New and Noteworthy in Arab and Islamic Affairs – 8-31-17

New calculations in the Gulf on Iran’s nuclear deal, a new Iranian diplomatic play, and a double-edged sword in the war on ISIS.
Arab Gulf States Institute’s Hussein Ibish on the implications of scrapping the Iranian nuclear deal: “Gulf Arab countries understand that the ideal scenario for Iranian hard-liners would be for the JCPOA to collapse in the near future, with Washington being blamed by most, if not all, of the international community. … Tehran would have reached the agreement and permanently undone the international sanctions regime under Obama, only to be freed from complying with its terms under Trump, with virtually no chance that the comprehensive sanctions, particularly as imposed by China and Russia, could be resurrected. [Accordingly, Gulf states have] urged the United States to rigorously enforce, but not scrap, the nuclear agreement.”
“The Media Line” on Iran’s push for normalization with Arab Gulf states: “Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif used the Munich Security Conference on Sunday as a platform to reiterate calls for the Sunni Gulf States to work alongside Shiite Iran to address “anxieties” in the region. But his words, which came in response to a question asking whether Iran would consider regional dialogue that included Israel, left no doubt that the Jewish state would not be part of the mix when he said Iran is willing to work with “countries we call brothers in Islam.”
Andrew Bernard at The American Interest on the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces’ plan to oust ISIS from the oil-rich Deir Ezzor province of Syria: “The oil fields east of Deir ez-Zour still earn the group as much as $1 million each day, money that ISIS is now desperately trying to transfer out of the country. Whether that money will be used to fund attacks in Europe or to renew the insurgency in Iraq and Syria is unclear, but ISIS clearly has the means to continue their campaign of violence indefinitely. As their spate of car ramming attacks has shown, ISIS’ fanatics can produce mass slaughter for the cost of a van rental.”

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