The Arrest of Two Operatives Shows That Hizballah Poses a Serious Threat to the U.S.

June 14 2017

Syrian opposition leaders asked John Kerry last September why America wouldn’t support them in fighting Iranian proxies like Hizballah. The secretary of state bluntly replied that “Hizballah is not plotting against us.” This statement, difficult to believe at the time, has been proved decisively false by the recent arrest of two highly trained Hizballah agents—both naturalized U.S. citizens. Marc C. Johnson writes:

It seems clear now that Kerry’s principal motivation in attempting to steer the opposition away from any confrontation with Iran’s terrorist proxies was fear of angering the regime in Tehran. Kerry was at pains to avoid jeopardizing the Obama administration’s already fragile nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic, which Barack Obama and his team desperately wanted to hold up as a key, legacy-burnishing foreign-policy achievement. But Kerry’s off-the-cuff comment betrayed either a shocking ignorance or cynical indifference. . . .

Hizballah, it should be noted, is the most advanced terrorist organization operating today. It long ago became a de-facto state within the country of Lebanon [and] has both a functional military wing and fairly sophisticated intelligence and counterintelligence capabilities. The members of this latter branch . . . operate just like many moderately advanced sovereign intelligence and security services the world over. They identify, train, recruit, and dispatch spies for all the usual reasons that nation-states do so. But their spies have the added mandate of preparing for and executing terrorist attacks.

For every [Hizballah operative] that is caught and prosecuted, there are others still lurking in the shadows. And these are no mere “sleeper cells”; they are active, planning, and preparing for eventual operations against and even within the United States. Dangerous as Islamic State and al-Qaeda may be, they have achieved nowhere near this level of sophistication in terms of planning, training, or spycraft. Arrests such as these are a sobering reminder that, contrary to what John Kerry may believe, Hizballah continues to plot against us, both here and abroad.

Read more at National Review

More about: Hizballah, John Kerry, Politics & Current Affairs, Syrian civil war, Terrorism, U.S. Foreign policy

Why President Biden Needs Prime Minister Netanyahu as Much as Netanyahu Needs Biden

Sept. 28 2023

Last Wednesday, Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu met for the first time since the former’s inauguration. Since then, Haim Katz, Israel’s tourism minister, became the first Israeli cabinet member to visit Saudi Arabia publicly, and Washington announced that it will include the Jewish state in its visa-waiver program. Richard Kemp, writing shortly after last week’s meeting, comments:

Finally, a full nine months into Benjamin Netanyahu’s latest government, President Joe Biden deigned to allow him into his presence. Historically, American presidents have invited newly installed Israeli prime ministers to the White House shortly after taking office. Even this meeting on Wednesday, however, was not in Washington but in New York, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Such pointed lack of respect is not the way to treat one of America’s most valuable allies, and perhaps the staunchest of them all. It is all about petty political point-scoring and interfering in Israel’s internal democratic processes. But despite his short-sighted rebuke to the state of Israel and its prime minister, Biden actually needs at least as much from Netanyahu as Netanyahu needs from him. With the 2024 election looming, Biden is desperate for a foreign-policy success among a sea of abject failures.

In his meeting with Netanyahu, Biden no doubt played the Palestinian issue up as some kind of Saudi red line and the White House has probably been pushing [Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman] in that direction. But while the Saudis would no doubt want some kind of pro-forma undertaking by Israel for the sake of appearances, [a nuclear program and military support] are what they really want. The Saudis’ under-the-table backing for the original Abraham Accords in the face of stiff Palestinian rejection shows us where its priorities lie.

Israel remains alone in countering Iran’s nuclear threat, albeit with Saudi and other Arab countries cheering behind the scenes. This meeting won’t have changed that. We must hope, however, that Netanyahu has been able to persuade Biden of the electoral benefit to him of settling for a historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia rather than holding out for the unobtainable jackpot of a two-state solution.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Joseph Biden, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship