World News Brief, Wednesday March 4

Netanyahu speaks to US Congress; Australia boosts its forces in Iraq; Obama criticises China's proposed counterterrorism law; Boko Haram video shows two beheaded men; EU likely to fall short of climate targets; and more 


Netanyahu to Address U.S. Congress

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address a joint session of Congress on Tuesday on Iran. His speech is expected to warn against (FT) negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran, a deal he says could "threaten the survival of Israel." The Israeli leader's speech has deepened tensions (NYT) in the U.S.-Israeli relationship, particularly with disagreements on how to curb Iranian nuclear activity. Republican congressional leaders invited Netanyahu to speak without consulting the White House, and the address comes two weeks before Netanyahu is up for reelection. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart are meeting in Geneva Tuesday for a second day of talks on Iran's nuclear program. In an interview on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama said Monday that Iran must stop (Reuters) sensitive nuclear activity for a decade.


"[Netanyahu's] words will not matter. What will matter is the obvious symbolism of his presence in a partisan and political event. Netanyahu will denounce Iran and its evil ways, but behind these denunciations his real target lies elsewhere. The speech will be a divisive event, in which, for his own reasons, Netanyahu has entered the American political arena and thrown in his lot with President Obama’s opponents. In this political mêlée, Iran becomes the means to weaken him," argues John Limbert in the Guardian.

"Khamenei is also a first-rate strategic genius who is patiently negotiating his way to a bomb. After years of defiance, Khamenei seems to appreciate that his most advantageous path to nuclear arms is through an agreement. To continue to build up his atomic infrastructure without the protective umbrella of an agreement exposes Iran to economic sanctions and the possibility of military retribution," writes CFR's Ray Takeyh in the Washington Post.

"U.S. and Israeli interests overlap on some issues but they are not identical. It might be in Israel’s interest for the United States to insist on zero Iranian enrichment and for the United States to go to war to secure that goal, but such an attack is definitely not in America’s interest. Instead, America’s strategic position would be enhanced if it could get a diplomatic deal that kept Iran from going nuclear and opened the door to a more constructive relationship," writes Harvard's Stephen Walt in Foreign Policy.


Australia Boosts Forces in Iraq

Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed the deployment (Australian) of an additional three hundred Australian soldiers to help train Iraqi forces fighting the self-declared Islamic State. The joint training mission with New Zealand is set to begin in May and will run for up to two years. The 170 Australian special forces deployed to Iraq last year will be pulled out in September.

CHINA: U.S. President Barack Obama criticized China's proposed counterterrorism law (Reuters), expressing concerns that legislation that would negatively affect U.S. tech companies operating in China. The proposed law requires technology firms to hand over encryption codes and to install security backdoors that provide Beijing with surveillance access. 


Boko Haram shows video of two beheaded men

EU likely to fall short of climate targets

This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on