The U.S. and Europe Must Punish the Islamic Republic for Its Support for Russia

Since September at least, Russian forces have been using Iranian-manufactured “kamikaze” drones to attack Ukraine. Moscow also expects Tehran to deliver short-range ballistic missiles that it can put to similar use—a clear violation of the UN Security Council’s Resolution 2231, passed in 2015. Behnam Ben Taleblu and Andrea Stricker comment:

The United States, as well as Britain, France, and Germany (the “E3”), have decried the Iranian drone transfers as a violation of resolution 2231. The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office, as well as the EU Council, sanctioned three Iranian persons and one entity supporting Tehran’s drone efforts. Yet America and the E3 could penalize Iran’s violations and prevent them from becoming legal internationally by triggering the reimposition of UN sanctions that were lifted by the Iran nuclear deal—but they have failed to do so. This is in spite of the fact that Iran is in flagrant non-compliance with the atomic accord and, during eighteen months of talks, has refused to revive it.

Iran’s expanding arms-proliferation radius reflects the lack of constraint the Islamic Republic feels from the Biden administration’s overall Iran policy. Iranian drones are not just a Middle Eastern battlefield phenomenon—as they can be found as far away as Venezuela, Ethiopia, and now among Russia’s forces in Ukraine.

With protests raging across Iran and Tehran’s support for Putin’s imperial war in Ukraine deepening, the Biden administration should seize the opportunity to reset the chessboard against the Islamic Republic. Step one requires recognizing that Iranian weapons proliferation will increase so long as Washington sits on the sidelines.

Read more at The Hill

More about: Iran, Joe Biden, U.S. Foreign policy, War in Ukraine

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