President Biden Has an Opportunity to Change Course on Iran

When Joe Biden came to the White House in 2021, his foreign-policy agenda included restoration of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran. Benjamin Netanyahu, who argued against the deal at the time, has returned to office with the goal of finding a more effective way to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Yet Jonathan Schachter believes current circumstances make it possible for the two leaders to work together:

In the seven years since the conclusion of the Iran nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Netanyahu’s warnings have proved prescient. With the agreement’s implementation, Iran became more, not less, aggressive across the Middle East. The nuclear infrastructure the JCPOA guaranteed Iran enabled the regime to move closer to nuclear weapons at a time of its choosing. Rather than preventing proliferation, the JCPOA sparked a regional nuclear-arms race, as Iran’s neighbors now seek the same weapons-relevant nuclear capabilities the agreement allows Iran.

Starting in late summer, the conventional wisdom suggested that nuclear negotiations with Iran were suspended until after the midterm elections. But the regime increasingly continues to violate the JCPOA’s terms irreversibly, while it stonewalls three international investigations into undeclared nuclear materials and activities. A women-led uprising rages in Iran’s streets, despite the regime henchmen’s brutal efforts to put it down. Iran is now giving Russia the same drones and missiles that Tehran has given to Hizballah, the Houthis [in Yemen], and others to menace America’s allies in the Middle East. Providing the Iranian regime with hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief and legitimizing the expansion of a uranium enrichment program that has no peaceful justification makes less sense than ever.

The new year opens with a new Israeli government and a historic opportunity for Biden. If . . . he is prepared to pressure rather than placate Iran and to develop a “Plan B” genuinely to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons, he will make both a nuclear-arms race and a war to prevent it less likely.

Read more at The Hill

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, Iran nuclear program, Joseph Biden

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7