The White House Just Decided to Give $10 Billion to Iran. Congress Can Stop It

While the Biden administration has perhaps been more supportive of Israel’s efforts than Hamas expected, it decided on Tuesday not to stop the release of $10 billions dollars in withheld funds to Hamas’s patrons in Tehran. Surely the best way to prolong the fighting in Gaza would be to fund both sides—but that is precisely what the White House has opted to do. Richard Goldberg writes:

The Biden administration argues that the $10 billion sanctions relief is not significant since Iran will be restricted to using the funds for “humanitarian” or “non-sanctioned” purposes only. The administration used this same argument to defend the transfer of $6 billion of Tehran’s assets in September from South Korea to Qatar. Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill both rejected the administration’s claim because money is fungible. If the regime receives billions to cover non-sanctioned expenditures, that frees up an equivalent amount for illicit programs. Iran also has a long track record of processing phony humanitarian transactions for illicit purposes.

In the wake of October 7 and non-stop Iran-directed attacks on U.S. forces in the Middle East, Congress should swiftly enact legislation that freezes all cash made available in Iraq, France, Germany, Oman, and Qatar and all other accounts where Iranian funds are held.

Read more at FDD

More about: Congress, Gaza War 2023, Iran sanctions, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy

Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security