Books and Documents

Middle East Press (11 Aug 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)

How US Confusion Facilitates the Taliban’s Control over Afghanistan By Huda Al-Husseini: New Age Islam's Selection, 11 August 2017

New Age Islam Edit Bureau

11 August 2017

How US Confusion Facilitates the Taliban’s Control over Afghanistan

By Huda Al-Husseini

Does It Really Matter If Netanyahu Ends Up Behind Bars?

By Neve Gordon

Prospects for the Upcoming Astana Talks on Syria

By Maria Dubovikova

Pakistan’s Judiciary and the Trial of Nawaz Sharif

By Dr. Ali Al-Ghamdi

A Response to the New York Times and the Washington Post

By Ali Al-Shihabi

Yes, Watch North Korea, But Don’t Take Your Eyes off Iran

By Dr. Majid Rafizadeh

Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau


How US Confusion Facilitates the Taliban’s Control over Afghanistan

By Huda al-Husseini

10 August 2017

Kabul is politically crippled while the Taliban is fiercely progressing on several fronts.

If Afghanistan falls, it will represent a new terrorist problem to the world. A few months ago, American generals proposed to American President Donald Trump to increase the number of American troops there by at least 5,000. It seems he refused because he thinks all the old approaches have failed especially that the US spent around $718 billion on a war that it continues to lose. The current number of American troops there is 8,400 while in 2011, it was 100,000.

Afghanistan suffers from Taliban’s vigorous return. Meanwhile, the government feels it is weak. Kabul is slowly losing its control over the country. The Afghan authorities control 52% of territories. Two years ago they controlled 72%. The state has lost control over 15% of its territories since September 2016 and until March 2017. Meanwhile, other provinces suffer under Taliban’s rule where around 500 soldiers get killed each week. All this indicates that the government is on its path towards a dead end in Kabul as security and developmental challenges confronting the country are tough and they require coordinated efforts and state funds. However, there is no hope on the horizon.

Ashraf Ghani’s government and Abdullah Abdullah, the Chief Executive of Afghanistan, who were presidential rivals in 2014, control the country’s political scene. They decided to join a national unity government to avoid a short-term political crisis but instead they sowed the seeds of a long-term crisis by undermining the fragile Afghan constitution. Corrupt military groups that only care about protecting their interests have controlled politics in Afghanistan since 2014. It’s a sick environment. There’s little hope that the situation may change with the parliamentary elections next year or with the presidential elections in 2019. Considering the state’s decreased control over all provinces, there may not even be a state by the election date in 2018.

Security, military and presidential meetings are being held in Washington to discuss Afghanistan and aim to convince Trump to maintain American activity there. They think this is the more secure option even if it’s not the most efficient. Like North Korea, Afghanistan represents a security problem that’s impossible to solve and Trump’s administration must find a way out of it. An American source told me: “The president may choose the safe way and commit to the common logic of maintaining the money flow and increasing the number of American troops. The best he can expect out of this approach is to prevent the Afghan state from losing more territories. However this will not divert the path of the civil war and it will not defeat Taliban. Afghanistan represents clear failure of American policy. Trump does not want to bear its responsibility as in the end he’s a president from outside the institution and he proposed himself as someone who wants to improve American policy on the local and foreign levels. Therefore, it will be no surprise if Afghanistan is the matter which raises disagreements between him and the generals he commends.”

American media reports said the president proposed dismissing John Nicholson, the top US commander in Afghanistan, and argued that the US should get a share of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth. The Wall Street Journal reported that the American administration is looking into reducing US’ commitment and decreasing losses “in the longest war in America’s history.” However, decreasing American financial and military support to Kabul may make the end of the civil government near as the country will further plunge in civil war and foreign sponsors, like Pakistan, India, Russia and the US, may interfere in favor of their proxies. Afghanistan’s situation will be similar to the Syrian civil war with two possibilities: permanent deadlock as a result of conflicts which will lead to sectarian clashes or Taliban’s complete victory and resumption of its Islamic-like governance which it has adopted before 2001.

