Poll: Americans Oppose Iran Deal by 2-1 - Jesse Byrnes (The Hill)
57% of Americans oppose the nuclear deal with Iran, while 28% support it,
according to a Quinnipiac University poll conducted July 23-28 and released Monday.
56% disapprove the way Obama is handling the situation in Iran, compared with 35% percent who approve. 58% also think the deal makes the world less safe.
Mounting Shiite Casualties in Syria - Ali Alfoneh (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
According to open-source data collected from Persian-language accounts of funerals in Iran, 113 Iranian nationals, 121 Afghan nationals, and 20 Pakistani nationals - all Shiites - have been killed in combat in Syria since January 2013.
All of the Iranian casualties served in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, with an increasing number of casualties from the IRGC Ground Forces.
The Afghan and Pakistani nationals were members of militias organized by the Qods Force of the Revolutionary Guards.
The writer is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Egypt: Israeli Support Crucial for Gaining U.S. Favor - Dina Ezzat
Egyptian diplomats say the support of Israel has been "crucial" and "huge" in converting the position of the White House from one of being clearly unfavorable towards the Sisi government in Cairo, to being a lot more engaging.
Islamic State Gaining Recruits in Gaza - Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)
While the Hamas leadership has consistently denied the existence of Islamic State terrorists inside Gaza, Palestinian sources in Gaza say that the Islamic State has over the past few months recruited hundreds of young men to its ranks, mostly former members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
In a recent video, the Islamic State announced that its men would soon reach Gaza and remove the Hamas "tyrants" from power.
Stories from an Israeli Intensive Care Doctor - Meital Yasour Beit-Or (Israel Hayom)
Professor Patrick Sorkin, 67, is retiring as head of the intensive care unit at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center.
Sorkin has had quite a few success stories throughout his career - patients who pulled through against the odds and got on with their lives.
He says, "In my job I have seen patients that everyone was sure were already gone, but they managed to get back up on their feet and get well."
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- Khamenei Advisor Velayati: No Inspections of Iran Military Sites
The Head of the Expediency Council Strategic Research Center, Ali Akbar Velayati, told Al Jazeera on Friday that Iran would not allow inspections of its military sites by the IAEA or any other organization.
"Regardless of P5+1 countries' interpretation, Iran has always clearly said that it prohibits any inspection of military bases by the IAEA or any other institutions." (Mehr-Iran)
See also Velayati: Missile Issue Not Part of Nuclear Agreement
Ali Akbar Velayati, advisor to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, said on July 31:
"Iran never has negotiated and never will negotiate with others...about the nature and quality of missiles it should manufacture or possess." (MEMRI)
- Islamic State Recruiting Offsets 15,000 Killed by Airstrikes in Past Year - Jim Michaels
A year ago, the CIA said it believed the Islamic State had between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters in Iraq and Syria. The estimate remains the same this year, despite more than 5,500 airstrikes that killed an estimated 15,000 militants.
See also U.S. Airstrikes Against ISIS Killed 459 Civilians - Vivian Salama
U.S.-led airstrikes targeting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have probably killed at least 459 civilians over the past year, a report by the independent monitoring group Airwars said Monday.
- UK Schools Teaching "Pro-Palestinian Extremist Agenda" - Camilla Turner
An "extremist agenda" is being taught to children as young as three, it has been claimed, with the UK National Union of Teachers (NUT) accused of "spreading political propaganda" in classrooms by promoting Palestinian "resistance." The NUT has designed and promoted a teaching resources pack which asks teachers to explore themes of Palestinian "occupation, freedom and resistance." The resource pack's accompanying video contains references to "Jews" as opposed to "Israelis."
Tom Wilson, from the Henry Jackson Society, a think-tank, called the project "overtly agenda driven" and warned: "We need to be more vigilant about the politicization of British classrooms....It is a particularly shameless example of political activism masquerading as a legitimate form of education." Sam Westrop, the director of Stand for Peace, a counter-extremism think-tank, said that by teaching school children that Palestinian "resistance" against Israel was a worthy cause, the "NUT's political propaganda and misrepresentation serves the extremist agenda....The law is crystal clear: all political discussions in school should be unbiased and balanced." (Telegraph-UK)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Israeli Woman Wounded in Firebomb Attack in Jerusalem - Roi Yanovsky
An Israeli woman, Inbar Azrak, 27, was wounded by a firebomb thrown at her car, which was stopped at a traffic light in the Arab neighborhood of Beit Hanina in Jerusalem on Monday.
- U.S. Official: Israel Objected to Arms Sale to Gulf States Following Iran Deal - Barak Ravid
A senior U.S. security official said that during the visit of U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to Israel last week, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and other senior Israeli officials expressed opposition to the sale of advanced weapon systems to Gulf states in the wake of the nuclear deal with Iran. "There were some key capabilities that the Israelis rather the Gulf States not have," he said. "It is a discussion that started before the Iran deal."
He said that the U.S. is interested in amplifying cooperation to prevent weapons smuggling from Iran to Hizbullah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad, and that American sanctions over Iranian support of terror would continue.
