How the U.S. Can Help the Iranian People While Preventing a Nuclear Crisis

Five weeks after the death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of the Islamic Republic’s police, anti-regime demonstrations within the country have only grown more intense. Amos Yadlin and Joel Zamel call on Western governments, along with private and civic institutions, to do what they can to help the protesters, and explain what might be done:

Despite the $750 billion U.S. defense budget, there has been limited investment in information campaigns, civil resistance training, strengthening of alternative leadership, and a wide range of other tools to empower the Iranian people.

Two parallel issues, the Iranian regime’s survival and its nuclear program, are beginning to intersect. The latter has occupied the world’s attention for the past twenty years while the former has occupied the international community since the 1979 revolution that saw the rise of Iran’s radical Islamic regime.

[One way to respond to Tehran’s attempt to attain nuclear weapons], which the West has been reluctant to support, has been to push for regime change by helping the Iranian people overthrow their oppressors, through any non-violent means necessary. . . . This option has been discarded by leadership circles around the world, leaving Iranian dissidents and human-rights activists stranded on the sidelines of history for the past 40 years. It is not only morally abhorrent to abandon freedom fighters from what was once a great civilization, but also strategically unwise.

Regime change does not have to mean military force; rather an intentional effort to utilize [non-military] means to strengthen and support the opposition to liberate their country. . . . That a free and democratic Iran would be optimal for U.S. foreign policy is something that can be agreed on across America’s political spectrum, yet this objective remains absent from ongoing debates.

Read more at National Interest

More about: Human Rights, Iran, Iran nuclear deal, U.S. Foreign policy

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security