Today the US government reimposed all sanctions on Iran lifted with the 2015 nuclear deal forged by former president Barack Obama. The sanctions “will hit oil exports, shipping and banks, and make it difficult to do business with the oil-rich nation.” (BBC)
Europeans are vowing to violate the sanctions, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is over the moon. He spoke at the Knesset today, in praise of Donald Trump, a day ahead of the US midterms.
This day is a historic day. This is the day on which the United States, led by President Trump, imposed the most severe sanctions on Iran, the most severe sanctions imposed on Iran since the beginning of the effort to stop its aggression… And the second wave of sanctions, especially the sanctions imposed on the SWIFT, the banking clearing system used by the Iranian regime, will add a very severe blow to Iran’s terrorist regime.
I believed that sanctions must include this element of credit clearance. I raised this several times, even during my last meeting with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and I am pleased that the US has decided to include this component, the credit component…
I would like to thank President Donald Trump again for a courageous, determined and important decision. I think that this contributes to stability, security and peace…
This is a great day for the State of Israel. This is a great day for the people of Israel. This is a great day for the future of Israel.”
Donald Trump’s largest donor, Sheldon Adelson, is also a big supporter of Netanyahu. Adelson’s issue is Israel, and he and his wife have poured more than $55 million into the Republican effort in the midterms. Adelson sought Trump’s dramatic policy moves in the Middle East, tearing up the Iran deal, moving the embassy to Jerusalem, and defunding the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.
Netanyahu’s praise for Trump is sure to aggravate Israel’s image problems among U.S. Jews, about 3/4 of whom vote Democratic. Haaretz’s Allison Kaplan Somer has said that American Jews may “never forgive” Israeli leaders for refusing to blame Trump in the wake of the Pittsburgh massacre. As IfNotNow writes:
Not only did Israel’s leaders choose Trump over American Jews but they did so easily, naturally, without hesitation, leaping to the defense of a political leader who is actively & openly fanning the flames of hatred that now has an unprecedented death toll.
Meantime, Netanyahu has backed up Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, or MBS, on the murder of a Saudi journalist in October in Turkey. Haaretz reports, while what happened in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul is horrifying, Netanyahu says Iran is a bigger concern.
“What happened in the Istanbul consulate was horrendous and it should be duly dealt with. Yet at the same time I say it, it is very important for the stability of the world, for the region and for the world, that Saudi Arabia remain stable,” Netanyahu said…
“[T]he larger problem is Iran and we have to make sure that Iran does not continue the malign activities that it has been doing over the last few weeks in Europe.
He cited alleged Iranian plans for attacks in Copenhagen and Paris.
Aaron David Miller on the Saudi piece of the puzzle, says the American interest has been sacrificed.
Netanyahu lawyering for MBS’s in Washington says Khashoggi’s murder is horrible; but MBS too big to fail. Israel and Saudi now have something in common. The US special relationship with both has moved from special to exclusive to detriment of US interests.