Haaretz’s Barak Ravid reports that Israel plans to destroy the recently completely Iran nuclear framework by pursuing two tracks. On the first, it will propose unrealistic and previously rejected demands for “improvement,” which allow opponents to slam the deal for its alleged flaws. Examples of this are Israeli “suggestions” that the plan include closing the Fordo research facility completely (something the Americans proposed to the Iranians, who summarily rejected it). Another example is the demand that a deal include recognition of Israel and that it compel Iran to end its support for Hezbollah, Syria, and any other regional power it currently supports.
The second, equally troubling track, is one lobbying for Congressional legislation intended to destroy any chance the nuclear deal can be finalized. Israel will put forth a full-court press for the Corker bill, which it hopes will place so many stumbling blocks in the way of finalizing an agreement, that it will die a slow and painful death. If Israel truly wanted to do that it should support Sen. Mark Kirk’s bill, which truly can kill the deal, but which has received no bipartisan support from Democrats. As an aside, Kirk just compared the deal to appeasement of the Nazis. But he added that Neville Chamberlain got more from Hitler than the U.S. got from Iran.
Netanyahu may not realize that the Corker legislation, especially after being amended, could pave the way to final approval of the deal by the entire Senate. If there is horsetrading for votes, as there always is, Democrats agreeing to approve Corker might actually guarantee later Republicans votes for a resolution approving the agreement. But even if this doesn’t happen and Corker passes, and prospects appear grim for Senate passage of a final deal, the U.S. could bring the deal to the UN Security Council for approval. There it would sail through since no one would oppose it: all the five powers included in the P5+1 are Security Council members. This would be one UNSC resolution that Obama wouldn’t veto on Israel’s behalf: what a change!
Then, the Senate could refuse to lift sanctions, but what good would they be if everyone else in the world was trading with Iran except us? Eventually, U.S. business interests would force the Senate to relent.
Gideon Levy noted a deeply troubling aspect of the second Israeli “track.” Can you imagine the U.S. government and wealthy Obama donors inveigling legislators in Germany, Britain or France to pass laws which would torpedo a major plank of the sitting president, chancellor or prime minister? Can you imagine these donors contributing millions of dollars to the campaign coffers of such lawmakers in an attempt to frustrate the designs of the ruling coalition? If Obama were supid enough to try this on David Cameron, Francois Hollande or Angela Merkel, they would give him a tongue-lashing. Then they’d proudly tell their own citizens how they’d stood up to outside foreign intervention in the affairs of their country. And the citizens would beam with pride in their independent leaders, who stood up to the American bully.
Worth sharing: Here’s how the #IranDeal would shut down Iran’s pathway to a nuclear weapon → http://t.co/BWuabs0TNz pic.twitter.com/8aYQi2KEgq
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) April 8, 2015
For some reason, Americans aren’t as outraged as Levy would like them to be. Partly, this is because Obama is playing this game coolly and deliberately. He understands that if he overreacts it will offer the Israel Lobby an opening to exploit. He understands there’s a difference between scoring points and winning. He doesn’t want to win a skirmish or make a point or stand up for his honor, he wants a deal. To get it, he’s prepared to bide his time, suffer a few outrageous slings, and bask in the glory of final victory.
I’m not as alarmed as Levy is in his column. I don’t believe Obama is being played by Netanyahu (though not for lack of trying) or that the U.S. president is being made to look like a fool. On the contrary, the White House tweet above shows that it’s hoisting Bibi on his own petard. Clearly, the graphic is a jab at Bibi’s UN speech prop, which featured an Iranian bomb that came straight out of a Wile E. Coyote-Roadrunner cartoon.
True, for six years Obama stood by and allowed the Israeli prime minister to run roughshod over him. But when it comes to Iran, the president has made clear this is a red-line Bibi will not cross. Obama and Kerry outplayed Bibi in the process leading to the nuclear framework negotiated in Lausanne. They left him with no cards to play. In the coming months, they will continue to outmaneuver him until June 30th, when a final deal is expected.
That does not mean that I’m not deeply critical of Obama’s failures regarding an Israel-Palestine deal. These were egregious. But regarding the Iran nuclear deal, he’s pursuing the right tactics and strategy and I expect him to outsmart Bibi and leave him empty-handed at day’s end. Unfortunately, that will not lead to a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians. That’s a bridge too far for Obama and will be a stain on his legacy.
Fernando Leanme says
Mr Netanyahu’s tactics are so ugly they are going to cause a serious backlash. U.S politicians are revealing themselves to be the pawns of foreigners. This may be going unnoticed in the U.S., where the media is so spineless and controlled. But it sure isolates the USA, showing it is semi colonized and unable to have a pro US foreign policy.
