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Cole writes: "Republican House Majority leader John Boehner secretly invited Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to Washington to address Congress and then once it was set up he let Barack Obama know about it."

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu with House Speaker John Boehner on Capitol Hill in Washington. (photo: AP)
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu with House Speaker John Boehner on Capitol Hill in Washington. (photo: AP)

ALSO SEE: Now Speaking for the Republicans: Benjamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu Imported by GOP to Ensure Iran War

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment

22 January 15


epublican House Majority leader John Boehner secretly invited Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to Washington to address Congress and then once it was set up he let Barack Obama know about it.

The reason for bringing Netanyahu is that Boehner wants to craft a super-majority in Congress that can over-ride Obama’s veto of new sanctions on Iran. He doesn’t have enough Republican votes to do so, but if he can get Democrats beholden to the Israel lobbies of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to join the veto over-ride effort, he might succeed.

Obama has spent a great deal of time and effort trying to negotiate with Iran over its civilian nuclear enrichment program, intended to allow Iran to replicate the success of France and South Korea in supplying electicity. (That would allow Iran to save gas and oil exports for earning foreign exchange).

Because nowadays producing enriched uranium for fuel via centrifuges is always potentially double use, this program has alarmed the US, Europe, and Israel. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has given several fatwas (akin to encyclicals) orally in which he forbids making, storing or using nuclear weapons as incompatible with Islamic law (a position also taken by his predecessor, Ayatollah Ruhullah Khomeini). So maintaining that Iran is committed to making a nuclear bomb is sort of like holding that the Pope has a huge condom factory in the basement of the Vatican.

But, there are no doubt Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps commanders and maybe some engineers and scientists who really wish Khamenei would change his mind (he won’t).

So if you wanted a compromise between Iranian nuclear doves (the hard line leadership) and Iranian nuclear hawks (the subordinates who have to take orders from the doves), what would you do? You’d keep options open. And keeping options open also has a deterrent effect, so it is almost as good as having a nuclear bomb. That is, if Iran has all the infrastructure that would be needed for a nuclear weapons program but didn’t actually initiate such a program, you’d put enemies on notice that if they try to get up a war on you the way Bush-Cheney got one up on Iraq, they could force you into going for broke and abruptly making a bomb for self-defense. This posture is called in the security literature “nuclear latency” or colloquially “the Japan Option” (we all know Tokyo could produce a bomb in short order if they felt sufficiently threatened).

I started arguing that this policy was what Iran was up to some 7 or 8 years ago, and I think it is now widely accepted in policy circles.

So the point of the UNSC plus Germany negotiations with Iran is really about how long Iran would take to break out and produce a bomb. Will it be 3 months or one year? Iran wants a shorter timeline (for maximum deterrence, since they already saw what happened to Baghdad). The P5 + 1 want a much longer timeline. They would also like to spike the centrifuges and make sure there is no heavy water reactor (plutonium builds up on the rods).

If the two sides can reach an acceptable compromise, sanctions would be lifted, Iran would run its Russian-built reactors to produce electricity (though likely within a decade they will be undercut in price by solar panels; still, solar doesn’t have deterrent properties ), and there would be thorough frequent UN inspections of its enrichment facilities (plutonium leaves a signature). It isn’t really possible to have a big nuclear facility hidden from US satellites; the US spotted Fordo immediately. You need a lot of water, truck traffic, etc.

But Iran would have latency and therefore deterrence and I suppose might be emboldened that Israel wouldn’t dare nuke it because it might well be able to nuke back some months later.

US hawks in both parties and the Israeli political right wing want to prevent Iran from having any nuclear enrichment program at all, so as to prevent Iran from having the security that comes from the deterrence Lite produced by latency.

The US Joint Chiefs of Staff looked at this issue and have decided that only an Iraq-style invasion, occupation and regime change could hope to abolish the nuclear enrichment program.