What’s interesting are the recent meetings between Tajik and Hazara leaders and Uzbek former warlord and current vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum who “fled” to Turkey claiming he seeks medical treatment. According to media reports, they said in a statement that they seek to establish “a coalition to save Afghanistan.” This recent meeting in Turkey either aims to establish an opposition movement and paralyze the government or seeks to solidify the basis to form a new alliance that consists of several ethnicities shall the US withdraws from Afghanistan and hostilities resurface.

My source added: “It’s difficult to blame Trump’s administration if it considers withdrawing. Trump thinks he has nothing to do with getting to this point. However he will be blamed more if he chooses to drastically reduce American intervention in Afghanistan. Therefore, he must specify his Afghan policy amid Taliban’s uproar. It will be Trump’s war after any decision he makes. President George W. Bush sowed, and Barack Obama and Trump will reap after him. If Trump chooses to withdraw, then this will happen very soon because Trump is still new and he still blames those who preceded him.”

A Failed State

An American official told Reuters that despite Trump’s hesitancy, he may order increasing the number of troops as this is the least bad option and he may also order full withdrawal. There are claims that Trump granted absolute power to US Secretary of Defence James Mattis to increase the number of troops in Afghanistan but the latter does not want to do so without the president’s approval. Senator John McCain recently said he may introduce an amendment to the annual defence policy bill to provide a strategy for the war in Afghanistan noting that: “Eight years of a ‘don’t lose’ strategy has cost us lives and treasure in Afghanistan.” He added: “"Our troops deserve better.”

Taliban however is in no mood to negotiate. Strategies and intentions are some of the reasons behind the failure of American policy in Afghanistan. The US also does not have influence over Taliban. Therefore, they must increase the number of US troops so Taliban becomes more inclined to negotiate. However, the only problem is that Taliban did not sit for negotiations and the chances that it will sit today are less. It’s not military superiority that will prevent Taliban from negotiating as the movement is always demanding the complete withdrawal of NATO forces. To Americans, this request does not mark the beginning of negotiations. There’s also the issue of integrating Taliban in the political process. The movement’s commanders insist to have guarantees that sharia will govern the constitution. Integrating Taliban politicians in the current regime will be a nightmare though. Taliban is also confronting challenges due to groups linked to ISIS. The movement is winning in the Afghan arena now, and it’s unlikely that its commanders will give up their extremist ideology and accept to reinforce the peace process with Kabul and its allies in the NATO.

Is Afghanistan a failed state? Yes. Is it a failed cause that must be abandoned? No. The statement “America First” will not succeed if American policy fails in all tense regions across the world.

Source: english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2017/08/10/How-US-confusion-facilitates-the-Taliban-s-control-over-Afghanistan.html


Does It Really Matter If Netanyahu Ends Up Behind Bars?

By Neve Gordon

10 August 2017

"Background noise" was the way Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu characterised the decision of his former chief of staff, Ari Harow, to become a state witness. The following day, the prime minister's press officer declared - for the 100th time - that "Nothing will happen, because nothing happened." Despite his relentless effort to paint a business-as-usual atmosphere, this time it looks as if Netanyahu is actually going down.

At least two probes dealing with serious allegations of bribery, breach of trust and fraud seem likely to end with an indictment against Israel's premier. In "Case 1,000", police suspect Netanyahu accepted lavish gifts from wealthy businessmen, while, in certain instances, he even provided services in return.

"Harow is the game changer," as one prominent Israeli columnist explained. Before becoming chief of staff, he was responsible for maintaining Netanyahu's connections with several billionaires, and is likely to possess incriminating information about his former boss's relations with these affluent figures.

But even before Harow flipped, the police divulged that Netanyahu had intervened on behalf of Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan who, for years, had given Netanyahu and his family presents worth hundreds of thousands of shekels. According to the police, the prime minister had approached both former US Ambassador Dan Shapiro and Secretary of State John Kerry to help procure a ten-year visa to the US for Milchan. The police also noted that Milchan holds a 9.8 percent stake in Israel's Channel 10, which is subject to regulation by Israel's Ministry of Communications, headed until recently by Netanyahu.

