I am afraid that I have to add my voice to the discussion about the speech or should I say, performance of Bibi Netanyahu at the Congress. There was so much discussion leading up to this event about the purpose that the various parties had in creating this situation. I am not going to repeat all of that, but I will assume you hear a great deal about it.
Personally I had a lot of difficulties trying to figure out what was going on. Bibi said that he was giving his speech to have an impact on the negotiations with Iran, but it was hard to see how this would have an impact. The negotiations are being lead on the American side by the very people, he pissed off by accepting the invitation to address a joint session of Congress from the Well of the House which was extended by John Boehner, the Speaker of the House. If Bibi wanted to influence Congress he could have spoken to them privately. If he wanted to influence the American People (like their opinion matters), he could have found a different venue for a major speech and then followed up with interviews on the various Cable Networks.
He said he had to make his speech before a deal was done, but that does not make a lot of sense. Congress will have no role prior to the deal being signed by the Administration. To have a role, they would have to pass legislation which they appear to be very bad at. They would need 60 votes in the Senate and then face a veto by Obama so they would actually need 66 votes in the Senate which is something I don’t think could easily happen. It would have been much better if Bibi spoke to Congress after a deal was signed and asked them to find some way to block it assuming it was really the bad deal he projects.
That leaves the possibility that he did this for political purposes given that the Israeli election is just two weeks away. This is certainly possible and I can imagine this influenced the timetable. But I find it hard to believe that Bibi used a silver bullet for this purpose. But I am not really sure.
So what could be the other reasons? I imaged a behind the scenes deal between Netanyahu and the Republicans. The Republicans asked Netanyahu to speak and said that they would make every effort to block the Obama’s deal if he did. But that still does not make sense to me for the reasons I already mentioned with respect to passing veto proof legislation.
So then I realized what happened. The deal is actually between Obama, Republican, Iran and Israel. The leaks about some of the aspects of the deal, like it being limited to just ten years, are being done on purpose. That way, the real deal will be seen as much better than what was imagined and perhaps seen as good deal. And who can bless such a deal? You got it, Bibi. Bibi will look strong. Boehner and the Republicans will look strong for inviting Bibi and Obama will look, well, stronger in that he got a deal done with Iran. Bibi will say he can go along with the agreement. The Republicans will go along with the agreement claiming that their action in inviting Bibi is responsible for the improvements. The Iranians will also feel good realizing the Americans are not so much different than they are (duplicitous).