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Middle East Mess
Peace, They Say. And Yet…

You know its bad when we read that the Iranians have been caught smuggling a large shipment of arms to Yemen and nearly dismiss it as “old news” in an editorial meeting—only to realize that, nope, it’s just the third time it’s happened in the last two months. The Washington Post reports:

Naval forces aboard the USS Sirocco, a coastal patrol ship, intercepted and seized the weapons March 28 from a small craft commonly known as a dhow in the Arabian Sea, the Navy announced Monday. The cache included about 1,500 Kalashnikov rifles, 200 rocket-propelled grenade launchers and 21 .50-caliber machine guns, the Navy said.

In earlier seizures, the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Darwin intercepted a craft Feb. 27 that was carrying nearly 2,000 Kalashnikov rifles, 100 RPG launchers, 49 PKM machine guns, 39 PKM machine gun barrels and 20 60mm mortar tubes. In another incident, the French navy destroyer FS Provence intercepted a ship March 20 that was carrying about 2,000 Kalashnikov rifles, 64 Dragunov marksman rifles, nine antitank missiles and other equipment, the Navy said.

And the good news keeps coming. Iran is upping its commitment to Syria:

Iran has sent commandos to Syria as advisers, a military official said on Monday, suggesting it is using its army as well as paramilitary forces to help President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in the country’s civil war.[..]

To date, most Iranians involved in Syria’s war have been from the paramilitary Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. Iran is believed to have sent hundreds of them as military advisers.

An increasing death toll among Iranian fighters since October last year indicates Tehran’s forces are taking a more active role in the conflict.

Meanwhile, Iran continues to push the envelope on missile tests—while President Obama continues to remove sanctions. As we have written, the world looks on at this dichotomy and sees an America more desperate to keep the deal than Iran—and thinks we’re willing to pay to keep the pretense of peace.

Administration defenders can argue—and have argued—that the deal was a narrow arms control agreement designed to allow greater room for maneuver in a dangerous region. But as news of this sort continues to roll in from across the Middle East, and America doesn’t change its overall posture, our regional allies and global harden in their conviction that something else is going on.

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