The U.S. Has a New Plan to Stop Israel from Defeating Hamas

The editors of the Wall Street Journal rightly call the Biden administration’s new policy an arms embargo. (Subscription required.)

The administration would like to focus on the denial of 2,000-pound bombs, which it says are too destructive. Never mind that a professional force can employ them in a manner that restricts the radius of damage. Mr. Biden is also halting a shipment of 500-pound bombs and holding up Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs), which convert unguided bombs into precision “smart” bombs. Politico reports that small-diameter bombs are being withheld. The Journal adds that the Biden administration has been sitting on a deal that includes tank shells and mortar rounds.

The message from the White House, in other words, is that Israel shouldn’t have large bombs or small bombs, dumb bombs or smart bombs, and let it do without tanks and artillery too. Now isn’t a good time to send the weapons, you see, because Israel would use them.

But it’s even worse than that: withholding the JDAMs in effect encourages Israel to use dumb bombs in instances when precision weapons would be more effective, and less likely to cause harm to bystanders. And then there is the twisted logic behind the decision:

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other U.S. officials explain that the goal of the embargo—which they present as a “pause” or “review”—is to prevent a wider Israeli attack on the Hamas stronghold of Rafah. This is the terrorists’ reward for using civilians as human shields.

It hasn’t been four weeks since Iran attacked Israel directly, in the largest drone attack in history, plus 150 or so ballistic and cruise missiles. . . . Israel needs to be ready now, and its enemies need to know the U.S. stands behind it.

Read more at Wall Street Journal

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Joseph Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship

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