Why Iran-Backed Forces Attacked Abu Dhabi

Jan. 26 2022

On Monday, Houthi rebels in Yemen fired ballistic missiles at Abu Dhabi, which were intercepted with American aid. The week before, the Iranian proxy group launched drones at the Emirati capital, killing three; similar attacks have targeted Saudi Arabia and other locales in the UAE. The Biden administration recently ceased to consider the Houthis—whose slogan includes the phrases, “Death to America,” “Death to Israel,” and “Curse the Jews”—a terrorist group. Eran Lerman calls that decision “a beginner’s mistake,” that was

interpreted by rulers in Sanaa and their backers in Tehran as a sign (one of several such indications) that the U.S. is turning its back on traditional allies such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. The Houthis, indeed, soon sent a “thank you” note in the form of a long-range missile attack on Saudi civilian targets.

Meanwhile, Tehran is engaged in negotiations in Vienna with the U.S. over its nuclear program, a fact that some observers find paradoxical:

[T]here is no reason to be mystified by the dangerous combination of Iranian diplomatic action on one hand and Iranian-backed violence—in Iraq, Yemen, and elsewhere—on the other. . . . Violence is a way of testing the proposition that the present U.S. administration has no stomach for a confrontation and, therefore, will impose its will neither in Vienna nor in the region.

The U.S. should change course and reverse the delisting of the Houthis as a terrorist organization. . . . In addition, there is a need to dispel Iran’s delusions, which allowed for the absurd situation in which Iran’s leaders Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raisi are the ones who decide if, and when, the U.S. will be allowed in the room in Vienna.

As for the Jewish state, Lerman cautions that it should avoid direct involvement in Yemen, but it should “prepare defensive options against missile or drone raids or attacks on shipping,” and provide intelligence and technological assistance to its allies in the Gulf.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Foreign policy, United Arab Emirates, Yemen

American Aid to Lebanon Is a Gift to Iran

For many years, Lebanon has been a de-facto satellite of Tehran, which exerts control via its local proxy militia, Hizballah. The problem with the U.S. policy toward the country, according to Tony Badran, is that it pretends this is not the case, and continues to support the government in Beirut as if it were a bulwark against, rather than a pawn of, the Islamic Republic:

So obsessed is the Biden administration with the dubious art of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite the Lebanese pseudo-state run by the terrorist group Hizballah that it has spent its two years in office coming up with legally questionable schemes to pay the salaries of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), setting new precedents in the abuse of U.S. foreign security-assistance programs. In January, the administration rolled out its program to provide direct salary payments, in cash, to both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The scale of U.S. financing of Lebanon’s Hizballah-dominated military apparatus cannot be understated: around 100,000 Lebanese are now getting cash stipends courtesy of the American taxpayer to spend in Hizballah-land. . . . This is hardly an accident. For U.S. policymakers, synergy between the LAF/ISF and Hizballah is baked into their policy, which is predicated on fostering and building up a common anti-Israel posture that joins Lebanon’s so-called “state institutions” with the country’s dominant terror group.

The implicit meaning of the U.S. bureaucratic mantra that U.S. assistance aims to “undermine Hizballah’s narrative that its weapons are necessary to defend Lebanon” is precisely that the LAF/ISF and the Lebanese terror group are jointly competing to achieve the same goals—namely, defending Lebanon from Israel.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy