Reprinted from Antiwar
At a news conference the other day, House Speaker John Boehner took up his role as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's pro bono publicist by announcing that "a majority of Congress" opposes the Iran deal. You could almost hear the laughter emanating from the White House as the Speaker underscored his own irrelevance.
The uproar surrounding the Vienna accord signed by the P5+1 and Iran has reached such heights that it's become mere background noise: it's like we bought a house next to a freeway and quickly inured ourselves to the racket. After all, how seriously are we supposed to take Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's loud hysterics? These reached a crescendo of silliness the other day when, speaking at a memorial ceremony honoring the 111th anniversary of the death of Theordore Herzl, Bibi bloviated:
"Iran's growing aggression is several times more dangerous than that of IS, which is dangerous enough. And this aggression, which aims to reach every corner of the world, has the ultimate true aim of taking over the world."
For a country that's on the way to world conquest, Iran should surely be spending more on the military: their $10 billion defense budget is relatively minuscule, as Juan Cole points out, "on the order of that of Norway or Singapore." Their air force hardly exists. If global hegemony is indeed their secret agenda, then hadn't they better get cracking?
And while this Fox News-like hyperbole may be amusing, there's a sinister aspect to Bibi's bombast: his downplaying of the relative danger of ISIS, or the "Islamic State," as he calls it, in relation to Tehran. It's clear the Israelis see Iran as the main danger to their interests, but isn't it a bridge too far to minimize the threat posed by ISIS, which, after all, now shares a border with the Jewish state? Or maybe it all makes perfect sense: ISIS fighters haven't traversed that border once. Indeed, it seems to be a popular spot from which Israelis watch the Syrian civil war as if it were an episode of Downton Abbey. And then there are those accounts of wounded Syrian rebel fighters being transported to Israeli hospitals, where they are treated free of charge and then returned to the battlefield...