Tuesday, December 14, 2021

12/14 Links Pt1: ‘Obsessed’ Biden administration put settlements on par with Iran nukes; Palestinian struggle has no leg to stand on; UN CEIRPP Hosts Event Supporting Terrorist Organizations

From Ian:

‘Obsessed’ Biden administration put settlements on par with Iran nukes
The Biden administration has put the issue of settlements on the same level as the Iranian nuclear threat in its discussions with Israeli officials, multiple Israeli diplomatic sources said in recent days.

“The Americans bring up ‘settler violence’ all the time, obsessively,” a senior diplomatic source in Jerusalem lamented.

When Defense Minister Benny Gantz was in Washington last week to implore the Americans to take a tougher stance against the Iranian nuclear threat, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken insisted they devote equal time to discussing settlements as they did to Iran, which Israeli diplomatic sources found baffling.

Blinken told Gantz that the Israeli government’s settlement activity is “destroying the chance of a two-state solution.”

Gantz’s meetings with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan – who is coming to Israel next Wednesday to continue to discuss Iran – went more smoothly, the sources said.

Talk of the American “obsession” came after Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev came under fire from Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and others on the Right for speaking of settler violence with Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, making no mention of Palestinian attacks on Israelis.
David Singer: The UN can deter an Iran-Israel conflict
Iranian Armed Forces spokesman - Brig.-Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi - recently told the Iranian Students News Agency:

“We will not back off from the annihilation of Israel, even one millimetre. We want to destroy Zionism in the world”

Rather than:
- condemning Iran’s threats to destroy another UN member state and
- defending Israel’s right to exist in secure and recognised boundaries as stipulated in UN Security Council Resolution 242

– the General Assembly has been engaging in its own demonisation of the Jewish People – recycling a Security Council Press Statement dated 17 September 2015 (Press Statement ) which only referred to the Temple Mount by its Arabic name “Haram al-Sharif” and not its Hebrew name “Har HaBayit”.

General Assembly Resolution A/76/L.16 (Resolution) - passed on 1 December – repeated this highly-offensive canard:
“Recalling the Security Council press statement on Jerusalem of 17 September 2015, in which the Council called, inter alia, for the exercise of restraint, refraining from provocative actions and rhetoric and upholding unchanged the historic status quo at the Haram al-Sharif – in word and in practice, as well as for full respect for international law, including international human rights law and international humanitarian law, as may be applicable in Jerusalem”

The Press Statement and Resolution both failed to acknowledge the special role of Jordan – not Israel - as custodian of all the Muslim holy shrines in Jerusalem - recognized in the 1994 Jordan-Israel Washington Declaration and Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty.

If the Security Council and General Assembly can both brazenly ignore these two highly-significant binding international commitments whilst simultaneously denying the Jewish People’s connection with Judaism’s holiest religious site in Jerusalem – what message does this send to Israel, Jordan and Iran?

Israel’s President Herzog has provided Israel’s response:
“Israel will welcome a comprehensive, diplomatic solution which permanently solves the Iranian nuclear threat.”

“In the case of a failure to achieve such a solution, Israel is keeping all options on the table and it must be said that if the international community does not take a vigorous stance on this issue — Israel will do so. Israel will protect itself”

Overt UN bias against Israel and the Jewish People should not preclude the UN from embracing Trump’s Plan to end the 100 years-old Jewish-Arab conflict and avert conflict between Iran and Israel.
UN CEIRPP Hosts Event Supporting Designated Terrorist Organizations
On December 7, 2021, the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) held an event titled “Supporting Human Rights Defenders in the Occupied Palestinian Territory: Reality, Challenges, and Obligations” to discuss the October 2021 decision by the Israeli Ministry of Defense to designate six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations. According to the Israeli Ministry of Defense, Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P), Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), Al-Haq, Addameer, Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC), and Bisan were included on Israel’s list of terrorist organizations because they are operated by and for the benefit of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), designated as a terrorist organization by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel.

