Now that the Iran nuclear agreement is done, the Republicans, AIPAC, the neocons and the Israeli government have gone on the warpath (in more ways than one) to try and get Congress to kill the deal.
I have written a piece for FMEP that takes on some of the most common criticisms of the deal and demonstrates that they are almost entirely smoke. In some cases, they’re based on outright falsehoods, in others on distortions of the facts. Please check out the piece and, if you are so inclined, share it with your contacts, friends and lists. There is also a link there to a PDF version that you can print out and distribute if that would be helpful.
A few other points should be stressed in addition to the ones I listed in my piece. Continue reading
The imbroglio over House Speaker John Boehner’s unseemly invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and John Boehner
Netanyahu after President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address last month is continuing to rage in Washington. But when it comes to the Palestinians, it is business as usual in Congress.
On February 4, the House of Representatives’ Sub-Committee on the Middle East and North Africa will hold a hearing on suspending aid to the Palestinian Authority as punishment for their temerity in exercising their legal right to bring their grievances against Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The sub-committee, chaired by hawk Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), has stacked the deck well against the Palestinians. Read more at LobeLog
Once upon a time, it seemed that the Obama Administration had held off opponents in Congress as well as pressure from Israel in order to press forward with negotiations with Iran. It seemed that President Barack Obama’s penchant for diplomacy was finally bearing fruit and that the United States and Iran were coming to the table with a sense of determination and an understanding that a compromise needed to be reached over Iran’s nuclear program.
These days, the story is different. Almost halfway through the four-month extension period the parties agreed to in July, the possibility of failure is more prominently on people’s minds, despite the fact that significant progress has been made in the talks. Right now, both sides have dug in their heels over the question of Iran’s nuclear enrichment capabilities. Iran wants sufficient latitude to build and power more nuclear reactors on their own, while the United States wants a much more restrictive regime. Read more at LobeLog
It seems the overwhelming opinion, from across the political spectrum and around the globe, is that we must stand aside and let Syria
A US protester in support of the late, lamented Egyptian revolt. (photo courtesy of Sasha Kimel, published under a Creative Commons license)
burn, offering a bit of humanitarian aid but doing nothing else substantive. This arises for a variety of reasons, including the sordid history of outside intervention and a binary bit of thinking where the only options are to support Assad or to support the dominant militias like al-Nusra and ISIL (sometimes referred to as ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Syria). Personally, I’m not satisfied with any of the options being proposed, but I also recognize why we are so limited and why the international community is stymied.
Rather than simply bemoan the horror, I propose a new idea for how such tragedies might be addressed. If it, or something like it, were even attempted, it would be too late, at this point, for it to help Syria, more than likely. But the world needs some new system, some new entity, that provides a third choice, that addresses both regional and great power interests that are causing the current paralysis. I describe my ideas in Souciant today.
The Obama Administration has never had the best relationship with Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu has never hidden his disdain for Barack Obama, and worked for his defeat in 2012. But the level of invective between the US and Israel in recent days is quite unprecedented.
No doubt, a lot of this has to do with Netanyahu’s inability to chart a course for Israel that includes resolution of any of its conflicts–either diplomatically as the center-left would prefer or by massive exercise of force, as the right favors. Instead, he has chosen a path of perpetual conflict, which has not sat well in Washington and Brussels, where the past decade has whetted their appetites to turn attention elsewhere and, most of all, to extricate themselves from the spreading conflicts and increasingly hostile politics in the Middle East.
But a good deal also is due to an apparent determination on the parts of Obama and John Kerry to change the way the US pursues its agenda in the Mideast. Despite the hysteria of those, such as Abe Foxman, Malcolm Hoenlein, David Harris and Netanyahu himself, who prefer to see Israel in perpetual conflict, the US is not about to abandon Israel, nor its new BFF, Saudi Arabia. But Obama’s opponent in ’12, Mitt Romney, actually laid out the issue very well. When he describes how he would decide on US foreign policy in the Mideast, he said his first step would be to phone his friend, Netanyahu. That’s actually how it has worked for some time, and Obama is trying to change that, though the odds are against his success. I explore in Souciant.
This article originally appeared at LobeLog.
Bibi and Kerry
The trick to finding an agreement between the P5+1 world powers and Iran has become clear: keep Israel and Saudi Arabia out of the room. (But don’t expect them to be happy about it.)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is touring the globe now with his message of doom about an impending Iranian nuclear weapon. “It will be tragic if (Iran) succeeds in avoiding the sanctions,” Netanyahu said in Rome on Tuesday.
That statement comes on the heels of his Meet the Press appearance where he said: “I think the pressure has to be maintained on Iran, even increased on Iran, until it actually stops the nuclear program, that is, dismantles it.” Continue reading
The new nuclear talks with Iran seem to be reflecting a new direction for the Islamic Republic under Hassan Rowhani and a new openness from the US and Europe to a reasonable compromise. The unhappy parties are Israel and Saudi Arabia, but at least for now, they are not able to scuttle the hope for a resolution. Some of what this theater demonstrates is the obvious fact to anyone who has been paying attention for the past fifteen years: the entire issue of an Iranian bomb has been phony. I explain this week in Souciant.