Moreover, the official said, "We are not expecting Iran to change its behavior radically because of this deal. We don't think Iran has transformed and that their leadership wants to create peace. We don't look at them as the solution. We hope maybe something like it happens in the future but we have no illusions about Iran's behavior." (Ha'aretz)
- U.S. Reverses Policy to Include Iran in Syrian Peace Talks - Jackson Diehl
At his post-deal news conference last month, President Obama conceded that Iran might use some of the billions it will soon receive to supply the Lebanese Hizbullah with fresh weapons, and he vowed to do his best to stop it. "It is in the national security interest of the United States to prevent Iran from sending weapons to Hizbullah," he said. At the same time, Obama described the solution to the Syrian civil war as requiring an "agreement among the major powers that are interested in Syria....Iran is one of those players, and I think that it's important for them to be part of that conversation." That remark signaled a reverse of Obama's previous policy of excluding Iran from Syrian peace talks. At U.S. insistence, Tehran was left out of the two conferences held in Geneva in 2012 and 2014.
More important, conceding an Iranian say on Syria contradicted Obama's goal of stopping its support for Hizbullah. That's because Iran's deep support for the Assad regime is driven almost entirely by its use of Syria as a land bridge to the Shiite militia. Hizbullah "is Iran's aircraft carrier in the eastern Mediterranean," says Robert Ford, the former U.S. ambassador to Syria. The militia deploys tens of thousands of missiles in southern Lebanon aimed at Israel, and it ensures that no government in Lebanon can be formed without Tehran's consent. Thousands of its fighters are keeping the Assad regime standing in order to preserve this link to Iran.
A serious effort to end Syria's war will require Obama to choose between challenging Iran's Syrian land bridge to Hizbullah through more vigorous support for anti-Assad forces, or accepting a settlement that tacitly sanctions a continued Iranian proxy army on Israel's border.
- History Contradicts the Dream of Iranian Moderation - Reuel Marc Gerecht
Backers of the nuclear accord with Iran hopefully insist that once plugged back into the global economy, Iran will become less militant. This is an unlikely scenario. Free enterprise in clerical Iran is an Islamic variation of the state capitalism now practiced in Putin's Russia: corrupt, nepotistic, and constrained and co-opted by internal security forces. The Islamic Republic's economy is a competition between revolution-loyal mafias.
After Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, died in 1989, then President Rafsanjani, with future President Rouhani at his side, encouraged and welcomed European engagement. Yet terrorism and support for Hizbullah remained a staple of the regime's statecraft. The bombings in Argentina of the Israeli Embassy in 1992 and a Jewish community center in 1994 happened on Rafsanjani's watch. So did the 1996 bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 American servicemen. During this period, the assassination of Iranian expatriates became common. How will so-called moderation this time around, led by President Rouhani, be any different?
The Revolutionary Guards are now much more powerful, both economically and politically, than they were in the 1990s. Lifting sanctions will release more than $100 billion in oil revenues, a windfall certain to unleash their appetites. We will see a feeding frenzy. And as the Washington Post's imprisoned reporter Jason Rezaian can testify, freedom of speech has contracted since Rouhani became president.
The writer, a former Iranian targets officer in the Central Intelligence Agency, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Wall Street Journal)
The Secret of Iran's Success - Ofer Israeli (Israel Hayom)
- The Iranian delegation won significant results through its dogged adherence to the four negotiating principles of the Persian bazaar.
- First, from the Persian point of view, the negotiating process is not designed for facilitating a compromise between the opposing sides. It is also not designed for reaching a middle ground between the sides' original proposals. Its goal is to allow the Persian side to meet its objectives. If not, the negotiating process is delayed until a future date when the conditions are deemed more favorable. In the meantime, the Persians will buy time and learn to live with the situation.
- Secondly, the only measure for success in negotiations is achieving the goal, which has been predetermined. Any other outcome will be perceived as a defeat, which will eventually be rejected by the highest echelons of power. Iran avoided compromising its goals despite the sanctions imposed on it for years. The Persians held steadfast to their positions until they completely exhausted the opposing negotiators.
- Third, any compromise on basic principles is considered weakness.
- Fourth, honesty and truth telling does not apply to the world of international politics. Any problem raised by the other side will be met with a future solution, which will be backed up by impressive promises that will supposedly bridge the gaps, though there is no honest and truthful intention to stick to the deal, which will be violated at a time deemed suitable.
- Throughout the negotiations, the Iranian representatives operated in accordance with these four principles. Of course, we can identify certain points in time where the Iranian negotiators supposedly gave in, but this was only to create the appearance of a positive dynamic while absolutely adhering to their national interests.
- Despite the sophistication, guile and resolve exhibited by the Persians, the Islamic Republic can be defeated. One way to do so is to adopt some of the Persian strategies described here.
Dr. Ofer Israeli teaches foreign policy decision-making at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.
See also The Sources of Iranian Negotiating Behavior - Harold Rhode (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
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