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Decisive Storm fuels Obama-Netanyahu dispute Open in fullscreen

Munir al-Mawri

Decisive Storm fuels Obama-Netanyahu dispute

No love lost here [Getty]

Date of publication: 30 March, 2015

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Analysis: The launch of the Saudi-led operation in Yemen has apparently caused the Israeli prime minister to question US commitment to allies' security.


Yemen, US, Israel

In the four days since the launch of Operation Decisive Storm, another, nearly silent, conflict has raged between the Obama administration and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Mutual accusations have grown increasingly sharp between the two sides, suggesting the bridges left between the two men have been all but burned.

In context of this tension, Israel seems to believe the Saudi boldness in waging a war that does not directly involve the US is the strongest evidence that US allies in the region have lost confidence in the Obama administration.

It seems Israel wants to say that Obama cannot be relied upon to protect US allies in the region, and that he has turned his back on these countries' interests.


Barely a day after the Obama administration accused Israel of spying on the negotiations with Iran, the Israeli prime minister escalated the situation on Sunday to an unprecedented level. Netanyahu accused Obama of establishing an alliance with Iran and its proxies in Yemen, which he called the Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis, implicitly linking the nuclear talks with Tehran to increasing Iranian influence in Yemen.

The purpose of these Israeli accusations is to imply the president has no regard for the security of his allies, including Israel.

The purpose of these Israeli accusations is to imply the president has no regard for the security of his allies, including Israel.

The Israeli leadership sees Obama's bid to secure a deal with Iran over its nuclear programme as irresponsibly risking Israel's security - and even existence.

Netanyahu hinted that he was aware of the contents of the deal with Iran, saying the framework agreement expected to be signed before the end of the month "bears out all of our fears, and even more than that".

Netanyahu's comments indicate that he supports the war against the Houthi group in Yemen. In effect, however, this support for Riyadh from Tel Aviv could help the Houthis politically, and damage the Saudi-led coalition seeking to uproot the Houthi threat and rein in Iranian expansiveness.

Officials at the Obama administration reportedly leaked to The Wall Street Journal that Israel had spied on American negotiators in Lausanne and learned the contents of the talks. Israel officialy denies the accusations, but Netanyahu's insights suggest they may be true.

Pro-Israel figures said, in turn, that the US learned of the spying by itself spying on Israeli spies.

Israel also capitalised on the news of the defection of an Iranian journalist covering the talks in Switzerland to highlight the accusations the journalist made in pro-Israel media outlets, suggesting that all the American negotiators in Lausanne were interested in was defending the Iranian position.

Pro-Israel outlets in the US also reiterated previous accusations made against Obama, that he had made great efforts to help topple Netanyahu in the Israeli election, though unsuccessfully. Obama has denied such accusations, and says his differences with Netanyahu are political and not personal.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

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