Reprinted from Antiwar
Here is the one big takeaway from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to a joint session of Congress:
"I can guarantee you this, the days when the Jewish people remained passive in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over.
"We are no longer scattered among the nations, powerless to defend ourselves. We restored our sovereignty in our ancient home. And the soldiers who defend our home have boundless courage. For the first time in 100 generations, we, the Jewish people, can defend ourselves.
"This is why -- this is why, as a prime minister of Israel, I can promise you one more thing: Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand."
Shorter Bibi: Don't bother trying to make peace with Iran -- because we'll start a war and drag you into it.
This is no idle threat. While Israel doesn't have the military capacity to take out Iran's nuclear infrastructure, an Israeli attack would inevitably embroil US forces in a military confrontation that would soon escalate throughout the region. In his speech, Netanyahu made a point of thanking the US for all the military support we've given them and he has good reason to be grateful: in arming the Israeli Sparta, we've handed him the means to blackmail us. This is "blowback" with a vengeance.
Beyond this threat to drag us into war, the Israeli Prime Minister doesn't need to make any arguments, but he did anyway, if only for the sake of appearances.
The first argument is that the very nature of the Iranian regime makes them inherently untrustworthy, and therefore any deal that leaves Tehran with a nuclear capacity of any sort will inevitably be violated by the Iranians. An agreement would give them enough "breakout" time, estimated by Netanyahu to be "a matter of weeks," to join the nuclear club as a fait accompli.
Yet "breakout time" is a deceptive phrase, one that is not just a matter of how many centrifuges are spinning out nuclear material. While achieving sufficient nuclear enrichment would take some months -- assuming they got everything right, a big assumption -- assembling a weapon capable of delivering a nuclear payload is a different matter entirely. Testing and development of a delivery system would take at least a year, if not longer. In the meantime, their efforts would be discovered.
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