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US and Israel divorce rumors over Iran

 on February 16, 2015 55 Comments

A lot has been going on on the diplomatic front over the U.S., Israel, and Iran over the weekend. Things are on a boil because of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to Congress in March, the Israeli elections that month, and the impending deadline at the end of the month on the P5+1 talks with Iran.

Here are some of the reports. First, David Ignatius in the Washington Post has published a widely-circulated story on a supposed breakdown in confidence between the U.S. and Israel because Netanyahu allegedly leaked details of the U.S. negotiating position that President Obama had conveyed him in confidence to Israeli journalists.

The decision [by the U.S.] to reduce the exchange of sensitive information about the Iran talks was prompted by concerns that Netanyahu’s office had given Israeli journalists sensitive details of the U.S. position, including a U.S. offer to allow Iran to enrich uranium with 6,500 or more centrifuges as part of a final deal….

An initial report Sunday by Israel’s Channel 2 news that the administration had cut all communications with Israel about the Iran talks was denied by White House spokesman Alistair Baskey. Sources here said that Philip Gordon, the Middle East director for President Obama’s National Security Council, would see Israeli national security adviser Yossi Cohen and other senior officials on Monday. The discussion would include Iran policy, but U.S. officials aren’t likely to share the latest information about U.S. strategy in the talks.

Ignatius’s tick-tock on the spat goes back before the invitation from the Republican leadership of Congress to Netanyahu to speak following Obama’s State of the Union speech.

This latest breach in the U.S.-Israeli relationship began around Jan. 12 with a phone call from Netanyahu. Obama asked the Israeli leader to hold fire diplomatically for several more months while U.S. negotiators explored whether Iran might agree to a deal that, through its technical limits on centrifuges and stockpiles, extended the breakout period that Iran would need to build a bomb to more than a year. But Netanyahu is said to have responded that a year wasn’t enough and to have reverted to Israel’s hard-line insistence that Iran shouldn’t be allowed any centrifuges or enrichment.

Obama was concerned because the United States had shared with Israel its goal of a one-year breakout period since the beginning of the talks. The White House saw Netanyahu’s comment as a change, one that could potentially scuttle the negotiations. The Israeli response is that Netanyahu has always argued for “zero enrichment.”

Relations began to unravel quickly after the phone call. On Jan. 21, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) invited Netanyahu to address Congress and share his concerns about the talks. The invitation hadn’t been pre-negotiated with the White House, as is usually the case when foreign leaders are invited to address Congress.

Then came the alleged leaks about the nuclear talks. On Jan. 31, the Times of Israel reported that an unnamed senior Israeli official had told Channel 10 TV news that the United States was ready to allow more than 7,000 centrifuges and had “agreed to 80 percent of Iran’s demands.” Channel 2 reported that the U.S. offer was 6,500 centrifuges. U.S. officials believed that Netanyahu’s office was the source of these reports and concluded that they couldn’t be as transparent as before with the Israel leader about the secret talks.

Ignatius sees it all coming to a head in March:

The Iran issue will come to a head next month. Netanyahu’s speech to Congress is scheduled for March 3. Israeli elections, in which Netanyahu is running against a coalition of more moderate Israeli politicians, will take place March 17. The deadline for reaching a framework deal in the Iran negotiations is March 24. It’s a month that could shape the future of the Middle East, not to mention the U.S.-Israeli relationship, for years to come.

At Vox, Max Fisher channels neoconservativism in deploring the apparent intelligence breakdown between the U.S. and Israel:

Some proponents of a nuclear deal with Iran may welcome this news as demonstrating that Netanyahu is a bad actor who should be sidelined from the negotiations process. But this would be misguided, and even proponents of a deal should worry about this development. One reason that Iran is willing to negotiate at all is that the US has succeeded in putting enormous pressure on the country and its nuclear program — often with crucial Israeli help. That has meant both gathering intelligence and, in cases such as the 2010 cyberattack on centrifuges via the Stuxnet virus, offensive operations.