The event, which featured speakers from one of the designated NGOs, Al-Haq, as well as from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, included calls for BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions). NGOs also advanced their long-standing campaign to pressure the International Criminal Court (ICC) to open an investigation of against Israelis.

As shown in the quotes below, speakers defended the six NGOs, without addressing the extensive evidence of NGO-PFLP links. Instead, they framed the designations as “an attack on human rights defenders,” without explaining how an NGO tied to a terror group could be considered to be defending “human rights.”

Quotes by Panelists Condemning the Decision and Supporting BDS and Lawfare

Wesam Ahmad (Al-Haq)
- “Israel’s latest attempt to silence Palestinian civil society is just another tactical move in its colonial strategy.”
- “The international community must respond with a systemic counter response that addresses Israel’s actions in various levels. For example, the EU Horizon agreement and its cooperation with Israel with regards to research and development. This is one of the things that needs to be addressed and challenged and suspended.”
- “We have to show that everything is connected. Supporting the process at the ICC, taking measures to ban settlement products, supports of the UN database on business enterprises involved in the settlement enterprise. These are all actions we have been calling for. The response to attempts to silence us should be met with the implementation of these calls.”
- “Israel’s membership in the ECOSOC committee is something that needs to be challenged…Israel cannot be allowed to conduct business as usual in other parts of the UN while it completely disregards the work of UN human rights defenders on the floor of the General Assembly.”

JPost Editorial: Bennett was well-welcomed in the UAE
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett arrived in the United Arab Emirates for a historic visit this week. It was important from a symbolic perspective and also showcased how Israel and the UAE can embrace each other in these turbulent times.

Bennett was received on Monday in Abu Dhabi by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, and the sides described the talks as warm and engaging.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, Bennett said that he appreciated the hospitality and added that it was a splendid welcome.

“He noted that he was very moved to be in the UAE, on the first official visit by an Israeli leader. He said that he expected to strengthen the network of relations between the two countries.”

“The message that I wish to deliver to the UAE leaders and Emirati citizens is that mutual partnership and friendship are natural,” Bennett told Emirati state media WAM prior to the meeting with the crown prince. “We are neighbors and cousins. We are the grandchildren of Prophet Abraham.”

Bennett called relations between the countries “a precious treasure for us and the entire region,” and the countries are working better to ensure a better future.

This meeting and Bennett’s trip to the UAE are significant on several levels. First, there is the image they convey, one showcasing Israel-UAE relations and demonstrating they are moving smoothly forward to the extent that an Israeli leader can travel in the Gulf.
Tom Gross: As the UAE moves closer to both Israel & Iran, could it even broker a deal between the two enemies?
As the UAE moves closer to both Israel & Iran, could it even broker some kind of understanding between the two enemies? Tom Gross on Turkish TV, December 14, 2021...

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, the de facto leader of the United Arab Emirates, met for four hours in Abu Dhabi (twice the scheduled time) including one and half without advisors present, on the first official visit by an Israeli leader to the Gulf state.

The speed and warmth at which relations have developed between Israel and the UAE since former PM Netanyahu signed a peace deal with the UAE and three other Arabs countries a year ago, was unimaginable to most people until a few months ago.

But the UAE is also now forging closer security and economic ties with Iran. Last week Emirati national security adviser Tahnoun bin Zayed visited Tehran to meet with the new hardline Iranian president following a five-year rift between the two countries.

And last month, the UAE, Iran and Turkey signed a trade deal to enable goods from Abu Dhabi to travel overland to Turkey via Iran. This will shorten shipment times to 7 days compared to the 21 days needed to go by sea via the Suez Canal.

Tom Gross asks whether the UAE could now broker an understanding between Tehran and Jerusalem?

Palestinian struggle has no leg to stand on
Last week's explosion of ammunition hidden in a mosque in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon once again sheds light on the barbaric nature of the Palestinian struggle against Israel.

Theirs is not a legitimate national struggle that occasionally includes improper methods, but a strategy built entirely on exploiting a people who try not to harm children, innocent civilians, schools, houses of worship – by individuals who have the opposite values.