The second probe, called "Case 2,000", focuses on recordings the police obtained after confiscating Harow's personal computer and phone. Capturing conversations between Netanyahu and Arnon Mozes, the publisher of the Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth and the popular Ynet News website, the recordings reveal that just before the 2015 Israeli elections, Mozes offered to help Netanyahu to stay in power "for as long as [he] want[s]". In a quid pro quo deal, the publisher requested that Netanyahu pass legislation limiting the ability of Yedioth Ahronoth's main competitor, the pro-Netanyahu Israel HaYom newspaper, to distribute papers free of charge.

According to the transcripts, the two went so far as to discuss which pro-Netanyahu columnists Yedioth Ahronoth would hire. Netanyahu then said he would discuss the legislation with the "redhead" - referring to Israel HaYom's publisher, the American billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who is also a Republican kingmaker and known contributor to Donald Trump's presidential campaign. In fact, during a recent police interrogation, Adelson confirmed that Netanyahu had asked him to consider cancelling the paper's weekend edition.

These probes are perhaps the most incriminating, but, as the noose tightens, Netanyahu will have to deal with a number of other legal inquiries as well. The prime minister's personal attorney is one of the major suspects in "Case 3,000", which is looking at suspicious acquisitions on the part of the Israeli military involving alleged bribes and fraud. According to Ha'aretz, "Netanyahu's personal lawyer was due to earn tens of millions of shekels from an agreement, since suspended, to buy three submarines from Germany." The personal lawyer, however, is not the only link between Netanyahu and the corrupt transaction, since the deal seems to have been supported by the prime minister and approved behind the back of the previous defence minister, who had opposed the procurement of the submarines.

Lastly, the police have recommended pressing charges against Sarah Netanyahu, the prime minister's wife, for misusing state funds, including the movement of furniture from the prime minister's official residence to her private home and paying an electrician to rewire her private abode at the taxpayers' expense. Israeli newspapers suggest that she is likely to be indicted soon.

Netanyahu's 11-year rule thus appears to be fast approaching an inglorious end. The more interesting question now, however, is what the significance of these developments will be. Two points are worth making. 

First, Netanyahu is not really an outlier. Many leaders and politicians across the globe, particularly those who, like Netanyahu, have managed to stay in power for many years, have also become corrupt by abusing the privileges and responsibilities bestowed upon them by their office. Yet what is unusual about the Israeli case is that some of the corrupt protagonists actually end up in jail.

Indeed, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was recently released from prison after serving 16 months for corruption, and, over the past two decades, several ministers have also sat in prison cells, at times for years on end. Even though the circumstances are quite different, the fact that former President Moshe Katsav sat several years behind bars for rape is yet another sign that in Israel top-ranking individuals are not immune from judicial review. The relative autonomy of the judicial system from the executive institutions alongside the ability - and willingness - to imprison high-power individuals is not something to take lightly.

The second point has to do with the impact of Netanyahu's potential collapse on Israel's colonial project. In this regard, there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

Politically, those in a position to replace Netanyahu at the helm of Israel's government - whether from within the Likud's ranks or from other parties - are either even more extreme than the prime minister (eg, Likud prince Gideon Sa'ar or Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett), hold nearly identical views (Labor party leader Avi Gabbay), or, as we say in Hebrew, are made of Teflon, meaning that they have no backbone at all (Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid). None of these political leaders will challenge Israel's colonial project, needless to say to "acquiesce" to the Palestinian demand of self-determination and the establishment of a viable Palestinian state.

Ideologically, the problem is even more severe. As the public and political response to the Elor Azaria murder trial reveals, the Palestinians are considered by many in Israel to be subhuman and thus killable subjects. These sentiments - as the court's sentence of a mere year and a half for murder and the widespread call for a pardon for Azaria reveal - are part of Israel's dominant ideology and common sense, which Netanyahu has actively encouraged over the years through his hate speeches towards Palestinians. Even the same judicial system that imprisons politicians is the handmaiden to settler colonialism when it comes to Palestinians.

