Iran’s Pivot to Africa

Despite amateurish diplomacy, Iran has successfully enlisted the help of several African countries to acquire uranium, right under the nose of the West.

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More about: Barack Obama, Iran, Niger, Nuclear Bomb, Robert Mugabe, Tanzania, United States, Zimbabwe


Was Netanyahu Wrong to Fight the Iran Deal?

Now that the nuclear deal with Iran has been completed, and it is unlikely that there will be sufficient votes in Congress to derail it, some have wondered if the Israeli prime minister erred in his vocal opposition, hurting U.S.-Israel relations without successfully stopping the deal. A similar criticism has been leveled against AIPAC. Elliott Abrams finds such criticism utterly without merit:

Netanyahu has always seen the issue of Iran’s nuclear-weapons program as existential for Israel. In that case, how could he not try to change the political calculus in the United States? Should he have pulled his punches, said less, made this a smaller issue—not tried, that is, to win the argument?

[Furthermore], Netanyahu has won the argument: most Americans are highly skeptical of the Iran deal and don’t like it, and it will be disapproved in both houses of Congress, [although the president will surely override congressional disapproval]. In the last months opinion has shifted against the deal, and Netanyahu can take some credit for that. But his critics don’t blame him for losing, they blame him for trying. . . .

As for relations with the United States, there are no polls suggesting any damage at all. Americans don’t appear to blame an Israeli prime minister who argues for his country’s security. . . So what are we talking about here? We are talking about damaging relations with the Obama administration. To that argument there are two answers. First, it’s a diminishing problem, because we are already in the election season. . . . Second, it is also hard to believe that relations with Obama will actually be worsened—only because they are already so bad. . . .

Netanyahu has taught a lesson that’s valuable for the future: an Israeli prime minister who is convinced of his position may take on such a fight even if everyone predicts he will lose it. He or she will not shy away due to political calculations and vote-counting predictions, a very good precedent when matters of national security are at risk. That last calculation applies to AIPAC as well.

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More about: AIPAC, Barack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran nuclear program, Israel & Zionism, US-Israel relations