By Renewing the Arms Embargo on Iran, Europe Is Helping Ukraine

Yesterday, France, Germany, and Britain moved to renew a UN embargo on Tehran’s import and export of missiles and missile technology, which was set to expire in October. Richard Goldberg, writing before the decision was made, explains the importance of this step:

Over the last year, Iran has transferred hundreds of armed drones to Russia for use inside Ukraine with thousands more planned. These drones have inflicted enormous damage and terrorized civilian populations. Russia is reportedly now domestically producing Iranian drones as well. When the missile embargo expires, Iran may consider transferring short-range ballistic missiles, too.

Ukrainian leaders may not believe these UN restrictions matter much, but they do. Believe it or not, Russian and Iranian propaganda rely heavily on international law to claim legitimacy in their illicit conduct.

Russia and Iran seek to chisel away at longstanding international norms of conduct and replace them with new ones that legitimize otherwise illicit conduct. They aim to establish a new accepted reality in which the independence of smaller states takes a back seat to their imperial ambitions. In this respect, they are not only waging a war against Ukraine on the ground and in the skies; they are waging political warfare, too. Allowing the UN missile embargo to expire is a victory for Moscow and Tehran, plain and simple. Keeping it and restoring the conventional arms embargo, too, would be a big win for Ukraine.

The European powers, however, decided not to reinstate sanctions on the Iranian nuclear program—which, Goldberg goes on to argue, is a mistake.

Read more at Kyiv Post

More about: Europe, Iran, War in Ukraine

What Is the Biden Administration Thinking?

In the aftermath of the rescue of four Israeli hostages on Friday, John Podhoretz observes some “clarifying moments.” The third strikes me as the most important:

Clarifying Moment #3 came with the news that the Biden administration is still calling for negotiations leading to a ceasefire after, by my count, the seventh rejection of the same by Hamas since Bibi Netanyahu’s secret offer a couple of weeks ago. Secretary of State Blinken, a man who cannot say no, including when someone suggests it would be smart for him to play high-school guitar while Ukraine burns, will be back in the region for the eighth time to urge Hamas to accept the deal. Why is this clarifying? Because it now suggests, here and for all time, that the Biden team is stupid.

Supposedly the carrot the [White House] is dangling in the region is a tripartite security deal with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Which would, of course, be a good thing. But like the stupid people they are now proving to be, they seem not to understand the very thing that led the Saudis to view Israel as a potential ally more than a decade ago: the idea that Israel means business and does what it must to survive and built itself a tech sector the Saudis want to learn from. Allowing Hamas to survive, which is implicitly part of the big American deal, will not lead to normalization. The Saudis do not want an Iranian vassal state in Palestine. Their entire foreign-policy purpose is to counter Iran. I know that. You know that. Everybody in the world knows that. Even Tony Blinken’s guitar is gently weeping at his dangling a carrot to Israel and Saudi Arabia that neither wants, needs, nor will accept.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Antony Blinken, Gaza War 2023, Joseph Biden, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship