A Two-State Solution for the Spanish-Catalonian Conflict?

The Spanish region of Catalonia declared its independence last month, after its citizens overwhelmingly voted to do so. In response, Madrid dissolved the regional government, imposed direct rule, and issued an arrest warrant for the former Catalonian president. Jeff Jacoby comments:

In the ensuing [post-referendum] violence, voters were beaten with clubs, dragged by their hair, and shot with rubber bullets [by Spanish police]. Nearly 900 civilians were treated for injuries. . . . A senior cabinet minister warned [subsequently] that Spain will use force, if necessary, to compel Catalonia to submit. . . .

[Nonetheless], the Spanish government unhesitatingly proclaims support for Palestinian sovereignty. . . . How can Spain, so ready to endorse a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians, aggressively oppose one for its conflict with Catalonia?

The phenomenon isn’t limited to Spain. Iraq also backs statehood and full UN membership for the Palestinians—but not for the Iraqi Kurds who decisively voted for independence last month. . . . As recently as July, the Chinese president Xi Jinping hosted Mahmoud Abbas in Beijing and endorsed a “settlement of the Palestinian issue on the basis of the two-state solution.” But under no circumstances will China contemplate a “two-state solution” for Tibetans, an ancient people with a unique linguistic, cultural, and religious identity. . . .

Only when it comes to Palestinians is the international community obsessed with a “two-state solution.” That isn’t because Palestinians are uniquely qualified for sovereignty. The dysfunctional, violent, and corrupt Palestinian Authority is about as ill-suited to statehood as any entity can be. Rather, the unending agitation to create a Palestinian state is a reflection of the world’s restless preoccupation with Jews—and, since 1948, with the Jewish state.

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Read more at Jeff Jacoby

More about: Catalonia, China, Israel & Zionism, Spain, Two-State Solution

The New Iran Deal Will Reward Terrorism, Help Russia, and Get Nothing in Return

After many months of negotiations, Washington and Tehran—thanks to Russian mediation—appear close to renewing the 2015 agreement concerning the Iranian nuclear program. Richard Goldberg comments:

Under a new deal, Iran would receive $275 billion of sanctions relief in the first year and $1 trillion by 2030. [Moreover], Tehran would face no changes in the old deal’s sunset clauses—that is, expiration dates on key restrictions—and would be allowed to keep its newly deployed arsenal of advanced uranium centrifuges in storage, guaranteeing the regime the ability to cross the nuclear threshold at any time of its choosing. . . . And worst of all, Iran would win all these concessions while actively plotting to assassinate former U.S. officials like John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and [his] adviser Brian Hook, and trying to kidnap and kill the Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad on U.S. soil.

Moscow, meanwhile, would receive billions of dollars to construct additional nuclear power plants in Iran, and potentially more for storage of nuclear material. . . . Following a visit by the Russian president Vladimir Putin to Tehran last month, Iran reportedly started transferring armed drones for Russian use against Ukraine. On Tuesday, Putin launched an Iranian satellite into orbit reportedly on the condition that Moscow can task it to support Russian operations in Ukraine.

With American and European sanctions on Russia escalating, particularly with respect to Russian energy sales, Putin may finally see net value in the U.S. lifting of sanctions on Iran’s financial and commercial sectors. While the return of Iranian crude to the global market could lead to a modest reduction in oil prices, thereby reducing Putin’s revenue, Russia may be able to head off U.S. secondary sanctions by routing key transactions through Tehran. After all, what would the Biden administration do if Iran allowed Russia to use its major banks and companies to bypass Western sanctions?

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Russia, U.S. Foreign policy