It’s Time to Abandon the Iran Deal

During a recent Senate hearing, the White House Iran envoy, Robert Malley, offered a dismal view of the prospects for a nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic, claiming that the administration is “fully prepared to live with and confront the reality” of not reaching a deal. Then, yesterday, Tehran announced it was shutting off the cameras used by nuclear inspectors at its uranium-enrichment sites, meaning that there are now no remaining checks on its path to a bomb. Eric Edelman and Charles Wald argue that the administration should immediately abandon negotiations and adopt a new plan to curb Iranian aggression, rather than allow the mullahs to draw out talks indefinitely.

Foremost, this means supporting Israel’s freedom of action, [as it has] borne the heaviest burdens of holding the line against Tehran. The United States should swiftly transfer key weaponry for which Israel already is arranging procurement, including KC-46A refueling tankers, additional F-35 aircraft, precision-guided munitions, and missile defenses.

Building on strategic opportunities created by the Abraham Accords, the Biden administration should find ways to incorporate Israel’s highly capable forces into U.S.-led joint military exercises, operations, and maritime-security task forces with its Arab partners. Additionally, serious efforts are urgently needed to build an effective region-wide air defense and shared early-warning system to counter Iran’s alarming advances in missiles and armed drones. The United States should also explore ways to facilitate the transfer of Israel’s world-class air-defense systems to the Gulf.

A potential Middle East summit next month, when the president visits Israel, offers the perfect opportunity to announce formally this strengthened U.S. approach . . . and to mend diplomatic fences with Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. Both of these vital partners have been deeply alarmed by the persistence of Plan A and have begun hedging toward some combination of China, Russia, and Iran.

Read more at The Hill

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy

American Aid to Lebanon Is a Gift to Iran

For many years, Lebanon has been a de-facto satellite of Tehran, which exerts control via its local proxy militia, Hizballah. The problem with the U.S. policy toward the country, according to Tony Badran, is that it pretends this is not the case, and continues to support the government in Beirut as if it were a bulwark against, rather than a pawn of, the Islamic Republic:

So obsessed is the Biden administration with the dubious art of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite the Lebanese pseudo-state run by the terrorist group Hizballah that it has spent its two years in office coming up with legally questionable schemes to pay the salaries of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), setting new precedents in the abuse of U.S. foreign security-assistance programs. In January, the administration rolled out its program to provide direct salary payments, in cash, to both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The scale of U.S. financing of Lebanon’s Hizballah-dominated military apparatus cannot be understated: around 100,000 Lebanese are now getting cash stipends courtesy of the American taxpayer to spend in Hizballah-land. . . . This is hardly an accident. For U.S. policymakers, synergy between the LAF/ISF and Hizballah is baked into their policy, which is predicated on fostering and building up a common anti-Israel posture that joins Lebanon’s so-called “state institutions” with the country’s dominant terror group.

The implicit meaning of the U.S. bureaucratic mantra that U.S. assistance aims to “undermine Hizballah’s narrative that its weapons are necessary to defend Lebanon” is precisely that the LAF/ISF and the Lebanese terror group are jointly competing to achieve the same goals—namely, defending Lebanon from Israel.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy