It was easy to ridicule Bibi Netanyahu’s UN appearance with a cartoon bomb that looked like it had been shipped in by ACME directly from a Warner Brother’s Road Runner short. But it appears that the Israeli premier has left a dramatic impression as well, on a world that is now being forced to stop ignoring a real Iranian threat.
Three reported events at week’s end suggest that Netanyahu’s message is being heard, and that Israel’s Western allies are working in earnest to stop the Iran nuclear program without having to go to war over it.
Incidentally, that happened to be Netanyahu’s message as well: he insisted that by drawing his now notorious red line at the point where Iran will be able to manufacture a viable nuclear device, this will prevent the need to go to war.
The logic behind the PM’s argument is cogent, although, in the past, Hitler invaded both Czechoslovakia and Poland despite heaps of warnings and red lines issued by Western democracies. Inevitably, red lines must be backed by the readiness to spill red blood on their enforcement.
Still, the official readout of President Barack Obama’s call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday sounds like a conversation between two very close allies, united on the Iran issue. Granted, the statement was drafted by the White House, but, still, compared with Bibi’s UN speech, this is a sober and quite calm description of the current state of communication between the two leaders—which has been often described as anything but calm:
“President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke on Friday as part of their regular consultations, and to follow up on Secretary Clinton’s meeting with the Prime Minister.
“The two leaders discussed a range of security issues, and the President reaffirmed his and our country’s unshakable commitment to Israel’s security.
“The two leaders underscored that they are in full agreement on the shared goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The Prime Minister welcomed President Obama’s commitment before the United Nations General Assembly to do what we must to achieve that goal.
“The two leaders took note of the close cooperation and coordination between the Governments of the United States and Israel regarding the threat posed by Iran – its nuclear program, proliferation, and support for terrorism – and agreed to continue their regular consultations on this issue going forward.”
Meanwhile, a second, very important thing happened on the Iran front Friday: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has decided to revoke the designation of the Mujahedin-e Khalq, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, better known by the acronym the MEK, as a foreign terrorist organization under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
The two organizations that frighten the Iranian regime more than anyone else are—in this order—the Mossad and MEK, both of whom they’ve accused of collaborating to assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists.
MEK is a well organized group that spreads resistance to the Mullahs’ regime in Iran and is a kind of political alternative in exile, just waiting to come back and turn Iran into a secular democracy.
Now they’ll be able to raise funding openly and legally. This could be a game changer regarding the fate of the Iranian regime. Put together the sanctions which are causing a sharp drop in the standard of living in Iran, the fact that the Iranian government is openly investing its resources in a massive nuclear program at the expense of the people’s welfare – and a powerful, paramilitary resistance organization, and there may be some real change in the social order in Iran in the not too distant future.
The Secretary of State has announced that MEK property and interest in property in the United States or “within the possession or control of U.S. persons” will no longer be blocked, and U.S. entities may engage in transactions with the MEK without obtaining a license. That means they are free to purchase training camps in the U.S. and assemble a large contingency of Iranian exiles. It’s true that Clinton conditioned the change in the MEK status on their remaining non-violent, but the U.S. government could turn a blind eye on anything, if need be.
Finally, Netanyahu met in New York with Canadian PM Stephen Harper. He thanked Harper for severing his countries diplomatic ties with Iran, calling it “not only an act of statesmanship, but an act of moral clarity.”