Friday, February 27, 2015

High Drama In Washington

[F]or the past six years Obama has undermined Israel’s national security. He has publicly humiliated Netanyahu repeatedly.

He has delegitimized Israel’s very existence, embracing the jihadist lie that Israel’s existence is the product of post-Holocaust European guilt rather than 4,000 years of Jewish history.

He and his representatives have given a backwind to the forces that seek to wage economic warfare against Israel, repeatedly indicating that the application of economic sanctions against Israel – illegal under the World Trade Organization treaty – are a natural response to Israel’s unwillingness to bow to every Palestinian demand. The same goes for the movement to deny the legitimacy of Israel’s very existence. Senior administration officials have threatened that Israel will become illegitimate if it refuses to surrender to Palestinian demands.

Last summer, Obama openly colluded with Hamas’s terrorist war against Israel. He tried to coerce Israel into accepting ceasefire terms that would have amounted to an unconditional surrender to Hamas’s demands for open borders and the free flow of funds to the terrorist group. He enacted a partial arms embargo on Israel in the midst of war. He cut off air traffic to Ben-Gurion International Airport under specious and grossly prejudicial terms in an open act of economic warfare against Israel.

But Netanyahu said nothing publicly in criticism of Obama’s destructive, dangerous policy. He held his tongue in the hopes of winning Obama over through quiet diplomacy.

And yet, today Netanyahu, the serial accommodator, is putting everything on the line. He will not accommodate. He will not be bullied. He will not be threatened, even as all the powers that have grown used to bringing him to his knees – the Obama administration, the American Jewish Left, the Israeli media, and the Labor party grow ever more shrill and threatening in their attacks against him.

As he has made clear in daily statements, Netanyahu is convinced that we have reached a juncture in our relations with the Obama administration where accommodation is no longer possible. Obama’s one policy that Netanyahu has never acquiesced to either publicly or privately is his policy of accommodating Iran.
Until Obama entered office, and to an ever escalating degree since his reelection in 2012, preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons has been such an obvious imperative among both Israelis and Americans that Netanyahu’s forthright rejection of any nuclear deal in which Iran would be permitted to maintain the components of its nuclear program was uncontroversial.

But now we are seeing that far from being an opportunist, Netanyahu is a leader of historical dimensions. For the past two years, in the interest of reaching a deal, Obama has enabled Iran to take over Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. For the first time since 1974, due to Obama’s policies, the Golan Heights is an active front in the war against Israel, with Iranian military personnel commanding Syrian and Hezbollah forces along the border.

Whereas Israel can survive Obama on the Palestinian front by stalling, waiting him out and placating him where possible, and can even survive his support for Hamas by making common cause with the Egyptian military and the government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, the damage Obama’s intended deal with Iran will cause Israel will be irreversible. The moment that Obama grants Iran a path to a nuclear arsenal – and the terms of the agreement that Obama has offered Iran grant Iran an unimpeded path to nuclear power – a future US administration will be hard-pressed to put the genie back in the bottle.

For his efforts to prevent irreparable harm to Israel Netanyahu is being subjected to the most brutal and vicious attacks any Israeli leader has ever been subjected to by an American administration and its political allies.

Every day brings another serving of abuse. Wednesday National Security Adviser Susan Rice accused Netanyahu of destroying US relations with Israel. Secretary of State John Kerry effectively called him a serial alarmist, liar, and warmonger.

For its part, the Congressional Black Caucus reportedly intends to sabotage Netanyahu’s address before the joint houses of Congress by walking out in the middle, thus symbolically accusing of racism the leader of the Middle East’s only liberal democracy, and the leader of the most persecuted people in human history.

Netanyahu is not coming to Washington next Tuesday to warn Congress against Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, because he seeks a fight with Obama. Netanyahu has devoted the last six years to avoiding a fight with Obama, often at great cost to Israel’s national security and to his own political position.

Netanyahu is coming to Washington next week because Obama has left him no choice. And all decent people of good will should support him, and those who do not, and those who are silent, should be called out for their treachery and cowardice.

[Jewish World Review]
America's looming capitulation to Iran - Charles Krauthammer, MD
News leaked Monday of the elements of a "sunset clause." President Obama had accepted the Iranian demand that any restrictions on its program be time-limited. After which, the mullahs can crank up their nuclear program at will and produce as much enriched uranium as they want.
Sanctions lifted. Restrictions gone. Nuclear development legitimized. Iran would reenter the international community, as Obama suggested in an interview in December, as "a very successful regional power." A few years — probably around 10 — of good behavior and Iran would be home free.
The agreement thus would provide a predictable path to an Iranian bomb. Indeed, a flourishing path, with trade resumed, oil pumping and foreign investment pouring into a restored economy.  Meanwhile, Iran's intercontinental ballistic missile program is subject to no restrictions at all. It's not even part of these negotiations. Why is Iran building them? You don't build ICBMs in order to deliver sticks of dynamite. Their only purpose is to carry nuclear warheads. Nor does Iran need an ICBM to hit Riyadh or Tel Aviv. Intercontinental missiles are for reaching, well, other continents. North America, for example.

And regional hyperproliferation becomes inevitable as Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and others seek shelter in going nuclear themselves.

Wasn't Obama's great international cause a nuclear-free world? Within months of his swearing-in, he went to Prague to so declare.

Well, say the administration apologists, what's your alternative? Do you want war? It's Obama's usual, subtle false-choice maneuver: It's either appeasement or war. It's not.

True, there are no good choices, but Obama's prospective deal is the worst possible. Not only does Iran get a clear path to the bomb but it gets sanctions lifted, all pressure removed and international legitimacy.

