On Monday, 20 January 2014, the agreements entered into between Iran and the so-called P5+1 will come into effect that will relieve Iran of some of the sanctions against it and release billions of much needed dollars into the Iranian economy.
On top of that, President Obama seems to have prevailed in his stoush with a large bipartisan group of Senators wanting to push a bill in the Senate that was pushing for increased sanctions against Iran that would be triggered at the slightest sign of faltering on the agreement by Iran. Also imbedded in that bill is a clause that gave Israel the trigger to start a war with Iran that would oblige the US to automatically enjoin Israel in such a war. While that stoush isn’t quite over yet – it hasn’t yet been withdrawn – it does seem to leave Netanyahu in the cold as far unilaterally attacking Iran is concerned and not knowing that he can rely on the US for support.
But it’s not quite as cold as may first appear for Netanyahu.
What the bipartisan bill has demonstrated is that there is considerable support among Congress on both sides for Netanyahu and his push for war. While the majority of ordinary American people are dead set against the US heading off to another war, clearly the majority of Congress don’t hold the same view as most ordinary Americans.
Netanyahu knows this and, since whether or not America goes to war is a decision made by Congress and not the American people, one has to wonder if Netanyahu is willing to take a punt in light of the new paradigm.
If Netanyahu made the decision to unilaterally attack Iran it would seem likely that Congress would consider their position as fait accompli and more than likely immediately declare their support for Israel and enjoin them in a confrontation that would likely be aimed not just at destroying Iran’s nuclear facilities, but at actual regime change.
All Netanyahu has to do is find an excuse. Everything else is in place. To launch an attack against Iran will almost certainly tip the balance in Congress in Netanyahu’s favour. The only reason Obama isn’t on side at the moment is because he knows the American people aren’t interested in more war. But once his hand is forced by both Netanyahu and Congress, Obama and even the American people once they see it as inevitable, will soon be on side.