The Destruction of an Iranian Nuclear Facility Makes Nuclear Negotiations Meaningless

On April 11, an explosion occurred at the Islamic Republic’s underground uranium-enrichment facility in the city Natanz. It appears that Israeli agents succeeded in placing powerful explosives in the facility, and it is likely that few if any of the centrifuges in the complex remain functioning. While Iran has two other facilities where it can enrich uranium—an aboveground one in Natanz and an underground one in the city of Fordow—the 2015 nuclear agreement prohibits most uranium-enrichment at both. Hans Rühle explains the implications for the Biden administration’s attempts to revive the 2015 deal:

What makes the current situation unique is that Israel has succeeded in crippling Iran’s Natanz uranium-enrichment facility for the unforeseeable future—with a single explosive device and without significant collateral damage. This is particularly important because the 2015 nuclear agreement stipulates that Natanz is Iran’s sole [legal] facility for enriching uranium.

Moreover, since Iran’s part in the agreement consisted essentially of reductions in its enrichment capacity at Natanz, the extensive destruction of that facility would thus have made it objectively impossible for Iran to fulfill its obligations under the agreement. Thus, the [deal] is obsolete and should be terminated; in any case, current developments at Natanz should lead to an indefinite suspension of negotiations.

[W]ith the attack on Natanz, Israel has pulled off a brilliant coup. . . . Israel has no reason to hope that U.S. policies will change fundamentally under the Biden administration. Nice words, which President Joe Biden undoubtedly will deploy, are unlikely to be enough to substitute for action.

Read more at National Interest

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

As Hamas’s Power Collapses, Old Feuds Are Resurfacing

In May, Mahmoud Nashabat, a high-ranking military figure in the Fatah party (which controls the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority), was gunned down in central Gaza. Nashabat was an officer in the Gaza wing of the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a terrorist outfit that served as Fatah’s vanguard during the second intifada, and now sometimes collaborates with Hamas. But his killers were Hamas members, and he was one of at least 35 Palestinians murdered in Gaza in the past two months as various terrorist and criminal groups go about settling old scores, some of which date back to the 1980s. Einav Halabi writes:

Security sources familiar with the situation told the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that Gaza is now also beleaguered by the resurgence of old conflicts. “Many people have been killed in incidents related to the first intifada in 1987, while others have died in family disputes,” they said.

The “first-intifada portfolio” in Gaza is considered complex and convoluted, as it is filled with hatred among residents who accuse others of killing relatives for various reasons, including collaboration with Israel. . . . According to reports from Gaza, there are vigorous efforts on the ground to contain these developments, but the chances of success remain unclear. Hamas, for its part, is trying to project governance and control, recently releasing several videos showcasing how its operatives brutally beat residents accused of looting.

These incidents, gruesome as they are, suggest that Hamas’s control over the territory is slipping, and it no longer holds a monopoly on violence or commands the fear necessary to keep the population in line. The murders and beatings also dimension the grim reality that would ensue if the war ends precipitously: a re-empowered Hamas setting about getting vengeance on its enemies and reimposing its reign of terror.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Fatah, Gaza War 2023, Hamas