Iran’s Influence Operations in the U.S. Start with the Universities and Stretch to the Department of Defense

The Islamic Republic of Iran operates extensive terrorist and terror-financing networks not just in the Middle East, but also in Europe and Latin America. Drawing on methods used by the KGB, it has also tried to exert influence over Western minds, specifically through the universities. Mariam Memarsadeghi explains:

The Islamic Republic’s soft-power strategy prioritizes university scholars, giving those of Iranian descent in particular access to regime insiders while grooming them to provide a whitewashed version of even the most brutal aspects of clerical rule.

Scholars at America’s top academic institutions are close to those Washington think-tank analysts who promote appeasement of the Islamic Republic. Recent exposés . . . show how the Islamic Republic’s foreign ministry created an “Iran Experts Initiative” to push Tehran’s positions in Washington, particularly on its nuclear program, and managed to have three of its top members land posts as advisors to Robert Malley, Biden’s special envoy to Iran, who is now under State Department and FBI investigation.

Their reporting has prompted Republicans in both the House and Senate to press the Biden administration, including the Department of Defense, to account for the hiring of individuals to highly sensitive U.S. national security positions who took direction from Tehran.

Read more at Caravan

More about: Iran, University

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security