Markaz

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    Israel's questionable Quixote: What Michael Oren gets wrong in 'Ally'

    REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - Israel's President Shimon Peres (C) and Israel's Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren (R) are bathed in blue light, save for the red focusing light of a camera, as they take their seats in the audience at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference in Washington, March 4, 2012.

    It’s not easy to be the Israeli ambassador to the United States, Israel’s most important ally. The U.S. relationship with Israel is so deep and broad that an ambassador’s job is difficult, complicated, relentless, and at times overwhelming. Martin Indyk provides his take of the state of the U.S.-Israeli relationship in his review of Michael Oren's, former ambassador of Israel to the United States, new book, "Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide."

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    Un-sanctioning Iran: What the nuclear deal means for the future of sanctions

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry confers with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew during testimony on the Iran nuclear deal before the Senate Armed Services Committee on July 29, 201.

    The Iranian nuclear negotiations have been hailed as a victory for the use of economic sanctions. Ultimately, however, the final deal concluded last month suggests a more ambivalent bottom line. Suzanne Maloney argues that the disparity between the agreement’s sweeping sanctions relief and the more parsimonious scope of its constraints on Tehran’s nuclear activities underscores the limitations to the use of sanctions as leverage in the negotiations themselves.

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    The lion that roared: Israel and the Iran deal

    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pictured during a news conference at his office in Jerusalem December 2, 2014. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sacked his finance and justice ministers on Tuesday, signalling the break up of his bickering coalition and opening the way for early national elections in Israel.

    How secure is Israel? In a recent piece in Al-Monitor, Bruce Riedel suggests that Israel remains very secure even after the Iran deal. Indeed, in the context of security competition in the Middle East, Israel, despite its size, is actually more of a lion than a mouse.

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    Understanding the limits of sanctions

    Iran's United Nations (U.N.) Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo speaks at a United Nations Security Council meeting at the U.N. headquarters in New York, July 20, 2015.

    Sanctions are increasingly America’s foreign policy instrument of first resort, promising success without the bloodshed that comes with military force. Iran’s willingness to cut a deal over its nuclear program is likely to make sanctions proponents even more confident. But Peter Feaver and Eric Lorber argue that it is more difficult than policymakers think to narrowly tailor these tools to achieve particular strategic objectives. 

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    Sanctions served their intended purpose: resolving the Iran nuclear issue

    The United Nations Security Council votes to approve a resolution endorsing a deal to curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

    Richard Nephew explains the sanctions relief that Iran will receive under the terms of the nuclear agreement finalized in Vienna earlier this month. He argues that the sanctions on Iran were used by negotiators as they were always intended — as a means of achieving a resolution to international concerns about Iran's nuclear program.

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    Deal or no deal? Congress really must choose

    The U.S. Capitol building is seen before U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address

    The nuclear agreement reached last week by the P5+1 and Iran is prompting a mix of reactions, and Richard Nephew argues that Congressional leadership must step up and decide if the alternative to the final Iran nuclear deal is worth it.

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    Iran, sanctions, and the illusion of a better bargain

    A traffic sign meaning 'Caution' is seen in front of the cooling tower of nuclear power plants "Isar 1+2" between the southern Bavarian villages of Niederaichbach and Essenbach near Landshut April 2, 2011.

    Critics argue that the United States could have negotiated a better nuclear agreement with Iran. However, Miles Kaler asserts that this argument sidesteps the multilateral character of the sanctions imposed on Iran and the asymmetry in costs borne by the other members of the P5+1 and says that the deal that is on the table represents not only a bargain between the P5+1 and Iran, but also a bargain among the P5+1 partners themselves. 

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    The new UNSCR on Iran: Does it bind the United States (and future presidents)?

    U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power votes during a United Nations Security Council meeting at the U.N. headquarters in New York July 20, 2015.

    Some have suggested that the new U.N. Security Council Resolution will tie the hands of future presidents and that the United States would violate the Resolution if Congress votes down the Iran nuclear deal. However, John Bellinger argues that although some provisions of the draft UNSCR would be legally binding on the U.S. (and all U.N. Member States) under the U.N. Charter, these are provisions that effectively continue the existing arms and missile technology embargoes on Iran and that if the draft UNSCR is adopted, the United States would not be legally required to lift U.S. sanctions on Iran. 

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    Why Congress is effectively powerless to stop the Iran deal

    (L-R) U.S. Senator John McCain, (R-AZ) U.S. Republican presidential candidate Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman attend a campaign event in New York July 20, 2015.

    Critics are once again blaming the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act for Congress's inability to stop the President from implementing the Iran deal. Jack Goldsmith argues that this position is not just wrong, it is dangerous, since it deflects attention from the true causes of the predicament Congress finds itself in.  

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    Israel and the United States: A dialogue of the deaf

    U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Israel's Defence Minister Moshe Ya'alon shake hands during a meeting at the Kirya base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on July 20, 2015. This first visit by a U.S. cabinet official to Israel since last week's landmark agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program is intended to assuage bilateral tensions over the accord.

    Natan Sachs writes about the U.S.-Israel relationship in light of the Iran nuclear deal. He argues that the Obama administration would do well to listen to the Israeli concerns— and that Prime Minister Netanyahu needs to face the simple reality that the United States is the key to mitigating his concerns.  Read More

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