Why U.S. Officials Keep Talking to the Press about Covert Israeli Operations in Iran

Last week, according to the New York Times, a powerful Iranian intelligence chief lost his job after a series of successful acts of sabotage, thought by many inside and outside of the Islamic Republic to have been carried out by the Mossad. Attributed to Israel are various suspicious explosions at sites connected to the Iranian nuclear program as well as the killing of seven members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in May and June—including two colonels. Eyal Zisser comments on the American reaction:

It is unclear why every time an explosion is reported at one of the nuclear facilities in Iran or a senior Revolutionary Guards official meets his end at the entrance to his home in the heart of Tehran, senior anonymous officials in Washington lets it be known that the U.S. was not responsible for the act and insinuate that responsibility lies with and—and that the resulting act of vengeance should be directed at—Israel.

The U.S. is Israel’s most important ally, and a few anonymous officials must not be allowed to place the American friendship and commitment to Israel’s security in question. . . . Nevertheless, there is something both unclear and unhealthy about these repeated leaks that insinuate Israel is behind regional tensions.

As the late Prime Minister Menachem Begin said, Israel is not a vassal state of the U.S. and does not need U.S. approval for any move. . . . Moreover, American concerns over Iran are neither understandable nor justified. Iran is a large and important country, and there is no need to start a war with it unnecessarily. But at the same time, there is no need to exaggerate its power.

Israel has proven over the last decade that one can set red lines for the Iranians and thwart their activity. It has also proven that Tehran is limited in its ability to retaliate and is deterred from conflict. . . . It is inappropriate for officials in Washington to try to hide behind Israel’s apron strings and place the blame on us.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Iran, Mossad, US-Israel relations

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