|Biden won't be there this time (source)|
The defiant decision of Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, to plead direct to the United States Congress against rushing into a nuclear deal with Iran represents a watershed in the dismal relations between Jerusalem and the Obama administration. A foreign leader is being invited by Republicans to denounce the president on American soil. It is a speech that even before its delivery today has split Israel and the Jewish community in America, and is being presented by the Obama team as crude electioneering and provocative mischief-making on the part of Mr Netanyahu.Al Arabiya is a bit more blunt:
Yet it is a necessary speech. All the signs are that the US, flanked by five other powers including Britain, is accelerating towards a deal with Tehran that will allow it to retain significant capacity to enrich uranium. The arrangement would in theory allow the West to spot and block one year in advance any attempt to build a bomb. That presumes easy access to the most sensitive nuclear sites and a quick and efficient verification system.
Israel does not trust Iran. It sees a regime that is so desperate to have sanctions lifted it is willing to fabricate concessions. The negotiations do not include Iran’s ballistic-missile programme, whose prime function can only be the delivery of a bomb.
Mr Netanyahu therefore comes to Washington full of suspicion not only about Iranian intentions but also those of the Obama administration. He fears the nuclear treaty would be the first step towards projecting Tehran as a de facto ally and a regional power-broker. A nation that is so often challenged by Iranian-backed Hezbollah militias and the Iranian-supplied weaponry of Hamas has a right to be concerned.
President Obama has needlessly aggravated relations with the Israeli government by making it public that he is angry with the prime minister. More, he seems ready to veto the bipartisan Kirk-Menendez bill that would impose further sanctions on Tehran if it failed to sign an accord. This saps the negotiating power of the West.
...Relations between Mr Obama and Mr Netanyahu have never been warm but the US should recognise that Iran cannot be blindly trusted. Tehran is already a leading sponsor of terrorism in the region; it is alarming to contemplate how nuclear weapons would transform this status. There is still time to build cheat-proof assurances into a future accord. This must be done to reassure Israel and all of Iran’s rightly nervous neighbours.
Rigorous inspection, led by the International Atomic Energy Agency, must become the norm. Any attempt to conceal should be punished. Washington cannot deny itself the option of escalating sanctions. Iran, though ready for its own reasons to sit down with the West, remains a hostile power rather than a putative ally.
The Israeli PM managed to hit the nail right on the head when he said that Middle Eastern countries are collapsing and that “terror organizations, mostly backed by Iran, are filling in the vacuum” during a recent ceremony held in Tel Aviv to thank outgoing IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz for his role during “challenging” times.Some think that Obama's attempts to punish Bibi has backfired spectacularly because the publicity will give Netanyahu a much bigger audience than he would have ever had otherwise - and his speech is the hottest ticket in Washington:
In just a few words, Mr. Netanyahu managed to accurately summarize a clear and present danger, not just to Israel (which obviously is his concern), but to other U.S. allies in the region.
What is absurd, however, is that despite this being perhaps the only thing that brings together Arabs and Israelis (as it threatens them all), the only stakeholder that seems not to realize the danger of the situation is President Obama, who is now infamous for being the latest pen-pal of the Supreme Leader of the World’s biggest terrorist regime: Ayottallah Ali Khamenei. (Although, the latter never seems to write back!)
Just to be clear, nobody disagrees that ridding Iran of its nuclear ambitions is paramount. And if this can be achieved peacefully, then it would be even better. However, any reasonable man CAN’T possibly turn a blind eye to the other realities on the ground.
Indeed, it is Mr. Obama’s controversial take on managing global conflicts that raises serious questions.
...The real Iranian threat is not JUST the regime’s nuclear ambitions, but its expansionist approach and state-sponsored terrorism activities which are still ongoing.
Not only is Iran responsible for sponsoring Shiite terrorist groups, but Sunni ones too.
In fact, according to the U.S.’s own State Department, Tehran was home to a number of Al-Qaeda facilitators and high ranking financiers. These accusations are also backed by findings of the U.S. Treasury Department as well.
For Senator Lindsey Graham, the only ticket more in demand than a seat inside the House chamber for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress on Tuesday morning would be “if it was Garth Brooks — maybe.”
“The tickets are hotter than fresh latkes,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York.
Mr. Graham said the White House’s “desire to undercut” Mr. Netanyahu’s visit had simply made it more appealing. “They have made it the most talked about thing in Washington, and I think it blew up in their face,” Mr. Graham said. “Everything he says, people want to hear, and people want to be in that room to listen, they want to be in person. It’s become a historic speech.”
Mr. Boehner’s office said it had received requests for 10 times as many tickets as there are available seats in the gallery, and both the House and the Senate have set up alternate viewing locations that will also require tickets. There will be heightened security throughout the Capitol complex, according to the Capitol police.
“If Taylor Swift and Katy Perry did a joint concert at Madison Square Garden wearing white-and-gold and black-and-blue dresses, accompanied by dancing sharks and llamas, that’s the only way you’d have a tougher ticket,” said Michael Steel, a spokesman for Mr. Boehner.
Similarly, Representative Lee Zeldin of New York, the only Jewish Republican in Congress, said, “If I was solely responsible for filling the gallery, it would have been filled up in a New York minute.”
“I have people all day, every day, contacting me as if there’s a hundred thousand seats just vacant,” he said. “It’s a historic time for Israel, for America, for the stability of the Middle East, and I think that people see that historic moment on March 3 and want to be part of it.”
The interest, Mr. Zeldin noted wryly, represented a change from President Obama’s State of the Union address, for which the congressman had to seek out a guest to invite. “No one asked to be my guest,” he said.