Rami G. Khouri writes: The contentious diplomatic drama of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before the U.S. Congress last week has now expanded into political farce, after 47 Republican senators sent a letter to the Iranian supreme leader this week.
The letter basically insulted the Iranians by suggesting that they did not know how the American political system operates, because, they argued, the next administration could reverse any agreement President Barack Obama reaches with Tehran.
The tension between the Republican-dominated Congress and Obama is nearly a constitutional crisis over the president’s prerogative to conduct foreign policy. It is also quite unusual to see a sitting Congress actively trying to thwart a foreign policy objective that the president is actively pursuing in close coordination with five other world powers.
Those issues will blow over in time, but the more lasting impact of these developments might well be the evolving relationship between the Israeli government, the Republican Party in the United States and the traditional bipartisan position in the U.S. to policy toward Israel and wider Middle Eastern issues. Both the right-wing Netanyahu-led coalition government and the Republican Party in Congress have reasons of their own to challenge President Barack Obama, and they have chosen the nuclear agreement being negotiated with Iran as the issue on which to confront him in a very hard and very public way. [Continue reading…]