Netanyahu strikes out?


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is clearly alarmed at the way that Iran’s new president Hassan Rouhani has made inroads in the west and the thaw that seems to be occurring between Iran and the US. The goal of Israel has been to have the US go to war with Iran and so you could expect him to use his annual speech to the UN to whip up alarm about the extreme danger posed by Iran’s nuclear program and urge that everything be done to completely dismantle it. But it would be hard to top the comedic effect produced by last year’s speech with the ridiculous cartoon of a bomb that spawned numerous parodies inspired by the similarities to the Road Runner and Bugs Bunny.

So to no one’s surprise, Netanyahu made a belligerent and alarmist speech, issuing dark warnings with clichéd animal metaphors about why Iran was not to be trusted, and provided a laundry list of demands to the west on how it should treat Iran.

With no hint of irony, he also said that Iran could not be trusted because it has defied UN resolutions on nuclear enrichment. But Israel leads all other nations in the number of UN resolutions it is in defiance of and, as political scientist Stephen Zunes points out, the US blocks enforcement of any resolutions that target the nuclear programs of Israel and its other allies.

Another issue the president raised is the proliferation of nuclear weapons, in particular, Iran’s nuclear programme. President Obama has successfully pushed the UNSC to impose tough sanctions against Iran for violating a series of UNSC resolutions by failing to halt its uranium enrichment program.

But the US has blocked enforcement of other UNSC resolutions targeting the nuclear programmes of US allies which – unlike Iran – actually have nuclear weapons.

UNSC resolution 487 calls on Israel to place its nuclear facilities under the trusteeship of the IAEA. UNSC resolution 1137 calls on India and Pakistan to eliminate their nuclear arsenals and long-range missiles. But the Obama administration has not only refused to support implementing these resolutions, it provides all three countries with nuclear-capable jet fighters and other military assistance.

Similarly, the Obama administration has repeatedly blocked the convening of a long-planned international conference on the establishment of a nuclear weapons free zone for the Middle East, as called for in UNSC resolution 687 and the most recent conference of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

But the tide is slowly turning against Netanyahu. A huge majority of Americans consistently favor direct talks with Iran. Netanyahu seems increasingly out of step with the rest of the world and his alarmist rhetoric at the UN this year seemed to be less an effort to get the US to take the last step of going to war with Iran and more a sign of desperation that war was slipping away.

After years of worrying about Iran’s disputed nuclear ambitions, Netanyahu took to the stage at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday and made his most explicit threat yet to attack the Islamic republic unless it ends its atomic program.

However, his warning carried less weight than in previous years, with only a dwindling band of diplomats and experts convinced that Israel might unleash its warplanes, especially at a time of warming ties between Iran and the rest of the world.

One Western diplomat involved in Iranian nuclear diplomacy described Netanyahu as “out of step” with the mood of detente and a former senior U.S. official cautioned that Israel would be unlikely to secure all its demands in any negotiations.

Netanyahu’s problem was made worse by the fact that attention in the US is focused on domestic politics of the government shutdown and the debt ceiling and so he did not get as much media attention as he would have liked.

But even in the midst of a domestic crisis, president Obama and vice-president Joe Biden seemed to find it necessary to meet with Netanyahu for 2.5 hours, no doubt to soothe his feelings.

Comments

  1. colnago80 says

    Ah gee, Winston Churchill struck out in preventing Chamberlain from going to Munich. How did that work out for Great Britain?

  2. kraut says

    http://www.avnery-news.co.il/english/index.html

    “COMING BACK to reality: there is nothing splendid about the isolation of Israel these days.

    Our Isolation means weakness, a loss of power, a diminishing of security.

    It is the job of a statesman to find allies, to build partnerships, to strengthen the international position of his country.

    Netanyahu has lately taken to quoting our ancient sages: “If I am not for me, who is for me?”

    He forgets the next part of that same sentence: “And if I am for myself, what am I?”

  3. mnb0 says

    Ah yes – this is another benefit of Obama’s brilliant political manoeuvre regarding Assad, though likely not foreseen. It’s Netanyahu who creates a distance between Israel and it’s most important ally. I predict Netanyahu will lose popularity in the USA.

