February 22, 2021
WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST
Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.
BREAK THROUGH OR BREAK DOWN?
Bone- cracking weather grabbed the headlines. Rightly so! In the southwest we’ve never had such frighteningly low temperatures. However, the snow didn’t keep things from warming up in Washington. In case you missed it, President Biden is returning to the nuclear agreement achieved with Iran before Mr. Trump dumped it. The former president’s arbitrary actions might have sounded bold but they only undermined attempts to stop Iran from getting “The Bomb.” Now America is returning to the bargaining table. Efforts worth watching.
Here’s what happened this week and how this is impacting the Middle East.
The Biden administration said Thursday it’s ready to join talks with Iran and world powers to discuss a return to the 2015 nuclear deal. It’s also reversed the Trump administration’s determination that all UN sanctions against Iran had been restored and eased stringent restrictions on the domestic US travel of Iranian diplomats posted to the United Nations. The State Department said the US would accept an invitation from the European Union to attend a meeting of the participants in the original agreement. The US has not participated in a meeting of those participants since former president Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018.
There has been no response yet from Iran, which has demanded that the US lift sanctions before it returns to talks.
Meanwhile, at the United Nations, the Biden administration notified the Security Council that it had withdrawn Trump’s September 2020 invocation of the so-called “snapback” mechanism under which it maintained that all UN sanctions against Iran had been re-imposed. That determination had been vigorously disputed by nearly all other UN members and had left the US isolated at the world body.
Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have long opposed the 2015 agreement and repeatedly warned against the US returning to the deal. There has been no response yet from Jerusalem about the US announcement that it was ready to resume talks, which came after midnight in Israel. The Reuters news agency, citing a source familiar with the matter, said the US had informed Israel ahead of time about Thursday’s announcement, but that US President Joe Biden had not told Netanyahu directly.
How can we understand this situation? First, the current administration’s actions are a return to diplomacy rather than erratic, dictatorial unilateral degrees. This puts America back in a conciliar and responsible position. That’s good for the world.
Second, Iran is now faced with having to allow inspection of its nuclear facilities or be faced with world-wide recognition of their having war-like intentions. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s objections are understandable but express fears in Israel based on Iran’s vow to destroy their country. After all is said and done, Israel has the nuclear capacity to destroy Iran’s facilities. They have already been throwing money wrenches in Iran’s pursuit of nuclear energy for some time
Hopefully, America’s return to the bargaining table will continue forward progress.
My latest books:
I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II
Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!
by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)
You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.
82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!
You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.
by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)
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