To create an ideological shift, it is insufficient to cut off the king's head; rather, what is needed is a sea change in public opinion. Tragically, even if Netanyahu ends up behind bars, it appears that the colonial common sense will continue to reign for many years to come.

Source: aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2017/08/matter-netanyahu-ends-bars-170810070519245.html


Prospects for the Upcoming Astana Talks on Syria

By Maria Dubovikova

11 August 2017

The agenda for the next round of Syria talks in the Kazakh capital Astana was determined in an Aug. 7 meeting in Tehran of the three guarantor countries — Turkey, Iran and Russia — amid expectations that the Astana conference will be held in the last week of August. What is expected from this meeting between the Syrian government and opposition representatives?

The answers lie in the two de-escalation zones that have been effective so far. The first was announced in early July in the southwest, covering Daraa, Suwaida and Qunaitra. The second was announced on Aug. 2, covering northern Homs, including Al-Waer neighbourhood. The expectation is that there will be a push for de-escalation zones in other parts of Syria.

Negotiators will also discuss a proposal shared by UN envoy Staffan de Mistura. It contains the “four baskets” of transitional governance, a constitutional process, elections and counterterrorism. The conference will discuss which topic to handle first; the Syrian government insists on counterterrorism.

The outcome will have a long-term impact on regional stability, particularly in neighboring Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon, which host the largest numbers of Syrian refugees. The meeting could help stop the spill-over from Syria into these countries, provided that Russia and the US continue to cooperate to expand de-escalation zones. The Astana meeting will also call on all countries not to interfere in Syrian internal affairs and focus on how to rebuild the country.

Despite the failure of previous Geneva talks to stop fighting in various parts of Syria, the government and opposition have agreed 15 evacuation deals that have allowed opposition fighters to safely leave besieged cities and towns for Idlib.

A cease-fire in three south-western governorates was announced on July 10 shortly after long meetings between Russians and Americans in Jordan, which helped bridge the gap between them. Under the deal, Russian officers are monitoring the cease-fire.

To many analysts, things are moving faster than expected in Syria due to coordination between both superpowers, and a belief among the government and opposition that there has been more than enough fighting. Both parties acknowledge that now is the time to stop the war and open a new page for all Syrians to rebuild their country.

Some opposition leaders have started echoing the government in saying a solution cannot be imposed on Syrians by other countries, particularly since the US said it will no longer push for Bashar Assad to be removed from power. Previous Astana meetings have successfully bridged some gaps between the Syrian government and the opposition. Let us hope that the upcoming one will do the same.

Source: arabnews.com/node/1142776/columns


Pakistan’s Judiciary and the Trial of Nawaz Sharif

By Dr. Ali Al-Ghamdi

10 August 2017

The trial of Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and the verdict to disqualify him from holding public office as Pakistan’s prime minister have sparked controversy in various circles. There are some people who welcomed the court’s landmark ruling. They are of the view that this was a significant step in securing justice and fighting corruption in the higher echelons of government. Those who expressed joy over this verdict, which forced the head of the country’s executive to quit the post after his election as prime minister for a third time, considered that it was in line with the theory of the late Singaporean leader Lee Kuan Yew, who believed that fighting corruption is just like cleaning staircases and as such that it should start from the top to the bottom.

However, there are others who see this verdict as one that is doubtful, lacking in clarity and seeming more like a desire for revenge. This was obvious from remarks made by a judge of Pakistan’s Supreme Court suggesting that Sharif and his family were like members of the mafia as depicted in the famous American film The Godfather. I do not know whether this judge was accurate in making a comparison between the mafia and a prime minister who was elected three times by the people of Pakistan. However, it is a fact that Sharif is very popular, whether we agree with him or not.

