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.”
Then the Israeli PM added:
“I tried to say something yesterday, that I think reverberates now around the world, as you just told me, and that is to translate the agreement and principle of stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons to practice. In practice, that means setting red lines on their enrichment process. It’s their only discernible and vulnerable part of their nuclear program.
“I think that if such red lines are set, I believe that Iran will back off, and I think this message is percolated a lot of debate and also considerable discussions between the United States and us, And I also hope to take some minutes to discuss it with you as a great champion of freedom, and a great friend of Israel.”
Prime Minister Harper responded:
“Certainly our country has not been shy about warning the world about the danger that the Iranian regime ultimately presents to all of us. As you know we want to see a peaceful resolution of all this and we work closely with our allies to try and alert the world to the danger this presents and the necessity of dealing with it.”
So, to sum up: the White House is committed to stopping Iran’s nuclear program—at all cost; the State Dept. has just unleashed an effective foe against the Mullah’s regime; and at least one powerful Western ally of Israel is totally committed to ostracizing Iran from the family of civilized nations.
Not a bad outcome to a Wile E coyote speech…
About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.
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