Yes, what a great partnership. At Lobelog, Jim Lobe has rerun a post he first ran three years ago, detailing Netanyahu’s horrid advice to the U.S. on the urgent need to invade Iraq. Excerpt of Netanyahu’s counsel in 2002:

the question of time [for taking preemptive action], I think the sooner the better. But now the question is when you choose a target, I think Iraq brings two things, a confluence of two things. One, it is sufficiently important in this network to have a tremendous effect. If it collapses, it will have a beneficial seismic effect

Lobe’s piece is titled, “Lest We Forget: Bibi’s ‘Wisdom’ on Iraq.” Lobe writes:

Republican members of Congress say they are eagerly waiting to hear directly from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on why the nuclear deal being negotiated between the United States and its P5+1 partners (including its three closest NATO allies) and Iran is so dangerous…. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) [wrote] in a letter signed by 47 of his House Republican colleagues in support of Speaker Boehner’s invitation to Bibi last week. “It is necessary now for Congress to hear from Prime Minister Netanyahu, and welcome his expertise on Iran’s regional designs.”

Which, of course, brings to mind once again Netanyahu’s demonstrated regional expertise in his enthusiastic promotion of the invasion of Iraq in testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on September 12, 2002. His appearance was transparently part of the Bush administration’s (and the neoconservatives’) campaign to persuade Congress to approve the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) against Iraq—which it did one month later, on October 16, 2002.

Bibi’s timing was superb; he spoke on the day after the first anniversary of 9/11 and five days after Vice President Dick Cheney told “Meet the Press” that, “We do know, with absolute certainty, that he is using his procurement system to acquire the equipment he needs in order to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weapon.”

The excerpts of Netanyahu’s “wisdom” are to die for. Chris Matthews really owes it to his viewership to air this testimony in advance of Netanyahu’s visit.

Netanyahu greets Giuliani, Feb. 1, 2015

More in the unhinged department. Former NY Mayor Rudolph Giuliani met Netanyahu two weeks ago (above). Now he calls Obama a “moron” for dealing with Iran.

[Talking to Iran] is like playing poker with a guy who cheated you twice before. You know who does that? A moron. An agreement with Iran in to regard to nuclear power should be very simple. Iran should not be allowed to have any form of nuclear power…. The Ayatollah is insane. He’s like the guy walking around Bellevue Hospital thinking he’s George Washington. He’s a madman.. And we’re upset that Prime Minister Netanyahu wants to come here and defend his country?

The Netanyahu speech is doing great things for our country. It’s allowing Americans to talk about what’s in our interest and what’s in Israel’s, and distinguishing between the two categories. Thanks to Annie Robbins

– See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/02/israel-divorce-rumors#sthash.bey2e5vG.dpuf

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Why did Netanyahu respond to chickenshit with ‘grassy knoll’ remark?

Wading through all the chickensh*t over the last few days Netanyahu’s “grassy knoll” comeback somehow missed out on all the action, but what the hoot guys? Where I come from that terminology only means one thing, as far as I know, that applies to the lexicon anywhere in America, if not the world. Hey, even Google agrees with me. And what are the chances Netanyahu and/or his speechwriters don’t know this? Nada. Impossible.

Why would Netanyahu make a reference to one of the most alarming chapters in American history, the assassination of a beloved American president? And for many, an assassination still shrouded in mystery and deceit? I just thought it was very weird. Where is our press?

Winding down after scrutinizing, dissecting and eviscerating Goldberg’s now infamous Chickensh*t article, Justin Raimondo, in The Chickenshit Lobby Is Mad As Hell– but just how mad are they? makes the argument had a leader of Iran slipped “grassy knoll” into a message to an American president the press would have gone bonkers. I agree.

What’s surprising is how Netanyahu, in a speech to the Knesset, took the opportunity toanswer his critics in the Obama administration: “Netanyahu angrily insisted he was ‘under attack simply for defending Israel,’ adding that he ‘cherished’ Israel’s relationship with the US.”