Richard. Instead of pointing fingers, you should be asking questions.
Why are sanctions that took years to put in place being removed almost immediately? Why doesn’t the framework deal with Iran’s intercontinental missile program, whose sole purpose is to carry nuclear payloads? Will the deal not encourage nuclear proliferation in the Middle East?
Bibi doesn’t expect America to bomb Iran. He wants a final deal that’s more reasonable; one that insists on barring further Iranian R&D on advanced centrifuges; significantly reducing the number of centrifuges Iran would have available to press back into service if it violates the deal; shuttering the Fordo underground enrichment facility; requiring Iran’s compliance in detailing previous nuclear activities with possible military dimensions; shipping its stockpile of lower-enriched uranium out of the country; and ensuring ‘anywhere, anytime’ inspections of Iran’s facilities.
Considering the West’s poor track record at stopping countries from developing nukes ,the Soviet Union, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea, is Bibi asking too much?
After all. It’s Israel that’s in range of Iran’s missiles. Israel that’s fighting Iranian proxies on her own borders. And just what was that Iranian general doing on Israel’s border a few weeks back? Taking the mountain airs, or planning attacks on Israel’s border?
Why put up with this bs in every comment?
… that Iranian general doing on Israel’s border a few weeks back?
… fighting the proxies armed and supported by US Congress, GCC states and Israel’s “leadership,” the as terrorist group designated Jabhat al-Nusra.
You seem to be a regular reader of this blog yet you are still blind as a bat.
First of all, it shouldn’t concern you what the Iranian general was doing at the Syrian border, he wasn’t inside the occupied state and he can walk and run freely inside Syria as Syrians allowed him to do so. It is like saying what does the Israelis do at the Lebanese border? Going for a walk?
Second, perhaps the general was at the border to surveillance the flow of arms, logistics and men in and out of the occupied state. Stop being an idiot and actually read real news not your debkafile bs.
And he was not “on Israel’s borders”. He was near the Israeli-occupied part of Syria. On what grounds does Israel attack a group fighting against Jabhat al Nusra well outside its actual borders?
Richard Silverstein says
They won’t be removed till Iran commits formally to implementing the nuclear deal. That’s the way deals work: you want something, I give it to you; in return you give me something. The way deals don’t work: you want something, I give it to you; you say, ‘I kinda liked it the old way, I think you give me what I want & I’ll think some more about giving you what you want.’
Because no one has proven that Iran has one, first of all. Second, if it does have one, it has nothing to put on the missile. Remember? Iran doesn’t have nukes, & that’s the whole reason for this deal??
No more than Israel’s 200 nukes has.
I love that word, “reasonable.” For Bibi, what’s reasonable is a dead deal; or one that forces Iran to entirely renounce it’s nuclear program. To the rest of the world (that’s virtually everyone but you, Bibi, a few Israeli hawks, & the Ultra-wing of the GOP) it’s not reasonable.
The deal does significantly reduce the number of centrifuges Iran will keep in production (to 5,000). As for “if” it violates the deal–for you it’s “when” Iran violates the deal. For the rest of us, we’re not as fatalistic. We believe that the western powers & Iran will BOTH honor their ends of the deal.
I’ve got a great deal for you: you shutter Dimona and Iran will shutter Fordo. How’s that??
You mean all those mysterious reports given to the IAEA by anonymous intelligence sources which claim Iranian “military dimensions” most of which don’t exist? I wonder who that intelligence agency could be?
All in favor of it…after Israel agrees to the same provisions for inspecting its own nuclear facilities. Get back to me when you’ve got Bibi’s agreement on this.
Part of the reason I waste so much time answering hasbara mavens like you is because of the jewels that emanate from the likes of you. You blame the west for not stopping Israel from developing nukes and use this failure as a reason to mistrust and penalize Iran. If that doesn’t take the cake!! Thank you–you’ve won today’s ultimate chutzpah award!
What will Iran put on the tips of those missiles? Firecrackers? Non-existent nukes?
Iran is fighting Israeli proxies like Jundallah and MeK inside its own borders, so??
And just what were those Israeli F-16s doing bombing a foreign country and invading its territorial sovereignty?? You forget, Syria is fighting a civil war & Iran is supporting one side in the war. Israel is supporting the other. You’re both intervening inside Syria. So you won’t win any awards from me for good behavior on this one.
“Syria is fighting a civil war & Iran is supporting one side in the war. Israel is supporting the other”
You’re not seriously putting Iranian and Israel support in Syria on par? Tell me you’re not.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Hefe: Sorry to break it to you, but yeah, I am. Israel has assassinated Hezbollah commanders & TWO IRG generals. It has struck Syrian military positions & convoys multiple times. It’s involved up to its eyeballs in SYrian civil war.
