The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), America’s pro-Zionist Israeli lobby group, will meet from Sunday 3 May through to 5 May to determine the Obama administration’s foreign policy for the coming year. America’s foreign policy chief for the Middle East, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, will be speaking to the conference via satellite. Netanyahu will be flying in to Washington to meet with Obama on 18 May to discuss the outcome of the AIPAC conference .
While Netanyahu has made it quite clear that there will never be a sovereign Palestinian state, he and President Obama are likely to be at loggerheads over Obama’s demand that Netanyahu at least keep up an appearance that Israel is willing to talk about peace – even if it doesn’t involve actually talking about statehood for the Palestinians.
Besides the Palestinian question, heading up discussions is likely to be Israel’s perennial Iran ‘problem’. Israel, who like to tell the world that Iran is a problem because it is seeking nuclear weapons for the sole purpose of bombing Israel out of existence, actually has a problem with Iran only inasmuch that Iran is now the only country of any influence that stands between Israel and its realisation of their expansionist dreams of a Greater Israel that includes the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and south Lebanon up to the Litani River.
While discussions that are in full view of the world between Obama and his Middle East policy chief Netanyahu, are likely to be cordial and result in outcomes that are likely to seem mutually agreeable, behind the scenes Netanyahu will be sounding out Obama on the likelihood of US support if Israel made a preemptive unilateral strike against Iran and or Iran’s allies, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas.
President Obama needs to tread a careful path. On the one hand he needs to show both his fellow Americans and the peoples of the world that he is a President that can bring America back from the dark inglorious days of the George W. Bush administration and he can only do this by seemingly being tough with Israeli demands and giving the appearance of not being so hardline on Iran. On the other hand, however, Obama cannot upset the Israeli lobby too much and has already demonstrated his support for Israel when he did nothing to stop the Israeli carnage in the Gaza in December and January using President-elect protocols as an excuse for saying nothing while hundreds died.
In public, Obama is unlikely to give any succour to the Israelis with regard to attacking Iran with a view to regime change. Netanyahu’s only option therefore, will be to manipulate a casus belli which will result in Israel appearing to have no option other than to attack Iran and then having done so, hope that Obama will see as fait accompli the necessity to support Israel against Iran albeit with the appearance of such support being given reluctantly.
The future of America’s Middle East foreign policy is likely to be determined at this upcoming AIPAC conference.
Frightening, isn’t it.
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