by David Ignatius, The Daily Star, Lebanon
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lobbied powerfully against a nuclear agreement with Iran in a well-crafted speech to Congress Tuesday.
Playing for huge stakes two weeks ahead of the Israeli elections, Netanyahu gave what may prove to be the defining speech of his career.
Or Netanyahu, having bet his political future on the visit to Washington, could lose in the Israeli elections on March 17 .
Obama hopes for just such an evolution toward postrevolutionary sanity in Tehran over the decadelong duration of the planned agreement, and Netanyahu is right that it would be good to put this in writing.
An agreement would also, as Netanyahu warned, mean a new era of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey sought to achieve the same “nuclear threshold” status the pact would give Iran.
What Netanyahu did Tuesday was to raise the bar for Obama. Any deal that the administration signs will have to address the concerns Netanyahu voiced.