Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, coordinating commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, has announced that Iran will close the Mediterranean Sea in retaliation for “US war crimes” in Gaza.
“They shall soon await the closure of the Mediterranean Sea, (the Strait of) Gibraltar and other waterways,” he said.
It is an expansion of attacks — both verbal and military — that have been undertaken by Iran and its proxies for years, but have ramped up since the Hamas atrocities on October 7.
US forces in Iraq and Syria have been attacked at least 150 times since President Joe Biden took office, two US defense officials told VOA. More than 103 rocket and drone attacks have occurred since the Hamas attacks.
Furthermore, since November, Houthi terrorists have fired on more than 100 ships in the Red Sea and beyond. They claim that the ships, including American ships, are Israeli or traveling to Israel, and are thus, somehow, legitimate targets. Ships of several nations have been affected, and some large shipping companies — including Maersk and BP — said that, at least temporarily, they would not use the Red Sea to move cargo to the Mediterranean.
Oil prices immediately rose two percent.
This is an act of war, and should be treated as one by the US. US CENTCOM operates in the Red Sea, and has a firm grasp on Houthi — and Iranian — capabilities.
Instead, the US formulated something called Operation Prosperity Guardian (OPG). It is already on life-support, as three major American allies announced they won’t participate. The French Defense Minister said that French naval assets in the region would remain under French command. Italian sources report that the Italian navy will respond to requests from Italian ships, but not in cooperation with OPG. Spain’s naval assets will be used only in coordination with NATO and/or the EU.
In addition to BG Naqdi’s boasts, Iran responded to Western hesitance with an expansion of Iranian assistance to the Houthis, who have now attacked a ship in the Indian Ocean. A US National Security Council spokesperson said, “Iranian-provided tactical intelligence has been critical in enabling Houthi targeting of maritime vessels since the group commenced attacks in November,” adding that the drones and missiles the Houthis have been using for the attacks were also provided by Iran.
Still, the Biden administration is being nice to Iran and its friends.
One of President Biden’s first moves in 2021 was to remove the Houthis from the terror-sponsor list. Oil sale waivers gave Iran access to billions of dollars. According to the IMF, Iran’s currency reserves fell from $122.47 billion to under $15 billion in 2019, before rising to $42 billion in 2023. That’s without the $6 billion the administration tried to put in Tehran’s Qatari bank account this year. In July, the White House announced that it had given more than $315 million to the Palestinians this year — and nearly a billion since the administration took office.
The UN embargo on Iran’s production and sale of ballistic missiles expired in November, with no US comment. Last week, a Venezuelan money-launderer under indictment in the US was released and shipped back to Venezuela — his clients included Hezbollah.
None of this “moderated” Iran or Hamas or the Houthis — there is nothing “moderate” about people whose religious ideology drives them to death for themselves and others.
And all that time, Iran was shipping missiles, drones, and precision-guided weapons factories to its proxies — and selling drones to Russia for use in Ukraine. By distributing its assets around the region, Iran appeared to be hoping that attacks on America (or Israel) would escape direct American (or Israeli) retaliation. Thus far, the mullahs have been right about the US, which has declined, until now, to retaliate (Israel is a different story).
Last week, the US struck back after an Iranian drone strike wounded three American soldiers in Iraq. But the retaliation was also in Iraq, meaning the US did not go after the real perpetrators. We have the assets to go after Iran and the Houthis.
Since World War II, the United States has been the preeminent guarantor of freedom of navigation in the face of difficult and ongoing trends — the establishment of dozens of independent and sometimes hostile countries lining the waterways, rather than colonies with colonial troops; the rise of Chinese and Russian fleets; and the expansion of Iran.
We reflagged Kuwaiti oil tankers in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war — leading the late Johnny Carson to opine that since those were now our ships, that was now our oil. We led an international coalition to prevent North Korean smuggling and one to fight off Somali pirates. We carry out freedom of navigation exercises in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Straits.
But we need two things ultimately to be successful — a plan and allies. Both appear threadbare at the moment.
The author is Senior Director of the Jewish Policy Center. A version of this article was previously published by The American Thinker.
The post Why Won’t the US Stop Iranian and Houthi Aggression on Land and Sea? first appeared on Algemeiner.com.
Newly released documents from the Deschênes Commission show Canada’s reluctance to prosecute Nazi war criminals
The release of formerly classified documents from the 1986 Deschênes Commission—which investigated how Nazi war criminals entered Canada after the Second World War—reveals greater details about why the government was reluctant to prosecute them once they were in the country, says David Matas, the lawyer who represented B’nai Brith Canada at the inquiry. Canada released […]
South African Immigrants to Israel Protest Against Former Country Government
Dozens of South African immigrants to Israel protested against their former country’s government on Friday, standing with their new home against political and legal attacks from South Africa’s ruling ANC party, highlighted by accusing Israel of “genocide,” last Thursday in the International Court of Justice (ICJ)
“The demonstration is not against South Africa or its people, but against its disgraceful government. I am proud to stand here as an Israeli, but I am ashamed of the government of my homeland, for stooping so low. It is a danger to Judaism,” said David Kaplan, an attendant of the event.
