The U.S. Appears to Have Rewarded Tehran for Trying to Kidnap an American Citizen

On Tuesday, the Department of Justice revealed a plot by Iranian agents operating in the U.S. to kidnap the journalist Masih Alinejad, who has conducted a long-running and vigorous campaign to encourage women in the Islamic Republic to protest laws that require them to wear the hijab. The plotters sought to spirit Alinejad via Venezuela to the Islamic Republic, where she would likely be imprisoned and tortured, if not killed. Benny Avni writes:

Alinejad says the kidnapping plot will not deter her from fighting for human rights in Iran. Will America now back her? President Biden vowed to place human rights at the top of his foreign-policy [agenda]. Alinejad’s campaign, however, got no recognition from the administration. Unlike Secretary of State Pompeo, who warmly and publicly hosted her at the State Department in 2019, Secretary Blinken has yet to meet with her or acknowledge her feminist message.

[Instead], the State Department issued a bland statement, generically calling on the Iranian regime to respect human rights and freedom of expression, adding that the kidnapping plot “is a law-enforcement matter and we refer you to the Department of Justice for any further inquiries.”

Really? . . . What part of [a foreign regime’s attempt to kidnap a U.S. citizen] is no “matter” for our top diplomats? At least Washington could now demand the release of Alireza Alinejad, who was arrested, convicted in a show trial and sentenced to eight years in Iranian dungeons for the “crime” of being Masih Alinejad’s brother.

To add insult to injury, the administration announced, on the day Justice unsealed the indictment, the removal of Iranian oil executives from a list of sanctioned regime officials. It was almost as if Washington rewarded Tehran for a failed plot to seize an American woman on our own soil.

Read more at New York Sun

More about: Antony Blinken, Human Rights, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy


To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy