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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Yaalon's message to Congress

Here's an interesting perspective on Defense Minister Moshe "Boogie" Yaalon's attack on President Obama.
But Moshe Ya’alon is not a stupid man. There was a reason for the Tel Aviv speech. It contained a message of encouragement for Washington, but it was not addressed to the White House or the State Department. It was intended for Capitol Hill.
In the void created by Obama’s foreign policy failures, the much-derided Congress is now the most serious ally Israel has. The Israeli leadership believes Obama wants to improve relations with Iran by relaxing economic sanctions and turning a blind eye to its real intentions. If he can keep the show going until 2016, his successor can face the (perhaps literal) fallout of a pretend deal. The Iranians are happy to let Obama kick the can down the road if it allows them to discreetly proceed with their nuclear ambitions.
Israel, however, can’t afford to fool itself. Yet there is scant enthusiasm in Jerusalem for a unilateral military strike. It would be dicey at best, and foolhardy without the sort of green light that George W. Bush gave Israel when it hit the Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007. And nobody thinks Obama will turn that particular green light on.
The only remaining hope is to keep Iran in check with a sanctions regime that really bites. That job goes to Congress, by default. Earlier this month, large bi-partisan majorities of both houses dispatched letters to the president warning him not to engage in make-believe diplomacy on this issue.
They distrust the administration. Moshe Ya’alon (and his silent partner, the prime minister) let them know this week that they are right to do so.

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