Derisive comments from Israel’s leadership about reported progress leading up to the May 23rd second round of nuclear talks with Iran, signal that Israel wants, even needs the talks to fail:
…Benjamin Netanyahu…warned the world powers against letting Iran “push them around,” toughening his stance in a last-ditch effort to head off a nuclear agreement between the world powers and Iran at talks slated to start Wednesday in Baghdad.
…”The West is already caving in to Iran,” said one official. The prime minister’s comments reflect a fear…that the talks…will result in an intermediate agreement that would not satisfy Israel on the one hand, and lead to the talks’ continuation for many months on the other. In that event, an Israeli military option against Iranian nuclear facilities would be off the table.
There can be only one reason for this: that Bibi Netanyahu wants a crack at Iran and to launch the F-16s, he needs a failure of the diplomatic track.
Israel fears that the western powers are prepared to sell it out in return for a watered down agreement that delays, but does not end the Iranian nuclear threat. Israel wants Armageddon now, a final showdown in which Iran is beaten to a pulp and shown who’s boss. The only problem is that Israel can’t deliver such a knockout blow and even an attack will only delay Iran’s nuclear program.
Maariv’s report goes even farther and has Israeli officials predicting that the talks will fail and that Iran will continue enriching uranium on its path toward nuclear capability. And whatever the outcome of the talks, Israel arrogates to itself freedom of action to determine what is best for its security interests, which may include an attack.
Israeli leaders believe Iran is dissembling, appearing to show good faith in order to evade the burden of crippling sanctions threatened by the west; all the while intending to offer nothing of substance in return. Paranoia seems a prerequisite for Israeli leadership. Thus Maariv says the Israelis believe the western negotiating parties also want to draw out the talks, believing that as long as they continue Israel will have a more difficult time bucking the international consensus to allow diplomacy to run its course.
Another Israeli rejected this claim. Bibi, according to this source, won’t allow negotiations to deter him from his own independent course. The Israeli newspaper says that senior Israeli sources have already noted that Israel’s air force would attack “before fall.”
The Iranians, according to official Israeli thinking, believe that if they draw the talks out beyond the November presidential election, that it will strengthen Obama’s hand (presuming he wins) and weaken Israel’s, since Obama supposedly prefers the diplomatic track to an attack.
As I’ve pointed out, the irony of the entire P5+1 negotiations is that these same world powers could’ve had essentially the same deal in 2010 when Brazil and Turkey persuaded Iran to stop enriching uranium beyond 20% and to transfer its existing enriched stocks to Turkey. Those with a sharp memory will remember that it was the U.S. which put the kibosh on that deal. What was it the man said about “never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity?”
UPDATE: AP reports that on his return from Tehran that IAEA chief, Yukio Amano announced that he’d reached an agreement with Iran giving inspectors access to previously off-limits nuclear facilities. One hopes it also augurs well for tomorrow’s start to the P5+1 talks with Iran. This will cause no end of grief in Tel Aviv.
This article appeared at Tikun Olam