The famously combative Israeli Prime Minister went on to say:

“When there are pressures on Israel to concede its security, the easiest thing to do is to concede. You get a round of applause, ceremonies on grassy knolls, and then come the missiles and the tunnels.”

Bibi, who spent many years in the United States, is surely cognizant of what his “grassy knoll” reference connotes. You can argue it was just an infelicitous phrase, or that Bibi was referring to himself, not Obama. Maybe so. But what if, say, an Iranian official, even a low-ranking one, had said such a thing? The uproar would be deafening. And so the question must be asked: was Bibi threatening the President of the United States?

If we take seriously Goldberg’s depiction of the poisoned relationship between Bibi and Obama, the possibility can’t be completely dismissed.

Do you think anyone at the White House noticed Netanyahu’s phraseology? Me too. So why the silence from the press? Grassy knoll, it only means one thing here in America:

Screehshot of Google "grassy knoll"

Netanyahu is widely faulted for helping to incite Rabin assassination, marching in a rally where guys were holding up a coffin for Rabin.

(H/t David Doppler)

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

 

  1. And don’t forget all the indications that Israel and its supporters were involved in the conspiracy to assassinate JFK. The evidence is discussed quite fully in Col. John Hugh-Wilson’s JFK: An American Coup D’etat: The Truth Behind the Kennedy Assassination

How Netanyahu provoked this war with Gaza

His antagonism to all Palestinians – to Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority no less than to Hamas – started and steadily fueled the chain reaction that led to the current misery.

On Monday of last week, June 30, Reuters ran a story that began:

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hamas on Monday of involvement, for the first time since a Gaza war in [November] 2012, in rocket attacks on Israel and threatened to step up military action to stop the strikes.

So even by Israel’s own reckoning, Hamas had not fired any rockets in the year-and-a-half since “Operation Pillar of Defense” ended in a ceasefire. (Hamas denied firing even those mentioned by Netanyahu last week; it wasn’t until Monday of this week that it acknowledged launching any rockets at Israel since the 2012 ceasefire.)

So how did we get from there to here, here being Operation Protective Edge, which officially began Tuesday with 20 Gazans dead, both militants and civilians, scores of others badly  wounded and much destruction, alongside about 150 rockets flying all over Israel (but no serious injuries or property damage by Wednesday afternoon)?

We got here because Benjamin Netanyahu brought us here. He’s being credited in Israel for showing great restraint in the days leading up to the big op, answering Gaza’s rockets with nothing more than warning shots and offering “quiet for quiet.” But in fact it was his antagonism toward all Palestinians – toward Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority no less than toward Hamas – that started and steadily provoked the chain reaction that led to the current misery.

Israeli tanks on the border with Gaza. (photo: Activestills)

And nobody knows this, or should know it, better than the Obama administration, which is now standing up for Israel’s “right to defend itself.”

It was Netanyahu and his government that killed the peace talks with Abbas that were shepherded by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry; the Americans won’t exactly spell this out on-the-record, but they will off-the record. So a week before those negotiations’ April 29 deadline, Abbas, seeing he wasn’t getting anywhere playing ball with Israel and the United States, decided to shore things up at home, to end the split between the West Bank and Gaza, and he signed the Fatah-Hamas unity deal – with himself as president and Fatah clearly the senior partner. The world – even Washington – welcomed the deal, if warily so, saying unity between the West Bank and Gaza was a good thing for the peace process, and holding out the hope that the deal would compel Hamas to moderate its political stance.

Netanyahu, however, saw red. Warning that the unity government would “strengthen terror,” he broke off talks with Abbas and tried to convince the West to refuse to recognize the emerging new Palestinian government – but he failed. He didn’t stop trying, though. At a time when Hamas was seen to be weak, broke, throttled by the new-old Egyptian regime, unpopular with Gazans, and acting as Israel’s cop in the Strip by not only holding its own fire but curbing that of Islamic Jihad and others, Netanyahu became obsessed with Hamas – and obsessed with tying it around Abbas’ neck. Netanyahu’s purpose, clearly enough, was to shift the blame for the failure of the U.S.-sponsored peace talks from himself and his government to Abbas and the Palestinians.