    “no doubt to soothe his feelings”
    This is for Obama’s pro-Israel supporters. It will not have any influence on the USA-Iran detente.

  4. mnb0 says

    How many military bases again had Great-Britain in 1938 surrounding Germany? How many km is the common border between Iran and Israel again? How willing was the German head of state to permit inspectors again? So far your false analogy, which only works within your cramped worldview.

  5. mnb0 says

    Yup – Netanyahu has done an excellent job losing the one and only reliable partner it had it the Middle-East: Turkey (which country, as we should remember, is not exactly on friendly terms with Syria, Iraq ánd Iran.

  6. colnago80 says

    This is for Obama’s pro-Israel supporters. It will not have any influence on the USA-Iran detente.

    Gee, USA-Iran detente. That like the detente between Britain and Germany after the Munich Conference in 1938. That lasted about 6 months until Frankenberger absorbed the rest of Czechoslovakia.

  7. colnago80 says

    I wasn’t aware that Israel had any military bases surrounding Iran. Prey tell us where they are located.

    How many km is the common border between Iran and Israel again?

    How many kilometers was the common border between Great Britain and Germany in 1938?

    How willing was the German head of state to permit inspectors again?

    How willing is the Ayatollah Khamenei to allowing inspection of all known and suspected nuclear facilities in Iran?

  8. maudell says

    I want to play the analogy game too!

    It’s like 1451 when Western Europe believed the new Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II was not a threat to the Byzantine. Rome, after a failed strategic alliance with the Orthodox Church, only tried to help them when it was too late (here representing the US in World War II *and* right now).

    By May 1453, the best-defended city in Europe fell in the hands of the Ottoman. Europe is in shock (they were in shock too after World War II). This reinforced the Ottomans, paving the way for the reign of Suleiman ‘the lawgiver’ in 1520 (like World War I paved the way for Hitler to rise). By this time, the Ottomans were in stalemate with the strongest European empire, the Holy Roman Empire under Charles V. Their army was too busy East, battling the mighty Safavids. Iran today is located on the land of the Safavids. Coincidence? I think not!

    Analogies! Why won’t more historians and political scientists make them?

  9. colnago80 says

    like World War I paved the way for Hitler to rise

    Actually, although the onerous reparations imposed on Germany played a part in the economic problems that led to Frankenberger’s rise to power, IMHO, the main problem was the failure of the allies to totally defeat Germany and totally occupy the country, as was done after WW 2. Allowing a negotiated settlement led to the big lie propagated by Frankenberger, namely that the traitors back in Berlin stabbed the German Army in France in the back, preventing it from winning the war. It was of course, horse manure as the German Armies were retreating in the fall of 1918 and Germany would soon have been totally defeated and occupied, save for Wilson, Lloyd George, and Clemenceau agreeing to the armistice. Had they demanded unconditional surrender in 1918 as was done in 1945, the stab in the back claim would have found far less traction. The proof is that Germany hasn’t caused any problems since 1945.

  10. Who Cares says

    Pretty well actually. It bought Great Britain the time it needed to be able to actually have a chance against the Nazi war machine.

  11. maudell says

    Sorry, the fake argument in my mocking of yours was not developed enough to fit your interpretation of the triggers of World War II. What if? What if people were persuaded by Litvinov?

    You assert a lot of causality here, but really, we can do this all day long. World War II wouldn’t have happened without the unification of Germany! It wouldn’t have happened without the Russo-Japanese War! It wouldn’t have happened without the Napoleonic Wars! Now, how do we establish causation? Doesn’t make much sense to say that Napoleon cause WW2.

    In the same vein: Israel would not be in this position without the Crimean War! If Ahmed III had defeated the Anti-tulip rebellion in 1730!

    One thing that you need, if you want to bring forward your hypothesis that a small improvement to the absolutely dismal (and dangerous) relationship between the US and Iran is a negative thing, is to look for instances where your explanatory variable(s) does not cause a world war (ok, I’ll be fair: a war), or at least add informed counterfactuals. Adding a method doesn’t make your hypothesis correct, but it’s better than a “it’s just like the Mongol invasion of China in 1279″ argument. I can fish out occasions when a nation got attacked after it improved its relations with a rival. However, I can fish out more instances when your dreaded effect didn’t happen with a similar disparity between cases as the WW2 vs US/Iran claim you are making. That’s how far analogies go (not far). Cool story, bro.

  12. colnago80 says

    Total crapola. This is the excuse for Chamberlain that his apologizers always, put forward. The fact is that, at the time of the Munich Conference, Germany was in no condition to fight a European war. In fact, officers in the General Staff were well aware of this and some of them were planning a coup to remove Frankenberger from office.

    In addition, Czechoslovakia had the most modern armed forces in Europe at that point in time, in addition to having the Skoda Works, the most modern arms manufacturing facility. The Czech army was fully mechanized, and, in addition, the terrain in Czechoslovakia was well suited to defense. Contrast this with the situation in Poland in 1939 with its antiquated armed forces which depended for mobility on horse cavalry. In addition, the terrain in Poland is mostly open plains, in contrast the the mountainous terrain in Czechoslovakia. By acceding to Frankenberger’s demands at Munich, Chamberlain eventually handed over the modern Czech equipment and the Skoda Works to the former, without a shot being fired. Chamberlain shot himself in the foot. A goodly fraction of the equipment used by the Panzers to overrun France in 1940 was captured Czech equipment.

    Given the condition of the British, French, and German armed forces in the Spring of 1938, Britain and France would have been in a much better position to oppose Germany with Czechoslovakia as an ally then they were in the Autumn of 1939 with Poland as an ally.

    The fact is that, the German armed forces, bolstered by captured Czech equipment, made better used of the time between Munich and Poland then did their opponents.

  13. colnago80 says

    Re maudell

    Since we’re playing the counterfactual history game, here’s another one. If the Confederacy had won the Civil War and gained its independence, it is likely that what remained of the US would have broken up into several countries with New England and the Upper Midwest proceeded to split off. The result would have been half a dozen countries occupying the area that is currently the US.

    What would have been the effect on the outcome of WW1. With no powerful USA to intervene, Germany would, in all probability, have won the war in 1918 after the defeat of Russia. Thus, in all likelihood, no WW2.

  14. colnago80 says

    Here’s another counterfactual history tidbit. Suppose that the plane carrying the German attack plans had not crashed and the Germans had gone ahead with the WW2 version of the Schlieffen Plan, which, by the way the French and British high commands anticipated anyway? The result very likely would have been a stalemate in Belgium with the Wehrmacht stopped in its tracks.

  15. colnago80 says

    And the purpose of these installations is not to protect Israel but to protect Saudi Arabia and other oil producing states which are far more vulnerable to Iranian blackmail then Israel is.

  16. Nick Gotts says

    Anyone who asserts a parallel between the Germany of 1938 – an acknowledged great power, unthreatened by any other power, with the most effective armed forces in the world and a leader absolutely determined on war; and the Iran of 2013 – a medium-range power, dwarfed by the military might of Israel, let alone that of the USA, both of which powers have repeatedly issued explicit threats to attack it, and one of which has actually supported an attack against it – is living in a fantasy world. The kind of fantasy world in which Hitler’s name was Frankenberger.

  17. colnago80 says

    Anyone who asserts a parallel between the Germany of 1938 – an acknowledged great power, unthreatened by any other power, with the most effective armed forces in the world

    Germany hardly had the most effective armed force in the world at the time of the Munich Conference. Actually, it might be argued that, pound for pound, Czechoslovakia had the most effective armed force at that time.

  18. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    The goal of Israel has been to have the US go to war with Iran ..

    It is, is it?

    How do you know this and what citations if any are there in support of that rather extraordinary claim?

  19. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Obama has given Netanyahu and Israel generally the very “cold shoulder” metaphorically since, well, pretty much forever.

    It is no secret that Obama and Netanyahu do not get along and that Obama’s dislike of the world’s one and only Jewish land is highly atypical and unrepresentative of United States citizens generally and USA Presidents especially.