Just the other day, the Ayatollah Khamenei, final arbiter of all things Iranian, said:
“Instant annulment of all sanction is one of the demands of our officials… This issue is very important, and the sanctions must all be completely removed on the day of the agreement… Should the removal of the sanctions be related to a process, the foundation of the negotiations would be senseless, since the goal of the negotiations was to remove the sanctions”.
As for the P5+1’s verification scheme, Khamenei also said:
“One must absolutely not allow infiltration of the security and defense realm of the state on the pretext of inspection[s], and the military authorities of the state are not – under any circumstance – allowed to let in foreigners to this realm under the pretext of inspection, or stop the country’s defense development… Any unconventional inspection or monitoring which would make Iran into a special case, would not be acceptable, and the monitoring must only be as monitoring regimes taking place all over the world and nothing more.”
Richard. If the Iranians won’t agree they agreed to what we say they did, how are we to assume they will recognize and abide by anything in a final deal?
The Obama administration has been claiming Lausanne as a great achievement, but its negotiating partner, the man who has the final say in Tehran, has laid bare the truth.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Hefe: And I should trust the Weekly Standard’s translation from Farsi because…??
At any rate, there are many ways to finesse most of these issues, which is why there is another 3 months before the deal is finalized.
Neither you nor I know exactly what Khamenei was referring to when he spoke against military inspections (not to mention I’d want to be sure this was an accurate translation from Farsi). Regardless, he did say that there could be inspections that followed standards for inspections of other countries under NPT (presumably) and IAEA (also presumably) protocols. So he’s agreed to something and he’s not agreed to something. What it all means is something greater minds than you & I are going to parse out in the next 3 months (& perhaps longer if there’s an extension).
I neither need or want you here promoting right-wing neocon media sources like Weekly Standard. If you see that as your role here find something else to do with your time.
Yeah, Right says
Hefe does ask some stoooopid questions sometimes…..
H: “Why are sanctions that took years to put in place being removed almost immediately?”
Well, because of that little thing called “snap-back”.
Think about it: if the sanctions can be “snapped-back” the instant that Iran violates an undertaking under this deal then…… there is absolutely no reason for a gradual easing of sanctions.
Remove them all, and then tell Iran “I’m keeping an eye on you, and I’ve got my finger on the snap-back-button”…..
H: “Why doesn’t the framework deal with Iran’s intercontinental missile program,”
Probably because Iran doesn’t have ICBM’s, and nobody has any evidence that they have an “ICBM program” and, anyway, who’s to say that there is anything “illegal” about having ICBM’s?
H: “whose sole purpose is to carry nuclear payloads?”
Hmmm, not true, actually. You do know that the first satellites that the USA launched were sitting atop modified ICBM’s?
As in: commercial satellite rockets behave an awful lot like ICBM’s, precisely because they have to do much the same thing i.e. launch a payload into space.
H: “Will the deal not encourage nuclear proliferation in the Middle East? ”
No, because any would-be proliferators will see the writing on the wall i.e. the moment the West suspects that some “proliferation activities” are possible then that country will be forced to accept the same deal that Iran has accepted.
Unless, of course, your name is “Israel”, in which case anything goes.
While the demand Iran recognizes Israel as part of this deal is pure idiocy, lobbying is completely understandable and acceptable. In a democratic system, this is how changes are being done/promoted. You, Richard, promote a certain line of thought (by writing on your blog and maybe more) so why not others?
Richard Silverstein says
@ Tankist: This is not “lobbying.” This is attempting, with pals like Adelson, to buy and rig the system.
When I spend $150-million electing “my” candidate for Israeli prime minister and paying off Israeli MKs to pass legislation I write, then you can run me out of town (and Israel) on a rail. Till then, this is outright meddling in purely American affairs.
Money is power, not speech, as some misguided jurists contend. Buying influence, buying legislators, is the ultimate expression of capitalism, which monetizes everything from social well-being to justice.
Princeton Study: U.S. No Longer An Actual Democracy
Capitalism kills democracy.
“Israel and Friends Buy Senators and Seek Death of Iran Deal”
seek death? it has yet to be borne.
A Zook says
What I find astonishing is that a gov that isn’t even a party to the talks, thinks it can “kill” it… What kind of crazy world do we live in?
The Zionists are the final arbiters of all things re: Middle East. They write US policies, legislation, letters to “axis of evil” states, etc. This is a particular kind of “crazy world.” And you A Zook and I have nothing to say about any of it. That’s part of the craziness.
The really annoying thing is that the complainers know full well that Israel is much more a threat to Europe and even the US than Iran and, surprise!, Israel has nukes ready to go and missiles and subs ready for use. The lunatics are in Jerusalem not Tehran.