But it wasn’t working. Then on June 12 something fell into Netanyahu’s lap which he certainly would have prevented if he’d been able to, but which he also did not hesitate exploiting to the hilt politically: the kidnapping in the West Bank of Gilad Sha’ar and Naftali Fraenkel, both 16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19.

Netanyahu blamed Hamas for the kidnapping. He said he had proof. To this day, neither he nor any other Israeli official has come forward with a shred of proof. Meanwhile, it is now widely assumed that the Hamas leadership did not give the order for the kidnapping, that it was instead carried out at the behest of a renegade, Hamas-linked, Hebron clan with a long history of blowing up Hamas’ ceasefires with Israel by killing Israelis. Besides, it made no sense for Hamas leaders to order up such a spectacular crime – not after signing an agreement with Abbas, and not when they were so badly on the ropes. Khaled Meshal, while refusing to confirm or deny giving the order, and saying he had no idea of the three boys’ whereabouts, lauded the kidnapping as a means of freeing Palestinian prisoners. This showed a certain moral idiocy on Meshal’s part, and on the part of his audience – the many, many Palestinians who likewise cheered the kidnapping – but it did not show that the Hamas leadership had ordered the deed. And we are still waiting to see that proof.

Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Hebron take part in the search operation for three kidnapped Israeli teenagers, June 18, 2014. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

 Netanyahu used the kidnappings to go after Hamas in the West Bank. The target, as one Israeli security official said, was “anything green.” The army raided, destroyed, confiscated and arrested anybody and anything having to do with Hamas, killed some Palestinian protesters and rearrested some 60 Hamasniks who had been freed in the Gilad Shalit deal, throwing them back in prison.

Meanwhile, in Gaza, Israel had already escalated matters on June 11, the day before the kidnappings, by killing not only a wanted man riding on a bicycle, but a10-year-old child riding with him. Between that, the kidnappings a day later and the crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank that immediately followed, Gaza and Israel started going at it pretty fierce – with all the casualties and destruction, once again, on Gaza’s side only.

Read: ‘They left us no choice’ – On military escalation and its Israeli rationale

And that was basically it. Netanyahu had given orders to smash up the West Bank and Gaza over the kidnapping of three Israeli boys that, as monstrous as it was, apparently had nothing to do with the Hamas leadership. Thus, he opened an account with Israel’s enemies, who would wish for an opportunity to close it.

On June 30, the bodies of the three kidnapped Israeli boys were found in the West Bank. “Hamas is responsible, Hamas will pay,” Netanayhu intoned. That payment was delayed by the burning alive of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, 15, which set off riots in East Jerusalem and Israel’s “Arab Triangle,” and which put Israel on the defensive. It probably encouraged the armed groups in Gaza to step up their rocketing of Israel, while Netanyahu kept Israel’s in check. Then on Sunday, as many as nine Hamas men were killed in a Gazan tunnel that Israel bombed, saying it was going to be used for a terror attack. The next day nearly 100 rockets were fired at Israel. This time Hamas took responsibility for launching some of the rockets – a week after Netanyahu, for the first time since November 2012, accused it of breaking the ceasefire.

And the day after that, “Operation Protective Edge” officially began. By Wednesday afternoon, there were 35 dead and many maimed in Gaza, Israelis were ducking rockets, and no one can say when or how it will end, or what further horrors lie in store.

Netanyahu could have avoided the whole thing. He could have chosen not to shoot up the West Bank and Gaza and arrest dozens of previously freed Hamasniks (along with hundreds of other Palestinians) over what was very likely a rogue kidnapping. Before that, he could have chosen not to stonewall Abbas for nine months of peace negotiations, and then there wouldn’t have even been a unity government with Hamas that freaked him out so badly – a reaction that was, of course, Netanyahu’s choice as well.

