Diplomats Reach Nuclear Deal with Iran
Last night, after 20 months of international negotiations, the P5+1 concluded work on a joint comprehensive plan of action to curtail and monitor Iran’s nuclear program to prevent it from building a nuclear weapon in exchange for the lifting of many economic sanctions. Russian and Iranian diplomats quickly posted the text of the 159-page agreement ...
Last night, after 20 months of international negotiations, the P5+1 concluded work on a joint comprehensive plan of action to curtail and monitor Iran’s nuclear program to prevent it from building a nuclear weapon in exchange for the lifting of many economic sanctions. Russian and Iranian diplomats quickly posted the text of the 159-page agreement online; it can be read in full here. Under the terms of the deal, Iran will be required to reduce its stockpile of low enriched uranium and cease operating two-thirds of its centrifuges. Iran has also committed to resolving an ongoing investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency into the military dimensions of its program by the end of the year. Under the terms of the agreement, many of the sanctions against Iran, including those affecting its oil sector and some of its military branches, will be lifted. “With courage, political will, mutual respect and leadership, we delivered on what the world was hoping for: a shared commitment to peace and to join hands in order to make our world safer,” EU diplomat Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said in a joint statement. “We know that this agreement will be subject to intense scrutiny. But what we are announcing today is not only a deal but a good deal.”
The deal is already facing some skepticism among U.S. and Israeli politicians. The Israeli government received a copy of the agreement before this morning’s announcement and is currently reviewing the text. “I will refer later to the details of the agreement, but before that, I would like to say here and now — when you are willing to make an agreement at any cost, this is the result,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in statement. “From initial reports we can already conclude that this agreement is an historic mistake for the world.” The U.S. Congress will now have 60 days to review the deal and take a vote of disapproval. President Obama said this morning that he welcomes a “robust debate” on the deal but will veto congressional actions that would prevent its implementation.
Iraq Begins New Offensive to Retake Anbar Province from Islamic State
After weeks of isolating major Islamic State-held cities Ramadi and Fallujah, the Iraqi military initiated a new offensive to push the Islamic State out of Anbar province on Monday. The Iraqi plan involves coordinating Iraqi Security Forces, Shia militias, Sunni tribal forces, and local law enforcement. The United States will provide air support in addition to the four F-16 fighter jets just delivered to the Iraqi Air Force.
- The Islamic State’s governors of Hasakah and Deir el-Zor provinces, identified as Abu Osama al-Iraqi and Amer al-Rafdan, were killed in strikes yesterday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
- Popular militias in Aden seized the city’s airport from Houthi forces on Tuesday morning; the United Nations said that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was “very much disappointed” that a humanitarian ceasefire failed to take effect, but that the World Health Organization still managed to deliver nearly 50 tons of aid in recent days.
- The Islamic State is losing control of Derna, Libya, according to a new audio message released by the organization.
- Saudi officials shot and killed a suspected militant when their efforts to arrest him turned into a gunfight; the suspect shot his father, who had reported him, before trying to flee.
- An Australian woman was arrested in the United Arab Emirates on the charge of writing negatively against a person on social media after she posted a picture on Facebook of an SUV double parked across two handicapped spaces.
Arguments and Analysis
“The Syrian Druse at a Crossroads” (Ibrahim al-Assil and Randa Slim, Middle East Institute)
“The developments in regard to the Syrian Druse community have the potential to impact the future trajectory of the Syrian conflict. Because Suwayda is the religious and political stronghold of Syrian Druse, future developments there will shape the role of Druse in Syria’s evolving conflict and will impact the behavior of other Druse-majority areas in Syria. If the Druse of Suwayda and the Sunni tribes in Daraa drift into an armed conflict, it would protract the Syrian crisis, increase the probability of dragging neighboring countries more deeply into the war, and weaken the position of the Free Syrian Army in the south because it would then be fighting three forces: the regime, ISIS affiliates, and the Druse. Certainly, ISIS stands to gain the most out of this scenario. The second possible scenario is a new modus vivendi between the Druse and their Sunni neighbors that would allow the Druse to maintain their neutrality in the ongoing conflict. This would require the Druse to further distance themselves from the regime and to have their own, independent leadership. This scenario would weaken the regime’s standing in southern Syria and would prevent ISIS from strengthening its presence in the region. The last scenario is the continuation of the status quo. However, the status quo could not remain for long, especially as ISIS and Nusra want to inflame the conflict in southern Syria and the regime wants to encourage the Druse to fight on its side.”
“The Tunisian-Libyan Jihadi Connection” (Aaron Zelin, International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence)
“Over the past four years, many of the prior trends continued and, at times, accelerated, in reaction to the opening up of Tunisian society and to Libya becoming a relative safe haven for foreign militants. AQIM continued to play a role, especially with smuggling weapons through Tunisia from Libya. Therefore, as with the last decade, a number of Tunisian and Libyan AQIM members have been arrested on Tunisian or Libyan soil, either together or by themselves, in relation to smuggling or plotting terrorist attacks…”
-J. Dana Stuster
JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images