On Tuesday morning, as Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid was departing for France to discuss Iran and Hezbollah with French President Emmanuel Macron, Lapid sent a clear and unambiguous message to Israel’s neighbors to the north: if Lebanon doesn’t “rein in” Hezbollah, Israel will. In this week’s Action Update, we delve into what prompted the Prime Minister’s comments, and a number of issues directly related to the malign activities of Hezbollah and its backers in Tehran.

Hezbollah Drone Attacks

The Lebanese government – which is effectively under Hezbollah’s thumb – and Israel’s democratically elected government in Jerusalem do not agree on much. They are, however, presently seeking to resolve a maritime dispute through diplomacy, not conflict.

Unfortunately, since it is, after all, an Iranian-sponsored terrorist organization committed to wiping Israel off the face of the earth, “diplomacy” isn’t part of Hezbollah’s lexicon. And, true to form, the terrorist-army launched three drones on Saturday aimed at a recently developed Israeli offshore gas platform in the Mediterranean Sea. The platform was never in any real danger as the Israelis spotted, tracked and destroyed the drones rather shortly after their launch. Nonetheless, as Lapid noted, “Hezbollah should not play with fire.” 

If the maritime dispute is to be resolved in a civilized manner, the Lebanese cannot sit at the negotiating table with Israel while allowing Hezbollah to hold a gun to Israel’s head. Israel has shown in the past that if Lebanese leaders are too cowardly to deal with Hezbollah, Israel will take necessary action to protect its people and interests. We would urge Beirut to heed Lapid’s warning – but we aren’t holding our breath. 

An Axis of Evil

Iran is behind every Hezbollah action, and the Shiite extremists are often aided by Russia, which holds enormous sway inside Syria after effectively saving the Butcher of Damascus, Bashar al-Assad from losing his grip on power.

That is likely why Russia reacted angrily in the wake of a recent Israeli attack on an advanced Syrian air defense system provided to Damascus by Iran. The Syrians, incidentally, claimed that Israel had hit a chicken farm near the coastal city of Tartus, but if that indeed were the case, one wonders why the Russians were so unhappy with what took place. Maybe Putin really likes fried chicken (we’d certainly understand that), or maybe all of the evil regimes we’re talking about are lying and Israel did some limited but effective damage.

Through Hezbollah and its own forces, Iran continues to position itself to have an effective fighting force on Israel’s northern border, and Russia continues to aid and abet this conspiracy to commit genocide. Spoiler alert: Israel isn’t going to let that happen. Jerusalem won’t be deterred by strongly worded Russian statements or saber rattling from Tehran and Damascus. Israel, like all free nations (including Ukraine one might add), has a right and responsibility to protect itself from those who would seek to destroy her. So, Vladimir Putin can send all the missives he wants – Israel isn’t going to allow advanced weaponry to reach its enemies in Syria or Lebanon.

The Negotiations Are the Deal Iran Wants

At the core of all the above issues is Iran. And at the core of concerns related to the Islamic Republic is Iran’s continued and rapid development of a nuclear weapons capability. The Biden administration offered a very pessimistic review of the recent nuclear-related talks in Doha, Qatar, which anyone following the issue could’ve predicted were going nowhere. Conversely, the Iranians painted a rather rosy picture of the Doha talks, with Iranian Foreign Minister referring to the talks as “positive,” and going on to add, “We are determined to continue negotiating until a realistic agreement is reached.”

Iran doesn’t actually believe that progress on a deal was made in Doha. But for them, things are indeed going quite well. That’s because Iran doesn’t need a deal, they can make do by having negotiations go on long enough for them to realize their nuclear-related ambitions while rebuilding an economy no longer facing increased U.S. economic pressure. That is why Iran continues to both advance its nuclear weapons program and make totally outlandish and unrelated demands in any negotiations with world-powers.

As things stand, Iran is achieving their desired results, and U.S. policy objectives are going nowhere. As the President travels to the Middle East next week, it is vital for Mr. Biden to make clear to America’s Arab and Israeli allies that he understands Iran’s negotiate forever strategy and recognizes that his initial Obama-esque approach to containing Iran has completely and utterly failed.

Next week’s Action Update will come a bit later in the week so that we can preview for our readers the 2022 CUFI Summit legislative agenda. We’re not announcing anything just yet, but rest assured, confronting Iran is on the agenda. So, until then, thank you as always for taking the time to stay informed and for your support of the CUFI Action Fund.

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