UNCERTAINTY FOR BIBI: Latests Polls Show a Close Call for Netanyahu

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If Benjamin Netanyahu loses this election, there will be a whole lot of trouble coming our way.

Israel’s elections are tomorrow, and the last polling there shows the outcome is uncertain — and that Netanyahu’s Likud Party could possibly lose. “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned supporters at a rally here Sunday that he and his Likud party may not win Tuesday’s election, a potentially dramatic fall for a consummate political survivor whose nine years in office transformed him into the public face of contemporary Israel,” the Washington Post writes. “A loss by Netanyahu — or a razor-thin win and the prospect that he would be forced to enter into an unwieldy “government of national unity” with his rivals — would mark a sobering reversal for Israel’s security hawks, in a country where the electorate has been moving steadily rightward for the past 15 years. The final round of opinion polls Friday showed Netanyahu and his right-wing Likud party facing a surprisingly strong challenge by Isaac Herzog, leader of the center-left Labor Party, and his running mate, former peace negotiator ­Tzipi Livni, who hold a small but steady lead.” More: “Netanyahu charged in a radio interview Sunday that hostile Israeli journalists and shadowy ‘foreign powers’ were behind an anti-Netanyahu campaign that could be his undoing.”

Netanyahu losing wouldn’t be good news for U.S. hawks on Iran

It’s unclear the exact impact that Netanyahu losing on Tuesday could have on U.S. domestic politics, especially when it comes to the Iran nuclear debate. But it wouldn’t be good news for hawks. Think about it: Netanyahu comes to the U.S. Congress to make his final argument — on Iran, against President Obama’s foreign policy — and his party loses what had seemed to be a winnable election? Right or wrong, Netanyahu getting involved in domestic U.S. politics would be blamed for the surprising loss. So tomorrow is going to be a big story.

Will Senate Democrats defy Obama White House on Iran deal?

Regarding the Washington debate over the Iran talks, Politico writes that it’s increasingly likely that Democrats could buck the White House. “Even as the White House ramps up pressure on Congress to stay out of its negotiations with Iran on a nuclear agreement, Republicans are on the brink of veto-proof majorities for legislation that could undercut any deal. And that support has held up even after the uproar last week over the GOP’s letter to Iranian leaders warning against an agreement.” On “Meet the Press” yesterday, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) — as loyal of an ally to Obama as you will find — said he remained a co-sponsor of the legislation drafted by Senate Foreign Relations Chair Bob Corker (R-TN) to ensure that Congress approves of any nuclear deal the U.S. (along with Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China) reaches with Iran. “The deal that is being negotiated with Iran is about what will Iran do to get out from other congressional sanctions,” Kaine said. “And so it is unrealistic to think that Congress is not going to be involved in looking at a final deal. I am a pro-diplomacy senator. And I supported the negotiations to this point. But any deal that touches upon the congressional statutory sanctions is going to get a review of Congress.”

What this debate is all about

Whether Congress gives the White House until June for a final-final deal: Here was the letter that White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough sent to Corker over the weekend: “If we successfully negotiate a framework by the end of this month, and a final deal by the end of June, we expect a robust debate in Congress.” So what the White House is saying: Debate and pass legislation not after a framework is reached (in March), but after final-final approval (June).

Read more: NBC News


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