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Sunday, November 02, 2014

Chickensh*t: Ditching Israel, embracing Iran

On Friday, US Secretary of State John FN Kerry called Prime Minister Netanyahu to apologize for calling him a chickensh*t. This is from the first link.
US Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday phoned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and apologized to him in the name of the Obama administration for the comments made by an anonymous US official who called the prime minister “a chickenshit.”
On Thursday, Kerry had publicly distanced himself from the comments, stressing that neither he nor US President Barack Obama were behind the remarks, which he said were “disgraceful, unacceptable, and damaging.”
American officials were quoted Friday night as saying that the Kerry-Netanyahu phone call was a “good conversation” and that they discussed ways to improve relations between the US and Israeli leaderships. The two were also said to have discussed other regional issues, including efforts to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions. (Kerry said later Friday that the gaps between the P5+1 and Iran had narrowed ahead of a November 24 deadline on a deal. “We’re closer than we were a week ago or 10 weeks ago,” Kerry said in an interview Friday, “but we’re still with big gaps.”)

Nonetheless, analysts on both of Israel’s main news shows Friday night, on Channels 2 and 10, said ties between the American and Israeli leaderships were extremely bad — with a Channel 10 commentator speaking of “unprecedented loathing” between the two administrations.
One reason behind Kerry's call might have been this scathing editorial in the Washington Post, which came out shortly after the call.
Ugly jibes between the two governments are not new: Secretary of State John F. Kerry has been on the receiving end of several from senior Israeli officials. But the crudeness of this one — Mr. Netanyahu was called “a chickens---” by someone speaking to the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, a frequent recipient of high-level White House communications — raised the question of why the Israeli leader provokes such passionate animus from an administration that coolly shrugs off insults from the likes of Vladi­mir Putin.
Some analysts conjecture that dissing Mr. Netanyahu may be part of the administration’s groundwork for the deal it hopes to strike with Iran on its nuclear program this month. The Israeli leader is almost certain to oppose any accord, just as he denounced the interim arrangement struck last year; he can be expected to lobby Israel’s allies in Congress to oppose any lifting of sanctions. The “chickens---” label applied to Mr. Netanyahu, who served as an elite paratrooper, was linked to an assessment that, out of caution, he missed Israel’s opportunity to carry out a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Presumably Mr. Obama welcomed that prudence. But the administration, said the speculators, wanted to signal to both Tehran and Jerusalem that it would not be hesitant to do battle with Mr. Netanyahu over an Iran deal.
Lee Smith says that's exactly why Obama went after Netanyahu. And it's part of an ongoing pattern.
In other words, the White House is openly boasting that it bought the Iranians enough time to get across the finish line. Obama has insisted for five years that his policy is to prevent a nuclear Iran from emerging. In reality, his policy all along was to deter Israel from striking Iranian nuclear facilities. The way Obama sees it, an Iranian bomb may not be desirable, but it’s clearly preferable to an Israeli attack. Not only would an Israeli strike unleash a wave of Iranian terror throughout the region—and perhaps across Europe and the United States as well—it would also alienate what the White House sees as a potential partner. 
The negotiations with Iran were only the most obvious part of the administration’s policy of pressuring Israel. The White House knew the Israelis would have difficulty striking Iranian nuclear facilities so long as there was a chance of a deal. Jerusalem couldn’t risk making itself the enemy of peace and an international pariah. All Netanyahu could do was warn against the bad deal Obama was intent on making.
The White House used plenty of other tools to pressure Jerusalem. For instance, leaks. Virtually every time Israel struck an Iranian arms depot in Syria or a convoy destined for Hezbollah, an administration official leaked it to the press. The White House understood that publicizing these strikes would embarrass Bashar al-Assad or Hassan Nasrallah and thereby push them to retaliate against Israel. That was the point of the leaks: to keep Israel tentative and afraid of taking matters into its own hands. 
Another instrument of pressure was military and security cooperation between Israel and the White House—the strongest and closest the two countries have ever enjoyed, say Obama advocates. It allowed administration officials to keep even closer watch on what the Israelis were up to, while trying to make Jerusalem ever more dependent on the administration for its own security. 
Don’t worry, Obama told Israel: I’ve got your back. I don’t bluff. The Iranians won’t get a bomb. And besides, the real problem in the region, the White House said time and again, is Israeli settlements. It’s the lack of progress between Jerusalem and Ramallah that destabilizes the region. As John Kerry said recently, the stalled Arab-Israeli peace process is what gave rise to the Islamic State.
The Post disagrees, but calls on Obama to 're-set' relations with Netanyahu. It's way too late for that. The only chance for a 're-set' of US-Israel relations will be after Obama is gone.

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At 9:26 AM, Blogger Dick Stanley said...

"after Obama is gone"

An occasion to be devoutly wished.


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