Israeli Self-Reliance as a Model for Ukraine

Through visits to Ukraine and conversations with friends both in Kyiv and in Russian-occupied parts of the country, the British journalist David Patrikarakos came to learn that many Ukrainians feel a kinship with Israelis who, “despite supportive talk from allies, would always have to fight alone.”

Once again, Ukraine is menaced by Russia, which recently stuck a decent chunk of its army on the border. And not just men and guns: all the supporting infrastructure for an invasion is being deployed.

Once again, the supportive talk flows. In fact, the UK and U.S. have been almost unprecedentedly forceful. . . . Last Thursday, President Joe Biden had a call with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky during which Biden told him that a Russian invasion could happen as soon as February, when the ground in the east freezes over and Russian track vehicles can move. Biden apparently got so worked up that Zelensky had to ask him to “calm down the messaging.”

But while Biden may get emotional down the phone, he won’t send Americans to fight Russians on behalf of Ukrainians. . . . Kyiv is not in NATO, and it has no allies it can call upon here. It’s on its own.

During the 1948 War of Independence, the Israelis desperately needed arms; the world said no (and indeed doled out lectures on international law). So they went out and illegally bought a load of Czech arms. They refused to take lectures when facing the literal extinction of the nascent Jewish state. I’m not saying Ukraine should start scouting the black market, but the broader principle should be internalized.

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Read more at UnHerd

More about: Israeli War of Independence, War in Ukraine

 

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