The problem is not just the terrorists, but members of society who turn these scums into Palestinian heroes and educate the next generation to emulate their inhuman behavior. The Palestinian struggle presents Israel with a cruel choice: to allow the murder of Jewish children and civilians to avoid targeting a mosque or a Palestinian school where missiles are stored, or to kill Arab children and worshippers in an attempt to prevent such murder.

Like the barbaric regime in Tehran, which sent its children to explode in minefields to clear the day for its military, so too the Palestinians use their children as weapons. This is how a 14-year-old resident of Sheikh Jarrah was brainwashed into attempting to murder a Jewish mother in her neighborhood, who was taking her children to school. The teenager hoped the murder would turn her into a Palestinian heroine and entitle her family to a regular stipend from the Palestinian Authority, courtesy of Europe.

In her bag, she carried textbooks that incite violence against Israelis, used for the same brainwashing in the Palestinian education system and the public discourse in her society. This, too, is sponsored by Europe.
'Normalization with Israel conditional on Arab Peace Plan,' Saudi official says
Saudi Arabia's permanent representative to the United Nations voiced Tuesday the kingdom's readiness to normalize relations with Israel on the condition that the Arab Peace Initiative was implemented.

The announcement was published in an English-language interview conducted by the Saudi newspaper Arab News with Abdallah Al-Mouallimi.

"The official Saudi position is that we are ready to normalize relations with Israel as soon as the terms of the [the Arab Peace Initiative] that was put forwards in 2002 are implemented," Al-Mouallimi said.

He explained that the initiative "calls for ending the occupation of all Arab lands occupied by Israel in 1967, establishing an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital, and granting the Palestinians the right to self-determination.

"Once this happens, it is not only Saudi Arabia but the entire Islamic world, and the 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation will follow us … in recognizing Israel and establishing relations with it," Al-Mouallimi said.
JPost Editorial: Israel-US relationship too important for partisan lines
Depicting a sense of betrayal after Netanyahu congratulated Biden, Trump said: “I liked Bibi. I still like Bibi. But I also like loyalty. The first person to congratulate Biden was Bibi. And not only did he congratulate him, he did it on tape.”

Actually, many world leaders congratulated Biden before Netanyahu, who took 12 hours to send his message.

“For Bibi Netanyahu, before the ink was even dry, to do a message, and not only a message, to do a tape to Joe Biden talking about their great, great friendship – they didn’t have a friendship, because if they did, [the Obama administration] wouldn’t have done the Iran deal,” said Trump. “And guess what? Now they’re going to do it again. And if they do it again, Israel is in very grave danger.

“I’ll tell you what – had I not come along I think Israel was going to be destroyed. Okay. You want to know the truth? I think Israel would have been destroyed maybe by now.”

Without detracting from the importance of what Trump as president of the US did for Israel, it should be remembered it was precisely that: the relationship between two countries, two longstanding allies.

Netanyahu did the right thing to send a message to Biden as incoming president. Although Trump had not conceded defeat in the election, it was clear there was going to be a change in government.

Israel’s relationship with the US is too important to place on partisan lines.

The ties should not depend on who is leading either country. The alliance is between the two countries, not between two political figures.
Response to Trump's recent remarks about Netanyahu
First and foremost, I am deeply grateful for President Donald Trump’s support for Israel during his tenure as President. However, I am compelled to comment on certain statements recently made by the former President released this week from interviews with Israeli journalist Barak Ravid.

Among other things, President Trump intimated that former Prime Minister Netanyahu was, and by extension the Israeli people were, uninterested in a peace agreement with the Palestinian Arabs. I believe this characterization is unfair. Respectfully, one can point to mounds of history which provide incontrovertible evidence that Israel has made numerous concessions and generous offers to the Palestinian Arabs over many years, all of which have been rejected, usually with violence.

