Poll: Majority Wants Congress to Reject Iran Deal - Jennifer Agiesta
A majority of Americans want Congress to reject the recently-negotiated nuclear deal with Iran.
52% say Congress should reject the deal, while 44% say it should be approved, according to a new CNN/ORC poll conducted on July 22-25.
Arab Knesset Member Denies Jewish Claim to Temple Mount, Sparking Israeli Outrage - Michele Chabin (Washington Post)
Masud Ganaim of the Joint (Arab) List, an Arab-Israeli parliament member, drew harsh criticism from Jewish Israelis on Monday when he claimed that Jews have no religious ties to the Temple Mount, considered the holiest site in Judaism. He told Israel Radio that "historically, religiously, it is a Muslim site, period."
His remarks came a day after clashes between masked Muslim rioters and Israeli police on the holy Jewish fast day of Tisha B'Av, when tens of thousands of Jewish worshippers pray at the Western Wall, which lies directly below the Temple Mount.
In the past, Muslim extremists have thrown rocks from the Mount onto Jewish worshippers below, causing injuries. Police noted that the rioters had stockpiled large amounts of projectiles inside the Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.
Archaeological discoveries from the site date back to the time of the Second Temple, which the Romans destroyed in the year 70. Jesus visited the Temple, according to the New Testament.
See also Jordan Slams Israel over Temple Mount Unrest (i24News)
See also Arab League Foreign Ministers to Discuss Jerusalem Clashes (AFP)
See also The "Al-Aksa is in Danger" Libel: The History of a Lie - Nadav Shragai (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
How Regional Intervention Is Transforming Hizbullah - Matthew Levitt (Foreign Affairs)
The war in Syria has dramatically changed Hizbullah.
The group's operational shift to Syria, Iraq and Yemen has transformed it into a regional sectarian force acting at Iran's behest across the Middle East.
Today, there are between 6,000 and 8,000 Hizbullah operatives in Syria.
By the first half of 2015, Hizbullah was suffering between 60 and 80 weekly casualties in Syria's Qalamoun region alone.
The writer directs the Stein Program on Counterterrorism & Intelligence at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Hamas Summer Camp Trains 25,000 Gazans as Fighters (Ynet News)
Hamas opened its new Gaza summer camp on Saturday, aiming to provide basic combat training for 25,000 Palestinians.
"The goal of these military training camps is to train the vanguard for liberation: spiritually, intellectually and physically, to be ready and able to play its role in liberation," said a statement by Hamas' military wing.
Participants, aged 15-60, will be "trained in military techniques and in firing live ammunition." Participants are also trained in firing sniper rifles, using the portraits of Israeli leaders as targets.
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- ICC Prosecutor Rejects Court's Request to Reconsider Flotilla Case
The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, has rejected an ICC appeals court request to reconsider her decision not to investigate war crimes allegations in the Mavi Marmara flotilla case. Bensouda said the judges did not consider "the unique context of violent resistance aboard the Mavi Marmara."
Last November, Bensouda closed a preliminary investigation into the incident, saying any cases relating to Israel's boarding of the ship "would not be of sufficient gravity to justify further action by the ICC." (JTA)
- Turkey and U.S. Plan to Create Syria "Safe Zone" - Anne Barnard, Michael R. Gordon, and Eric Schmitt
Turkey and the U.S. have agreed on a plan that envisions American warplanes, Syrian insurgents and Turkish forces working together to sweep Islamic State militants from a 60-mile-long strip of northern Syria along the Turkish border, American and Turkish officials say. The plan would create an Islamic State-free zone controlled by relatively moderate Syrian insurgents, which the Turks say could also be a "safe zone" for displaced Syrians.
(New York Times)
See also Turkey Riles U.S. Ally in Fight Against Jihadists - Emre Peker and Ayla Albayrak
The Kurds' People's Defense Units (YPG), a Syrian group that has emerged as the most effective U.S. partner in the fight against ISIS, accused Turkey on Monday of shelling their positions, a sign of the difficulties Ankara and the U.S. face as they boost cooperation to fight Islamic State militants. U.S. jets backed YPG units with airstrikes on Monday as they captured the northern Syrian border town of Sarrin from Islamic State. (Wall Street Journal)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Does the Deal Makes It Less Likely that Iran Will Get a Nuclear Weapon? - Herb Keinon
The Prime Minister's Office on Sunday responded to the question of whether the deal makes it less likely that Iran will get a nuclear weapon. It said the opposite is true and that the deal provides Iran with two paths to the bomb.
Either the Iranians will violate the deal, as they have done in the past, and develop a bomb by cheating, or they will abide by the accord and then, in about a decade, "carry out unlimited enrichment of uranium with full international legitimacy....Iran's breakout time at that point will be close to zero, as the U.S. president himself has said."
As to the argument that the only alternative to the deal is war, Israel has consistently promoted two different alternatives. "First, Israel supported the policy of 'dismantle for dismantle,' whereby the sanctions regime would be dismantled only when Iran's military nuclear program is dismantled. This policy was based on successive UN Security Council resolutions and was U.S. policy until 2013. Its implementation would have genuinely closed the Iranian nuclear file."
In the absence of a complete roll-back of Iran's nuclear infrastructure, there should at least be a significant roll-back, with severe restrictions on Iran lifted only when it stopped its regional aggression, support of global terrorism and efforts to destroy Israel.
The deal makes war more - not less - likely because Iran will be able to fill its coffers to fund its subversion, and because other countries in the Middle East, expecting Iran to become a nuclear power, will begin their own nuclear programs.
