America Needs a New Strategy for Iran

With the Islamic Republic in the twelfth week of unrest, Matthew Continetti argues, the White House must formulate a different, and coherent, approach:

President Biden and his officials, to their credit, have said that they stand with the Iranian people against the oppressive regime. Biden has levied sanctions on Iranian government officials and organizations associated with the brutal crackdown on demonstrators. It’s a start. Otherwise, Biden has wasted time.

Iran is vulnerable. . . . The application of external pressure could cause it to collapse. If all goes well, military force won’t be necessary. But for all to go well the ayatollah, his army, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps need to take the threat of force seriously enough that it scrambles their calculations and spooks them into concessions. Thus, the first step toward defeating the Islamic revolutionaries in charge of Iran is reviving America’s defenses and demonstrating America’s commitment to the security of the Persian Gulf.

The next step is repairing America’s alliances with Saudi Arabia and Israel. The Saudis must understand that America supports the anti-Iranian coalition. And America must recognize that criticism of Israel’s incoming government should take second place to more important priorities such as expanding the Abraham Accords to include Saudi Arabia and coordinating both covert and overt actions against the Iranian nuclear program.

Then comes the ideological offensive. President Biden can no longer afford to treat foreign policy as a distraction from his domestic goals. He needs to make the case, directly and frequently, not only for continued American assistance to Ukraine but also for supporting the domestic opposition to a pariah regime that endangers the world. And he needs to do it using the same rhetoric as Ukrainians and Iranians who resist subjugation because they desire freedom.

Read more at Washington Free Beacon

More about: Human Rights, Iran, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy

Why Arab Jerusalem Has Stayed Quiet

One of Hamas’s most notable failures since October 7 is that it has not succeeded in inspiring a violent uprising either among the Palestinians of the West Bank or the Arab citizens of Israel. The latter seem horrified by Hamas’s actions and tend to sympathize with their own country. In the former case, quiet has been maintained by the IDF and Shin Bet, which have carried out a steady stream of arrests, raids, and even airstrikes.

But there is a third category of Arab living in Israel, namely the Arabs of Jerusalem, whose intermediate legal status gives them access to Israeli social services and the right to vote in municipal elections. They may also apply for Israeli citizenship if they so desire, although most do not.

On Wednesday, off-duty Israeli soldiers in the Old City of Jerusalem shot at a Palestinian who, it seems, was attempting to attack them. But this incident is a rare exception to the quiet that has prevailed in Arab Jerusalem since the war began. Eytan Laub asked a friend in an Arab neighborhood why:

Listen, he said, we . . . have much to lose. We already fear that any confrontation would have consequences. Making trouble may put our residence rights at risk. Furthermore, he added, not a few in the neighborhood, including his own family, have applied for Israeli citizenship and participating in disturbances would hardly help with that.

Such an attitude reflects a general trend since the end of the second intifada:

In recent years, the numbers of [Arab] Jerusalemites applying for Israeli citizenship has risen, as the social stigma of becoming Israeli has begun to erode and despite an Israeli naturalization process that can take years and result in denial (because of the requirement to show Jerusalem residence or the need to pass a Hebrew language test). The number of east Jerusalemites granted citizenship has also risen, from 827 in 2009 to over 1,600 in 2020.

Oddly enough, Laub goes on to argue, the construction of the West Bank separation fence in the early 2000s, which cuts through the Arab-majority parts of Jerusalem, has helped to encouraged better relations.

Read more at Jerusalem Strategic Tribune

More about: East Jerusalem, Israeli Arabs, Jerusalem