Even to this day, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, whom President Trump mischaracterizes as a “father” figure, continues the unconscionable, government sanctioned and sponsored, “pay for slay” program which rewards terrorists and their families for killing Israelis.

Under these circumstances, where no real “peace” partner exists, I am thankful for former Prime Minister Netanyahu’s unwillingness to engage in negotiation ‘under fire’ for a peace deal that would sacrifice the security of Israel and its citizens.
Human Rights Watch says Israel used excessive force against Arabs during May unrest
Human Rights Watch accused Israeli police on Tuesday of using “excessive force” against Arab protesters in the mixed city of Lod during May’s unrest amid fighting in the Gaza Strip, while treating Jewish rioters more favorably.

The violence in Lod, in central Israel, came as tensions surged in East Jerusalem, where Palestinian protesters facing eviction clashed with security forces, and fighting flared between Israel troops and Gaza-based Palestinian terror groups.

The rioting in Lod between May 10 and May 14 was carried out by both Arab and Jewish residents, according to multiple officials and witnesses, with both Jewish and Muslim places of worship vandalized.

Police have said that the overwhelming majority of violence was committed by Arab Israelis, with only scattered acts of violence by Jewish extremists.

But HRW said in its report: “The police appeared to act half-heartedly and unevenly to violence against Palestinian citizens of Israel committed by Jewish ultra-nationalists.”

The group cited instances where police “failed to act in a timely manner to protect Palestinian residents of Lod” from violent Jewish groups (many Arab Israelis refer to themselves as Palestinians).

It also cited instances in which “Israeli law enforcement agencies used excessive force to disperse peaceful protests by Palestinians.”
See No Evil, Report No Evil? Reuters, AP Reimagine Antisemitic West Bank Riots as ‘Protests’
News wire services Associated Press (AP) and Reuters continue to sanitize aggressive and antisemitic Palestinian efforts to intimidate Jews living in West Bank communities. Despite widely documented acts of terror, AP and Reuters continue to refer to the riots as “protests” against Israeli “settlements,” seemingly turning a blind eye to the “protesters'” stated genocidal goal of “burning [Israelis] alive.”

Since May, at least six Palestinians from the West Bank town of Beita, located south of Nablus, have been killed by Israeli security forces while participating in ongoing violent riots that have been characterized by eco-terrorism, the setting off of powerful explosive devices, and displays of blatant Jew-hatred.

On Friday, December 10, there was a new development in the story. A rioter from Beita died after suffering a head injury during violent clashes with Israeli security forces. According to an Israel Defense Forces statement, the incident occurred when hundreds of Palestinians threw rocks and burning tires at troops who had responded to unrest at a known flashpoint outside the village.

Indeed, photos taken at the scene show Palestinians hurling stones at IDF vehicles (see here and here). Local Palestinian sources later confirmed that a man by the name of Jamil Abu Ayyash was in the act of launching objects with a slingshot when he was neutralized by Israeli security forces at around 2:45 PM. He was subsequently transported to the hospital and declared dead after resuscitation attempts failed.

The US-designated Hamas terror group hailed Abu Ayyash as a “heroic martyr.” At his funeral, held with Palestinian Authority military honors, hundreds of attendees shouted slogans in support of Hamas and Palestinian arch-terrorist Mohammed Deif. Following his burial, residents of Beita set fire to an Israeli army post near the village.
Reuters Headline ‘Contextualizes’ Jerusalem Stabbing in Clear Display of Anti-Israel Bias
“Palestinian girl facing Jerusalem eviction held on suspicion of stabbing Jewish neighbour.”

This is an actual headline by Reuters, an international news agency.

The story was shared by Yahoo News, which remains one of the world’s most widely-read news portals.

The story itself, by reporter Nuha Sharaf, is equally as bad. The very first paragraph opens by again referring to “A Palestinian whose family faces eviction,” thereby priming readers to view the terror attack through that specific, narrow lens.