But Israel’s prime minister is and always has been at war with the Palestinians – diplomatically, militarily and every other way; against Abbas, Hamas and all the rest – and this is what has guided his actions, and this is what provoked Hamas into going to war against Israel.

Related:
Live blog: Escalation in Gaza – July 2014
Dispatch from Gaza: You can never be emotionally ready
Why Netanyahu will lose this Gaza war, too

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No leadership, no borders, no strategy – what future for Israel?

 


See video of this legal abduction of Palestinian farmer Fadel Jaber, arrested for‘stealing water’ on the hottest day of 2010, in front of his five year old son.

The Making of a Palestinian Uprising

By Alon Ben-Muir, Huffington Post
June 26, 2014

The abduction of three Israeli teenage boys is a criminal act and hopefully the perpetrators will be caught soon, face the full weight of the law and end the heart-wrenching ordeal of the boys’ parents and relatives. Yet regardless of who is responsible, Prime Minister Netanyahu made matters much worse for both Israelis and Palestinians. His sweepingly harsh response has already led to more deaths and may potentially lead to more abductions, if not an outright Palestinian uprising.

It is legitimate for Israeli security forces to go into the West Bank and investigate in an effort to find the missing boys and capture the perpetrators, especially when President Abbas demonstrated in words and deeds his unreserved cooperation. Abbas condemned the kidnapping, not just for Israeli and US ears but also the Arab world, as he “delivered [his comments] at a high-profile gathering of Muslim and Arab officials in Saudi Arabia.”

Instead of working diligently with Palestinian internal security to demonstrate how the two sides can fully cooperate on matters of security now and in the future, Netanyahu sent his security forces on a rampage throughout the West Bank. More than 1,150 locations were searched including charities, media outlets and university campuses.

Around 400 Palestinians were arrested and more than half are Hamas operatives and politicians. Netanyahu, who vehemently rejected the Palestinian unity government, seized upon the agonizing kidnapping to play politics with the lives of three innocent youngsters.

Instead of challenging Hamas to help in the search for the missing teenagers to demonstrate their commitment to the unity government, he immediately accused Hamas as the “usual suspects” behind such a hideous crime without producing any evidence.

The subsequent death of four Palestinians, the youngest being only 15 years old who was killed while throwing stones at Israeli soldiers, provoked massive demonstrations during his funeral. This sad episode has outraged the Palestinians and only deepened their resentment and hatred of the Israelis, further damaging the already deeply frayed bilateral relations between the two sides.

Regardless of how wrong the Palestinians are and how the extremists among them contribute to this sad state of affairs, the vast majority who seek peace still live a life of servitude, intolerable by any civilized standard. Every Israeli of conscience should put himself in the shoes of an ordinary Palestinian, who wakes up in the morning feeling besieged and goes to sleep trampled upon in his own home.

How absurd and cynical it is to maintain an occupation for 47 years and expect the Palestinians to simply obey and feel sanguine about it.

How outrageous it is to build new and expand existing settlements on Palestinian land, robbing them of their dream to build a state of their own, and then blame them for harboring malice toward Israelis.

Why should any Palestinian feel compassion toward the abducted teenagers when Israeli security forces conduct night raids in private homes, often unnecessary and unjustified, terrifying the young who cower in fear? They witness with horror their father or older brother being humiliated and violently dragged away.

How could Netanyahu bolster restrictive and discriminatory laws against the Palestinians, build physical barriers and endless checkpoints, and make their lives ever more miserable but then expect them to take these abuses with equanimity?

Netanyahu, who claims to be the champion behind Israel’s security, is driven by blind ideology and consistently acts in a manner that in fact is dangerously eroding instead of enhancing Israel’s legitimate security concerns.

While Netanyahu professes to seek a two-state solution, he spares no effort to undermine the peace process in every which way possible. With typical chutzpah, he insists that there is no partner with whom to negotiate.

He accuses the Palestinians of being divided and unable to uphold any agreement, but then he suspended the peace negotiations because the Palestinians created a unity government with Hamas that represents all Palestinians in an effort to end their division.

