An Update from CUFI Action Fund
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There’s been a flurry of activity since last week’s Action Update. Much of it centers around Iran. And not to get a head of ourselves or spoil the ending, but the Islamic Republic remains the Middle East’s most destabilizing regime, a pariah state, and the world’s leading sponsor of terror.

Iran’s Proxies

You may have never heard of Kata’ib Hezbollah or Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada but this past weekend, the US military struck operations and weapons sites associated with these two terrorists groups in Iraq and Syria. The use of the term Hezbollah likely gives you a clue as to who at least one of these groups is, but we’ll give you a rundown anyway.

Both of these terrorist organizations are backed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, just like their big brother Hezbollah in Lebanon. They share the same radical Shia ideology of the Tyrants of Tehran and the same goals: kill Americans, Israelis, moderate Arabs, Christians, Jews, Sunni Muslims, and, well, the list goes on.

Both entities have been listed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist groups by the US government for several years. In fact, you may recall that back in January of last year, the US launched a strike killing Kata’ib Hezbollah’s leader in Baghdad. In addition, earlier this year the US attacked a site used by these two terrorist groups in Iraq after they launched rocket attacks on locations housing US and allied personnel which resulted in one death, and several injuries including the wounding of an American soldier.

The bottom line is that when experts speak of Iranian backed “militias” targeting American troops, interests and allies – as these two groups have as of late with drone attacks – these are the types of terrorists to which the experts are referring. This won’t be the last time the US is forced to confront Iranian proxies and each one of those confrontations is effectively part of the long simmering war between the West and Iran.

Iran’s Intransigence

Speaking of the conflict between the free world and Iran, this week it was reported that Iran is once again refusing to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency. We’re not surprised. Tehran hasn’t complied with its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (which Iran ratified in 1970) and was never in compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

What does surprise us is that the Biden administration is still using the stern talking too approach to dealing with Iran. Newsflash: They. Don’t. Care.

Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, encapsulated the issue well when he tweeted, “Iran’s lapse of the agreement with @iaeaorg is just one more example of why the regime cannot be trusted. The Iranians must agree to extend this agreement immediately. Continuing U.S. #Iran talks amidst these issues is beyond unconscionable.”

Iran’s Problem

Due to the mutual warmth shared by the peoples of both countries, the US-Israel alliance has never fractured, however, like any relationship, ties between the US and Israel have had their ups and their downs. In recent memory, they of course reached a low point when some in Washington sought to create “daylight” between Washington and Jerusalem. In stark contrast to this, they reached an historic high with US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

With the recent Israeli elections, there are now new administrations in both capitals, and its worth noting that steps are being taken to avoid some of the missteps seen in the past. Over the past week, Israel’s top general was in Washington for meetings with top American officials at the Defense Department. Likewise, Israel’s newly elected Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid, recently met with Secretary of State Tony Blinken in Rome, and Israel’s outgoing President Reuven Rivlin met on Monday with President Joe Biden. Finally, reports are out this week that Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and President Biden are trying to schedule a meeting in Washington this month.

In all of the meetings that have taken place (and likely the one between Bennett and Biden should it take place), Iran was likely the preeminent issue. But, Israel’s Foreign Minister summed the situation best when he said, “Israel has some serious reservations about the Iran nuclear deal that is being put together in Vienna. We believe the way to discuss those disagreements is through direct...conversations, not in press conferences.”

Yes, there are fringe elements in both parties that seek to undermine the US-Israel relationship. And yes, some of those voices are extremely loud, but ultimately it is our view that, like any relationship, if care is taken to nurture it and disagreements are resolved amicably, the US-Israel alliance will remain vibrant and strong.


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