The article also refers to the victim, Moria Cohen, 26, as a “Jewish settler,” because she resides in eastern Jerusalem, over which Israel officially declared sovereignty in 1980.
Haifa University hosts convicted terror supporter as guest lecturer
Haifa University hosted Dareen Tatour, a woman who had been convicted of incitement to violence against Israel and of support for terrorist organizations, to give a talk in its English Literature department on Sunday.

Tatour is a poet who grew up in Reineh, an Arab village in the north near Nazareth. Her poems contain themes of rising up against Israel and incitement to violence. She has also expressed these views outside of her poetry with one example being a Facebook post she made after a stabbing attack where she wrote that she intended on being the next shahid.

One of her poems, "Rise Up, My People and Go With the Shahids" was used in a performance in the Jaffa Theater, which led to the then-finance minister blocking financing for the theater in 2018. She was then imprisoned for six months for her support of terrorism. When she was released, Tatour left Israel.

A brief bio was written in the invitation to the lecture in which Tatour was described to have been born in Palestine despite Reineh being located within Israel's borders. The bio also refers to the Israeli courts as the "Israeli occupation court."

During the lecture, Tatour read out excerpts from her poems that strongly oppose Israel and call out for violence.
Israel arrests 11 Nablus university students for pro-Hamas activism
Israeli security forces have arrested 11 students from An-Najah National University in Nablus suspected of supporting the Hamas terror group on campus, an Israeli military spokesperson said on Tuesday.

According to the Israeli army’s Arabic-language spokesman, the 11 suspects were members of the university’s Islamic Bloc, a Hamas-affiliated organization that exists on many Palestinian campuses.

The spokesman, Lt. Col. Avihay Adraee, said the students were suspected of transferring funds to Hamas, organizing pro-Hamas rallies and spreading propaganda for the terror group “under the supervision and guidance of senior Hamas officials.”

Israeli security officials have expressed increasing concern that Hamas may be gathering strength in the West Bank as the Palestinian Authority faces rock-bottom approval ratings and rapidly dwindling legitimacy.

Israel and the PA — which exercises limited self-rule in parts of the West Bank — cooperate to crack down on Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups. Hamas avowedly seeks Israel’s destruction, and it fought a bloody civil war with the PA’s dominant Fatah faction in 2007.
Radical Leader of Islamic Movement Released From Prison in Israel
The head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Raed Salah, was released from Megiddo prison on Monday after serving time for incitement to terrorism.

Salah was greeted with fireworks and a crowd of around 1,000 supporters chanting, “Raed, the sheikh of Al-Aqsa,” upon his return to his home city of Umm al-Fahm near Haifa, reported Ynet.

He served 17 months of a 28-month sentence, though it was not his first time in jail.

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted a news report stating that senior members of the southern branch of the Islamic Movement’s political party, the United Arab List (or Ra’am in Hebrew), which serves in the current government, blessed the release of the radical cleric.

“The [Naftali] Bennett [coalition] government and the Islamic movement are breaking another record of shame,” tweeted Netanyahu.
Convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad Member from Florida, Once Again Allowed into Israel
Hatem Fariz is a convicted member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a terrorist group financed by Iran that targets Israeli civilians with death, and the Director of a PIJ-linked mosque. So why is he being allowed into Israel? It is a question that this author asked last year, following Fariz’s trip to the Holy Land in February 2020, when he took surveillance-type video of the majority of Israel, at a time when PIJ was firing rockets into Israeli neighborhoods. This past month, Fariz has taken another trip to the Jewish state. It didn’t make sense then, and it doesn’t make sense now. Fariz should be banned from the country, if not arrested by Israeli authorities.

Hatem Naji Fariz was born to Palestinian parents in Puerto Rico and raised in America. He is currently the Managing Director of the al-Qassam Mosque a.k.a. Islamic Community of Tampa (ICT). The mosque was named after Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, the man who was the inspiration for the founding of PIJ. The individual responsible for the mosque, former Fariz colleague Sami al-Arian, was a PIJ co-founder who used the Tampa, Florida-area to create a terrorist network for the group. The network included a children’s school, American Youth Academy (AYA), formerly Islamic Academy of Florida (IAF), that is also still in existence and located next to the mosque.