In spite of the fact that the unity government committed itself to the three Quartet principles (recognizing Israel, honoring prior agreements, and forsaking violence), Netanyahu argues that he will not negotiate with any Palestinian government that includes Hamas instead of giving it a chance to demonstrate its commitment to peaceful negotiations.

Three years ago Netanyahu released 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for one Israeli soldier. What kind of message has he sent to the Palestinians and to the whole world for that matter? One that says the release of one Israeli captive is worth more than the souls of over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

How should the fathers and mothers of more than 5,000 incarcerated Palestinians, among them scores of teenagers the same age as the kidnapped Israelis, feel about their kids who are languishing in jail, many of whom without being put on trial and with no end in sight?

Why should there be any surprise if within a few weeks or months the abductors of the Israeli youths demand the exchange of their three captives in return for the release of 3,000 Palestinian prisoners? Netanyahu himself and no other is responsible for the development of this unfortunate state of affairs.

Many Israelis, including members of Netanyahu’s coalition, are outraged by this brazen response to the abduction of the Israeli teenagers. Friends of Israel the world over are puzzled by his extraordinarily brutal exploit with utter disregard for human rights.

Those who cheer Netanyahu’s crackdown are severely undermining Israel’s future security and its place among the nations. They must stop and think about how the collective pain and punishment being inflicted on the Palestinians will play out and why these conditions could lead to a nightmarish explosion.

Netanyahu is simply incapable of grasping the implications of his own actions because neither he nor any of his cohorts know where Israel should be ten or fifteen years down the line.

The question is, how can any leader lead his country without a strategy that will take his people to the intended destination? Netanyahu’s strategy, if he has one, is to torpedo the peace process and hope for some miracle that somehow the Palestinians will just disappear.

If Netanyahu genuinely cares about the well-being of the three teenagers, he must also demonstrate sensitivity and empathy toward Palestinian youth to cultivate trust and constructive neighborly relations. Instead, he is nurturing hatred and hostility between the next generation of Israelis and Palestinians, and is condemning them to a cruel and violent future.

It is time for all Israelis to wake up and ask the simple question — where are we heading — and demand a clear and unequivocal answer from Netanyahu himself. It is only a question of time when the Palestinians will rise again, and though they would be crushed, they have little left to lose and Israel’s “victory” will be its greatest defeat.

Dr. Alon Ben-Meir was born an Iraqi Jew and has long been involved in peace negotiations between Israel and the Arab states. He is a senior fellow at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs where he has taught courses on the Middle East and international negotiations for 18 years, and he is the Middle East Project Director at the World Policy Institute.

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But I Knew That He Knew That I Knew He Knew Too

 

Posted: 28 Nov 2013 08:32 AM PST

Iranians welcoming the Geneva delegation back home, Serat News, Nov. 25
Iranians welcoming the Geneva delegation back home, Serat News, Nov. 25
According to Sheera Frenkel, Israeli officials were made aware by Saudi Arabia of the backdoor talks between the US and Iran detailed in depth by Laura Rozen at Al Monitor this past weekend, which culminated in the interim Geneva agreement. In brief, the deal will see Iran recoup some US$7-8 billion in sanctions relief through 2014 if, in exchange, Tehran does not enrich any more uranium over 5%, allows for new IAEA site inspections, and downgrads its remaining enriched-to-20% uranium stockpile. Some outstanding issues, like the Arak heavy water reactor under construction and Iran’s “right to enrich,” remain to be discussed in talks down the road. Saudi Arabia would not have been a venue for these talks, of course – nor would its closest GCC associate, Bahrain, given the Al Khalifas’ mistrust of the Islamic Republic – but other Gulf states were. Namely Oman — which the US uses as a third party to approach untouchables like the Taliban and the Islamic Republic — and perhaps the UAE as well (unlike its Saudi neighbors, the Emirati Cabinet very quickly  welcomed the interim accord). News of the meeting went from these states to Riyadh and then probably got to Tel Aviv, obviously infuriating the Israelis because they were not told up front about the talks.