Panama Papers

The name of Nawaz Sharif did not figure in what was known as the Panama Papers leak, but it was said that the names of his sons and the names of other Pakistanis appeared in the leaks, and that it was his political opponents, who were unable to defeat him through the ballot box who lodged the lawsuit against him. After their election debacle, these opponents made attempts to overthrow him by organizing demonstrations on the pretext that the elections were rigged, but they were unable to do so. Eventually, they reportedly attempted to use their proximity to the military establishment, which ruled Pakistan for nearly half of the country’s history.

In most cases, the military establishment is allied with judicial authorities not only in Pakistan, but also in other parts of the world. However, the trend of military coups has subsided as a result of their failure in governance all around the world whether in Latin America, the Middle East, Asia or even Europe.

The countries ruled by military junta are among the least developed and most heavily indebted nations across the world. It is unfortunate that in many countries, including Pakistan, the military establishment still imposes itself on civilian rule with its intermittent interventions. There have been rare instances when the judiciary has put on trial military officials who were responsible for such interventions that have nothing to do with their basic functions.

The Pakistani Supreme Court judges took a unanimous decision to the effect that Sharif was not eligible to be prime minister besides barring him from holding any public office for life after denying him a fair trial that fulfills all legal procedures. If there had been any such a trial, he would have been given the right to defend himself. On the other hand, the entire exercise seemed to be designed to deny him justice.

The integrity of the team, carefully formed by the Court to investigate the leak case, was also doubtful. One of its members is close to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party leader Imran Khan, the archrival of Sharif. Khan lodged the case against Sharif after he failed defeat him in the election. More than one member of the team was chosen by military intelligence and, hence, the outcome was almost predictable. It was also evident from the difficulties faced by the lawyers of Sharif.

The guilt of Sharif was not because of the Panama Papers leak. It was also not because of corruption. Instead, his apparent “fault” was that he wanted politics to be handled only by politicians and wanted the military to concern itself with its own responsibilities. His initiative to find a political solution to the long-standing issues with India and Afghanistan angered the military establishment as it felt that it had a role to play in such decisions.

At the same time, the military found that it was no longer appropriate for it to involve itself in a political intervention in the country. In the past, the military did not hesitate to ratify all the coups that overthrew elected governments, the latest of which was that of Pervez Musharraf that toppled the government of Sharif in 1999.

However, the judiciary has a long history of alliance with the military and this time it took charge of the mission of isolating the elected prime minister through a trial that lacked many legal requirements and procedures. In this way, the Supreme Court has set a dangerous precedent that will not serve the interests of democracy in Pakistan.

Source: english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2017/08/10/Pakistan-s-judiciary-and-the-trial-of-Nawaz-Sharif-.html


A Response to the New York Times and the Washington Post

By Ali al-Shihabi

10 August 2017

On August 3 and 5 respectively, the New York Times and the Washington Post published editorials condemning the decision by Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court to uphold death sentences for fourteen Shia’a citizens, including the then-seventeen-year old prospective Western Michigan University student Mujtaba’a al-Sweikat. In response to these convictions, the Times and the Post issued their own judgments; the Kingdom, they wrote, continues to make a “mockery” of due process and “demonize” its Shia’a minority, signs of “backwardness” that are “entirely out of sync with ambitions to create a thriving and modern state.”

This writer freely admits that Saudi Arabia’s legal system is not a paragon of international best practices. However, if the Times and the Post wish to maintain their credibility in the eyes of a global audience, they should make an earnest effort not only to comprehend the extraordinary geopolitical challenges the Kingdom currently faces but also to consider how any state under such stress, including the most developed Western nations, has responded under similar circumstances.

They would also recognize that Saudi Arabia remains a developing country. For any developing state, the legal system is among the most difficult system to modernize; the rule of law can be applied unevenly, the judiciary can be opaque, and rulings can appear arbitrary. I would challenge the Times and the Post to identify how, in comparison to most other developing states, the Kingdom is exceptional in any one of these areas. And yet, Saudi Arabia’s legal and judicial systems seem to receive considerably more scrutiny and be spoken of in far more hyperbolic terms than those of its peers.

