The Pending Nuclear Deal with Iran Is a Gift to Vladimir Putin

March 22 2022

Even as Washington ratchets up its sanctions on Russia, it is poised to reach an agreement—negotiated through Russian intermediaries—to remove sanctions on Moscow’s clients in Tehran. Mark Dubowitz and Jonathan Schanzer point to the dangers of the seemingly imminent nuclear deal with Iran:

The American concession that enables Russia to conduct nuclear work with the Islamic Republic, even as Putin threatens to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, is foreign-policy malpractice. It’s hard to argue otherwise. Still, some might say that at least the White House held firm and denied the Russian request for a sanctions “white channel” to trade with Iran, [thus avoiding the sanctions on itself]. Yes, that was technically taken off the table. However, Russia will effectively get a white channel anyway because the Biden administration would never sanction Iranian entities transacting with Russian businesses once a deal is signed.

Indeed, the administration has already surrendered to Iranian nuclear blackmail. Besides, it’s also possible that the U.S. will provide secret guarantees to Iran or even Russia in side letters. Washington struck secret side deals in the last agreement that were never made public. Nothing prevents the White House from doing so again.

Not to be left out, China reportedly is also asking for a special carve-out for Chinese entities previously sanctioned. Russia recently approached Beijing to help finance the war effort in Ukraine. Should Joe Biden agree to any of this, it would be a political collapse of epic proportions.

The terms of the new Iran agreement were brokered by Russia. Putin only agreed to it because it would help to undermine the U.S.-led world order. Tehran would never assent to a deal without Putin’s consent because the regime knows it will need Russia in the future.

Read more at Washington Examiner

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

How Israel Can Break the Cycle of Wars in Gaza

Last month saw yet another round of fighting between the Jewish state and Gaza-based terrorist groups. This time, it was Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) that began the conflict; in other cases, it was Hamas, which rules the territory. Such outbreaks have been numerous in the years since 2009, and although the details have varied somewhat, Israel has not yet found a way to stop them, or to save the residents of the southwestern part of the country from the constant threat of rocket fire. Yossi Kuperwasser argues that a combination of military, economic, and diplomatic pressure might present an alternative solution:

In Gaza, Jerusalem plays a key role in developing the rules that determine what the parties can and cannot do. Such rules are designed to give the Israelis the ability to deter attacks, defend territory, maintain intelligence dominance, and win decisively. These rules assure Hamas that its rule over Gaza will not be challenged and that, in between the rounds of escalation, it will be allowed to continue its military buildup, as the Israelis seldom strike first, and the government’s responses to Hamas’s limited attacks are always measured and proportionate.

The flaws in such an approach are clear: it grants Hamas the ability to develop its offensive capabilities, increase its political power, and condemn Israelis—especially those living within range of the Gaza Strip—to persistent threats from Hamas terrorists.

A far more effective [goal] would be to rid Israel of Hamas’s threat by disarming it, prohibiting its rearmament, and demonstrating conclusively that threatening Israel is indisputably against its interests. Achieving this goal will not be easy, but with proper preparation, it may be feasible at the appropriate time.

Revisiting the rule according to which Jerusalem remains tacitly committed to not ending Hamas rule in Gaza is key for changing the dynamics of this conflict. So long as Hamas knows that the Israelis will not attempt to uproot it from Gaza, it can continue arming itself and conducting periodic attacks knowing the price it will pay may be heavy—especially if Jerusalem changes the other rules mentioned—but not existential.

Read more at Middle East Quarterly

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israeli Security, Palestinian Islamic Jihad