A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
October 21, 2009 - Potential Nuclear Agreement With Iran
TA potential agreement has been reached between Iran and the West. While it seems like a victory for Iran, there is one very positive element in the agreement. The agreement calls for Teheran to turn over 75% of the enriched uranium that is has to Russia, who will further enrich it, before turning it over to France who will turn the enriched uranium into fuel rods for Iran’s experimental reactor. The problem with the agreement is it does not stop Iran from further enriching uranium, nor does it apply to Iran’s heavy water plant that can also enrich uranium or any other undisclosed plants. The major advantage of the agreement, it delays Iran’s ability to develop a bomb in one year. One year is a significant amount of time, and it should allow Israel to delay a decision to attack. On the other hand, anything that can delay the very fateful Israeli decision on whether to attack is probably a good thing. Of course the year must not be wasted. Further development of Israel’s defensive abilities must be pursued, while on the other hand, there should be a continued effort to build elusive peace agreement.
One of the mostly overlooked recommendations of the Winograd Commission that investigated the Second Lebanon War was a recommendation that Israel work to change the laws of war. Three years have passed and Prime Minister Netanyahu has finally instructed the government to try to start the process to make the changes. According to Winograd and other critics, the current rules make it very difficult for a nation to defend itself against a non conventional threat. The problem in international law, which is tied to the theories of Just Wars, is in both the start and prosecution of war. In terms of the start of the war, there tend to be two problems: first you cannot start of war to prevent one, but you are allowed to preempt an imminent war, or respond to an attack, but all of that related to an attack from another country. It does not relate to an attack by a nongovernmental group like Hezbollah or even Hamas, even when they have defacto control of territory.
The second problem is how one acts during the war. The international law is vague on civilian deaths and describes them as so called 'collateral damage'. They are supposed to be minimized. However, that law is not very helpful when fighting an enemy whose whole strategy is to hide within the civilian population.