Jordan Has Little Reason for Ending Its Peace Treaty with Israel

If Jerusalem goes ahead with plans to extend its sovereignty over parts of the West Bank, King Abdullah of Jordan has warned, “massive conflict” could ensue. Some observers have read this comment as a threat to withdraw from the 1994 treaty with the Jewish state. But Alan Baker argues that such an outcome is “highly unlikely”:

Since the issue of the status of Judea and Samaria is, in article 3 [of the treaty], specifically excluded from the border-delimitation provisions of their respective territory, Jordan cannot claim that unilateral application of law or sovereignty by Israel in such territories constitutes a violation of the peace treaty or grounds for its revocation.

Some of the central components of the peace relationship represent interests that are vital to Jordan such as water allocations (article 6), economic relations (article 7), Jordan’s special historic role in Muslim holy shrines in Jerusalem (article 9), freedom of navigation and access to ports (article 14), and civil aviation and rights of overflight, including Jordanian overflight of Israeli territory to reach points in Europe (article 15). To cancel or revoke such vital components would not serve the interests of Jordan and would undermine its very stability.

Should Jordan wish to solve a dispute with Israel regarding the application or interpretation of the peace treaty, article 29 establishes a dispute-settlement mechanism of negotiation, conciliation, or arbitration.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: International Law, Jordan, West Bank

The Assassination of a Nuclear Scientist Is a Reminder That Iran Has Been Breaking the Rules for Years

Nov. 30 2020

On Friday, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the chief scientist behind the Islamic Republic’s nuclear-weapons program, was killed in what appears to have been a carefully planned and executed operation—widely thought to have been Israel’s doing. In 2011, Fakhrizadeh was given a new position as head of the Organization for Defensive Innovation and Research (known by its Persian acronym SPND), which was a front for Tehran’s illegal nuclear activities. Richard Goldberg explains:

Last year, the State Department revealed that SPND has employed as many as 1,500 individuals, including nuclear-weapons scientists [who] “continue to carry out dual-use research and development activities, of which aspects are potentially useful for nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons-delivery systems.”

How could Fakhrizadeh and SPND continue to operate during the 2015 Iran nuclear deal when the deal was premised on Iran’s commitment to an exclusively peaceful nuclear program? Indeed, the existence of SPND and the discovery of Iran’s nuclear archive [by the Mossad in 2018] paints a picture of regime that never truly halted its nuclear-weapons program—but instead separated its pieces, keeping its personnel fresh and ready for a time of Iran’s choosing.

That reality was deliberately obfuscated to sell the Iran nuclear deal. Iran-deal supporters wanted the world to believe that the ayatollahs had left their nuclear ambitions in the past. . . . We now know Iran lied to the International Atomic Energy Agency, [which is charged with policing Tehran’s compliance], and to the participants of the nuclear deal. Today, the IAEA is again investigating Iran’s concealment of undeclared nuclear material, activities, and sites.

President-elect Joe Biden can no longer pretend that the Iran deal prevented the Islamic Republic’s nuclear advancement. It did not. Nor can Biden’s incoming secretary of state or national security adviser—both of whom were instrumental players in putting the deal together—pretend that Iran can return to compliance with that flawed deal without addressing all outstanding questions about the archive, SPND, and its undeclared activities.

Read more at New York Post

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy