Happy New Year! For our DC readers, and all others able to take a little time off these past couple of weeks, welcome back. As is often the case in our line of work (and we’re sure many others), you take a little time off and there’s a pile of things to go through on your desk. So, this week, we’re going around the region to let you know where things stand – and perhaps where we’re headed – in 2022.


As the world’s leading state sponsor of terror and one of the most oppressive regimes on the planet, we’re kicking off with Iran this week. Monday marked the two-year anniversary of the US dispatching Iran’s chief terror strategist, Qasem Soleimani, from this earth. With the exception of a few, relatively minor acts of computer hacking, the Iranians didn’t mark the anniversary with anything too strategically dramatic.

The same day of the anniversary, Iran nuclear talks started up again in Vienna. Everyone with an ounce of objectivity remains quite pessimistic. And if you want to know where the Israelis' heads are at, this is what Israel’s Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid, had to say, “Israel has capabilities, some of which the world, and even some experts in the field, cannot even imagine. And Israel will protect itself against the Iranian threat… Israel will do whatever it needs to do to protect its security. And we don’t need anybody’s permission for that. That’s been the case since the first day we established this state.”

We hope it doesn’t come to what the Foreign Minister is implying might need to happen, but it seems clear that Israel can and will do what is necessary to protect their people (and the free world) from a nuclear Iran.


Turkey’s President, Recep Tayip Erdogan, has been in power since 2003 and in that time, he’s orchestrated a massive deterioration in Ankara’s relations with the West. This war-like footing has enabled him to consolidate power and advance an Islamist agenda both inside and outside his nation’s borders. He’s made friends with Hamas while pushing aside longtime allies like the US and Israel.

Quite predictably, the primary consequence of Erdogan radical and megalomaniacal approach to governance is that his country and his people are suffering. The value of the Lira, Turkey’s currency, dropped 5% on Monday. And in the past year, Turkey’s inflation rate stood at just over 36%.

Part of Turkey’s turn from free nation to pariah state has involved Russia and Iran. None of this should come as a surprise, and while we are pleased the US has at times reacted with strength to Turkey’s malignant activities by, for example, pushing them out of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program and imposing sanctions, more needs to be done.

In case you missed it, in early November, our colleague Boris Zilberman, authored an op-ed for Newsweek assessing the current state of US policy towards Ankara and laying out clear measures for addressing Turkey’s current stance in a meaningful way noting, “The Biden administration should make use of the tools afforded by Congress. It should target Ankara's UAV sector, heavily condition any potential sale of U.S. F-16s and heed the counsel of Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) to expand existing U.S. sanctions as punishment if Ankara moves forward with a second-round of deliveries of S-400s.”


Over the weekend Hamas terrorists fired rockets again, and Israel responded by targeting a rocket manufacturing facility and another military target in Gaza. Last week, Palestinian terrorists shot and wounded an Israeli civilian who was working near the security fence that protects the Jewish state from terrorists walking into Israel and blowing up busses – as they often did in the early 2000s.

The rocket fire should remind everyone in Washington of the importance of advancing the Iron Dome replenishment legislation that passed the House by a vote of 420-9 last year and enjoys overwhelming support in the Senate. Unfortunately, this legislation is being blocked by Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. Sen. Paul’s actions put him on the same side of the issue as “The Squad,” endanger Israeli and Palestinian civilians and embolden terrorists like Hamas.

The current situation is an embarrassment to our country, the people of Kentucky and the United States Senate. We hope Majority Leader Schumer and Republican Leader McConnell can exhibit the necessary leadership to end Sen. Paul’s despicable effort to block this vital legislation. 

Finally, as has become our practice – or at least we’re trying – we want to end on a positive note this week. One of the greatest foreign policy achievements of the Trump administration was the Abraham Accords. But this success need not end with the previous administration. And we think the Biden administration agrees. During a recent visit to Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken raised the possibility of Jakarta joining the Abraham Accords and normalizing ties with Israel. We’re not saying we expect an announcement imminently, but we do support the Biden Administration’s embrace of the accords and wish them nothing but success in their efforts to expand the number of Arab and Muslim nations making peace with the Jewish state.


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