There is a third choice. If you are not stopping Iran's program, don't give away the store. Keep the pressure, keep the sanctions. Indeed, increase them. After all, previous sanctions brought Iran to its knees and to the negotiating table in the first place. And that was before the collapse of oil prices, which would now vastly magnify the economic effect of heightened sanctions.  Congress is proposing precisely that. Combined with cheap oil, it could so destabilize the Iranian economy as to threaten the clerical regime. That's the opening. Then offer to renew negotiations for sanctions relief but from a very different starting point — no enrichment. Or, if you like, with a few token centrifuges for face-saving purposes.  And no sunset.

That's the carrot. As for the stick, make it quietly known that the United States will not stand in the way of any threatened nation that takes things into its own hands. We leave the regional threat to the regional powers, say, Israeli bombers overflying Saudi Arabia.

Consider where we began: six U.N. Security Council resolutions demanding an end to Iranian enrichment. Consider what we are now offering: an interim arrangement ending with a sunset clause that allows the mullahs a robust, industrial-strength, internationally sanctioned nuclear program.
Such a deal makes the Cuba normalization look good and the Ukrainian cease-fires positively brilliant. We are on the cusp of an epic capitulation. History will not be kind.
[Jewish World Review]


- Barak Ravid  

Israel's Washington embassy tweeted a fake New York Times front page, dated March 31, 2025, "reporting" how Iran had hoodwinked the world on the nuclear deal.

Future headlines include: "P5+1: We Have Regrets"; "Despite Inspectors, Iran Completes Arak Plutonium Reactor"; and "IRGC Test New Generation ICBM, Range to SF, LA."

Concerns that a final deal restricting Iran's nuclear program will "sunset" any agreement as early as 2025 have thrown a new jolt into Israeli officials. "Ten years is nothing. It's tomorrow from our point of view," said Yaakov Amidror, who served as national security adviser to Netanyahu. "It's a license for Iran to be a threshold nuclear state."
Critics say that after the expiration of any deal, Iran would be free to produce as much fuel for nuclear weapons as it likes. Citing reports of a 10-15-year sunset period at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing Tuesday, the panel's top Democrat, Robert Menendez, called that "a matter of time that is far less than anyone envisioned." 
- Prof. Abraham Ben-Zvi
The future nuclear deal is about to grant Iran entry back into the heart of the international theater, without having to meet even minimal admission requirements outside the nuclear context. It will allow the Revolutionary Guards to continue their extensive terrorist activities, without inhibitions, restrictions, or supervision by any international forum. 
The writer is a professor of international relations at the University of Haifa.
(Israel Hayom)
Speech of the Year - Editorial

Speeches by foreign leaders to Joint Meetings of Congress are routine events, and often among the more forgettable. So it might have been with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's address to Congress next Tuesday. But leave it to the political wizards of the Obama Administration to turn it into the global diplomatic event of the year.
This week the Administration unleashed a withering personal and political attack that is unprecedented against a close ally. National Security Adviser Susan Rice even said the speech is "destructive of the fabric of the relationship" between Washington and Jerusalem. That's some claim against one speech, and it's worth asking why the Administration has gone to such extraordinary lengths to squelch it. Mr. Netanyahu is expected to make the case against President Obama's looming nuclear deal with Iran, and perhaps the Administration knows how vulnerable it is to such a critique.
The Prime Minister did nothing more than accept an invitation from a co-equal branch of government, with its own important foreign-policy role. If there is partisanship here, it is from a president whose Iran policy is no longer trusted by much of his own party.
Israelis are naturally wary of becoming estranged from their most important ally. Then again, Israelis are even more wary of a nuclear Iran. The trashing of Mr. Netanyahu has done nothing but increase public interest in his speech. Recent polling finds Americans overwhelmingly in favor of giving the Israeli leader a fair hearing in Congress.
(Wall Street Journal)
The Struggle over Nuke Program -  General Yossi Kuperwasser 

Is the prime minister acting correctly? Having been closely involved in the campaign against the Iranian nuclear program from the beginning, I believe that the advantages of this course of action outweigh its disadvantages. Certainly the intervention in the decision-making processes of Congress represents a last resort, but in light of the seriousness and urgency of the threat, it would seem that the use of irregular means is justified.

There is not likely to be a second chance to get things right.
Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser was chief of the research division in IDF Military Intelligence, and until recently, director general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs.
(Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)

Israel Doles Out Mock Oscars - Vasudevan Sridharan

Israel has doled out mock Academy Awards for the geo-political drama. The Israeli foreign ministry gave Iran the Oscar for "best actor" - "For acting like a peace loving country while developing nuclear capabilities, denying the Holocaust and threatening the destruction of another member state."

The ministry bestowed the "supporting actor" award to Hizbullah, often seen as a long arm of Iran, "for its unrelenting support to the Assad regime in killing thousands of civilians." Israel also awarded the "best editing" award to the Palestinian Authority for "rewriting history."  
(International Business Times)


LHwrites said...

Particularly histrionic hyperbole. Not that this matter should be taken lightly but Glick's manic cries that Obama has delegitimized Israel and given wind to economic warfare against Israel is nonsense.
Obama is trying to avoid the mistakes of the past and try to actually accomplish something durable. Will it work? Who can say, but we know the awful mistakes of the Bush administration promoted by Netanyahu helped create this mess. I'll post a link to remind everyone about that when I'm done. The point is, with this inflamed rhetoric Israel is just convincing the world that they believe the only way to ensure peace is to economically impoverish and bomb Muslims. Not a good strategy when Muslims outnumber Jews by such a vast majority. It is worth pursuing through political means as a way to, if nothing else, show that all was done to avoid punishing the Iranian people with even harsher sanctions, and punishing their country with military action. If negotiations fail, there will be plenty of opportunity to act.

Bruce said...

I've already posted several updates including one stellar commentary by the Wall Street Journal. You may find them a bit less manic.