- Basic Facts about the Arab Village Called Susiya
The State Department and EU have been misled to believe that an old Arab village called Susiya existed, as asserted by the Nawajah family - Arab herders. However Israel's High Court found that these assertions were demonstrably false. Historical
aerial photography, detailed mandatory maps, travelogues from the 18th and
19th centuries, and the population registry all established that no such village ever existed. The Arab herders have permanent homes in West Bank town of Yatta and frequented the area near the ancient Jewish town of Susiya only seasonally while grazing their flocks. (Regavim)
See also Aerial Photos from 1999 and 2013 of the Arab Encampment near Susiya
Aerial photographs testify that in this place, there never was any settlement before the year 2000. At present, there are 64 structures in the
encampment, 85% of which were put up between 2011 and 2013. (Regavim)
- Why War Isn't Inevitable If Congress Rejects the Iran Nuclear Deal - Aaron David Miller
Much of the Obama administration's efforts to sell the Iran deal have involved shackling the public and congressional debate with the binary choice between a diplomatic solution and war. But is that really the case? A congressional override of the president's veto would make it impossible for the president to waive critical oil and banking sanctions against Iran, but other elements of the deal could kick in, allowing Tehran to benefit enormously. Iran is too clever to walk away from the prospect of trying to divide the P5+1. The Russians and Chinese, and possibly the Germans, are likely to support an Iranian campaign for partial relief from UN sanctions.
The theory that conflict with Iran is inevitable rests on several highly arguable contentions. First is the assumption that Iran is willing to accelerate its nuclear program and to either break out or sneak out to a weapon and thus court a military response from Israel or the U.S. The second assumption is that Israel is itching for an opportunity to unilaterally strike Iran with or without Washington's approval. In the wake of a no vote by Congress, neither of these developments are certainties.
And why would Iran want to provide justification for such responses as long as it could pocket the political and economic benefits that would flow from being cooperative? For Tehran, the smarter option in the wake of Congress blocking the accord would be to exploit the appetite for international investment and blame the failure of the deal on Washington. That's a more compelling choice for Iran's leadership than a headlong plunge into war.
The writer is a vice president at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars.
(Wall Street Journal)
- The Nuclear Deal Fallout - Walter Russell Mead
Is the nuclear deal just the first act in a longer drama of retreat, retrenchment, and accommodation as the U.S. hands the keys of the Persian Gulf to our new Shi'a friends? The appeasers, sorry, the accommodationists argue that if we are too tough on Iran now, they will walk away from the nuclear deal, and the U.S. will be face to face with the stark choice that the Obama administration has worked so hard to avoid: accept an Iranian bomb, or bomb Iran.
The nuclear deal appears to be replete with mechanisms by which Iran could walk away from it without incurring the price of a snap-back of international sanctions or an interruption of the money rolling in. But unless Washington confronts Iran's regional ambitions on the ground, the nuclear deal could do more to destabilize the Middle East than it will to calm things down.
The writer is professor of foreign affairs and humanities at Bard College and professor of American foreign policy at Yale University.
- The Iran Deal and the "Problem of Conjecture" - Niall Ferguson
Why should Iran suddenly mend its ways? In return for merely slowing down its pursuit of nuclear weapons, it is being handed up to $150 billion in previously frozen assets, a commercial bonanza as sanctions are lifted, and the prospect of an end to conventional arms and ballistic-missile embargoes after, respectively, five and eight years. All Iran has to do is keep the International Atomic Energy Agency happy that it is sticking to its nuclear commitments. There will be no "snap back" of sanctions if Tehran opts to use its new resources to double or quadruple its support for Hizbullah and Hamas, the Assad regime in Syria, and the Houthi rebellion in Yemen.
Today, faced with two forms of Islamic extremism, Shiite and Sunni, we are tilting toward Iran, the principal sponsor of the former. We are alienating our allies, moderate Sunnis as well as Israelis.
No one can say for sure what will come of the president's strategy. It may magically produce equilibrium in the Middle East, as he hopes. But all the evidence points the other way: toward a continuing escalation of violence in the region. The writer is professor of history at Harvard University.
(Wall Street Journal)
The Iran Deal and the Rut of History - Leon Wieseltier (Atlantic)
- The Iranian worldview was founded in large measure on a fiery, theological anti-Americanism, an officially disseminated view of Americanism as satanism. The adversarial relationship between America and the regime in Tehran has been based on the fact that we should be adversaries. What democrat, what pluralist, what liberal, what conservative would want this Iran for a friend?
- Obama likes to think, when he speaks of Iran, that he speaks of its people, but in practice he has extended his hand to its regime. With his talk about the Islamic Republic becoming "a very successful regional power," he has legitimated a regime that was more and more lacking in legitimacy. (There was something grotesque about the chumminess, the jolly camaraderie, of the American negotiators and the Iranian negotiators.)
- The text of the agreement states that the signatories will submit a resolution to the UN Security Council "expressing its desire to build a new relationship with Iran." Not a relationship with a new Iran, but a new relationship with this Iran, as it is presently constituted - that is to say, theocratic, oppressive, xenophobic, aggressive, anti-Semitic, misogynistic, and homophobic.
- In his recent Iranian New Year message, Obama exhorted the "people of Iran...to speak up for the future [they] seek." The last time the people of Iran spoke up to their government, they left their blood on the streets.
- If I could believe that the agreement marked the end of Iran's quest for a nuclear weapon, I would support it. I do not support it because it is only a deferral and a delay. Every pathway is not cut off. Moreover, if even a fraction of the revenues returned to Iran are allocated to its vile adventures beyond its borders, the U.S. will have subsidized an expansion of its own nightmares.
- As long as Iran does not agree to retire its infrastructure so that the manufacture of a nuclear weapon becomes not improbable but impossible, the U.S. will not have transformed the reality that worries it. We will only have mitigated it and prettified it.
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