    Let’s be frank, Obama’s Muslim -surrounded Indonesian upbringing has a lot to answer for and the misogyny that rejected Hiliary Clinton as president in 2008 is a major factor in why he is POTUS today and she is not.

    Note : I accept that Barack Hussein Obama was born in the USA -to Muslim descened parentasa dn that he was raised in Indonesian madrassehs in some of his key formative years.

    Technically, Obama is a legitimate POTUS. In practice, he’s wildly opposed to most US civilians views of Islam and is wa-aay more sympathetic to Islamic ideologies than the vast majority of those he claims to represent – and is also a lot more hostile to Israel than the vast majority of US and global Western people would wish or think is reasonable.

  20. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    IOW, Obama does have a record and clearly shows an anti-Israeli prejudice that is unusual and, needless to say (is’nt it needless? Too many on FTB are anti-Israel!) wrong and this does most likely derive from his pro-Islamic family background and early schooling in a foreign nation. (Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim land which has repeatedly committed horrible human rights violations – see East Timor, West Papua and more)

    In my view and, I think, many others this is so atypical and unrepresentative of general US and wider Western sentiments as to mean Barack Hussein Obama is a very bad choice for POTUS and his anti-Israeli and pro-Islamic worldviews and policies and speeches and actions on international affairs further support this proposition.

  21. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Netanyahu is in a very tough situation when he is facing a grave threat to his nations’ existence on one hand and a betrayal by his former main international ally on the other.

    What would*you* do in his place?

  22. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Should Netanyahu do nothing and allow a theocratic dictatorship which has made it clear it wants his people -all six million of them – exterminated, pushed into the sea and his country wiped off the map por take actuionand stop this genocide from happening do you think?

    One word answer please – yes or no?

  23. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Typo fix for clarity :

    Should Netanyahu do nothing and allow a theocratic dictatorship which has made it clear it wants his people -all six million of them – exterminated, pushed into the sea and his country wiped off the map or should he take action and stop this genocide from happening do you think?

    Should Netanyahu meekly roll over and just let his people all be murdered en masse in your view – yes or no?

    One word answer please.

    Do you think all Israelis should be butchered by Iranian nukes – yes or no? Same question actually.

  24. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Cheers Colnago80. Rare bit of good~ish news.

    Be great if the worrying Turkish slide away from Westernisation and towards Islamism was halted and reversed. That can’t come soon enough.

  25. colnago80 says

    In some fairness, Bibi also had a tense relationship with President Clinton.This got to the point where the Clinton sent his attack dog, the ragin Cajun James Carville over to Israel in 1999 to help run Ehud Barak’s campaign to unseat Bibi as the Prime Minister of Israel. Even Obama didn’t go that far. Bibi has also had tense relationships with former French President Sarkozy and German Chancellor Merkel.
    (remember Sarkozy being caught by an errant microphone telling Obama that, “I can’t stand him (Bibi), he’s such a liar”).

  26. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    ..Netanyahu is in a very tough situation when he is facing a grave threat to his nations’ existence on one hand and a betrayal by his former main international ally on the other.

    And make no mistake, Obama’s shunning of Israel is a betrayal.

    Ethically and by international law, the whole world should have the Jewish states back against the unlawful and genocidal campaign of its Islamist Arab enemies to exterminate it.

    Sadly this hasn’t been the case in reality for, well, ever.

    But before Obama, Israel could always count on the USA having its back. WithObama in charge, nolonger the case.

    Do so many on FTB really, really, wish to see another Shoah?

    Shame on y’all who fail to support democratic, free and human rights respecting Israel against its murderous foes. Shame on those who are so guillible as to be fooled by Iranian rhetoric and that they manage to ignore reality.

    Israel always has the right to defend its people against genocide.

  27. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Never again a Shoah.

    A genocide against the innocent Jewish humans.

    NO more delegitimisation, no BDS anti-Semitism, no intifadas, no Arab -Israeli wars, no Jihads, no Arab or Persian WMDs allowed ever.

    Stop the terrorism.

    Stop the killing.

    Accept Israel’s right to exist.

    And live in peace.

    Is that so flippin’ much to ask?!?

  28. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Maybe so but Obama has been so very much worse.

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