A key example is the Islamic Republic of Iran, which executes more people per capita than any other country and is thought to execute more nonviolent political dissidents than any other country. Cornell University Law School’s Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide reported that Iran’s 2015 per capita execution rate was nearly two and a half times that of Saudi Arabia. In 2014, it was three times as high. The gravity of Iran’s human rights abuses does not absolve Saudi Arabia from any criticism of its own practices. It does, however, raise questions about fairness and impartiality. Since 2012, the Times has printed at least five editorials directly criticizing Saudi Arabia’s record on executions. The Post has published at least four. During that same time frame, Iran’s wholesale execution of its political opponents, including the Islamic Republic’s brutal persecution and killing of its ethnic Arab minority in Ahvaz, is barely mentioned in their editorials. Why is that?

Unlike Iran, Saudi Arabia did not condemn fourteen men to die for voicing a dissenting viewpoint or, as the Times and the Post suggest in the case of al-Sweikat, “attending political protests,” but for violent crimes—in this case, specifically, the wounding and killing of security personnel. Even in instances of overt violence against the state and its people, the Saudi government goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid shedding its citizens’ blood. The reasoning is practical; in a tribal society, execution can inflame a much wider constituency of people, which can sometimes invite retaliation and, consequently, cause more bloodshed. This applies to Shia’a as well as Sunni citizens. This is, however, a system with limits.

Geopolitical Stress

Saudi Arabia is a country under severe geopolitical stress. For decades, the Kingdom has been targeted by both Sunni jihadist and radical Shia’a groups backed by Iran. It is important to remember that between 2003 and 2006, Saudi Arabia’s security forces fought an existential battle against the Sunni extremists of al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda’s successor, ISIS, continues to target the Kingdom. For all of the press coverage Saudi Arabia’s January 2016 conviction of five Iranian-backed Shia’a extremists, including Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, received, it is forgotten that these individuals were executed alongside forty-three Sunni jihadists.

Severe stress can have a deleterious impact on even the strongest judicial systems in the most advanced countries. In the 1980s, a wave of attacks by the Irish Republican Army against the British government led the latter to suspend jury trials, target Irish Catholics for mass arrests, and ban prominent Sinn Féin leaders from the airwaves. In the aftermath of the horrors of the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration detained nearly eight hundred suspected enemy combatants in Guantanamo Bay, a detention facility structured specifically to exist outside the formal national boundaries of the United States and outside US standards of due process.

As has been well-documented by both the Times and the Post, many of Guantanamo’s “enemy combatants” were detained under questionable circumstances, kidnapped by Afghan bounty hunters targeting any Arabic speaker they could locate. Once turned over to the United States, these individuals were subjected to “harsh interrogation techniques” or transferred via illegal renditions to other countries, where they were subjected to torture and often death by the security services of allied governments. Most of those imprisoned languished for years despite never being formally charged. In all, just five men have been put on trial for crimes related to the planning and/or execution of the 9/11 attacks.

Saudi Arabia has not faced an attack on the scale of 9/11. We have, however, been fighting a war on our home soil for the better part of two decades. This war has claimed the lives of hundreds of citizens, expatriates, and security personnel, and may yet claim many more.

When the United States was attacked, it threw its rule book out the window. It took many years to put that rule book back together (even today, forty-one prisoners remain in Guantanamo). Saudi Arabia is not as advanced as the United States. Our rule book would still be a work in progress even if we were not currently caught in the crosshairs of both Sunni jihadists and Iran and its extremist allies.

Given that we are fighting a war on two fronts, our legal and judicial shortcomings are unique neither among developing states nor among advanced nations that have faced similar extraordinary challenges. The Post and the Times would do well to consider that before singling out Saudi Arabia for the harshest condemnation in their editorials.