In July 2006, Fariz pled guilty in federal court to providing services to associates of PIJ and received a 37-month prison sentence. According to the indictment against him, Fariz “was a PIJ member” and did “conspire… to commit offenses against the United States… by making and receiving contributions of funds, goods, and services to or for the benefit of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.” Among other things, the indictment discusses how Fariz laughed and made light of a June 2002 PIJ suicide bombing that had just taken place in northern Israel, which ended the lives of 17 people and which his PIJ colleague described to him as being “successful.”

Fariz is as well the group leader of what appears to be his mosque’s travel agency, the Adam Travel Tampa Hajj Group. Apparently, he uses this cover to roam around the Middle East unchallenged.
West Bank tensions rise as Hamas pushes for conflict
Interview with Adi Karmi, former Shin Bet officer (Israel's intelligence)

Poverty, Economic Turmoil Shaking Erdogan's Throne
Erdogan's biggest political rival ahead of the 2023 presidential elections seems to be -- poverty.

The first decade of Erdogan's rule actually brought relative prosperity to Turks. Per capita GDP rose sharply from $3,688 in 2002 to $11,796 in 2012... Since 2013, however, reckless nepotism, increasing authoritarianism, corruption and economic mismanagement have boosted interest-rates, inflation and unemployment, bringing per capita GDP down to an estimated $7,500.

Nearly half of Turkish workers are minimum wage earners, meaning that millions of families must survive on $233 a month

Unfortunately, since early 2018, the lira has been on a downward slide due to constant geopolitical tensions with the West, widening current account deficits, shrinking foreign currency reserves and mounting public debt.

As the lira crashes to insane historic lows, local salaries are also severely devalued.

Erdogan is heading fast to becoming the victim of his own miscalculations: a dramatically mismanaged economy and geostrategic challenges that went beyond Turkey's political and military might.

Perhaps these missteps will be the beginning of the end of Erdogan's ugly populism -- his neo-Ottoman ambitions that have caused major damage to Turkey's economy as well as the country's international isolation.

MEMRI: Former Lebanese Diplomat Raghid El Chammah: The Lebanese People Should Engage in Civil Disobedience
Former Lebanese diplomat Raghid El Chammah said in a December 1, 2021 interview on MTV (Lebanon) that the Lebanese people should engage in civil disobedience, that they should declare northern Lebanon to be a “liberated area,” and that the international community should be forced to accept this. In addition, he said that the way things are going now, Lebanon will end up being split between the French, Americans, Syrians, and possibly the Iranians via Hizbullah. El Chammah added that Lebanon’s elites are all binational and are therefore potential traitors.

Seth Frantzman: The message behind ‘Israel airstrikes on Syrian chemical weapons’? - analysis
Israel carried out two rounds of airstrikes in Syria, targeting sites linked to chemical weapons development, according to a report from The Washington Post. The strikes in March 2020 and June 2021 struck several sites. This is big news, and the report calls it a “highly unusual airstrike deep inside Syrian territory.” It is likely that US support for Israeli operations in Syria, a support that has grown over the last half-decade, was key to these reported operations and that this is a message to the Assad regime not to procure dangerous weapons of mass destruction. In addition, this is a message to Iran and showcases Israel’s key abilities in the region to neutralize dangerous threats.

Syria’s chemical weapons program was once the heart of tensions between Syria and the US and was a cause of much controversy over allegations that Syria had used chemical weapons against Syrian rebels. Now the Syrian regime is being rehabilitated in the region, with outreach coming from the Gulf, Egypt and elsewhere. Iran is a key regime ally, as is Russia.

This means the message behind this report has a lot to do with timing and other issues that are not directly related to chemical weapons. Let’s see what details the report can tell us. First, “the June 8 strike was aimed at Syrian military facilities — all with links to the country’s former chemical weapons program.” According to this, the jets struck three military targets, killing seven Syrian soldiers. This is important because despite the fact that Israel has carried out thousands of strikes on Iranian targets in Syria, according to Israel’s former Chief of Staff, those strikes rarely kill Syrian regime soldiers.

