Aerial Exercises Show Off the Jewish State’s Diplomatic, as Well as Military, Strength

Last week, the Israel Air Force held its biennial Blue Flag exercises, in which France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States all participated. Bradley Bowman, Jacob Nagel, and Ryan Brobst explain their significance:

Blue Flag 2021 marked a number of historic firsts. The exercise featured the first French Rafale fighter squadron in Israel, the first Indian Mirage fighter squadron in Israel, and the first British fighter squadron in Israel since the country was established in 1948. The participation of France, the United Kingdom, and India . . . suggests each government saw practical operational benefits from sending crews and aircraft to the Israeli exercise, and was happy to signal increased diplomatic support for the state of Israel.

This growing international recognition of Jerusalem’s role as a source of regional leadership and stability must be disappointing for the Islamic Republic of Iran and its terrorist proxies, who seek to attack and even to destroy the state of Israel. It must also be quite frustrating for those elsewhere who seek to delegitimize and isolate Jerusalem. Despite the efforts of Israel’s adversaries, Jerusalem now fields its most capable military ever and is more diplomatically integrated in the region than it has been since Israel’s founding.

Israel’s growing regional integration was demonstrated by the Blue Flag 2021 exercise’s most important first: the visit by the United Arab Emirates air-force commander Ibrahim Nasser Mohammed al-Alawi. [Increasing Israeli cooperation with Arab states also] was on full display on October 30 in a separate development when aircraft from Israel, Bahrain, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia (at different times) accompanied an American B-1B strategic bomber in its flight around the Arabian Peninsula. Riyadh’s willingness to participate for a second time this year in a multilateral patrol mission involving Israel is worth noting.

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Read more at Defense One

More about: IDF, Israel diplomacy, Israeli Security, United Arab Emirates

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism