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Even If the Iran Deal Holds, It Will Expire in 2030. Then What?

July 20 2016

According to the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), restrictions placed on Tehran’s nuclear program will be lifted completely after fifteen years; actually, a recently leaked secret provision of the agreement states that certain key requirements will become inoperative even earlier. John Hannah describes the consequences, and what can be done to prevent them:

Under the JCPOA, by 2030 Iran will be permitted to build an [extensive] nuclear industry. It will be able to operate an unlimited number of advanced centrifuges and accumulate as large a stockpile of fissile material as it desires. That, in theory, includes weapons-grade uranium. At that point, it would be weeks, maybe even days, away from having the fuel for a small arsenal of nuclear weapons. All of this legitimized by the United States and the rest of what passes for the international community. . . .

The sunset provisions of the JCPOA are a ticking time bomb that needs to be defused. That means disabusing Iran of the idea that the United States is prepared to accept any plans on Iran’s part to expand dramatically enrichment capability (or plutonium-reprocessing and -separation capability) once the JCPOA’s restrictions expire. . . .

As bears constant repeating, the JCPOA is not a legally binding agreement. A new president will be within his or her rights to accept it, reject it, or demand that it be modified to address core national-security concerns. That fact should bestow real leverage on the next administration as it approaches international partners [to the agreement] who will be eager to avoid the deal’s outright collapse, as well as an early blowout with a new American leader. A good-faith offer by the new president to implement the JCPOA, coupled with a reasonable demand that its most glaring deficiencies be addressed, could, with time, well win the day diplomatically—especially if backed by a credible threat to act unilaterally should it eventually prove necessary.

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Iran nuclear program, Nuclear proliferation, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy

 

Hamas Sets Its Sights on Taking over the PLO

Oct. 20 2017

Examining the recent reconciliation agreement between the rival Palestinian organizations Fatah and Hamas, Eyal Zisser argues that the latter sees the deal as a way to install its former leader, Khaled Meshal, as head of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and thereby the Palestinian Authority. It wouldn’t be the first time something like this happened:

Even the former Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat . . . took the PLO leadership by force. His first steps, incidentally, were with the Fatah organization, which he cofounded in January 1965 in Damascus, under Syrian patronage. Fatah was meant to serve as a counterweight to the rival PLO, which had come into existence [earlier] under Egyptian patronage. Arafat, however, was relegated to the sidelines in the Palestinian arena. It was only after the 1967 Six-Day War that he exploited the resounding defeat of the Arab armies to join the PLO as the leader of Fatah, which led to his gaining control over [the PLO itself].

Meshal [most likely] wants to follow in Arafat’s footsteps—a necessary maneuver for a man who aspires to lead the Palestinian national movement, particularly after realizing that military might and even a hostile takeover of [either Gaza or the West Bank] will not grant him the legitimacy he craves.

It is hard to believe that Fatah will willingly hand over the keys to leadership, and it is also safe to assume that Egypt does not want to see Hamas grow stronger. But quasi-democratic developments such as these have their own dynamics. In 2006, Israel was persuaded by Washington to allow Hamas to run in the general Palestinian elections, thinking the Islamist group had no chance of winning. But Hamas won those elections. We can assume Meshal will now look to repeat that political ploy by joining the PLO and vying for its leadership.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Fatah, Hamas, Khaled Meshal, Palestinian Authority, PLO, Politics & Current Affairs, Yasir Arafat