Pardon our bluntness, but the effort to contend with Iran’s malevolence is not going particularly well. In order for Tehran’s behavior to be addressed, Washington must take a comprehensive approach to the Iranian threat. Unfortunately, while the Biden Administration has made some steps in the right direction, their overall foreign policy betrays a weakness to which our allies and adversaries are reacting. We’ll start with the good news, but don’t get your hopes up.

U.S. – Israel Continue to Train

On Sunday, the U.S. Air Force commenced Exercise Red Flag, a two-week air combat training  exercise that the Air Force holds periodically. In the past, NATO allies have participated in Red Flag training, and Israel will be participating in this one.

According to the Israeli military, the exercise will focus on, “Strategic attack in depth, achieving aerial superiority in space, joint attack aircraft, defense of field cells, interception of enemy aircraft, low-altitude flight and attack in unfamiliar terrain rich in anti-aircraft defenses.”

Put another way, the U.S. and Israel are practicing for a potential confrontation with Iran. As recent Action Updates have noted, there have been several joint exercises with U.S. allies in the Middle East as of late, and they all send Tehran an important signal.

The Administration however too often undermines itself when it continues to entertain the notion that Iran would negotiate away their nuclear program or worse yet pressure our European allies to hold off on key sanctions like designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. Which is all to say that there’s more to this, and it isn’t good.

China Brings Saudi Arabia and Iran Together

Generally speaking, when two Middle Eastern rivals bury the hatchet (or at least set it down for a bit), it’s the U.S. that plays a central role in the détente. But American foreign policy has been weak in the Middle East for years, which has allowed Russia and China to step into the vacuum.

China is singularly concerned with the protection of its very thirsty energy needs and projecting economic power in the region. As such, they’ve been cozying up a bit to Saudi Arabia and Iran. Saudi, for its part, doesn’t seem to place a lot of trust in the Biden administration. Engagement with Riyadh since President Biden took office has been awkward to say the least.  We get it, Saudi Arabia is on a slow path towards progress, but it is still run by an authoritarian regime, so getting along with the Saudis is a bit uncomfortable for the White House. But feelings and comfort levels are less relevant to international politics.

The U.S. left an opening for Beijing to play a greater role in the region, and China seized the opportunity. The result is that Iran and Saudi Arabia are reopening their embassies in each other’s countries amongst other steps aimed to lowering tensions between the two. This is a big deal and there is robust debate over its impact on both Israel and the US, but it is unlikely to change the underlying currents. Riyadh and Tehran still despise each other because the latter would like to destroy the former. For now, however, the Chinese brokered thaw between Saudi Arabia and Iran should at least serve as a wakeup call to the White House: Washington cannot ignore its allies concerns and expect them not to take actions which the White House might not like. That’s just as true for Israel as it is for Saudi.

Rep. Claudia Tenney on the CUFI Weekly

Covering Iran’s aggression in the region and continued efforts by Iranian citizens to end the tyrannical rule under which they live, this past week CUFI’s Kasim Hafeez interviewed Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY-23) about the Iranian threat and the role the U.S. should be playing in confronting Iran’s dictators and supporting Iran’s protestors.

On the protests in Iran, Rep. Tenney said, “We’re seeing the first real opportunity that we have to give the citizens of Iran the opportunity to create their own government and have peace, prosperity and freedom.”

But, she went onto note, “Unfortunately, I think the Biden administration has been relatively quiet about doing something – just taking extra steps I think they could take to really push us to the point where we could do something.” 

We agree wholeheartedly with Rep. Tenney’s assessment. The Iranian regime is on the brink of both developing nuclear weapons and being rocked to its core by the will of the people. It’s time for the U.S. to put its thumb on the scale and influence the outcome of events in Iran in such a way as to ensure the Persian people get their country back and the Middle East is rid of the Iranian menace. The full interview is worth watching; you can check it out here

When it comes to Iran, there have been a lot of good news/bad news Action Updates, and obviously this one is no different. We’re pleased the Biden administration has finally come to the realization – as least ostensibly – that if you want peace you need to at least look like you are preparing for war. We’re just hoping that it’s not a case of too little, too late.


The CUFI Action Fund Team


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