By Amir Avivi
Less than a week after US President Joe Biden left the Middle East after a visit focused on the informal Israeli-Sunni-Arab alliance in the region, Russian President Vladimir Putin boarded a plane bound for Iran, the leader the opposing Shiite axis. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan from Turkey attended the summit in Tehran.
The three regimes represented in Tehran are not friends of the West.
Get Jewish Exponent’s newsletter by email and never miss our top stories
We do not pass on any data to third parties.
Russia is waging a brutal war against Ukraine and threatening European countries on a weekly basis. Iran funds terrorist proxies across the Middle East, has a robust nuclear weapons project, and has stated many times that it seeks the complete annihilation of the United States and Israel. Finally, Turkey has proven to be an unreliable partner to the West on core issues such as sanctions against Russia, deployment of Russian defense systems, support for malicious Iranian activities, and more.
Putin’s summit has worrying implications for the Middle East. It appears that an anti-American alliance that includes Iran and its terrorist proxies is forming at the behest of Russia and China. As a result, despite Western sanctions, Iran could soon easily export oil and arms and attract foreign investment. It could very well become self-sufficient within its bloc of allies, rendering the West unable to pressure Iran over its nuclear program and other wrongdoing.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan announced last week that Iran already feels emboldened to send sophisticated weapons systems to Russia. Putin said in Tehran last week that relations between Russia and Iran are “developing at a good pace,” adding that the countries are showing “record figures in terms of trade growth, including strengthening cooperation on international security issues.” .
Such statements are made by leaders who are completely unfazed by the West.
Asked this week about the possibility of Iran’s advanced weapons being sold to Russia, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said this week, “We would advise Iran not to do so.” He added, “We think that one really, really bad idea.”
That is not enough. If Iran is emboldened enough to transfer sophisticated UAVs to Russia and try to put Turkey in its orbit, the West must see Iran for what it is and what it is trying to do: the region on behalf of the conquer Islamic revolution. That’s what Iranian leaders say every day. We just have to listen.
Iran must be made to understand that it cannot continue to expand its influence and aggression in the region, detach Turkey from western orbit, or find new ways to circumvent western sanctions. At the moment, it seems that Tehran doesn’t particularly care, even if these messages are being sent from the West.
The best way to get Iran to care is to create a strong and concrete alliance against the axis that Iran is trying to build. The US is already the leader of the bloc against Iran, and it must do everything possible, in cooperation with its many allies, to stop Iran’s aggression in the region and its nuclear program.
Finally, Israel cannot be expected to remain passive in the face of Iranian aggression in the Middle East, just like the Eastern European countries facing Russian aggression in their region. Israel must be ready to use any means at its disposal to stop this aggression and ensure its own security.
Brig. Gen. (Res.) Amir Avivi is the Founder and CEO of the Israel Defense and Security Forum, which promotes research, education and policy focused on Israel’s security as the cornerstone of its existence.