What about the March 2020 strikes? “Israeli officials ordered the [June] raid, and a similar one a year earlier, based on intelligence suggesting that Syria’s government was acquiring chemical precursors and other supplies needed to rebuild the chemical-weapons capability that it had ostensibly given up eight years ago, according to four current and former US and Western intelligence officials with access to sensitive intelligence at the time of the strikes.”
Is containment an option regarding Iran? - opinion
Will the US and its allies resurrect the sanctions regime, if Iran walks away from the JCPOA? Call it containment or restraint on a predatory international actor, but it would work only if secondary sanctions are enforced on countries that help Iran evade sanctions. For example, China needs to be sanctioned for buying Iranian oil, keeping the regime afloat to suppress its people and threaten its neighbors. Is that going to happen?

As Brands explained, “The US waged and won a multigenerational struggle against an authoritarian rival [the Soviet Union].” That is what would be needed to contain Iran. Unfortunately, the likelihood of America and its allies maintaining stringent sanctions for decades is small.

But in theory, could sanctions and military strikes against Iranian expansion contain Iran until it eventually implodes?

Only if the time line is open-ended. Unfortunately, the patience needed for sanctions to work is lacking in the West.

Whether Iran goes nuclear or not, sanctions should remain in place on its human rights abuses and for it being the world’s No. 1 terrorist regime. Those sanctions should be equal or greater than the nuclear sanctions.

We might not be in this situation, were it not for America’s capitulation in 2015. Ali Vaez, the director of the Iran Project at the International Crisis Group, said US president Barack Obama persuaded Iran to ultimately reach a deal because “he took regime change off the table” and “allowed [Iran] to enrich uranium on its own soil.”

Containment looks toward eventual regime change by the Iranian people, with the support of the West. Nothing was more counterproductive than Obama’s pointed lack of support for the Iranian people when they went into the streets by the millions during the 2009 Green Revolution to protest against the totalitarian regime controlling their lives. Regime change will be possible only if the Iranian people take the initiative.

To those who claim that speaking of regime change is warmongering: It is simply Western support for the Iranian people to take control of their lives, what democracies have always said when bad international actors torture and systematically repress and abuse their people So can containment work as a legitimate strategy? No one knows, but it could be the least bad choice, if Israel decides not to strike Iran’s nuclear program. But for it to even have a chance, maximal secondary sanctions need to be increased with convincing determination, and the Western impulse for quick solutions ended.
John Bolton: Biden is losing contest of wills with Iran over nukes
Iran got what it wanted: No real disclosure of its prior military programs, later revealed by a daring Israeli intelligence raid; no effective verification of its JCPOA compliance; and, the jewel in the crown, license to do 70 percent of the work toward weapons-grade uranium.

Looking ahead, Iran will flatly reject any deal not embodying these three points, among others. The inescapable conclusion is that Tehran is so determined to get nuclear weapons, and so practiced in deceit and deception, that the regime cannot be allowed even “peaceful” nuclear programs.

For decades, U.S. presidents have proclaimed it “unacceptable” for Iran to have nuclear weapons. They said the same about North Korea. They largely failed with North Korea, and are poised to fail with Iran, too. Economic sanctions, without more, have failed — and China in particular is poised to buy all the oil Iran can sell, and either veto or ignore future Security Council sanctions.

