How to Stop Iranian Arms Smuggling

Last month, the Combined Maritime Forces, a naval partnership that includes 34 nations and is led by the U.S. Central Command, established a new multinational task force to help quell the Islamic Republic from smuggling weapons to its terrorist proxies. Bradley Bowman, Ryan Brobst, and Mark Montgomery report:

There is little doubt that the new task force will have its hands full. Iran has used the waters around Yemen to smuggle major quantities of weapons to the Houthi [rebel army] there. The Houthis, in turn, continue to use those weapons to stoke the conflict in Yemen, attack vessels in the Red Sea, and target civilians in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as documented in annual reports by the United Nations’ Panel of Experts on Yemen.

The reliable flow of weapons has given the Houthis little incentive to negotiate with Riyadh in good faith. Instead, the Houthis, sometimes employing human shields, conducted at least 375 cross-border attacks into Saudi Arabia in 2021. And that does not include two Houthi attacks in January on the United Arab Emirates that struck the Abu Dhabi International Airport and targeted the al-Dhafra airbase, which houses American troops.

It is also worth remembering that the Houthis fired anti-ship cruise missiles at the U.S. Navy destroyer Mason in 2016 while it was operating in international waters in the Red Sea near Yemen. Since then, the Houthis have used unmanned “waterborne improvised explosive devices” to attack commercial vessels, according to a 2022 UN report.

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Read more at Defense News

More about: Iran, Terrorism, U.S. Foreign policy, United Arab Emirates, Yemen

Why the Leader of Hamas Went to Russia

Sept. 30 2022

Earlier this month, the Hamas chairman Ismail Haniyeh and several of his colleagues visited Moscow, where they met with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other Russian officials. According to Arabic-language media, Haniyeh came seeking “new ideas” about how to wage war against the Jewish state. The terrorist group has had good relations with the Kremlin for several years, and even maintains an office in Moscow. John Hardie and Ivana Stradner comment on the timing of the visit:

For Moscow, the visit likely reflects a continuation of its efforts to leverage the Palestinians and other issues to pressure Israel over its stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine. Russia and Israel built friendly relations in the decades following the Soviet Union’s dissolution. After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Jerusalem condemned the war, but made sure to tread carefully in order to preserve working ties with Moscow, lest Russian military forces in Syria disrupt Israel’s strategically important air operations there.

Nevertheless, bilateral tensions spiked in April after Yair Lapid, then serving as Israel’s foreign minister, joined the chorus of voices worldwide accusing Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine. Jerusalem later provided Kyiv with some non-lethal military aid and a field hospital. In response, Moscow hardened its rhetoric about Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian issue isn’t the only way that Russia has sought to pressure Israel. Moscow is also threatening, on seemingly spurious grounds, to shutter the Russian branch of the Jewish Agency.

Moscow likely has little appetite for outright conflict with Israel, particularly when the bulk of Russia’s military is floundering in Ukraine. But there are plenty of other ways that Russia, which maintains an active intelligence presence in the Jewish state, could damage Israel’s interests. As Moscow cozies up with Hamas, Iran, and other enemies of Israel, Jerusalem—and its American allies—would do well to keep a watchful eye.

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Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Hamas, Israeli Security, Russia