There are lots of people talking about what a bad deal the West is offering Iran. Perhaps it would be better to hear what that deal actually is rather than making assumptions about what’s happening in the negotiating room. Last time I checked one of the factors exacerbating tensions between the Netanyahu and Obama administrations is the fact that Washington isn’t sharing information with Israel any more on account of the fact that the Prime minister’s office keeps leaking those details to the press.
The fact is that no one knows what this deal actually is. But let’s face the truth, whatever deal is on the table regarding Iran Netanyahu would be against it. What we’re witnessing is a desperate attempt by Netanyahu to ignore one, simple fact; you can’t keep a country from obtaining 70 year old technology indefinitely.
It’s the 21st century and the technology needed to make a bomb is decidedly low tech. Sanctions imposed on Iran did nothing to impede the determination of the mullahs to get themselves the ultimate weapon, it simply impoverished the Iranian people.
Clearly Netanyahu is aiming for one of two things, the re-imposition of sanctions or a US attack on Iran to destroy their nuclear capability from the air. By all accounts the United States is the only country in the world with the destructive power necessary to destroy the Iranian nuclear infrastructure buried deep below ground.
But it appears that Obama simply isn’t interested in dancing to Netanyahu’s tune. Neither for that matter is the Israeli security establishment. Former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz is the latest member of Israel’s military intelligence elite to admit to holding back Netanyahu from a military strike. His replacement is on record as saying that now is not the time for a strike on the Islamic State.
Often the case of North Korea has been used when discussing the options that are on the table before and after a rogue country develops nuclear weapons. But North Korea is exactly as impoverished and as isolated as it has ever been. Iran, on the other hand, doesn’t have nuclear weapons and while the sideshow of a spat between the USA and Israel continues it is continuing to gobble up the Middle East. Netanyahu would be better off ignoring the nuclear issue and concentrating on the conventional threat Iran poses rather than the other way around.
Recently the IDF hit a convoy on the Golan Heights killing an Iranian general. Instead of using this attack to make a statement warning the Iranians to stay out of the Israeli sphere of influence Netanyahu did the opposite, he got a message to the Iranians apologizing! He pleaded that he didn’t want an escalation. Then when Hezbollah attacked an IDF patrol on Har Dov the IDF gave up Israel’s entire policy of deterrence and didn’t respond! He talks tough when it comes to American actions but when it’s his decision he is found wanting.
Netanyahu seems to be confused over whose foreign policy he controls. If he paid more attention to Israeli strategy and less to telling the Americans what they should be doing we might not be in this mess. The same can be said about his systematic destruction of Israel’s Foreign Ministry. If we had a functioning cadre of diplomats who weren’t underpaid and their morale wasn’t in the toilet we might have been able to mount an effective diplomatic (behind the scenes) offensive. Instead Israel has found itself shut out.
The bottom line is that the Iranians are going to walk away from this as a breakout state. As stated above we’re talking about decades old technology and a state hell bent on acquiring it. If the time comes for military action the Israeli Prime Minister is going to have to decide whether to order a strike or not. But when/if he picks up that phone to give the order it will be the IDF on the other end, not the US military and he might want to pay attention to the professionals who are telling him not to launch a strike.