China, Russia, and Iran Form a New Axis of Tyranny

In 1996, representatives of Russia, China, and three former Soviet republics gathered to sign a treaty in Shanghai, laying the groundwork for an alliance between these two nuclear powers—one that Xi Jinping affirmed last year when he declared that there would be “no limits to Sino-Russian cooperation.” Together with Iran, these countries constitute what Clifford May and Waller Newell call an “axis of tyrannies,” the primary goal of which is to reduce the influence of the U.S. They write:

For Vladimir Putin, the goal is the “new world” of a Eurasianist empire; for Xi Jinping, the ceaseless extension of his totalitarian “social-credit” blueprint and the replacement of the American-led liberal international order with one that is illiberal and whose rules are made in Beijing; for Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the restoration of a powerful new Islamic empire.

While differing in important ways, these tyrants all subscribe to an authoritarian and collectivist vision of society. All are irrevocably hostile to America and, beyond that, to Enlightenment values of individual rights and democratic governance.

One encouraging note: all three axis regimes are enduring difficulties, none more serious than in Iran, where the Khamenei dictatorship has been beset not just by an unprecedented demand for rights—women’s rights in particular—but by opposition to clerical rule. Nevertheless, his regime continues to threaten his neighbors. He provides funds and arms to Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and of course, Hizballah, through which he dominates Lebanon, which is now—not merely coincidentally—a failing state. Most strikingly, his regime has begun supplying Mr. Putin with weapons for use in his war to conquer Ukraine.

The axis of tyrannies will no doubt draw lessons from what Mr. Putin does or does not achieve [in this war]. Its leaders will make decisions based on whether the [America and its] allies are steadfast in their support of Ukraine over time or confirm the prediction of the 9/11 mastermind (and tyrant) Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to his CIA interrogator: “We will win because . . . we do not need to defeat you militarily; we only need to fight long enough for you to defeat yourself by quitting.”

Read more at Washington Times

More about: China, Iran, Russia, U.S. Foreign policy, War in Ukraine

Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy