Australia’s Silence on Iran Is a Boon to Russia and China

The EU, the UK, and the U.S. have all recently imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic for supplying Russia with drones to use against Ukraine. But Australia, despite its close diplomatic and security ties with all three, has declined to do so. Similarly, Canberra has condemned Tehran for its murderous attempts to curb dissent, but refrained from following its Western allies in imposing sanctions. Oved Lobel comments:

No coherent explanation has been given for why Australia consistently chooses to isolate itself from its allies when it comes to Iran, both rhetorically and practically. Yet whatever the rationale, it sends a very dangerous signal to China, whose rise and increasing belligerence constitutes a most serious long-term national-security concern.

China is part of a strategic alliance with Iran and Russia, helping keep both regimes afloat despite sanctions and, via proliferation agents, is “the most important overseas supplier of items and material for Iran’s missile program,” according to the U.S. State Department. Those same missiles China helps Iran build are now headed to Russia to help kill Ukrainians.

Australia has a moral and strategic imperative to join its allies in punishing Iran not only for its domestic crackdown, but for its material aid to Russia in killing Ukrainians, as well. This will not only provide practical help for Iranian protesters and Ukrainian civilians, but it will send a powerful message that Australia is willing to stand up for its principles and act in concert with like-minded countries. Conversely, an inability or unwillingness to take a stand on such a straightforward issue sends precisely the opposite message, whetting the appetite of an imperial power far more dangerous and far closer to home.


More about: Australia, China, Human Rights, Iran, Russia

Hamas Has Its Own Day-After Plan

While Hamas’s leaders continue to reject the U.S.-backed ceasefire proposal, they have hardly been neglecting diplomacy. Ehud Yaari explains:

Over the past few weeks, Hamas leaders have been engaged in talks with other Palestinian factions and select Arab states to find a formula for postwar governance in the Gaza Strip. Held mainly in Qatar and Egypt, the negotiations have not matured into a clear plan so far, but some forms of cooperation are emerging on the ground in parts of the embattled enclave.

Hamas officials have informed their interlocutors that they are willing to support the formation of either a “technocratic government” or one composed of factions that agree to Palestinian “reconciliation.” They have also insisted that security issues not be part of this government’s authority. In other words, Hamas is happy to let others shoulder civil responsibilities while it focuses on rebuilding its armed networks behind the scenes.

Among the possibilities Hamas is investigating is integration into the Palestinian Authority (PA), the very body that many experts in Israel and in the U.S. believe should take over Gaza after the war ends. The PA president Mahmoud Abbas has so far resisted any such proposals, but some of his comrades in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) are less certain:

On June 12, several ex-PLO and PA officials held an unprecedented meeting in Ramallah and signed an initiative calling for the inclusion of additional factions, meaning Hamas. The PA security services had blocked previous attempts to arrange such meetings in the West Bank. . . . Hamas has already convinced certain smaller PLO factions to get on board with its postwar model.

With generous help from Qatar, Hamas also started a campaign in March asking unaffiliated Palestinian activists from Arab countries and the diaspora to press for a collaborative Hamas role in postwar Gaza. Their main idea for promoting this plan is to convene a “Palestinian National Congress” with hundreds of delegates. Preparatory meetings have already been held in Britain, Lebanon, Kuwait, and Qatar, and more are planned for the United States, Spain, Belgium, Australia, and France.

If the U.S. and other Western countries are serious about wishing to see Hamas defeated, and all the more so if they have any hopes for peace, they will have to convey to all involved that any association with the terrorist group will trigger ostracization and sanctions. That Hamas doesn’t already appear toxic to these various interlocutors is itself a sign of a serious failure.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian Authority