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IS NETANYAHU GOING TO WASHINGTON TO PREVENT ANOTHER MUNICH?

What is driving Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's ill-advised address on Iran to the U.S. Congress against the angry wishes of President Barack Obama and the rest of the Democrat administration?

 Do Netanyahu and the Israeli intelligence services know something we don't? Otherwise it is hard to explain why the Israeli leader is jeopardizing his already strained relations with Obama, who still has some two years in office to run America's foreign policy. On the face of it, it appears to be a rash and reckless gambit for Netanyahu to put all his eggs in the basket of the Republican majority in Congress. Moreover in the current Israeli election campaign, Netanyahu has left himself open to charges that he is harming Israel's crucial relations with America in order to boost his popularity with the Right wing.

...there is conjecture that Obama is ready to let Iran keep its nuclear capabilities in return for Tehran's aid in cutting back its subversive role in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and elsewhere in the Middle East and beyond.

 But what if Israeli intelligence has now uncovered the final terms of the nuclear agreement being concluded by Washington and Tehran? And what if that deal is an American capitulation to Iran allowing the Ayatollahs to preserve their facilities for breaking out for A-bombs? After the US has agreed to lifting the economic sanctions and allowing Iran to get back on its feet, there is conjecture that Obama is ready to let Iran keep its nuclear capabilities in return for Tehran's aid in cutting back its subversive role in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and elsewhere in the Middle East and beyond.

Upper: Javad Zarif & Catherine Ashton | Center: Kim Kong Il & Madeline Albright | Lower: Neville Chamberlain holding signed Munich Accord

 This would be an Obama attempt for a short term gain - allowing him to reach 'a peace in HIS time' with Iran until he leaves office. But this would be at the cost of a long term strategic blunder as a whole, while also putting Israel in peril. It would be tantamount to a twenty-first century Munich.

 Take this one step forward: Israel would then have to decide whether to go it alone and attempt to destroy Iran's facilities. The Jewish state, even including its Left wing leaders such as Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak, concurred that the Jewish people must 'never again' be faced with a second Holocaust. If an Obama sell-out to Iran is in the works, Netanyahu has made clear that he would follow the preventative strike policy of the Likud's Menachem Begin in destroying Saddam Hussein's nuclear facility in 1981, and Left-winger Ehud Olmert in 2007, who reportedly ordered the Israel Air Force to bomb the secret reactor that North Korea was building for Syrian President Bashar Assad.

 If this scenario is true, Netanyahu might be planning to reveal to the U.S. Congress its secret intelligence about the nuclear deal with Iran. Perhaps he is still hoping that it's not too late to persuade America not to capitulate. Otherwise what is the alternative? Israel will be faced with going it alone. I, for one, believe there would be an Israeli consensus for attacking Iran to prevent Iran from going nuclear. In other words, Netanyahu may be going to Washington to stop Israel from launching a necessary pre-emptive military strike to prevent Iran from producing nuclear weapons.

If this scenario is true...Netanyahu may be going to Washington to stop Israel from launching a necessary pre-emptive military strike to prevent Iran from producing nuclear weapons.

 But what of the argument that Iran's moderate President Hassan Rouhani is not just a smiling con artist out to dupe Obama, but is really succeeding in guiding Iran on a more moderate track. Nearly all the experts agree that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards are still calling the shots. Just look at the new Iranian budget - even though the sanctions have caused economic hardship, food subsidies, and civilian services have been further slashed, the military budget, particularly for the hard line Revolutionary Guards, has been sharply increased.

 Moreover Iranian dissidents abroad, who exposed some of Iran's secret nuclear installations, have learnt that the Iranian leadership feels the Obama administration needs the deal; and this is supported by the way they have conducted the negotiations. For example, Mohammad Reza Naghdi, the commander of the fanatic Basij militia that operates within the Revolutionary Guards, was quoted as saying recently:

 "The Americans are begging us for a deal at the negotiating table."

"The Americans are begging us for a deal at the negotiating table."

 This jibes with the statement of a senior administration official, who actually disclosed after the President's re-election. that a deal with Iran would be the crowning glory of Obama's second term. What kind of message did that send to the Iranians about Obama's eagerness for a nuclear accord?

 What is also apparent is that Iran, although suffering from the current sanctions, has still not budged an inch on its nuclear weapons facilities. They insist on maintaining their centrifuges for producing enriched uranium, have barred UN inspectors from their nuclear testing sites such as Parchin, while their long-range missiles for nuclear warheads are off limits.

 U.S. should walk away from Iran negotiations?

Tom Nichols (photo credit: Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs)

 Writing in the National Interest Magazine, Tom Nichols, Professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College contended that it's time to call it quits. His article is entitled: "Enough is Enough: Time to Ditch the Iran Nuclear Talks"
These are his opening lines:

 "It's time to walk away from the Iran negotiations. They have failed in their purpose and they are putting stress not only on our alliances, but on our own politics, beyond whatever worth there may be in a nominal deal at this point. We had one goal - to extinguish Iran's ability to build a nuclear weapon - and we will not achieve it. Is the 'process' really worth the price now?"

Nichols then provides a critique of where the U.S. has gone wrong in coping with Iran and what it should do now. Worth reading.

 


 

David Essing

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