The Middle East has a habit of causing one to wake up in the morning and do a double-take as they scroll through the newsfeed on their phones. Unsurprisingly, the worst offender in this and many, many other contexts, is Iran. So, in this week’s Action Update we start with the latest out of Tehran.

Tehran’s Temper Tantrum (Part 1)

Iran is rapidly approaching a nuclear weapons capability. They’re just weeks away according to most experts. Late last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced that Iran was removing 27 of the cameras housed in nuclear facilities that the IAEA uses to monitor Iran’s nuclear activities. The international organization’s director-general, Rafael Mariano Grossi, referred to the move as a “fatal blow” to efforts to bring Iran into compliance with its international nuclear obligations.

While we appreciate that Grossi wants Iran to end its nuclear weapons ambitions, Grossi is wrong. You can’t kill a deceased patient, and efforts to bring Iran into nuclear compliance were dead on arrival. Nothing Presidents Obama or Biden have done have helped the situation because both gentlemen refused to acknowledge that when dealing with the devil you have to check your logic at the door. While pallets of cash and sanctions relief would get most world leaders to end their imperial ambitions – nuclear or otherwise –such is not the case when dealing with a regime whose reason for existence is to dominate its neighbors and commit genocide.

The removal of the cameras is far from ideal, but it isn’t a dramatic shift in Iranian policy, it’s the obvious next move of a totalitarian regime bent on using nuclear blackmail to export terror and its Islamic Revolution. Until the White House sees the Tyrants of Tehran for what they are, there will be no progress made in the effort to tame the Iranian beast.

Tehran’s Temper Tantrum (Part 2)

Meanwhile, Iran has been trying to kill Israelis in Turkey, and Israel’s security establishment has been denying Tehran’s terrorists the opportunity. Some weeks ago, it was reported that Iran was trying to lure Israeli academics and others to third countries in an effort to kidnap or murder them. This past weekend, Jerusalem issued a stark warning to Israelis traveling in Turkey: come home.

Iran likely blames Israel for the fairly recent deaths of several senior Iranian military (read terrorist) and scientific (read weapons development) leaders. We get it, no villain likes it when their henchmen are killed. But whomever is taking out key Iranian personnel is not likely to stop, and Iran’s threats against Israeli civilians traveling abroad won’t change that.

The PA’s (Latest) Temper Tantrum

No-so-breaking news: the Palestinian Authority (PA) is mad again. Unsatisfied with renewed U.S. aid despite the PA continuing to pay terrorist salaries, Ramallah has asked the U.S. not to name a Special Envoy for Palestinian Affairs.

This may seem an odd request but it goes back to President Trump’s decision to move the U.S.  Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and shutter the de facto embassy to the Palestinians – a consulate that used to operate in the Holy City. The PA was pretty happy with the way things were before President Trump’s action, and while the Biden administration is trying to placate Ramallah by naming the aforementioned Special Envoy, the PA remains nonplussed as there will be no U.S. consulate to the Palestinians.

Here's the thing, we weren’t thrilled with the naming of a Special Envoy who would report directly to Washington – effectively an ambassador to the Palestinians. And we imagine the Israelis didn’t love it either. But it was a compromise, so like every other time in history that the Americans and Israelis have tried to bridge the gap with the Palestinians, the reasonable people in Washington and Jerusalem begrudgingly agreed to a middle-ground and the Palestinians threw a temper tantrum because they didn’t get exactly what they wanted.

You may be seeing a pattern here, from Tehran to Ramallah, intransigence reigns. That’s part of the reason President Biden’s recently announced mid-July trip to the Middle East is going to be very important. Or, at least, has the potential to be very important. The President will visit both Arab and Israeli capitals and meet with the Palestinians. In next week’s Action Update, we’ll breakdown what Mr. Biden needs to do if the U.S. is to make the most of the President’s time in the Middle East.

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