Report

Debate over Iran Nuclear Deal Heats Up

With international negotiations on the joint comprehensive plan of action to curb Iran’s nuclear weapons program now concluded, the debate over the merits of the deal has begun in earnest. “We are measuring this deal — and that was the original premise of this conversation, including by Prime Minister Netanyahu — Iran could not get ...

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With international negotiations on the joint comprehensive plan of action to curb Iran’s nuclear weapons program now concluded, the debate over the merits of the deal has begun in earnest. “We are measuring this deal — and that was the original premise of this conversation, including by Prime Minister Netanyahu — Iran could not get a nuclear weapon. That was always the discussion. And what I’m going to be able to say, and I think we will be able to prove, is that this by a wide margin is the most definitive path by which Iran will not get a nuclear weapon,” President Obama said in an interview yesterday. He went on to note that, though it was not the premise of the talks, he hopes that the deal will encourage Iran to moderate its behavior and alleviate sectarian rivalries in the region.

Many world leaders, including U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, among others, have endorsed the deal. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have expressed cautious optimism in public statements about the outcome of the talks. Israeli leaders, however, have been outspoken in their opposition to the agreement and officials say they plan on campaigning against it before its implementation. Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog is planning a visit to Washington to voice his concerns, and spokespeople for Prime Minister Netanyahu said “he plans to ‘kill himself’ pursuing the last remaining option for scuttling the deal,” reports Haaretz. The agreement will also face challenges in Tehran, where hardliners are concerned that the Iran made too many concessions. Former Iranian President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr came out against the deal, calling it “a capitulation to outside powers by the regime.”

Kuwaiti Government Issues Charges for Mosque Bombing

The Kuwaiti government charged 29 people with participating in the June 26 bombing of a Shia mosque. They stand accused of various crimes, ranging from planning and helping to provide the explosives to knowing of the attack and not reporting it. Five people will be tried in absentia, including two being held in Saudi Arabia and one who remains at large.

Headlines

  • The Iraqi government said Tuesday that it hopes for “uninterrupted” military support from Turkey, including weapons and training, for its efforts to push back the Islamic State.

 

  • Approximately 10,500 African migrants have arrived in Yemen in the past three months, despite the country’s ongoing civil war; “Many are tricked into making the journey by smugglers who tell them that the conflict is over and all is safe,” the U.N. noted in a statement.

 

  • A senior leader of the Ahrar al-Sham, a Salafist rebel group known to operate with Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria, was killed in a double suicide bombing believed to have been carried out by the Islamic State.

 

  • The Turkish government has blocked access to several websites with Islamic State sympathies as part of an effort to curb radicalization and the recruitment of foreign fighters.

 

  • Kurdish militias are still recruiting child soldiers into their ranks despite a commitment to stop, reports Human Rights Watch.

Arguments and Analysis

Recalibrating the Anti-ISIS Strategy: The Need for a More Coherent Political Strategy” (Hardin Lang, Peter Juul, and Mokhtar Awad, Center for American Progress)

“ISIS will only be effectively degraded and defeated with the full acknowledgment and coordinated response to ISIS as a political challenge to the region and, in particular, to Iraq and Syria. Recognizing the political challenge posed by ISIS requires the participation of leaders in the region and an effective coalition framework. But coalition members have organized themselves into separate teams fighting different campaigns in two artificial theaters — Iraq and Syria. Their lines of operation remain isolated from one another and stove-piped. Last summer, ISIS tore down the borders between Iraq and Syria, and the challenges in both countries are interlinked. But the U.S.-led coalition strategy has not yet adapted to this new reality and instead often treats Syria and Iraq as separate challenges. It is critical that key regional partners pull more of the campaign’s weight, but they must do so in a way that produces constructive outcomes as a part of a more comprehensive effort. And while recent events on the ground in Iraq and Syria, as well as the viral spread of the ISIS brand, require adjustments to the strategy, the most important shifts will be aimed at delivering on the non-military and political elements that have been under-emphasized and under-utilized.”

 

Can the Iran deal be a new Camp David?” (Marc Lynch, The Monkey Cage)

“In the short term, the Iran deal could well lead to more rather than less confrontation across the region, as leaders on all sides seek to prove to their domestic and regional constituencies that they have not capitulated. Both the Iranians and the United States may well seek to escalate in Syria or Yemen in order to prove that they remain committed to regional allies and interests. Over the longer term, though, the United States and Iran could very well begin to build common interests in cooperation on strategic issues beyond the nuclear realm. Iraq is one obvious arena in which interests converge around supporting the government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and fighting the Islamic State. After the posturing ends and each side’s escalation has been matched, Iran might finally be willing to negotiate seriously over an endgame for Syria.”

-J. Dana Stuster

Andrew Harnik – Pool/Getty Images

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