Friday, March 2, 2012

The bully, the beauty and the beast

Marwan Bishara asks who will be shmoozing with whom at the AIPAC conference, and why Kathy Ireland was invited.

By Marwan Bishara


"....The bully

The ultra-right-wing premier seems to feel more at home at AIPAC or in Washington than at the Knesset, where his supporters pale in comparison.

Last year, the US Republican leadership invited Netanyahu to speak to both houses of Congress around the time of the AIPAC conference, reportedly to pre-empt a president’s initiative to break the deadlock in the "peace process" with the Palestinians.

This clear cut case of helping a foreign leader to undermine the US president is permissible only when it come to Israel, thanks to its lobby, AIPAC and company....

Republican candidates and various media outlets attack the president’s Middle East policy, and accuse him of no less than "throwing Israel under the bus".

The main point of contention is centered on the policy towards Iran and the adequate response to its nuclear enrichment.

(In a major victory for Netanyahu and the radical Israeli right, one must observe, the Palestine issue has for all practical purpose been buried.)....

Although Israel maintains it won’t give the US advance notice, the Obama administration will be forced into war in order to respond to potential response against its bases or its allies/clients or the blocking of the sea lanes for oil.

The US could see itself dragged into a regional conflict, especially in the Gulf region, leading to skyrocketing oil prices and perhaps global economic recession.

It is for that reason the Obama administration has been trying to dissuade Israel from attacking Iran by contending that all options remain on the table, but that sanctions, diplomatic pressure and other measures, are working.

Obama’s assurances that the "US will stand between Tehran and the bomb" don’t seem to convince Israeli leaders who seem increasingly wary of Iran’s acquiring the capacity to produce nuclear weapons coupled with Tehran’s enhanced regional role following the US withdrawal from Iraq....

Obama might have an excellent chance against a Mitt Romney or a Rick Santorum candidacy. Many in the Democratic party are worried of another setback in Congress, stemming from a shift among the Jewish to the right and aggressive support to the Republicans among the evangelicals.

All of which signals the need for Obama to make major concessions in return for Israeli restraint vis -a-vis Iran. He has not hesitated in the past.

This could include among others, the release of Jonathan Pollard...."

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