The Biden administration has pursued a strategy of outreach to Iran—releasing frozen assets in exchange for hostages, trying to revive the Obama-era nuclear agreement. Iran and its regional allies, meanwhile, are getting more aggressive. On Aug. 28 Hassan Nasrallah, secretary-general of Lebanese Hezbollah, issued a direct threat to the U.S.
"The Americans control the oil fields east of the Euphrates, and they are the ones who prevent these fields from returning to the Syrian government," he said. "The Syrian state and its allies are able to liberate the east of the Euphrates. . . . But the east of the Euphrates is an area occupied by U.S. forces, so the conflict there is a regional conflict and could lead to an international conflict. . . . If the Americans want to fight, they're welcome, and this is the real battle that will change everything."
Mr. Nasrallah said this in an address marking 17 years since the Israel-Hezbollah war of 2006, which his Iran-backed movement considers a "divine victory."
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Jonathan Spyer is director of research at the Middle East Forum and director of the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis. He is author of Days of the Fall: A Reporter's Journey in the Syria and Iraq Wars (2018).