Historic Nazi Germany supporting a fascist regime in Israel with potential nuclear holocaust attack submarines …
Benjamin Weinthal: “Deutschland liefert weiteres U-Boot nach Israel.”
Yeah, Right says
Worth noting that a UNSC resolution passed under Ch7 of the Charter is legally binding under that treaty, and the USA actually wrote that treaty.
And…… treaties ARE regarded in the US Constitution as being part of The Law Of The Land.
Hard for Congress to argue that only treaties are binding on the USA *and* also argue that this is a treaty stipulation that doesn’t count.
I have done a bit of research on this and of course there are plenty of international lawyers arguing their opinions but it seems that under Article 25 of the UN Charter, which all member countries agree to abide by, the UN Security council resolutions under Chaper 6 and 7 are binding. The difference is that Chapter 6 calls for peaceful resolution through negotiations (etc), while Chapter 7 enables enforcement militarily. If anyone can find information different (NOT from a partisan international lawyer) please advise. I am saying that it appears there is a misunderstanding between a binding/non-binding nature and peaceful resolution/support of military enforcement.
Yeah, Right says
Just to highlight what Dorothy has said, the key word is “decision”.
As in: Article 25 of the UN Charter: “The Members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter. ”
So a UNSC resolution that states clearly that the UNSC has “decided” this or “decided” that then all member states must carry out that decision, precisely because that’s what they agreed to do when they signed the UN Charter.
So a UNSC Resolution that “decides” that all sanctions are removed and Iran is not to be coerced then…. the United States of America is obligated by its signature on the UN Charter (which is, indeed, the One Treaty That Rules Them All).
As Dorothy correctly points out this is as true for a Chapter 6 resolution as it is for a Chapter 7 resolution, the only difference being that under Ch 7 the UNSC can punish a state for failing to comply, whereas under Ch 6 it is relying on states to behave responsibly because… well…. that’s what responsible states do…..
There is a precedent: UNSCR 242 was definitely a Chapter 6 Resolution, but it contained no “decision” on the part of the Security Council (“calls upon” or “affirms” are the weaker alternatives) and therefore various member states (yeah, I’m looking at you, Israel) were free to ignore it.
UNSCR 388 was equally a Chapter 6 Resolution, but in it you’ll see that the Council “decided” that there needs to be a peace conference.
Which meant that Israel had no excuse – no matter how reluctant he was, Yitzak Shamir eventually found himself dragged kickin’ ‘n’ screamin’ to the Madrid Conference, courtesy of that “decision”.
Thanks. I think you mean 338 above? I was under the impression that 338 does not mention Chapter 6 or 7. By the way while I am here, it seems that the BDS movement should be okay according to Chapter 6. Unfortunately Chapter 6 resolutions have come to be looked upon as suggestions or optional. Not so!
What’s the point of them then?
And yes this is about UN 242 and the arguing that is going on on the part of the Hasberites claiming it is “non-binding” . It is binding. But you have partisan international lawyers, including and especially partisan ones) getting into this offering their opinions, which get quoted and circulated, that 242 is non-binding.
Yeah, Right says
Further to my post, I’d invite everyone to look at UNSCR 338 and 339 to see an excellent illustration of this point
“Calls upon all parties to present fighting to cease all firing and terminate all military activity immediately, no later than 12 hours after the moment of the adoption of this decision, in the positions after the moment of the adoption of this decision, in the positions they now occupy; Calls upon all parties concerned to start immediately after the cease-fire the implementation of Security Council Resolution 242 (1967) in all of its parts; ”
“Decides that, immediately and concurrently with the cease-fire, negotiations start between the parties concerned under appropriate auspices aimed at establishing a just and durable peace in the Middle East.”
Note that w.r.t. to Stop Shooting!!!! the words used were “calls upon”, which is generally regarded as being a request rather than a direct order. But w.r.t. a peace conference the word was “decides”, which under Article 25 means “this is an order, it is not a request”.
Since the paragraph devoted to Stop Shooting! isn’t written as a “decision” of the council then….. the shooting didn’t stop, mainly because the IDF was still trying to improve its position.
Soooooo, two days later there was UNSCR339, which said:
“Referring to its resolution 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973,
1. Confirms its decision on an immediate cessation of all kinds of firing and of all military action, and urges that the forces of the two sides be returned to the positions they occupied at the moment the cease-fire became effective;”
Note that Stop Shooting!!!! is now a “decision” of the council, it is no longer a “calls upon”, and so the sides had to cease fire.
They had no choice: Stop Shooting!! was now a direct order (a “decision”) of the council, and so it could not be ignored nor could it be violated.
(Or, alternatively, it COULD be ignored or violated, but that would mean picking a fight with all five Great Powers simultaneously, which is never wise).