If that is what it takes, the US and Israeli hawks are perfectly all right with it. It would be good times for the military-industrial complex, and Israel’s last major conventional enemy (though a toothless one) would be destroyed. An irritant to US policy and a threat to Wahhabi Saudi Arabia, our big volatile Gasoline Station in the Sky, would also be removed.

Iran is three times as populous and three times as large as Iraq. So I figure this enterprise would cost at least 15,000 troops dead, 90,000 seriously wounded, and altogether $15- 24 trillion dollars over time (including health care for the 90,000 wounded vets). Given the size of the country and the nationalism of the population, it could be much more like the US war in Vietnam than Iraq was, i.e. it could end in absolute defeat. Russia and China would almost certainly aid insurgencies to weaken the US.

And that is what the right wing psychopaths in Washington DC and Tel Aviv have planned for us. If they can over-ride Obama’s veto and scuttle the negotiations, they set us up for a war down the line, as Obama warned in the SOTU.

In contrast, professional Israeli intelligence analysts are warning against new sanctions and any torpedoing of the Iran talks. Because they deal in the coin of pragmatism and the real world.

Readers should please let their congressional representatives know they would prefer not to be subjected to this disaster.

That Netanyahu is an unreliable narrator should be obvious by now:

I wrote in 2012:

Israeli PM Binyamin “Chicken Little” Netanyahu tried to scaremonger about Iraq in 2002, as his contribution to the Anglo-American war of aggression on that country. “there is no question whatsoever,” Netanyahu said, “that Saddam” was seeking nuclear weapons. He said that Israeli intelligence reported to him that Russian scientists and North Korea were on site and actively aiding this phantom nuclear weapons program. There was no Iraqi nuclear weapons program in 2002; it was dismantled in the early 1990s by United Nations inspectors. There were none of the chemical or biological weapons Netanyahu spoke of. No Russians. No North Koreans. Bupkes.

Netanyahu also warned that Iraq would give nuclear warheads (which it did not have) to “terrorist groups.”

He also argued that no inspections could possibly find “mobile weapons sites” (which are impossible), implying that invasion and occupation was the only course open.

Netanyahu proved that neither he nor the Israeli intelligence organization, Mossad, had the slightest actual intelligence on Iraq, and that neither should be trusted to provide such intelligence to the US. Clearly, some right wing Israeli leaders always want the US entangled in regional wars in the Middle East, insofar as they are seeking US support in a hostile region. They therefore habitually exaggerate the dangers, and are little more than bullshit artists.

Netanyahu’s comments on Iraq are almost verbatim what he is now saying about Iran.

The Mainstream Media never calls Netanyahu on his bull crap. your social media marketing partner


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+29 # polfrosch 2015-01-22 21:36
When it´s about Israel, nothing is impossible in US politics.

It seems the brains of the acting persons are badly irradiated by the absolute power the Israeli nuclear war machine provides.

A strange reloaded version of the golden calf. This time it´s the radioactive plutonium calf, glowing in the dark, surrounded by dancing politicians performing the samson shuffle.
+47 # Ausmar 2015-01-22 23:09
It is to be hoped that, when Netanyahu arrives in Washington, lots of saner ordinary Americans will converge on the city to demonstrate, first, their displeasure with Netanyahu's arrogance and the right wing Israeli and American neo-cons hawkishness, and, second, their disgust with the US Congress sell out to the AIPAC lobby.
+5 # RoseM 2015-01-24 04:05
Maybe some of the anti-Semitism we see is caused by the aggressive and invasive policies of Netanyahu and Israel. Is the U.S. a satellite of Israel?
+35 # roger dittmann 2015-01-22 23:33
The time for USAmerican patriots to defend the country from foreign meddling and subversion is long overdue.
+10 # Regina 2015-01-23 12:29
We need patriots to defend the country against self-bloated politicians who have been paid handsomely for their sabotage of the country's interests. If Boehner could read, and read the Constitution, he might learn his proper place in the government. He's not the "alternate president."
+14 # roger dittmann 2015-01-22 23:33
The time for USAmerican patriots to defend the country from foreign meddling and subversion is long overdue.
+25 # Activista 2015-01-23 01:52
Very URGENT article to stop the war against Iran, that with NATO pushing against Russia in Ukraine could end in the nuclear holocaust.
Yes - the World has to STOP psychopath Netanyahu.
-52 # brux 2015-01-23 03:01
>> Republican House Majority leader John Boehner secretly invited Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to Washington to address Congress and then once it was set up he let Barack Obama know about it.