So, if the Israelis did know weeks in advance, that makes Netanyahu’s intransigence this past Fall more explainable. Appraised of the progress being made in the talks outside normal channels, he was nonetheless unable to make public Israel’s foreknowledge of the deliberations. He is not so reckless as to think he could get away with letting the cat out the bag like that; doing so really would cause significant damage to US-Israeli relations. He had few options to confront a process leading to a deal he opposed because it did not dismantle all Iranian nuclear capabilities. He and his supporters leaned on the most receptive audiences they had: the US Congress, the French Foreign Ministry, and the Sunday talk show circuit, making the case that no deal would be better than a “bad deal”.

Some officials gave Yedioth Ahronoth and Channel 10 details of US-Iran meetings that showed the backdoor to Iran was in place for at least a year. These reports, however, did not affect the pace of the negotiations or public opinion. Netanyahu now has to worry a lot more about the home front, where he faces members of the security establishment expressing support for the deal, politicians outside his coalition criticizing his criticism of Obama, and his reappointed Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, breathing down his neck. Even the Israeli stock exchange seems to be weighing in against him: its ongoing rally, which began days before Sunday, was not adversely impacted by the deal.

More importantly, though, is what this episode says about the response of certain American allies to the interim deal. The Saudis are unhappy, and Netanyahu even more so. But their leverage going forward is limited, even though it would not take much to trip up the agreement if Iran is found to be in non-compliance. The Obama Administration has thrown its entire political capital behind the deal, which will be very hard, even for AIPAC and Democratic hawks, to handle. There is very little the Saudis can do after already protesting the US handling of the Syria crisis with their refusal of a UN seat and their minister-princes’ complaints in The Times, Bloomberg, and The Wall Street Journal. As an al Quds al Arabi editorial put it, “[i]n order to reach this agreement, Iran has played the many cards it has been working to prepare for decades, and also the cards it has acquired from the mistakes of the United States and its European allies after the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, and from the accumulation of the mistakes of the Arab regimes, which do not have a single balancing pillar that presents a real strategy for confronting the real danger surrounding the Arab region.”

But worst of all from Netanyahu’s perspective, is that in offering sanctions amelioration, Iran seems to gain legitimacy in international affairs (for Saudi Arabia, this fear is also felt, and directly connected to the outcome of the Syrian civil war). This deal is a stopgap measure meant to halt Iranian activities while negotiations continue, so it is not an economic godsend. Chip away at the sanctions regime, and Iran’s economy could start to see results, which is especially important for the leadership if this deal leads to a lasting agreement. But it is the prospective dilution of these sanctions (not their financial bottom-line) that deeply disturbs Netanyahu, whether you believe he is serious about it being 1938 all over again or not, because it raises the possibility that Europe and the US will defer less and less to his demands to keep Iran diplomatically and economically isolated.

The public mood in Iran is mixed between caution and acclaim. The returning negotiating team was feted, and did not seem to draw the sort of hecklers who came out to greet President Rouhani when he returned from the UN. As Golnaz Esfandiari reports, crowds waiting for Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif in Tehran chanted “Kayhan, Israel, Condolences, Condolences” (Kayhan is a hardline newspaper, which like other conservative outlets close to the Supreme Leader emphasized the “flexibility” aspect of the interim deal, downplaying Iran’s concessions – in part because the deal is  vague on recognizing the “natural rights” of Iranian nuclear work – and the impact of the sanctions thus far). But overall, the reception in the media was positive and the deal is a loss for the ultraconservative arm of the Islamic Republic’s leadership, which would like to pretend the Revolution is still ongoing. By agreeing to the terms of the deal, Iran is electing to participate in the international system on that system’s terms (unlike fellow nuclear pariah North Korea). And if economic relief can develop further, even more Iranians, perhaps, may begin to wake up to the fact that the sanctions have been exploited inside Iran to greatly enrich not just certain businessmen and politicians, but the twin pillars of the state itself: the Supreme Leader’s office, and the Revolutionary Guards.

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