Having created the desired chaos in the Middle East, Israel has to a large extent paved its path towards its cherished goal of establishing ‘Greater Israel’. It still has two more worries. Nuclear Pakistan is its top concern followed by Iran, which is on the road to becoming a nuclear power. Since early 1980s, Israel in collaboration with India has been looking for an opportunity to strike Kahuta on the pattern of its attack on Osirik nuclear plant of Iraq in 1981. Indo-US-Israeli nexus carried out unrelenting covert war coupled with propaganda war against Pakistan from 2002 till 2014 with a view to disable its nuclear program.
Thanks to ever vigilant and resilient armed forces and ISI, installation of multi-layered security system to safeguard nuclear arsenal, repeated onslaughts of varying nature launched from Afghanistan and from within were thwarted. Withdrawal of ISAF from Afghanistan and installation of pro-Pakistan government in Kabul have stalled the threat, but Pakistan has still not got rid of the US triggered war on terror which is draining its economy and traumatizing its social fabric. Efforts are in hand to bottle up the genie of terrorism.
Israeli prime minister and notorious war criminal Binyamin Netanyahu has presided over many massacres of Palestinians. Latest was in Gaza in July 2014 that killed more than 2100 women, men and children, wounded over 10,000 and left hundreds of thousands homeless. Forward settlement of Jewish families on Palestinian lands in the West Bank continues unabated. Having usurped 78% of Palestinian territory illegally, Israel is not prepared to let the Palestinians establish their State on tiny Gaza and West Bank with Jerusalem as the capital. The two-state solution that was accepted by the Palestinians and received overwhelming international support is becoming more and more difficult now because of intransigence of Israel. It is now bracing for another war in Gaza this summer which will be more horrendous than the previous one.
Israel has all along maintained a highly belligerent posture against Iran particularly when Ahmadinejad was in power. It kept nudging George Bush and later Obama to strike Iran’s nuclear sites before it was too late. Imposition of four-fold sanctions on Iran was Israeli inspired. Netanyahu pressed for military action and opposed diplomatic option. Ahmadinejad paid back in the same coin declaring Holocaust as a myth and asserting that Israel being illegitimate should be wiped out from the face of the world. Mossad collaborated with CIA to bring about a regime change in Iran through covert operations. This prong succeeded in defeating Ahmadinejad in 2014 elections and bringing moderate Rouhani to power.
For Iran, getting out of the stranglehold of sanctions which badly impacted its economy had become critically important. The new regime under President Rouhani put aside confrontational policy of Ahmadinejad and responded to Obama’s policy of moderation and reconciliation. It ceded to Washington’s demand of rolling back its nuclear ambitions in return for easing sanctions. Israel on the other hand kept insisting that sanctions must not be lifted till the complete elimination of Iran’s uranium enrichment. Netanyahu in fact stressed for additional sanctions and provoked the US to destroy Iran’s nuclear sites.
Both Rouhani and Obama preferred easing tensions through diplomacy and moderation over policy of threats. Reduction of war hysteria and removal of tough condition of eliminating uranium enrichment by the US helped in bringing thaw in US-Iran estranged relations and led to signing of interim nuclear deal between Iran and P5+1. Iran agreed to open up its suspected nuclear sites for inspection by IAEA and bringing down the level of uranium enrichment to desired levels in return for gradual removal of sanctions.
Netanyahu was never in favor of US-Iran détente and has been highly critical of November 3, 2014 interim nuclear deal saying it was a ‘bad deal’ with terrible consequences. In his opinion, the deal would get $ 50 billion worth relief to Iran without receiving iron clad guarantees from the nuclear bomb maker. He chimed that Iran’s nuclear ambitions are undoubtedly a threat to Israel’s existence, but the deal was even more dangerous. He kept expressing fears that Iran is still continuing with its weapon grade nuclear program secretly. He repeatedly stated that Iran’s nuclear program threatens Israel’s security and desired total closure of all its enrichment nuclear sites.
Besides censuring the nuclear deal, Netanyahu stated that the talks should be concluded within three months; otherwise the pressure of sanctions built on Iran would lose its bite. The US ignored policy of deadline since it would have spoilt the atmosphere of goodwill between the two sides achieved through diplomacy so essential to arrive at a negotiated settlement. Hopefully the deal will be concluded by March 31, which will rein in Iran from pursuing suspected nuclear arms program.
Netanyahu made a last-ditch effort to derail US-Israel nuclear deal by getting invited to address the US Congress joint session on March 3, 2015. Continuing with his tirade against the US, he criticized Obama administration while addressing American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Annual Conference in Washington on March 2 at a time when John Kerry is busy finalizing the deal with his Iranian counterpart in Geneva.
The Obama administration was visibly upset that Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner at the behest of Republican Senators invited Netanyahu without consulting with the White House and charged Boehner with political show off. Boehner denied any political intent beyond getting to hear Netanyahu's views.
The Obama administration claimed that the intended speech would ‘threaten the fabric of US-Israeli relations’. Obama discredited him saying, “He is indulging in all sorts of cooked up claims”. The US National Security Adviser Susan Rice stated that “Netanyahu address to a joint session of the Congress on March 3 would damage bipartisan support that Israel enjoyed in the US”. Samantha Power also gave a curt response and debunked Netanyahu’s claims. John Kerry stated, “Netanyahu has a record of misleading Americans by cherry-picking intelligence that served his purpose”. Netanyahu was warned not to disclose secrets of the negotiations with Iran. Al-Jazeera and Guardian wrote that Netanyahu was lying through his teeth.