Oooooh, it's a secret meeting. Juan Cole has to stuff every possible opportunity with words to inflame.

If it's such a secret I guess all that stuff about what Netanyahu is arguing is just made up junk from Cole.

Kind of makes me yearn to see what Juan Cole's face is going to look like when the bombs start dropping on Iran after they waste another 5 years jerking the world around.

Most people feel OK about supporting the people of these regions, but Cole seems to love to support their corrupt tyrannical governments instead.

But the big question here is how did the Republicans get so many people in the Congress and take over both houses?

Maybe the escalating idiocy of people like Juan Cole on the side of the Left is a big reason. He's never written an article yet that was not 100% gotcha inflammatory nonsense at every turn.
+15 # Granny Weatherwax 2015-01-23 08:43
Please do not feed the troll under the bridge.
+14 # SECFan 2015-01-23 09:58
Another example of this President being treated differently. For ANYONE in the U.S. Government to meet with a head of state of a foreign country without it being approved by the Secretary of State's office is inappropriate. There are no two ways about it.

Many of Jesse Jackson's "unofficial" meetings in the middle east were approved before hand by the Dept.. of State and there is no way, as a private citizen, any thing he said could be taken as the opinion of the U.S. government. Not so with the the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The same group Representatives calling for this President to be impeached should be calling for the Speaker to be censured, reprimanded and fined!
+21 # ericlipps 2015-01-23 05:48
Israel won't feel safe from Iran as long as the latter remains capable of producing . . . well, electrical power, which might be used somehow to threaten it.

As for brux's post, this is not now nor has it ever been about supporting the people of these regions." It's about supporting Israel, period. Whining about "the left" and smacking one's lips over the prospect of Tehran in ruins hardly suggests any particular interest in helping the (non-Israeli) people of the Middle East.
+13 # Granny Weatherwax 2015-01-23 09:23
It is actually more complex than that.

During the Shah period, Iran was an ally of the US and as the neighbor on the other side of the Arab world as seen by Israel, Iran and Israel were natural allies. A little like France and Russia were natural allies in the XIXth and early XXth Centuries.

After the revolution in 1979 that deposed the Shah, Iran attempted to become a beacon of Islam to the Arab world.
1) Iranians are not Arabs and speak Farsi
2) Shiite are a minority in the Arab world

So Iran picked an official discourse to appeal to the Arab street: support the Palestinian cause.
Did that stop the natural Iran-Israel collusion? Geograhy was still the same and Israel recognized the double entendre at the time.
During the Irangate, the weapons shipments (including nuclear capable F14 parts) from the US to Iran were routed through Israel (which did not have F14). All this during the Iran Iraq war (1980-1988) when Iraq's Saddam Hussein, a US ally, invaded Iran.
(BTW during that war, both sides had poison gasses - only Iraq used them because Khomeini had issued a fatwa against weapons of mass destruction.)
Token big mouth support for Hezbolla (religious and Lebanese) and the PLO (secular) were clearly understood by Israel as not threatening.
For years Israel would continue training its pilots in the vast skies of south-eastern Iran.

(To be continued)
+3 # Granny Weatherwax 2015-01-23 09:40
(I mistakenly added the rest as a new comment instead of replying to this one - you will find it below)
-25 # brux 2015-01-23 10:19
Thanks, but I will write plainly what I am writing about, I don't need some interpreter from the twightlight zone to give their impression of what I said, particularly when it is so clear.

No one wants Tehran in ruins, but should it become that way, aim your criticisms are the hard line terrorist regime there who has been screwing over their people and their way of life just to try to get nuclear weapons.

