the darkest of darkness, surrounded by a glass-smooth sea – thousands of miles from home – an American voice reads a statement over a VHF radio frequency primarily used for international distress calls.

Beyond the asymmetric threats Iran poses through its terrorist network, Tehran also presents one of the most aggressive and innovative threats in the cyber realm. Iran will not seek to confront America directly and will look to take advantage of the asymmetric benefits that a cyberattack offers, so this threat will prove significant. The most likely targets will be closely associated with the U.S. government and possibly the U.S. financial sector, which Iran has previously attacked.

Trump must be steadier on Iran

On both terrorism and cybersecurity, the United States will need to work closely with regional security partners and global allies to counter Iran. America has not suffered another devastating terrorist attack on the homeland since 9/11, and this is in large part due to the strong investments we’ve made to build the capacities and enhance the coordination of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies. These institutions must advance with an evolving threat environment.

The United States should look for ways to use existing mechanisms and relationships, such as the Middle East Strategic Alliance and the 81-member Global Coalition against the Islamic State, to defend against terrorism and cyberattacks by Iran and to prevent further escalation.

Trump now claims four embassies were under threat from Iran, raising fresh questions about intelligence reports

  Trump now claims four embassies were under threat from Iran, raising fresh questions about intelligence reports In a Fox News interview, Trump said that four U.S. posts, including the embassy in Baghdad, were the subject of plotting by Qasem Soleimani.An explosion is seen following missiles landing at what is believed to be Ain al-Asad Air Base in Iraq, in this still image taken from a video shot on Jan. 8.

This is personal: War with Iran is terrifying prospect for Americans with family in the Middle East, like me

We need to coordinate with our allies on intelligence collection, terror finance and targeted actions to keep Americans safe. We need to keep a close watch on Iran’s propaganda efforts and find ways to build greater unity at home.

And we need a more balanced and steady approach on Iran than we’ve seen in the past three years. We must restore trust and confidence in America’s own intelligence and law enforcement institutions, not launch corrosive political inquisitions against them. We must work with our allies and partners around the world to defend against terrorism and cyberattacks, not undermine our credibility through social media bluster we’re unwilling to back up.

The Trump administration’s track record does not inspire confidence that it is either willing or able to take these steps. But to protect America, it must.

Brian Katulis, a senior fellow for national security at the Center for American Progress and co-author of the 2008 book “The Prosperity Agenda: What the World Wants from America — and What We Need in Return,” is a Middle East expert who served in the Clinton White House, State Department and Defense Department. Peter Juul is a senior policy analyst at CAP specializing in the Middle East, military affairs and national security. Follow them on Twitter: @katulis and @neoluuj

You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page, on Twitter @usatodayopinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter. To respond to a column, submit a comment to letters@usatoday.com.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Iran may stand down, as Trump says, but cyber and terror attacks are the real threat

'The world is watching': Trump tweets in support of Iran protests .
"We are following your protests closely, and are inspired by your courage," President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Saturday."The government of Iran must allow human rights groups to monitor and report facts from the ground on the ongoing protests by the Iranian people," Trump tweeted in English and Farsi. "There can not be another massacre of peaceful protesters, nor an internet shutdown. The world is watching.

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