Gifts to Iran Won’t Improve the Dire Situation in Yemen

Since 2014, Yemen has been locked in a vicious war between the Iran-backed Houthi rebels and forces supported by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The former have as their motto, “Allah is Great, Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse on the Jews, Victory to Islam.” Last week, President Biden promised to “cease all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arms sales,” and on Friday the State Department reversed its predecessor’s eleventh-hour designation of the Houthis as a foreign terrorist organization. Neither move is especially significant in itself, writes John Bolton, but as gestures they signal bad policy:

Despite Biden’s implicit effort to characterize [the war] as a brutal Saudi assault on an impoverished country, the central problem is Iran and its proxy, the Houthis. Biden’s decision to inhibit the Saudis and placate the Houthis will not contribute to peace, but will instead inspire the latter to stiffen further their position. Biden is following President Obama’s utterly erroneous notion that appeasing Iran will induce it to engage in more civilized behavior on nuclear and other issues, and that Yemen’s Arab neighbors are the real threats to regional peace and security.

In fact, Tehran and its allies will be delighted that the Biden administration’s giveaways have begun, and you can expect the mullahs to ramp up their bloody and destabilizing mischief throughout the region and the world.

The White House justifies its policy by citing humanitarian concerns, ignoring that Iran and the Houthis, far better at ideological propaganda than their opponents, are cynically manipulating Yemeni civilians and foreign aid workers for their own strategic purposes. Listing the Houthi as terrorists, for example, was not an obstacle to the distribution of food or medical assistance, or to peacefully resolving the conflict. The obstacle is that the Houthis are terrorists, seeking, with Iran, tactical advantage over their local enemies while reducing the external support they can call upon.

Read more at New York Daily News

More about: Iran, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy, Yemen

The Right and Wrong Ways for the U.S. to Support the Palestinians

Sept. 29 2023

On Wednesday, Elliott Abrams testified before Congress about the Taylor Force Act, passed in 2018 to withhold U.S. funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA) so long as it continues to reward terrorists and their families with cash. Abrams cites several factors explaining the sharp increase in Palestinian terrorism this year, among them Iran’s attempt to wage proxy war on Israel; another is the “Palestinian Authority’s continuing refusal to fight terrorism.” (Video is available at the link below.)

As long as the “pay for slay” system continues, the message to Palestinians is that terrorists should be honored and rewarded. And indeed year after year, the PA honors individuals who have committed acts of terror by naming plazas or schools after them or announcing what heroes they are or were.

There are clear alternatives to “pay to slay.” It would be reasonable for the PA to say that, whatever the crime committed, the criminal’s family and children should not suffer for it. The PA could have implemented a welfare-based system, a system of family allowances based on the number of children—as one example. It has steadfastly refused to do so, precisely because such a system would no longer honor and reward terrorists based on the seriousness of their crimes.

These efforts, like the act itself, are not at all meant to diminish assistance to the Palestinian people. Rather, they are efforts to direct aid to the Palestinian people rather than to convicted terrorists. . . . [T]he Taylor Force Act does not stop U.S. assistance to Palestinians, but keeps it out of hands in the PA that are channels for paying rewards for terror.

[S]hould the United States continue to aid the Palestinian security forces? My answer is yes, and I note that it is also the answer of Israel and Jordan. As I’ve noted, PA efforts against Hamas or other groups may be self-interested—fights among rivals, not principled fights against terrorism. Yet they can have the same effect of lessening the Iranian-backed terrorism committed by Palestinian groups that Iran supports.

Read more at Council on Foreign Relations

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy