Iran Inspections in 24 Days? Not Even Close - Hillel Fradkin and Lewis Libby (Wall Street Journal)
The Obama administration assures Americans that the Iran deal grants access within 24 days to undeclared but suspected Iranian nuclear sites.
A close examination of the agreement reveals that its terms permit Iran to hold inspectors at bay for months, likely three or more.
First, the IAEA tells Iran "the basis" of its concerns about a particular location. Iran then provides "explanations," a stage that has no time limit.
The suspect site is likely to be remote, and Iran will say that it must gather skilled people and equipment to allay IAEA concerns. Iran may offer explanations in stages, seeking clarifications before "completing" its response. That could take a while.
At this point the IAEA must provide written reasons for the request and only then do the supposed 24 days begin to run, but with the possibility of even more opportunities for delay.
Mr. Fradkin is director of the Center on Islam, Democracy and the Future of the Muslim World at the Hudson Institute. Mr. Libby, a senior vice president at the Hudson Institute, served in the George W. Bush administration as assistant to the president.
U.S. Poll: Little Confidence in Iran's Leaders to Live Up to Deal (Pew Research Center)
48% of Americans disapprove of the deal to limit Iran's nuclear program, while 38% approve, according to a survey conducted July 14-20 by the Pew Research Center.
73% say they have not too much (35%) or no confidence at all (38%) that Iran's leaders will uphold their side of the agreement.
The Islamic State Comes to Russia? - Elena Pokalova (War on the Rocks)
On June 21, an audio recording announced the pledge of loyalty by the Caucasus Emirate group's mujahedeen to the Islamic State. In response, Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani confirmed the creation of the Caliphate's branch in the North Caucasus, called Vilayat Kavkaz.
In April, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called the Islamic State Russia's biggest threat.
UK Student Union Censures Its President for Not Boycotting Coca Cola - Jon Stone (Independent-UK)
The UK's National Union of Students has voted to censure its newly elected president, Megan Dunn, for accepting Coca Cola sponsorship for an NUS awards ceremony.
NUS adopted a boycott of Coca Cola in August 2014 because Coca Cola Israel operates a distribution center in Atarot next to Jerusalem (that serves the Arab population of Jerusalem), a dairy in Shadmot Mehola in the Jordan Valley, and a winery that owns vineyards in the Golan Heights.
The union's national executive voted 20-14 to criticize "Dunn's refusal to accept that Coca Cola is a target of the BDS movement or to release an apology for accepting their sponsorship."
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News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Iran Deal Looms as U.S. Defense Secretary Meets with Netanyahu - Helene Cooper and Jodi Rudoren
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter huddled for more than an hour behind closed doors in Jerusalem on Tuesday. Carter later said that "the prime minister made it quite clear that he disagreed with us on the nuclear deal with Iran. But friends can disagree."
Dore Gold, the director-general of Israel's Foreign Ministry, noted that "any discourse about the Iranian agreement has to be done through mutual respect" because "the United States is a very important ally of Israel." Gold said Israel's primary strategy would be "to tell the truth" about the agreement. Gold cited as Israel's primary concerns the deal's 24-day wait for inspections of undeclared sites and the freedom for Iran to develop long-range weapons, as well the broader issue of pumping money into a nation that calls for Israel's destruction and finances terror.
(New York Times)
- Obama: U.S. Will Not Let Iran "Off the Hook"
President Obama said Tuesday: "Even with this deal, we'll continue to have serious differences with the Iranian government, its support of terrorism, proxies that destabilize the Middle East. So we can't let them off the hook. Our sanctions for Iran's support for terrorism and its ballistic missile program and its human rights violations - those sanctions will remain in place. And we will stand with allies and partners, including Israel, to oppose Iran's dangerous behavior." (White House)
- U.S. Airstrike Kills Leader of Qaeda Cell in Syria - Eric Schmitt
Muhsin al-Fadhli, leader of the Khorasan Group, an al-Qaeda cell in Syria that American officials say has been plotting attacks against the U.S and Europe, was killed in a military drone strike on July 8, Pentagon officials said Tuesday. Khorasan is made up of about two dozen seasoned Qaeda operatives who were sent to Syria by Ayman al-Zawahri, al-Qaeda's leader in Pakistan.
According to intelligence assessments, Khorasan militants have been working with bomb makers from al-Qaeda's Yemen affiliate to test new ways to slip nonmetallic explosives past airport security. Officials fear that Khorasan militants could provide these sophisticated explosives to Western recruits who could sneak them onto U.S.-bound flights.
(New York Times)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Nuclear Deal Does Not End Israel's Battle with Iran - Herb Keinon
Prime Minister Netanyahu continues to speak out against the Iran deal because after the Security Council endorsement and after the Congress vote, Israel will still be stuck with a radical, extremist Iran, and wants to keep it on the international agenda. Israel wants to ensure that people do not forget what Iran is and stands for, and whom it supports. Jerusalem wants to stress that Israel has serious problems with certain elements of the deal, in the hope that maybe those problems can be fixed - perhaps through congressional legislation to plug specific holes, similar to legislation Congress recently enacted to battle BDS efforts.
Netanyahu is also sending a message to those chomping at the bit to do business with Iran. Netanyahu wants to remind them with whom they are running to do business, and that they should not throw their principles out the window for a quick euro. Israel's battle with Iran did not end with the signing of the agreement. Facing a world that may now have a tendency to see Iran in a softer, more forgiving light, Israel wants to make sure that this does not happen, and that Iran remains a pariah for its engagement in subversive activities around the globe.
- Israel: Halt EU Funding of NGOs that Oppose Israel's Right to Exist - Itamar Eichner
European governments provide 100-200 million euros annually to groups working to delegitimize the Jewish state, the Israel Foreign Ministry said.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely has met with the Dutch foreign minister, the Spanish deputy foreign minister, and the ambassadors of Sweden, the EU, the UK, Denmark, and Switzerland, presenting them with evidence that their governments provide financial assistance to organizations that support boycotts against Israel, "accuse it of ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and war crimes; depriving the Jewish people of their right to self-determination."
Hotovely said some of these organizations are associated with and actively support terror groups, and that Israel sees support for those opposing its right to exist as crossing a red line. (Ynet News)
- The Risk in Lifting Sanctions, and Pressure, on Iran Weapons Activities - Michael Singh
Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee this month that "we should under no circumstances relieve pressure on Iran relative to ballistic missile capabilities and arms trafficking." Yet under the Iran nuclear agreement, sanctions on conventional arms are to be lifted in five years and missile sanctions in eight years (possibly sooner under certain conditions).
Iran has the region's largest, most advanced ballistic missile arsenal and is thought to be working on intercontinental ballistic missiles. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said this month that "The reason that we want to stop Iran from having an ICBM program is that 'I' in 'ICBM' stands for intercontinental, which means having the capability of flying from Iran to the United States."
Hizbullah's attacks on Israel in 2006 were carried out using Iranian rockets and missiles. Conflicts in Yemen, Gaza, and Syria are fueled by Iranian arms. As Iran develops more advanced missiles and more sensitive nuclear technology, these capabilities, too, could be shared. If sanctions are fully lifted without Iran pledging to cease or limit its arms trafficking and ballistic missile activities, the next U.S. president will be left to find different options to counter Iranian behavior.
The writer is managing director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. From 2005 to 2008, he worked on Middle East issues at the U.S. National Security Council.
(Wall Street Journal)
- Countering Iran's Destabilizing Actions in the Middle East - Peter Juul, Brian Katulis, and Shlomo Brom
The newly negotiated agreement with Iran has a specific purpose: reining in Iran's nuclear program. It does not address the rest of Iran's malicious international behavior. Accordingly, the U.S. and its partners in the Middle East and Europe should take active steps to crack down on Iran's ability to foment chaos in the region - and the Obama administration should lead the way. The nuclear agreement is unlikely to change Iran's bad behavior - which in turn is causing great apprehension among U.S. allies in the region.
Iran's subversion and proxy network is vast, stretching geographically from Latin America to Afghanistan. Tehran has three main organizations through which it spreads regional instability: the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security, and Lebanese Hizbullah. Tehran's fingerprints can be seen on virtually all of the region's conflicts.
With or without a nuclear agreement, Iran will continue to present a severe threat to the stability and security of the Middle East. Countering Iran's malignant regional behavior will require a series of actions from both the U.S. and its Middle Eastern partners. The overall goal should be to degrade and disrupt Iran's effort to destabilize the Middle East.
Peter Juul is a policy analyst at the Center for American Progress, where Brian Katulis is a senior fellow and IDF Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Shlomo Brom is a visiting fellow.
(Center for American Progress)
- Backing Up Our Wager with Iran - Thomas L. Friedman
Congress should pass a resolution authorizing this and future presidents to use force to prevent Iran from ever becoming a nuclear weapons state. Iran must know now that the U.S. president is authorized to destroy - without warning or negotiation - any attempt by Tehran to build a bomb.
(New York Times)
Cameron: Islamic Extremist Ideology, Not Injustice or Poverty, Is the Root Cause of the Threat Facing Britain (Independent-UK)
British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday set out the government's five-year strategy for tackling extremist ideology:
- "What we are fighting, in Islamist extremism, is an ideology. It is an extreme doctrine....At its furthest end it seeks to destroy nation-states to invent its own barbaric realm. And it often backs violence to achieve this aim - mostly violence against fellow Muslims - who don't subscribe to its sick worldview."
- "Certain intolerant ideas...create a climate in which extremists can flourish:...that Jews exercise malevolent power; or that Western powers, in concert with Israel, are deliberately humiliating Muslims."
- "Some argue it's because of historic injustices and recent wars, or because of poverty and hardship. This argument, what I call the grievance justification, must be challenged."
- "When they say that these are wronged Muslims getting revenge on their Western wrongdoers, let's remind them: from Kosovo to Somalia, countries like Britain have stepped in to save Muslim people from massacres - it's groups like ISIL, al-Qaeda and Boko Haram that are the ones murdering Muslims."
- "Others might say: it's because terrorists are driven to their actions by poverty. But that ignores the fact that many of these terrorists have had the full advantages of prosperous families or a Western university education."
- "We've got to show that if you say 'yes I condemn terror - but the Kuffar [non-Muslims] are inferior,' or 'violence in London isn't justified, but suicide bombs in Israel are a different matter' - then you too are part of the problem. Unwittingly or not, and in a lot of cases it's not unwittingly, you are providing succor to those who want to commit, or get others to commit to, violence."
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