So Netanyahu made a big show yesterday out of what was billed as a big reveal of supposed evidence of Iran lying about their nuclear weapons capacity.
And when I say “big show”, I mean Netanyahu was up there on stage acting like a carnival barker. He was whipping black (natch) cloth off of bookcases full of ‘very serious’ looking binders and off of a large display of shiny CDs all neatly lined up for dramatic effect.
All to demonstrate that:
Neither is the rest of the world..for the most part at least.
Netanyahu’s nuclear presentation gets cool reception in Europe
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. would discuss Israel’s newest purported evidence with the other global powers that negotiated the 2015 nuclear deal. But Britain said the information reinforced the need to keep the deal in place.
The U.N. nuclear agency said it considered the matter of whether Iran had previously pursued nuclear weapons to be “closed.”
From The Atlantic:
Netanyahu’s Bizarre PowerPoint Presentation on Iran
What Netanyahu was hoping to achieve with his presentation is not clear. His skepticism about Iran’s intentions and its commitment to the nuclear agreement is well known. Those hoping for a smoking gun of Iran’s cheating on the deal, in which it agreed to curb its nuclear program, were likely to be disappointed. The fact that Iran was at one point pursuing nuclear weapons will likely be a surprise to no one—and indeed was a rationale for concluding the nuclear agreement in the first place. Many of the slides Netanyahu showed pertained to the period from 1999 to 2003, during which the U.S. also cited evidence of an Iranian nuclear-weapons program, and after which a U.S. National Intelligence Estimate said the program had been shut down.
So why the big show?
We know that the Iran Deal may expire on May 12, but who was this presentation, done in english, really aimed at?
From The Independent:
Thanks Netanyahu, but we didn’t need a PowerPoint presentation to convince us that you don’t support the Iran nuclear deal
On the relatively sane listener, Netanyahu’s presentation will have had the opposite effect to the one intended. So it was that Trump responded within minutes with a tweet: ‘What we’ve learned has really shown that I’ve been one hundred per cent right’
Ever the stickler for tradition, the lovable Israeli prime minister used another of his popular pictorial illustrations to simplify things. Since he was effectively addressing an audience of one, and since the lone audience member was Donald Trump, one appreciates why.
Before we come to the stupendously obvious, a reminder may be helpful. Netanyahu wasn’t talking to Israelis, or the UN, or Tehran, or Pugh, or Barney McGrew, or me, or you. He was speaking exclusively to the most credulous and proudly ignorant creature on this or any planet in any solar system charted by cosmologists.
So what will Trump do? From CNBC:
“We are expecting that Trump will withdraw from the nuclear deal on May 12 and this is likely to come with a first step of re-imposing sanctions related to Iran’s oil sector,” Dalia Naguib, MENA Analyst at advisory services firm Frontier Strategy Group, told CNBC Tuesday.
Iran’s economy was just beginning to recover from the pre-2015 sanctions. Trump scrapping the Iran deal would hurt them tremendously.
But what is all of this REALLY all about?
Prosecution eyeing Netanyahu indictment in gifts probe — report
From The Times of Israel:
In February, police recommended Netanyahu be charged with fraud, bribery and breach of trust in so-called Case 1000, in which police say he and his wife, Sara, received illicit gifts amounting to NIS 1 million ($282,000) from Israeli-born Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian resort owner James Packer.
It is now looking like authorities are backing away from fraud charges:
Prosecutors will recommend charging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with breach of trust in a case involving lavish gifts that he received from billionaire businessmen, and will not pursue more serious bribery charges against the premier
But that doesn’t mean that Netanyahu’s legal troubles are anywhere near over:
charging Netanyahu with only breach of trust would mean Milchan would not be indicted, allowing him to testify in the case, the report said, adding that the recommendations will be presented to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit in a few months
Another thing in play right now is Netanyahu’s threat of calling for elections.
If it turns out that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is indeed seriously considering, or has already seriously considered, advancing elections, there could be three reasons for it.
The first has already emerged from his remarks: Netanyahu, given the escalating investigations against him, is seeking to ward off the blow and extort the coalition parties into not dissolving the government, even if he is indicted. If that’s the motive, one can assume there won’t be early elections. The coalition parties are apparently more afraid of elections than of the moral and ethical stain from their behavior, and Netanyahu’s exercise in extortion will leave them firmly ensconced in his government.
“extortion”? That’s a pretty strong word!
But, I didn’t use it, Haaretz‘s Tzvia Greenfield did.
The second reason that could be moving Netanyahu toward early elections is the hope that a renewal of his mandate by masses of voters – resulting perhaps in an even higher number of Knesset seats than he has now – will deter the law enforcement agencies and attorney general from serving indictments against him. If the move also succeeds in diverting the public’s attention from the corruption allegations to election issues, that would be a nice bonus. Netanyahu certainly enjoys seeing his coalition members twisting in their seats.
Netanyahu’s third possible motive for early elections, despite his current strong position, seems rather far-fetched, although perhaps this is what’s driving developments: demands being made by U.S. President Donald Trump.
Although Trump admires Netanyahu, he may have made a demand Netanyahu couldn’t refuse. The Saudis are pressing for Israel to start preparing itself for some kind of agreement with the Palestinians
fears that Habayit Hayehudi will bolt the government over planned concessions to the Palestinians. It’s better for him to hold elections now, when the right is still with him and not against him.
There’s a lot going on right now.
But, a lot of it seems to lead to one place. Netanyahu’s desire to stay in power and avoid indictment.
And is also appears that Netanyahu is using Iran and Trump AND Trump’s massive ego as a tool towards Netanyahu’s own ends.
Trump responded within minutes with a tweet: ‘What we’ve learned has really shown that I’ve been one hundred per cent right’