Diary

McMaster and Haley are Making Sense About Iran

Starting with the best US Ambassador to the UN in history (that I can think of), Nikki Haley calls out the de facto theocratic dictatorship in Iran.

The U.N. report agrees with our intelligence, and it makes an additional, critical finding. When we first unveiled our evidence last year, some skeptical observers questioned whether the Iranian weapons had been transferred to Yemen before the imposition of the U.N. arms embargo in April 2015. The new U.N. report makes it clear that the weapons were introduced into Yemen after the arms embargo was imposed, putting Iran in undisputed violation of the United Nations resolution.

No one, in truth, should be surprised by these findings. Since the signing of the nuclear agreement, the Iranian regime’s support of dangerous militias and terror groups has markedly increased. Its missiles and advanced weapons are turning up in war zones all across the Middle East. And Houthi militants continue to fire them into Saudi Arabia, including in December, January and this month.

The world can no longer claim ignorance or skepticism of Iran’s role in fomenting instability in the Middle East. To acknowledge the Iranian origin of missiles falling on Saudi Arabia is not, as some charge, to lay the groundwork for war. Far from it. It is a necessary prerequisite for preventing war.

Rather than moderating their behavior since the Iran deal, the regime has only added to the existing strife in the Middle East. While Ms. Haley is calling for more UN action against the regime, NSA McMaster is directly asking our allies to join us in taking action.

“So the time is now, we think, to act against Iran,” he told the Munich Security Conference, calling on U.S. allies to halt trade that was helping underwrite the expansion of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, the most powerful military and economic force in the Islamic Republic.

And this doesn’t even get into the Iranian proxies and embeds responsible for flying an Iranian drone into Israeli airspace, but the bigger story is how far Iranian tentacles have spread across Assad-controlled territory.

That flare-up ended quickly, if violently, with the drone destroyed and an Israeli jet downed after bombing sites in Syria. But the day of fighting drew new attention to how deeply Iran has embedded itself in Syria, redrawing the strategic map of the region.

Tactical advisers from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps are deployed at military bases across Syria. Its commanders regularly show up at the front lines to lead battles. Iran has built and continues to back powerful militias with thousands of fighters it has trained in Syria. And it has brought in new technologies, like drones, to spy on enemies and perhaps to attack them from the sky.

Their involvement is not only drawing Israel into the conflict, but it destabilizes an already destabilized Lebanon and could ignite tensions with another occupier of Syria, and that is Putin and his army of little green men. Not that I mind two foes smiting on each other, but it could cause Syria to be an even worse basket case, which can only adversely affect Syrian civilians, refugees, Kurds and neighboring states. And even though the Syrian rebels and the Islamic State have been losing, Iranians aren’t leaving.

But as the rebels have lost ground and no clear threats to Mr. Assad’s rule remain, Iran and its allies have stayed, shifting their focus to creating an infrastructure to threaten Israel, analysts say. Iran continues to train and equip fighters while strengthening ties with allies in Iraq and Lebanon, in hopes of building a united front in the event of a new war.

“The ultimate goal is, in the case of another war, to make Syria a new front between Israel, Hezbollah and Iran,” said Amir Toumaj, a research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who studies Iran. “They are making that not just a goal, but a reality.”

Pressuring Iran by sanctioning the Republican Guards and the mullahs and their business enterprises would be a good start. We should never forget that Obama bent over backward by accommodating, acquiescing and appeasing the mullahs, all in order to get a nuclear deal, and this is what we got. No more.