China Is Moving Closer to Hamas

For the past few years, China has made clear that it favors the Palestinians in their conflict with Israel. And since October 7, its conduct has become more overtly hostile. Assaf Orion, Roy Ben Tzur, and Ofir Dayan explain:

Not only have President Xi and other official spokespersons defined Israeli policy as “collective punishment,” but China has not even officially condemned the murder and wounding of Chinese citizens by Hamas terrorists. Instead, China maintains direct contacts with Hamas, which it does not see as a terrorist organization.

In contrast to China’s blatant avoidance of addressing Hamas’s terrorist atrocities and its victims in Israel, Taiwan has clearly and openly supported Israel since the start of the war, by expressing solidarity and by offering concrete assistance. Even on the day of the massacre, the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry was among the first in the world to condemn Hamas.

Taiwan’s determined stance is in keeping with its wider strategic interests and with its democratic values, and it strives to reinforce alliances with like-minded countries—liberal democracies.

At the same time, the war has shown historically pro-Western Arab states, which have been building stronger ties with China over the past several years, that Beijing can do little to allay their immediate security concerns—while Israel and the U.S. can do much more.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: China, Hamas, Israel-China relations, Taiwan

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