Jan. 14, 2016
Iran’s Capture and Release of U.S. Sailors – Michael Singh
The U.S. sailors captured by Iran were not immediately released, but were held overnight, questioned, and photographed for media consumption. This incident must be triangulated against other Iranian actions, including its testing of ballistic missiles, a live-fire incident in the proximity of U.S. Navy and commercial shipping vessels, the continued detention of Iranian-Americans, the recent ransacking of the Saudi embassy in Tehran, and Iran’s undiminished support for the Assad regime in Syria. All of these point toward continuity, rather than change, in Iran’s regional policy. The writer is managing director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Wall Street Journal)
Iran Seizing Sailors and the Rogue Delusion – Michael Rubin
There’s a common delusion that when the Islamic Revolutionary Guards kidnaps sailors it’s either hardline elements trying to embarrass moderates, or rogue actors. But evidence suggests that at best, the Islamic Republic is playing a game of good cop-bad cop, and that outrages such as taking American sailors hostage are not rogue actions.
In each previous case, the Iranian gunman or chief planner ended up with a promotion. Col. Amangah, the commander of the operation that seized British sailors in 2007, later was decorated as soldier of the year. It’s time to stop deluding ourselves, and to judge Iran by what its actions are rather than what we would wish them to be. The writer, a former Pentagon official and Resident Scholar at AEI, is the author ofDancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engaging Rogue Regimes. (American Enterprise Institute)
Iran’s Humiliation of U.S. Sets the Tone – Ron Ben-Yishai (Ynet News)
Iran’s seizure of American patrol boats in the Persian Gulf has political ramifications that must be considered in Israel. First, Washington’s response to the incident testifies to the fact that the Obama administration will not allow anything to get in the way of implementing the nuclear deal with Iran.
In a few days the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is expected to announce that Iran has met all the basic conditions in the agreement, thus permitting the removal of sanctions. Iran needs sanctions removal like people need oxygen. But the U.S. is behaving as though it is the one who needs the sanctions to be removed, not Iran.
Two weeks ago the Iranians tested ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons. This was a violation of the ban on holding such tests that is part of the UN Security Council’s decision that validated the nuclear agreement. But the president himself ordered a halt to the process of imposing sanctions in response. This is a sign that the U.S. will ignore violations of the Iranian nuclear agreement if they are not too over-the-top.
Supreme Leader Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards will do anything to show the Americans that Iran is the enemy of all the U.S. represents. They will not miss any opportunity to humiliate the Americans and show them that Iran has not given in to them.
It was the Revolutionary Guards who got the last word. Their hatred for Americans outweighed any other considerations. They distributed the video of the humiliated American sailors and their captors treating them humanely. For Israel, the way the current ruling Iranian regime provoked the Americans through video images should be deeply concerning.