How a “Determination to Prove Israel’s Inhumanity” Leads to Bad War Reporting on Gaza

In the past two weeks, the Biden administration has approved the transfer of important shipments of weapons to Israel, which include F-35 jets and large numbers of 500lb and 2,000lb bombs. Recent reports by several U.S. media outlets have alleged or insinuated that the last of these are being used recklessly by the IDF, causing massive and unnecessary civilian casualties. These claims, David Adesnik and Mark Montgomery explain, are based on wildly misleading, and sometimes false, characterizations of how these weapons work:

The indictments . . . tend to brush aside that Hamas has spent a decade constructing a tunnel network that is more extensive, built tougher, and buried deeper than those of other insurgent forces, such as Islamic State. Ignoring this key fact, the critics ask why Israel needs to use 2,000-pound bombs if the United States and its allies used them infrequently in urban environments when fighting IS.

Detonated in an open space, a 2,000-pound bomb can reportedly kill individuals standing within a radius of 1,200 feet, or almost a quarter mile. Yet detonated inside a building or under the ground, the same munition may harm people and structures in a much more restricted area. . . . In fact, the U.S. and Israeli air forces can drop 2,000-pound bombs close to their own troops in battle without hurting them. . . . U.S. Air Force officers have also recounted the precise ways they used 2,000-pound bombs to destroy select parts of buildings in Raqqa without bringing down their entire structure or endangering nearby troops.

Put simply, in the absence of appropriate weapons forensics, CNN is accusing Israel of extensive war crimes . . . based on misleading assumptions about the impact of 2,000-pound bombs.

To Adesnik and Montgomery, the root of these journalists’ poor reporting lies in “their determination to prove that Israel’s inhumanity is a principal cause of the devastation” in Gaza.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Laws of war, Media

Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security