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Iran’s Missile-Cap Offer Is a Sham

Nov. 14 2017

Following talk in Congress of imposing sanctions on Tehran for its ballistic-missile program, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced a decision to restrict the program to weapons with a range of no more than 2,000 kilometers. The move seemed like a preemptive concession, but, Richard Goldberg and Behnam Ben Taleblu explain, it is merely a ruse:

According to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, the regime can already “strike targets up to 2,000 kilometers from Iran’s borders,” a range sufficient to hit both U.S. military bases in the region as well as the entire state of Israel. In other words, the alleged cap on Iran’s ballistic missiles locks in the threat rather than rolling it back, while doing nothing to curtail the wide range of activities Iran is undertaking to improve its missile force. . . .

Neither the Trump administration nor Congress should take solace in Iran’s promise to cap its ballistic missiles at 2,000 kilometers. If anything, this declaration is an attempt by Tehran to overvalue something for which it has no immediate need—what are called intermediate-range ballistic missiles—in the hopes of forestalling coercive economic measures against its ballistic-missile program. During negotiations that culminated in the 2015 nuclear accord, Iran [likewise] strategically overvalued the few concessions it gave, including [giving up] its unreliable first-generation centrifuges. . . .

Now, by proposing an illusory cap on missile ranges, Iran is looking to dupe the West again. Meanwhile, the Islamic Republic is expected to continue improving the quality of its missile force, which . . . constitutes the Middle East’s biggest arsenal.

Read more at National Interest

More about: Iran, Iran sanctions, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy

 

In Pursuing Peace with Saudi Arabia, Israel Must Demand Reciprocity and Keep the Palestinian Question off the Table

Nov. 22 2017

The recent, unprecedented interview given by the IDF chief of staff to a major Arabic news outlet has fed the growing enthusiasm in Israel about the prospects of a peace treaty and mutual recognition between Jerusalem and Riyadh. Mordechai Kedar urges level heads and caution, and puts forward ten principles that should guide any negotiations. Most importantly, he argues that the two countries normalize relations before coming to any agreements about the Palestinians. To this he adds:

The most basic rule in dealing with the Saudis and their friends is that Israel must not feel that it has to pay anything for peace. . . . If the Saudis want to live in peace with us, we will stretch out our hands to offer them peace in return. But that is all they will get. Israel [has] been a state for 70 years without peace with Saudi Arabia and can continue being a state for another 7,000 years without it. Any desire for a quick peace (as expressed in the disastrous slogan “Peace Now”) will raise the price of that peace. . . .

[As part of any agreement], Israel will recognize the House of Saud’s rule in Mecca and Medina—even though the family does not originate from the Hejaz [where the holy cities are located] but from the Najd highland—in exchange for Saudi recognition of Israel’s right to Jerusalem as its historic and eternal capital city. Israel will recognize Saudi Arabia as an Islamic state in exchange for Saudi recognition of Israel as the Jewish state or a state belonging to the Jewish people. . . .

Israel will not allow incitement against Saudi Arabia in its media. In return, the Saudis will not allow anti-Israel incitement in Saudi media. . . .

It is important to keep the Americans and Europeans away from the negotiating table, since they will not be party to the agreement and will not have to suffer the results of its not being honored—and since their interests are not necessarily those of Israel, especially when it comes to the speed at which the negotiations move forward. The Americans want to cut a deal, even a bad deal, and if they are allowed into the negotiation rooms, they will pressure Israel to give in, mainly on the Palestinian issue.

Read more at Israel National News

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy, Israel-Arab relations, Saudi Arabia