March 21, 2013
By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times Online

Uncle Marx never thought about this one: history repeating itself as double tragedy after already being a farce in the first place. Let’s examine the case in hand. First of all, take a close look at this Wall Street Journal op-ed from September 2002, in the hysterical run-up towards the invasion of Iraq.

Title: The Case for Toppling Saddam. Author: Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu – then out of the Israeli government.

It’s all here: a “dictator who is rapidly expanding his arsenal of biological and chemical weapons” and “who is feverishly trying to acquire nuclear weapons”; the Saddam equals Hitler parallel; the portrayal of (de facto nuclear power) Israel as helpless victims of Palestinian “terror”; the claim that Saddam could produce nuclear fuel “in centrifuges the size of washing machines that can be hidden throughout the country – and Iraq is a very big country”; the cheerleading of a unilateral pre-emptive strike; and the inevitable conclusion that “nothing less than dismantling his regime will do”.

Fast-forward over 10 years to this week in Israel. The scene: press conference of Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and visiting US President Barack Obama. Anyone watching it live on al-Jazeera, from the Middle East to East Asia, must have thought they were watching a geopolitical Back to the Future – and frankly, Michael J Fox at least oozed charm.

No charm here; this was more like an eerie, suit-and-tie Return of the Living Dead. Bibi and Obama were at pains to stress the US-Israel bond was “eternal”. Actually Bibi preferred to stress that Iran’s (non-existent) nuclear weapons posed an existential threat to Israel. He repeated, over and over again, that Obama was adamant; Israel was entitled to do anything to defend itself, and its security would not be anyone’s responsibility, even Washington’s.

Obama, for his part, once again stressed that Washington’s official policy towards Iran was not containment – but to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. He stressed the “window of opportunity” was getting narrower; and, of course, that all options were on the table.

The thought that the president of the United States (POTUS) willfully ignores the verdict of his own alphabet soup of intel agencies on Iran might raise eyebrows in a rational world. But this is not reality; more like a trashy reality show.

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