If a nuclear Iran is truly unacceptable, the only paths open are regime change in Tehran and military/intelligence measures rendering Iran’s nuclear programs harmless. Accordingly, and very late in the day, Washington must decide who will win this contest of wills. Tehran is ahead. Over to you, Mr. President.
Former Israeli national security adviser: US is playing into Iran’s hands in Vienna
On his podcast this week, Ben Caspit hosts Brig. Gen. (res) Prof. Jacob Nagel, a former Israeli acting National Security Advisor. The ups and downs in the Vienna talks, says Nagel, are not real drama. They are well-orchestrated stories that the Iranians are running, with all the climax points fixed well in advance. Nagel explains that the way things stand now, there is no returning to the 2015 nuclear agreement, adding, “Even the Biden administration’s special envoy on Iran, Robert Malley, understands that.” The reason, he says, is that mistakes made at the time enabled the Iranians to advance their nuclear ambitions over the years.
Gulf Summit Aims to Signal Solidarity Amid Iran Tension
Gulf Arab leaders gather on Tuesday for an annual summit expected to stress cohesion after a deep rift, at a time of regional concern over Iran and rising economic rivalry within the oil-producing bloc.

The Saudi crown prince toured Gulf states ahead of the summit, which comes nearly a year after Riyadh put an end to a 3-1/2-year Arab boycott of Qatar that had shattered the US-allied Gulf Cooperation Council.

Saudi Arabia and non-Gulf Egypt have restored diplomatic ties with Doha but the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have yet to do so, though Abu Dhabi has moved to mend fences.

“I have to admit there are areas that will need some time, but I mean practical, functional (Gulf) cooperation is back on track,” senior UAE official Anwar Gargash said last week.

Saudi media said Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s tour aimed to highlight solidarity as global powers seek to revive a nuclear pact with Iran, amid deepening Gulf uncertainty about the US role in the region.

Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite Iran are locked in a rivalry for influence that has played out across the region in events such as Yemen’s war and in Lebanon, where Iran-backed Hezbollah’s rising power has frayed Beirut’s Gulf ties.
'Nuclear deal with Iran will soon be empty shell,' diplomats warn
The stakes in the Vienna talks are high. Failure in the negotiations would carry the risk of a new regional war, with Israel pushing for a tough policy if diplomacy fails to rein in Iran's nuclear work.

Israel's position is that Iran cannot be allowed to become a nuclear threshold state – a stance based on the Islamic republic's repeated threats to annihilate the Jewish state.

Iran maintains that its nuclear pursuits are peaceful – an assertion the West does not share, with concerns over the true state of Tehran's nuclear program growing since the International Atomic Energy Agency admitted it no longer has sufficient access to Iran's nuclear facilities.

During the seventh round of talks, which began on Nov. 29, Iran abandoned any compromises it had made in the previous six, and demanded more, a senior US official has said.

With significant gaps remaining between Iran and the United States on key issues, such as the speed and scope of lifting sanctions and how and when Iran will reverse its nuclear steps, chances of an agreement seem remote.

Iran insists on the immediate removal of all sanctions in a verifiable process. Washington has said it would remove curbs "inconsistent" with the nuclear pact if Iran resumed compliance, implying it would leave in place others such as those imposed under terrorism or human rights measures.

Iran also seeks guarantees that "no US administration" will renege on the pact again. But Biden cannot promise this because the nuclear deal is a non-binding political understanding, not a legally binding treaty.
Iran satellite launch would be knife in US’s back - analysis
Make no mistake: despite disagreements with Israel about strategy, the US is worried about stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

But it is more worried about making sure the Islamic Republic does not have nuclear missiles with a range that could hit the US than it is about whether Tehran’s potential missiles could reach Israel.

If during the current nuclear negotiations Iran carries out an expected satellite launch – which may have dual technology eventually applicable to launching an intercontinental ballistic missile – it will be directly aimed at inflaming this US fear in order to pummel Washington into new concessions and submission.

All of this relates to the three weeks versus three years dilemma.

If Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei makes the political decision to go for a nuclear weapon, he could have sufficient weaponized uranium within three weeks.

Since the mid-1990s, Iran has had ballistic missiles with a range that could hit Israel, so once it masters some additional detonation and delivery issues (that would still take some undefined amount of time), Jerusalem might be under threat.

In contrast, the US is nowhere near the range of the ballistic missiles that Khamenei has available. Iran would need to develop ICBMs in order to put the US in range – something that could take an estimated three years, according to multiple experts.