At the very least, Mr. Netanyahu’s appearance before AIPAC and a joint session of Congress has elevated the issue of Iranian nuclear program aspirations to the forefront; where they should have been all along.
While the talk seems to center on the optics of Netanyahu’s appearances and how they came to be that talk is just another straw man diversion from the true dangers represented by Iran. The optics is very simply the result of a narcissist, President Obama, having been taken to the wood shed by Netanyahu. George Will covered it in a sentence; “a conflict between a former community organizer and a former commando.” Place your bets!
Mark Knoller reported today that Secretary Kerry stated that “any deal” with Iran would make Israel safer. The implication being that the desire for a deal, any deal is the primary motivation for Kerry and the administration.
Historical context on these issues is important. The initial negotiations with Iran took place in the 2003 – 2005 time frame at that time the moniker was the EU3, France, Germany and the U.K.; the “three” were concerned that the U.S. was not sophisticated enough to deal with the issue, they were also in fear of a negative economic impact related to Iran. China, Russia and the U.S. joined the effort in 2006 birthing the P5+1. That would be the same China and Russia that, for years, vetoed harsh sanctions against Iran due to the ongoing Iranian nuclear program. The same Russia contracted by Iran to build the Bushere nuclear reactor.
The 2003proposal by the EU3, documented Iranian uranium enrichment activity. By 2005 the counter proposals by Iran narrowed and focused specifically on the facility at Natanz. Later that year Iran rejected a series of proposals by the Europeans and introduced their requirement that their “right” to enrichment be respected. In 2006 Iran took the rejection a step further insisting that even the suspension of nuclear enrichment was unacceptable. The Iranian rejection motivated the now P5+1 to offer a more specific package of benefits to Iran in 2008; the stick abandoned in the interest of the carrot. Later that year the Iranians held out their own carrot to the West, engaging a proposed framework full of vagaries including caveats such as, “as soon as confidence is restored”.
What also happened in 2008 as reported by the Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press on February 20, IAEA on February 22 and the Institute for Science and International Security on February 14 was information provided by the U.S. based on a stolen Iranian laptop computer that contained design drawings for a nuclear weapon. The suspicion was that the plans were originally developed by A.Q. Khan for the Pakistani nuclear program. We knew all of that seven years ago!
In 2009 Iran, in essence, repeated the 2008 proposals; those proposals, however, did not include addressment of the nuclear issues pointing instead to terrorism, crime, U.N. reform, rights for the use of space and “equitable IAEA” oversight.
The result of seven years of negotiation saw Iran in 2010 begin to enrich to 20%; the threshold of enrichment to weapons grade material. In 2012 the Fordow facility entered the negotiations, a facility previously denied by Iran. In 2013 a number of sanctions were lifted in the interest of renewed negotiations.
The negotiations, proposals and counter proposals continue to this day some 12 years after they commenced. The only tangible results that one can point to is relief of the sanctions that drove Iran to its current acceptance of “renewed” negotiations and the expansion of the Iranian nuclear program including the ongoing discovery of previously unknown covert facilities clearly dedicated to the pursuit of nuclear bomb making capability. One reported in 2013 and one just last month.
The question poses itself; after 12 years of feckless, non- productive negotiations and 12 years of Iran buying time based on Western appeasement and “wanting to believe” why should Prime Minister Netanyahu not speak publically to the American political establishment and by extension to us. The West refuses to acknowledge that Israel is the Canary in the Iranian nuclear coal mine and that additional proliferation is nearly guaranteed in the event of an Iranian nuclear weapon. Saudi Arabia reportedly funded the Pakistani nuclear weapons effort and in return has to right to the fruits of that program meaning simply, months not years for a Saudi nuclear weapons capability.
Explosive rhetoric by Iran is not limited to Israel; Saudi Arabia has also been in the Iranian gun sight. Consider the “Goldfinger” scenario whereby Saudi oil production is eliminated by an Iranian nuclear device; it could be done with a relatively small device and the distances involved are already within Iranian range as is Israel.
It is, in the final analysis both sad and telling that we may come to depend on a foreign leader, Netanyahu, to speak the truth to the American public. Welcome Bibi!