News & Commentary

Sen. Lindsey Graham: ‘Hit Iran,’ blow oil fields and military headquarters ‘off the map’

Less than three months after saying that Israel should “level” Gaza and that there is “no limit” to the number of Palestinian civilians Israel could kill before he would question their tactics, Senator Lindsey Graham reiterated another facet of his proposed military strategy on Thursday: a major escalation with Iran.

Appearing on the show Fox & Friends, the Republican lawmaker told co-host Joey Jones:

I asked [Defense Secretary Lloyde Austin] a couple months ago, Joey, what you were talking about: Is there a red line? Would you tell our enemies publicly that if you kill an American we’re coming after you?

Without Iran there are no Houthis. The Houthis are completely backed by Iran.

I’ve been saying for six months now: hit Iran. They have oil fields out in the open, they have the Revolutionary Guard headquarters you can see from space. Blow it off the map.

If you really wanna protect American soldiers, make it real to the Ayatollah… you attack a soldier through a proxy, we’re coming after you.

Graham has, indeed, been engaging in this type of rhetoric for months. On October 9, for example—two days after Hamas’s deadly incursion—he said that “for every Israeli or American hostage executed by Hamas, we should take down an Iranian oil refinery.”

“I am confident this was planned and funded by the Iranians,” he added in reference to the October 7 attack, despite the fact that the IDF themselves said the same day that they had “no evidence or proof” that Iran was involved, in addition to Iran themselves denying involvement.

Even Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), another hawkish “pro-Israel” member of Congress, stopped short of making such a claim. In an interview on October 10, he admitted that “Iran has denied involvement” and “Hamas leadership has denied Iran’s involvement,” and instead argued that it’s still “Iran’s fault” due to their history of funding Hamas.

Asked by journalist Liam Cosgrove about Israel’s long history of deliberately funding and propping up Hamas weeks later, Crenshaw refused to answer:

For his part, Graham said on October 10 that (as mentioned earlier) Israel should “level” Gaza—a blatant violation of international law.

“We’re in a religious war here. I am with Israel. Do whatever the hell you have to do to defend yourself. Level the place,” he told Fox News.

On October 15, he said he was “poised to use military force to destroy the source of funding for Hamas,” referring to Iran while once again ignoring Israel’s role in the same enterprise:

Regarding Graham’s comments about the Houthis, news editor Dave DeCamp wrote on Thursday:

The hawkish senator claimed that without Iran, there would be no Houthis. But the Houthis, formally known as Ansar Allah, are a homegrown movement of Zaydi Shia Muslims. Zaydi Shia Imams ruled the area of north Yemen that the Houthis now control for about 1,000 years until 1962.

“The Houthis have been targeting Israel-linked commercial shipping in the Red Sea” this month, DeCamp said, “and have made clear they will not stop until Israel ends its siege on Gaza.”

“The US launched a military operation in response but has not targeted the Houthis directly, which would involve bombing Yemen.”

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Image Credit: Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0). May be modified from original.