The first new US counterterrorism strategy since 2011 was released this week, penned by National Security Adviser John Bolton. In keeping with Bolton’s favored talking points, the new strategy focuses heavily on justifying US targeting on Iran.
That’s a massive shift from the 2011 version, which mentioned Iran only in passing. That version was singularly focused on al-Qaeda. The new document shifts the focus to Shi’ite groups and Palestinians, while blaming Iran for all of them.
The 2011 document also promised respect for human rights and the rule of law, neither of which seemed to be any sort of priority in the new version. Ever-increasing sanctions, however, were a big priority.
Bolton argued that sanctions against Iran were a way of cutting off extremist groups like Hezbollah and the Yemeni Houthis from financial support. Bolton added that there must be no waivers for Iran’s oil sanctions, though other officials have since clarified that such waivers are being considered seriously.