Source: english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2017/08/10/A-response-to-the-New-York-Times-and-the-Washington-Post.html


Yes, Watch North Korea, But Don’t Take Your Eyes off Iran

By Dr. Majid Rafizadeh

11 August 2017

North Korea is in the international news spotlight because of its mutual sabre-rattling with Donald Trump, and the widely publicized test of a long-range ballistic missile. But it is critical to point out that these events are equally significant in relation to Iran and the threat it poses to peace and stability.

Iran is North Korea’s major partner in the sale, transfer and proliferation of ballistic missile technology. Iran’s missiles are copies of North Korea’s. Both countries flout international law, sponsor terrorism and employ military hardware such as ballistic missiles to threaten the security and interests of other nations.

Tehran already has long-range ballistic missiles that can hit any country in the Middle East and US bases in the region. Iran’s generals have frequently boasted about these capabilities and have test-fired missiles carrying provocative messages such as “Death to Israel.”

But Iran is not satisfied with what it has. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which oversees the program, is aggressively pursuing technology that could lead to the development of an intercontinental ballistic missile. North Korean engineers are in Iran helping the IRGC to advance its ballistic missile arsenal and develop nuclear warheads.

With ICBMs, Iran would have the ability to strike anywhere in the world, and a major reason for acquiring them is as a delivery tool for nuclear weapons. In addition, an Iranian ICBM could easily fall into the hands of Tehran’s militias and proxies across the region, a significant threat to peace and security.

Iran recently launched another missile on the pretext of advancing its “space and satellite program.” The launch received scant attention because the eyes off the world are on North Korea, but the US and three of its European allies nevertheless described the test as provocative and urged Iran to stop all its ballistic missile activity.

A joint statement by Britain, France, Germany and the US said Iran’s ballistic missile program was inconsistent with a UN Security Council resolution and had a destabilizing effect in the region. “We call on Iran not to conduct any further ballistic missile launches and related activities … We condemn this action,” the four countries said.

Supporters of Iran’s clerical establishment and of the July 2015 nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Agreement (JCPOA) between six world powers and Iran, justify Tehran’s ballistic missile program on the grounds that it is defensive and aimed at deterrence.

This argument has already been debunked, since Iran has used ballistic missiles offensively outside its borders. In the latest incident, a missile launch into Syria violated international law and the sovereignty of the Syrian state.

Iran’s so-called moderates and hard-liners both support advancing Tehran’s ballistic missile program. President Hassan Rouhani has said Iran “will have a new ballistic missile test in the near future that will be a thorn in the eyes of our enemies.”

Iran’s cheerleaders also try to persuade the world that in pursuing ballistic missile capabilities, Tehran is not violating any legal framework. This argument is misleading, unsophisticated and simplistic. Iran is not only in clear breach of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which prohibits ballistic missile activity until eight years after nuclear deal adoption day in October 2015, but is also violating the spirit of the nuclear deal itself.

The Trump administration should lead a much more robust effort in response to Iran’s aggressive ballistic missile proliferation. This could include condemnation, as well as economic and political sanctions on the Iranian government and non-US entities that deal with Tehran. Since regional countries and EU nations are on the same page as Washington with regard to Tehran’s aggressive ballistic missile activities, the US should seek the assistance of the EU and regional powers.

A coalition of regional nations, such as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), should also condemn pressure, isolate or sanction Tehran economically and politically if needed. This can be more efficiently accomplished with a united front between the US and Arab nations.

Inaction from the Trump administration, the international community and regional powers will be seen by Tehran as weakness and a continuation of Barack Obama’s appeasement policies. Iran will be further emboldened, and will ratchet up its unlawful activities.

An Iranian ICBM armed with a nuclear warhead would be one of the most serious threats to the stability of the region and the world.

Source: arabnews.com/node/1142801/columns


URL: http://www.newageislam.com/middle-east-press/new-age-islam-edit-bureau/how-us-confusion-facilitates-the-taliban’s-control-over-afghanistan-by-huda-al-husseini--new-age-islam-s-selection,-11-august-2017/d/112165


Compose Your Comments here:
Email (Not to be published)
Fill the text
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the articles and comments are the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect that of NewAgeIslam.com.