Hamas Exports Its Tactics to Yemen

Feb. 18 2016

According to a recent UN report, the Saudi-led bombing campaign against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen has deliberately targeted civilians, making Riyadh and its allies guilty of war crimes. To Richard Kemp and Jasper Reid, however, this sounds like the same sort of UN manipulation routinely employed against Israel:

The UN has produced no actual evidence of war crimes. None of the allegations is based on investigation on the ground. [Its] experts have not been to Yemen, depending instead on hearsay evidence and analysis of photographs.

The UN has a pattern of unsubstantiated allegations of war crimes against the armed forces of sovereign states. . . . . There is no doubt that thousands are dying in Yemen in horrific circumstances. But we cannot just accept the UN’s figures and its attribution of [responsibility for] the proportion of deaths being inflicted [to] the Saudi coalition. Most of the data come from the Houthi insurgents, either directly or via non-governmental organizations, and are simply accepted as fact.

The Houthis have learned many lessons from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza, groups also supported by Iran. Those lessons include the falsification and distortion of civilian casualty figures and their causes. The UN swallowed the fake Gaza figures hook, line, and sinker, and is now making the same error in Yemen. . . .

[T]he coalition faces the same tough challenges that we face on battlefields everywhere. Its Houthi adversaries fight according to the well-developed doctrine of their backers, the Iranian Quds Force. Like Hizballah, Hamas, the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and Islamic State, their techniques include deliberately killing civilians, fighting from within the population, and forcing innocents to become human shields.

Completely ignoring the laws of war, they exploit their enemies’ adherence to them. They lure their opponents to attack and kill civilians. They exploit gullible or compliant reporters, international organizations, and human-rights groups to facilitate their propaganda, [which includes] false testimony and systematic fabrication of imagery. The aim is to instigate international condemnation in order to constrain their militarily superior enemies.

Read more at Gatestone

More about: Hamas, Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Laws of war, Saudi Arabia, UN, Yemen


Leaked Emails Point to an Iranian Influence Operation That Reaches into the U.S. Government

Sept. 27 2023

As the negotiations leading up to the 2015 nuclear deal began in earnest, Tehran launched a major effort to cultivate support abroad for its positions, according to a report by Jay Solomon:

In the spring of 2014, senior Iranian Foreign Ministry officials initiated a quiet effort to bolster Tehran’s image and positions on global security issues—particularly its nuclear program—by building ties with a network of influential overseas academics and researchers. They called it the Iran Experts Initiative. The scope and scale of the IEI project has emerged in a large cache of Iranian government correspondence and emails.

The officials, working under the moderate President Hassan Rouhani, congratulated themselves on the impact of the initiative: at least three of the people on the Foreign Ministry’s list were, or became, top aides to Robert Malley, the Biden administration’s special envoy on Iran, who was placed on leave this June following the suspension of his security clearance.

In March of that year, writes Solomon, one of these officials reported that “he had gained support for the IEI from two young academics—Ariane Tabatabai and Dina Esfandiary—following a meeting with them in Prague.” And here the story becomes particularly worrisome:

Tabatabai currently serves in the Pentagon as the chief of staff for the assistant secretary of defense for special operations, a position that requires a U.S. government security clearance. She previously served as a diplomat on Malley’s Iran nuclear negotiating team after the Biden administration took office in 2021. Esfandiary is a senior advisor on the Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group, a think tank that Malley headed from 2018 to 2021.

Tabatabai . . . on at least two occasions checked in with Iran’s Foreign Ministry before attending policy events, according to the emails. She wrote to Mostafa Zahrani, [an Iranian scholar in close contact with the Foreign Ministry and involved in the IEI], in Farsi on June 27, 2014, to say she’d met Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal—a former ambassador to the U.S.—who expressed interest in working together and invited her to Saudi Arabia. She also said she’d been invited to attend a workshop on Iran’s nuclear program at Ben-Gurion University in Israel. . . .

Elissa Jobson, Crisis Group’s chief of advocacy, said the IEI was an “informal platform” that gave researchers from different organizations an opportunity to meet with IPIS and Iranian officials, and that it was supported financially by European institutions and one European government. She declined to name them.

Read more at Semafor

More about: Iran nuclear deal, U.S. Foreign policy