Wednesday, May 2, 2018 at 6:42 PM

Netanyahu Bombs with Latest Bombshell Presentation on Iran

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Frankly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a shameless, irrepressible charlatan. Only this explains his Chicken-Little warnings about Iran being within months of possessing nuclear weapons to wipe Israel off the map, which he’s been proselytizing for decades.

Mind you, he warned about Iraq in similar fashion. Indeed, it’s arguable that no individual did more to goad President George W. Bush into that historic misadventure than Netanyahu. One need only recall his infamous testimony before the US Congress, which included this casus belli:

There is no question whatsoever that Saddam is seeking, is working, is advancing towards to the development of nuclear weapons. Once Saddam has nuclear weapons, the terror network will have nuclear weapons.

(C-SPAN, September 12, 2002)

You’d think the galvanizing role he played would have chastened him. Not least because, in addition to finding no WMDs, US soldiers are still fighting and dying in Iraq: after 15 years, nearly 5,000 dead and 31,952 wounded Americans, nearly 600,000 dead and millions of wounded Iraqis, and over $1 trillion in US taxpayer dollars.

Netanyahu and neo-con crusaders (in the United States and Israel) championed this war as an article of political and religious faith. No surprise, then, that they now insist, with righteous indignation, that such statistics reflect acceptable levels of collateral damage for a successful military intervention. Hell, military leaders even insist, with cold calculation, that the continuing killing of innocent civilians remains well below their “Non-Combatant Cutoff Value” (NCV).

Our policy for last year … was to tolerate the death of 112 Iraqi or Syrian civilians per American.

(The Los Angeles Times, March 31, 2017)

But Netanyahu betrayed no hint of humility or regret when he addressed the UN General Assembly in 2012, or when he addressed a joint session of the US Congress in 2015. On both occasions, his patented intent was to goad President Barack Obama into invading Iran the way he goaded Bush into invading Iraq.

Except that Obama was too smart and fair-minded to buy into Netanyahu’s existential zealotry. I commented on their oil-and-water dynamic in many commentaries, including “Netanyahu, Obama’s Iago; Iran, His Desdemona,” “October 2, 2013, and “Netanyahu’s a Putz for Branding Obama a Judas Over UN Resolution,” December 29, 2016.

Which brings me to his latest presentation in this regard. And it should surprise nobody that it stressed creativity as much as it strained credulity.

Netanyahu offered a robust defense Tuesday of a dramatic presentation in which he accused Iran of ‘brazenly lying’ over its nuclear ambitions, after claims that he had revealed nothing new. …

Key documents pertaining to Iran’s nuclear development program, cited by Netanyahu on Monday, were acquired by the IAEA as early as 2005.

(CNN, May 1, 2018)

But Netanyahu finally has in Trump a US president who is all too willing to be goaded, provided it’s done with a slobbering dose of flattery. No doubt this is what motivated Netanyahu to mint Temple coins hailing Trump as the second coming of Emperor Cyrus the Great. I commented on this shameless manipulation just last week in “Natalie Portman ‘Boycotting’ Israel Approximates Paul Newman Boycotting South Africa,” April 25, 2018.

Sure enough, Trump is the only leader among the p5+1 signatories to the Iran nuclear deal who found Netanyahu’s presentation credible. That is to say the leaders of China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom plus Germany all dismissed it as just another one of his reckless political stunts.

To be fair, Netanyahu couldn’t care less about those p4+1. Because he clearly formatted and orchestrated his PowerPoint presentation to provide Trump, the p1 leader, a colorable pretext to “rip up the deal.” And Trump wasted no time signaling to Netanyahu “mission accomplished.”

Trump has praised … Netanyahu for coming forward with documents that the Israeli leader says shows Iran lied about pursuing nuclear weapons. …

Mr Trump said that Mr Netanyahu’s claims about Iran show that he has been ‘100 per cent right’ about the nuclear agreement, and said that Iran’s behaviour is ‘just not an acceptable situation’.

(The Independent, May 1, 2018)

This, despite Trump’s own CIA director, secretary of state, and secretary of defense all conceding that he has no legal justification to rip up the deal.

The information unveiled by Netanyahu with great fanfare on Monday has largely been known to American intelligence agencies for years. …

[N]othing in the documents, which Netanyahu said were smuggled out of Tehran, has changed the American intelligence judgment that Iran is living up to its agreement not to restart a nuclear weapons program.

(NBC News, May 1, 2018)

Of course, this is the same Trump who found President Vladimir Putin’s denial about Russia meddling in the US elections more credible than his own intelligence agencies’ assessment that Russia did. Therefore, it’s hardly surprising that he would find Netanyahu more credible in this case – especially given how Netanyahu’s presentation flattered Trump’s blind faith in his own intelligence.

