How Yasir Arafat Led His People Backward

Yasir Arafat, who died ten years ago today, inflicted enormous suffering not only in Israel, Jordan and Lebanon but on the Palestinian people. Elliott Abrams considers his legacy:

After the Israeli victory in 1967, civic life began to grow in the West Bank and Gaza. Roughly 700 NGOs were formed, the economy grew, and a far better future seemed possible. But after Arafat returned to rule in 1994, he crushed that civic life, made a mockery of the new Palestinian legislature that had been formed, and substituted a corrupt dictatorship. Theft of aid funds was constant and totaled around a billion dollars. Arafat created thirteen “security” forces that he manipulated to assure his total control, and most were also involved in acts of violence: Ariel Sharon used to call them “security-terror organizations.” The rise of Hamas owes a great deal to the disgust many Palestinians felt toward the repressive and corrupt PLO and PA that Arafat built.

Read more at Pressure Points

More about: Palestinian Authority, United Arab Emirates, Yasir Arafat

Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security