Even before their fateful encounter at the White House this Monday, US President Barack Obama made it clear, on the record, that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu wouldn't face him down.
Or did he?
No matter what the rhetorical gymnastics performed by Obama, a case can be made that Bibi the Bully wags the American dog full-time. Worse; the Likud-dominated Israeli administration, single-handedly, is playing with dispatching vast spheres of the global economy into total depression, as its hysterics progressively hurl oil prices towards the stratosphere.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) get-together in Washington takes place in an intimidating, cavernous Colosseum where the wealthy crowd ululates in unison for Iranian blood. A passable tactician but a lousy strategist, Bibi the Bully's only game in town is "Bomb Iran."
This is justified by the "existential threat" posed by non-nuclear Iran to a nuclear-armed garrison state/settler colony that is literally, graphically wiping a whole people (the Palestinians) off the map.
Khamenei's words must be reproduced again and again and again -- because the baying-for-blood US corporate media simply won't do it. He said ...
"The Iranian nation has never pursued and will never pursue nuclear weapons. There is no doubt that the decision makers in the countries opposing us know well that Iran is not after nuclear weapons because the Islamic Republic, logically, religiously and theoretically, considers the possession of nuclear weapons a grave sin and believes the proliferation of such weapons is senseless, destructive and dangerous."
Mr president, tear down this wall
Yet once again, the graphic proof that Israel exercises virtual complete control of US foreign policy was the sight of an American president defensively addressing the AIPAC Colosseum. Apart from a festival of Orwellian intimations, to his credit at least Obama emphasized the word "diplomacy," did not specify any "red lines," nor endorsed the mere "capability" of Iran to build a nuclear weapon as a casus belli. After all, he knows he already has more American Jewish voters in the bag than among the US electorate as a whole.
But ultimately Obama did cave in to Bibi the Bully -- as the rhetoric was not unlike Tony Soprano's and the ominous "military component" remained very much on the table.
Still, Bibi the Bully -- mimicking his voracity in devouring Palestinian land -- wants more.
Whatever route they take -- overflying Syria and Turkey, and even if they hit the crucial targets of Natanz, Arak, Isfahan and Fordow -- Israel's Jericho missiles have zero chances of paralyzing, not to mention destroying, the complex decision apparatus of the Islamic Republic. Forget about "humiliation" and regime change. Even Major General Amos Gilad, head of the Israeli Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Security Bureau, acknowledged last October that Israel cannot win. That's why Bibi the Bully badly wants to extract a formal promise that the US will do the dirty work.
Bibi the Bully badly wants a Republican to take out Obama in November. Obama knows he can't be defeated by King of Flip Flop Mitt Romney or Ayatollah Rick Santorum. But he can be defeated by the proverbial US gas pump. The problem is, submitting or not to Bibi the Bully's absolutist demands, oil prices go up; they have already have by 20%, and this growth may reach 50% or more if speculators deem an attack imminent.
Tehran may hold the key to defuse the whole psychodrama -- and the demented speculation on oil prices. By late March or early April, with his authority immensely strengthened, negotiators on behalf of Ayatollah Khamenei will be back on the table discussing the nuclear dossier with the P5+1 - US, France, Britain, Russia and China, plus Germany.