It's the same hostage game played all over the Islamic world, "let us have what we want of we will hurt our own people" Make no mistake, that is what you are supporting.
+11 # cymricmorty 2015-01-23 08:46
bruxism: habitual, involuntary clenching or grinding teeth
+14 # Granny Weatherwax 2015-01-23 09:25

The antagonism between Israel and Iran started in earnest in the early 90's when Rabin (labor) became Prime Minister in Israel.
When Rabin tried to make peace with the Israeli Arab minority and Israel's neighbors, the Likud and the right at large pointed out the still persistent PLO terrorism as proof that Rabin was misguided.
Rabin then pointed out at Iran as the obvious culprit, just listen to their official discourse.

True there had been some genuine Iranian terrorism in the 80's but in France as a payback for folding under US pressure and reneging on the promises made to the Shah to install a nuclear power plant.
And maybe for helping Israel develop its nukes, although it is not clear the fact was known at the time.

In the end I don't believe Israel feels directly threatened by Iran - they have nukes of their own that would be more than enough a deterrent.
What they want is make sure they are the dominant economic power in the area and this means containing the remaining sophisticated culture and society in the area at large.

Otherwise they would consider ISIS in the neighboring Syria to be a closer and therefore a bigger threat. Instead of bombing ISIS the other day, they chose to blow up an iranian general and an Hizbolla leader, both enemies of Sunni ISIS.

I don't think they fear Iran militarily. What they want is to provoke a US intervention that they hope could squash Iran, the de facto winner nearly across the spectrum in the Iraqi mess.
+6 # Regina 2015-01-23 12:35
What Netanyahu wants is to be reelected. Again. Israel would be far better off with a wiser prime minister. But ultra-rightists everywhere are particularly obtuse and doctrinaire to match.
+8 # Radscal 2015-01-23 13:00
"Otherwise they would consider ISIS in the neighboring Syria to be a closer and therefore a bigger threat."

One would think.

And yet, Israel is joining with ISIL, etc. in bombing Syria and is treating the "rebel" wounded in the IDF hospitals in the illegally occupied Golan Heights.
+7 # indian weaver 2015-01-23 09:34
I had to laugh at the photo. I know Netanyahoo has his hand around Boehner's boner, making Boner Boehner squeal like the pig he is. I mean in no way to denigrate pigs. They are all far more intelligent and honorable sentient beings than Boner, er - Boehner, or whatever his name is.
+6 # indian weaver 2015-01-23 09:42
Yeah you're right. Hard to tell here who's getting the hand job, maybe both?
+2 # tclose 2015-01-23 10:59
"I mean in no way to denigrate pigs."

They don't deserve to be castrated by Sen. Ernst either.
+15 # Kootenay Coyote 2015-01-23 09:42
Not to mention Boehner's unlawful, even treasonous, appropriation of Obama's authority to invite foreign leaders.
+4 # geraldom 2015-01-24 00:23
Israel's leadership is really showing its Chutzpah in the following article:

Israel claims to reserve the right to violate the sovereign airspace of Syria, Lebanon and Iran and to perpetrate attacks on their sovereign soil anytime it wishes, and yet the above article states the following:

"'Israel will see the governments, regimes and organizations beyond its northern border as responsible for what emanates from their territory," Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said in a statement. "(Israel) will exact a price for any harm inflicted on Israeli sovereignty, civilians and soldiers.'"

So basically, Israel is telling both Syria and Lebanon and Iran that it is perfectly fine for Israel to attack them anytime it wants, but woe be to them if they fight back and retaliate.

I hope all three countries tell Israel loud and clear to GFI. Attack us and we will retaliate, end of conversation.
+3 # AUCHMANNOCH 2015-01-25 01:42
Everybody keeps saying that Netty is a foreign leader - that's crap! Netty is one of the de facto unelected leaders of the U.S.A. just like the Koch brothers and other right wing scum.

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