Netanyahu seems to think Israel can get by with a little help from its friends — even if those friends compose just a small faction of Christian fundamentalists and neo-cons on the lunatic fringe of US Republican Party.

(“Netanyahu’s Call for Jewish Exodus more Sharpton than Moses,” The iPINIONS Journal, February 23, 2015)

Meanwhile, anyone who knows anything about the nuclear politics of the Middle East knows that, if Iran ever poses an existential threat, Israeli military leaders would prevail upon Netanyahu to execute the Begin Doctrine. That doctrine

… asserts the fundamental need to prevent any of Israel’s enemies from obtaining nuclear weapons.

(The Jerusalem Post, June 4, 2006)

In fact, nothing belies Netanyahu’s Chicken-Little warnings quite like the precedents his predecessors set pursuant to this doctrine. Namely

  • In 1981, Prime Minister Menachem Begin ordered the Israeli air force to destroy a nuclear reactor in Iraq.
  • In 2007, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ordered the Israeli air force to destroy a nuclear reactor in Syria.

Now factor in the generally recognized fact that Israel is the only country in the Middle East that actually possesses nuclear weapons. Because only then will you have a little appreciation of the simmering resentment its Muslim neighbors harbor over Israelis behaving as if they really are God’s chosen people.

Which raises the question, why is Netanyahu continually stoking irrational fears about an Iran nuclear program that does not exist?

It is self-evident that his warnings have little to do with Israel’s national security. This is why I’ve been asserting for years that it’s pursuant to his vain, Machiavellian but ultimately cowardly attempt to goad the United States into ridding Israel of its primary geopolitical foe.

I have argued this point in many commentaries, including “Despite Drumbeat, Israel Will Never Attack Iran,” February 21, 2012, “Netanyahu Is a ‘Chickenshit’ Prime Minister,” November 4, 2014, “Chutzpah: Israeli PM to Address US Congress,” January 23, 2015, “Netanyahu Condemns Framework for Peace with Iran as Path to War?” April 4, 2015, “Obama Leads World to Historic Nuclear Deal with Iran,” July 15, 2015, “Recognizing Jerusalem: Trump’s America and Netanyahu’s Israel against the World,” December 7, 2017.

But this excerpt from “Obama Dissing Israeli PM Netanyahu?” September 12, 2012, sums up my take.

____________________

The chutzpah of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu never ceases to amaze me. …

I am simply stupefied by the way he has been publicly goading Obama – almost from day one of his presidency – to stop Iran [from developing nuclear weapons] before it enters some amorphous ‘zone of immunity’ (presumably where North Korea resides). …

All of his talk about red lines and red lights is just a red herring. If Netanyahu wanted to attack Iran today, nobody would stop him.

Except that this arrogant SOB would rather sit on his moral high-horse (playing the Holocaust card) and declaim falsely about Obama dictating when and how he should act to defend Israel’s national security interests. All the while he’s presuming to dictate to Obama when and how he should act to defend America’s national security interests with respect to Iran: talk about brass ones. …

It is noteworthy that Netanyahu is being supported in his rhetorical misadventure by the same coalition of crusading dunces (namely, Jewish Zionists, Christian fundamentalists, and new-world-order neo-cons) who goaded Bush into attacking Iraq. Not to mention that they have all been issuing Chicken-Little warnings about Iran being just months away from going nuclear since the 1990s.

____________________

In fact, if Netanyahu were a more courageous leader, he would have attacked Iran long ago, citing among other things its unabashed and unrepentant support for terrorist groups that continually menace Israeli citizens. Except that:

The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars. …

The only thing he’s interested in is protecting himself from political defeat: he’s got no nuts.

(The Atlantic, October 28, 2014)

That in a … er … nutshell is what his latest theatrical presentation is all about: protecting himself from political defeat.

I would only add that Netanyahu might deem it necessary to launch a wag-the-dog war to protect himself from criminal prosecution. After all, state prosecutors are examining police recommendations for him to face trial on a litany of corruption charges stemming from a gift-for-favors scheme.

In fact, his legal jeopardy is so great, Netanyahu could end up in prison before his stooge Trump is impeached. Of course, the latter’s legal jeopardy stems from the unprecedented battery of high crimes and misdemeanors special prosecutor Robert Mueller seems bound to report to Congress.

The point is that no Israeli attorney general would dare prosecute a prime minister while he’s orchestrating an existential war – even less so if he ends it as a bona-fide war hero: on guard, Iran.

Related commentaries:
Obamas Iago
Netanyahu’s a putz
Natalie Portman boycotting
Recognizing Jerusalem
Trump’s America, Netanyahu’s Israel
Chutzpah
Obama…historic deal
Chickenshit
Drumbeat
Obama dissing

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