Former Knesset member Ruth Wasserman Lande, who was raised in Cape Town, South Africa before moving to Israel for military service, living in Israel since, added “Justice is with us, the ruling party of South Africa has sold its soul to Iran.”
The protest in Ra’anana in central Israel comes a few weeks after Israel was forced to stand trial at the International Court of Justice in The Hague against charges of “genocide” in its current defensive war against Hamas in Gaza. The charges were filed by South Africa’s government, a noted friend of Hamas leadership and outspoken critic of Israel and the Israeli government.
In South Africa’s case against Israel, the country alleges that the IDF is acting “genocidal in character because they are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group.”
The suit came as both countries are signatories to the 1948 Genocide Convention, passed after the Holocaust and with the goal of creating proceedings to ensure no genocide like what happened to the Jews of Europe occurs in the future.
Israel said South Africa was acting as “the legal arm of Hamas,” and called the charges “baseless,” especially as the country has been noted to take unprecedented steps to protect civilians in the war. Furthermore, the war began after Israel was attacked by Hamas terrorists on October 7, when they invaded southern Israel, murdering more than 1,200 and taking hostage over 240.
The ICJ refused to grant South Africa’s wish of calling for an immediate ceasefire, but nevertheless ruled to investigate the genocide charges and called on Israel to “take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of all acts within the scope of [genocide].”
Even this past week South Africa continued its attacks, calling for the defunding of Israel, with Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor saying “This necessarily imposes an obligation on all states to cease funding and facilitating Israel’s military actions.”
The post South African Immigrants to Israel Protest Against Former Country Government first appeared on Algemeiner.com.
Robert Kraft Antisemitism Nonprofit to Air Super Bowl Ad Featuring Associate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Foundation to Combat Antisemitism (FCAS), a group created by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, will air its first Super Bowl commercial when the San Francisco 49ers take on the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 11.
An estimated 100 million television viewers will see the commercial, which features Dr. Clarence B. Jones, a former legal adviser of civil rights hero Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Jones, according to FCAS, helped King draft the famous “I Have a Dream” speech, which was delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC on Aug. 28, 1963.
“I know I can speak for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when I say without a doubt that the Civil Rights movement (including the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Acts) would not have occurred without the unwavering and largely unsung efforts of the Jewish people,” Jones said in a press release issued by FCAS. “With hate on the rise, it is as important as ever that all of us stand together and speak out. Silence is not an option. I’m glad that I’ve lived long enough to partner with Robert Kraft and FCAS to continue to spread the message to the widest possible audience — the Super Bowl.”
This year’s Super Bowl commercial mark’s FCAS’ biggest push to promote awareness of antisemitism since its founding in 2019. Last year, the nonprofit launched a $25 million multimedia campaign, which asked supporters to use the “Blue Square” emoji available on iOS devices in their social media posts.
FCAS has undertaken numerous other initiatives to address rising antisemitism.
In March 2023, it announced a partnership with Brandeis University, which will include a student fellowship program for undergraduates, conferences featuring leading experts on antisemitism, and collaborations with K-12 administrators. Additionally, Brandeis University’s Hornstein Jewish Professional Jewish Leadership Program will expand to include “Kraft Scholars,” who will participate in new online degree and certificate programs that will train them to respond to crises caused by antisemitic incidents.
Kraft, who led the remarkable transformation of the New England Patriots from a second tier club to an annual Super Bowl contender and winner of six such titles in under twenty years, founded FCAS after being awarded $1 million through Genesis Prize, an honor given to successful members of the Jewish community. FCAS focuses most of its resources on social media, aiming, it says, “to stand up against racist and violent rhetoric aimed at the Jewish people through the most accessible and most powerful avenue of information in the world.”
In a statement, Kraft, expressed hope for this latest campaign and praised Dr. Clarence Jones as an emblem of his FCAS’ highest aspirations.
“The work Dr. Jones has done over the course of his entire life and career is the embodiment of FCAS’ mission to build bridges and stand up to Jewish hate and all forms of hate. In the time we have spent together and through his work, I have become a huge fan of Dr. Jones, and I am proud to spotlight all that he has done for our nation,” he said. “With this ad, we hope to continue to spread Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message of unity and equality at a time in which the country needs it mist most, and our goal is to reach a wide audience of people and inspire all Americans to stand up together, arm in arm, and fight this horrific rising hate.”
Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.