New York, NY, June 5, 2023 – “The American Jewish Congress is closely watching the ongoing conversation between the U.S. Government and the United Arab Emirates on maritime security in the Gulf. This discussion centers on preventing Iran’s recurring attacks on tankers and is critically tied to Iranian regime’s regionwide malign activity and to Tehran’s glaring inability to rehabilitate itself as a responsible actor.
By frequently seizing ships in the Gulf, Iran is exploiting America’s focus on the war in Ukraine and other international priorities to drive a wedge between Washington and its allies in the Gulf. The ayatollahs in Tehran are stoking mistrust between America and its partners, striking at the heart of decades-long U.S.-GCC military cooperation, and possibly jeopardizing chances for an emerging regional order that brings together likeminded moderate states – including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Gulf states, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Morocco, Israel, and others.
In the latest episode of this Iranian saga, Iran seized an oil tanker chartered by Chevron as it traveled on April 27 from Kuwait to Houston. Then, on May 3, Iranian speedboats intercepted and hijacked an oil tanker traveling within the UAE, between the ports of Dubai and Fujairah. Seizing oil tankers in the Gulf is profitable business for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the militant arm of Iran’s ruling extremist regime, which uses seized tankers and crews for ransom profiteering and to extract strategic concessions from other countries.
The UAE has temporarily withdrawn from a U.S.-led maritime security force headquartered in Bahrain and drawn from 38 nations that acts as deterrence to Iranian bullying in strategic waterways.
But, as a signal of U.S. commitment to the security and protection of its partners in the region, the social media accounts of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain on June 1, a day after Abu Dhabi’s decision to pull out of the force, announced that the U.S. and UAE conducted last week a bilateral patrol in the Gulf of Oman. “The opportunity,” said a statement by the 5th Fleet, “enabled both partners [Washington and Abu Dhabi] to rehearse maneuvers at sea, conduct communication drills and enhance interoperability.”
Washington understands Emirati concerns. And enhanced American security measures in the Gulf, in response to recent Iranian provocations, explain the recent chorus of official Iranian statements decrying American countermeasures.
The American Jewish Congress draws the attention of leaders in Washington, Abu Dhabi, and other regional capitals to the necessity of denying Iran the ability to hit at impressive political, diplomatic, and military progress that America and its partners in the Middle East achieved in recent years. We will continue to work with the U.S. Government, the Government of UAE, and other key regional partners, including Saudi Arabia and Israel, on an inclusive vision of peace and prosperity for all, and to neutralize threats from states and groups that seek to perpetuate instability and chaos.”
Jack Rosen, President
Dr. Munr Kazmir, Vice President
Daniel Rosen, Vice Chair
Dr. Ben Chouake, Secretary
Michael Melnicke, Treasurer