Friday, February 20, 2015

The Feud [with updates]

Why Netanyahu Broke with Obama - David Ignatius

  • Yuval Steinitz, Israel's minister of intelligence, said in an interview that the public rift between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu over the Iranian nuclear issue has been building for more than two years and reflects a deep disagreement about how best to limit the threat of a rising Iran.
  • He said that the nuclear agreement contemplated by Obama would ratify Iran as a threshold nuclear-weapons state, and that the one-year breakout time sought by Washington wasn't adequate.
  • "From the very beginning, we made it clear we had reservations about the goal of the negotiations," he explained. "We thought the goal should be to get rid of the Iranian nuclear threat, not verify or inspect it."
  • Netanyahu's skepticism reached a tipping point last month when he concluded that the U.S. had offered so many concessions to Iran that any deal reached would be bad for Israel. He broke with Obama first in a private phone call on Jan. 12.
  • "The temptation [for Iran] is not now but in two or three or four years, when the West is preoccupied with other crises," Steinitz said. If Iran chose to "sneak out" at such a moment, it would take the U.S. months to determine the pact had been violated, and another six months to form a coalition for sanctions or other decisive action. By then, it might be too late.
  • What the U.S. is saying to Iran, in effect, is "if you agree to freeze for 10 years, that's enough for us." But that won't work for Israel. "To believe that in the next decade there will be a democratic change in leadership and that Iran won't threaten the U.S. or Israel anymore, I think this is too speculative."
  • "Iran is part of the problem and not part of the solution - unless you think Iran dominating the Middle East is the solution," Steinitz concluded. People who think that a nuclear deal with Iran is desirable, as I do, need to be able to answer Steinitz's critique.
(Washington Post)


Hear Out Israel's Leader - Joseph I. Lieberman

  • I appeal to members of Congress to go hear what the prime minister of Israel has to say. Go because this is about determining how best to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons and not just another Washington test of partisan and political loyalty.
  • Go because you know that the Constitution gives you, as a member of Congress, the power to "regulate commerce with foreign nations," "define and punish...offenses against the law of nations," "declare war," and "raise and support armies," and Netanyahu might say some things that will inform your exercise of those great powers.
  • Go because you know that Israel is one of our closest and most steadfast allies and you feel a responsibility to listen to its leader speak about developments that he believes could threaten the safety, independence and even existence of his country, as well as that of our closest allies in the Arab world.
  • Go because you worry that it is not just the security of Israel and the Arab nations but the security of the United States that will be threatened if a bad agreement is made with Iran that enables it to build nuclear weapons it could put on its increasingly capable long-range missiles.
  • Go because you are concerned about nuclear weapons proliferation and believe that a faulty deal with Iran will not only put it on the road to becoming a nuclear power but will also lead some of Iran's Arab neighbors to acquire nuclear weapons as soon as possible.
  • At this very unstable moment in history, we cannot and must not avert our attention from what remains the greatest threat to the security of America and the world.
The writer is a former U.S. Senator from Connecticut.
(Washington Post)

The Appalling Talk of Boycotting Netanyahu - Alan M. Dershowitz

As a liberal Democrat who twice campaigned for President Barack Obama, I am appalled that some members of Congress are planning to boycott the speech of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Under the Constitution, the executive and legislative branches share responsibility for making and implementing important foreign-policy decisions. Congress has a critical role to play in scrutinizing the decisions of the president when these decisions involve national security, relationships with allies and the threat of nuclear proliferation.

Congress has every right to invite, even over the president's strong objection, any world leader or international expert who can assist its members in formulating appropriate responses to the current deal being considered with Iran regarding its nuclear-weapons program. Indeed, it is the responsibility of every member of Congress to listen to Prime Minister Netanyahu, who probably knows more about this issue than any world leader, because it threatens the very existence of the nation state of the Jewish people.

Not only should all members of Congress attend Mr. Netanyahu’s speech, but President Obama—as a constitutional scholar—should urge members of Congress to do their constitutional duty of listening to opposing views in order to check and balance the policies of the administration.
The idea that some members of Congress will not give him the courtesy of listening violates protocol and basic decency to a far greater extent than anything Mr. Netanyahu is accused of doing for having accepted an invitation from Congress. 
(Wall Street Journal)

Now We Know Who to Believe on Iran - David Horovitz

  • After anonymous sources in Jerusalem leaked in recent weeks the ostensible terms of the deal being hammered out with Iran, various U.S. government spokespeople contended that the Israeli government was misrepresenting the specifics and sneered that Israel didn't actually know what the terms were.
  • Yet among the terms of the deal being reported by the Associated Press from Geneva on Monday are precisely those that were asserted in recent weeks by the Israeli sources. Iran is to be allowed to keep 6,500 centrifuges spinning, and there will be a clause providing for an end to intrusive inspections in some 10-15 years. There is also no indication of restrictions on Iran's missile development.
  • Israel's most respected Middle East affairs analyst, Channel 2 commentator Ehud Ya'ari, noted that the isolation of Iran even by Israel's key allies was already cracking, with the firmly pro-Israel foreign minister of Australia, Julie Bishop, announcing an imminent visit to Tehran.
  • Ya'ari also noted that the International Atomic Energy Agency has made clear that it lacks the tools to effectively monitor the kind of nuclear program that Iran will be allowed to maintain under the emerging deal.
  • The P5+1 is about to legitimize Iran as a nuclear threshold state. From there, it will be capable of rapidly breaking out to the bomb, well aware that the international community lacks the will to stop it.
  • The Obama administration would evidently like to believe that 10-15 years from now, the ayatollahs will be gone. But if the deal now taking shape is indeed finalized, the chances of the regime being ousted from within will drastically recede. This deal will help cement the ayatollahs in power, with dire consequences for Israel, relatively moderate Arab states, and the free world.
(Times of Israel)


John Vagabond said...

Iranian resentment is deep-rooted, venomous and will ultimately find no respite except by destruction. Israel is a convenient and universally loathed whipping boy but the real threat of a nuclear armed Iran is the destabilising effect on the Gulf states, rattling the already rickety cage of Saudi hegemony.

Bruce said...

A competent America president could weave a coalition of Gulf States, Egypt, Jordan (and even Israel) against Iran & ISIS.