For the First Time, Saudi Arabia Publicly Observes Israeli Military Drills

April 7 2022

Last week marked the beginning of the annual Iniochos military exercise, in which military contingents from around the world gather in Greece to work with partner forces on honing their detection and striking skills, in part by demonstrating new techniques and equipment. Participants this year include the United States, Israel, Cyprus, France, Italy, and Slovenia, along with observers from over ten other countries—including, for the first time ever, Saudi Arabia, which has no formal relations with the Jewish state. Bradley Bowman, Ryan Brobst, and Seth Frantzman explain the significance of this step closer to outright cooperation between the two countries:

Israel is using Inochios 2022 to rehearse some of the combat capabilities it would need to conduct strikes against Iran’s nuclear program. . . . Saudi Arabia increasingly acknowledges in public what it has long understood in private: Tehran and its terror proxies—not Israel—represent the real threat to regional peace and security.

Perhaps that is why Riyadh was willing to have Israeli and Saudi fighter jets escort (albeit at different times) a U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer Bomber on a patrol mission that circumnavigated the Arabian Peninsula in October 2021. Earlier this year, a common Saudi-Israeli perception of the Iranian threat may have also motivated both Israel and Saudi Arabia to participate in the U.S.-led International Maritime Exercise, the Middle East’s largest maritime exercise.

The more Israel, the United States, and its Arab partners conduct military exercises together, the more they can strengthen the readiness of their individual forces, share intelligence on threats, and develop common best practices for countering Tehran-supported terrorist groups that endanger Israelis, Americans, and Arabs alike. This is especially important as Iran and its proxies have stepped up attacks in recent months, from drones targeting Israel to strikes on Saudi energy infrastructure to attacks on ships at sea. In fact, the Iranian-backed Houthis just conducted a three-week-long assault against Saudi Arabia, demonstrating the danger Tehran poses to regional stability.

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Read more at RealClear Defense

More about: IDF, Iran nuclear program, Saudi Arabia

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