Wednesday, March 04, 2015

The Aftermath: The Israel-Sunni Coalition

King Abdullah & Prime Minister Netanyahu

Arab Commentators Back Netanyahu - Yochanan Visser

Tzvi Yechezkieli, the Arab affairs expert of Channel 10, said that many Arab commentators supported the content of Netanyahu’s speech. He cited a commentator on Al-Arabiya TV, who had said that he could have written a large part of the speech.

Yechezkieli said that the Arab countries are convinced that Obama will not safeguard their security interests in the current negotiations with Iran and will not protect them against Iranian aggression.

Yesterday, Faisal J. Abbas, the powerful Editor-in-Chief of Al Arabiya English, published an editorial under the headline: “President Obama, listen to Netanyahu on Iran.” Abbas’ editorial was a reaction to Netanyahu’s speech to AIPAC yesterday.

He wrote: “In just a few words, Mr. Netanyahu managed to accurately summarize a clear and present danger, not just to Israel (which obviously is his concern), but to other U.S. allies in the region.”

The Saudi Daily Al-Jazirah published an article written by Dr. Ahmad Al-Faraj, who supported Netanyahu’s decision to speak to the U.S. Congress against the upcoming deal with Iran. He called Obama “one of the worst American presidents” and said that Netanyahu’s campaign against the deal is justified because it also serves the interests of the Gulf States.
[Western Journalism]

Washington Post Demands Serious Obama Response

[T]he Washington Post chided US President Barack Obama for brushing off Netanyahu's concerns.

"Mr. Netanyahu’s arguments deserve a serious response from the Obama administration — one it has yet to provide," the Post wrote. "The White House has sought to dismiss the Israeli leader as a politician seeking reelection...Such rhetoric will not satisfy those in and out of Congress who share Mr. Netanyahu’s legitimate questions."
[Jerusalem Post]
- Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael D. Shear

President Obama's task of selling a potential nuclear agreement with Iran to a skeptical Congress became far harder after an impassioned speech by Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel to lawmakers already nervous about the deal. "The president has a very heavy burden of persuasion here," said former Rep. Lee H. Hamilton, a Democrat and onetime chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee who now directs Indiana University's Center on Congress. "That task is made much more difficult when a powerful case is stated against the emerging deal, as the prime minister has done."  
(New York Times)
- Editorial

The concerns about a prospective nuclear agreement with Iran raised by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu deserve a serious response from the Obama administration - one it has yet to provide. His speech singled out "two major concessions": the acceptance of a large Iranian nuclear infrastructure, and a time limit on any restrictions, so that in as little as a decade Iran would be free to expand its production of nuclear materials.
He asserted that the Iranian regime, engaged in a "march of conquest, subjugation and terror," could not be expected to change during the decade-long term of an agreement. He proposed that controls on the nuclear program should be maintained "for as long as Iran continues its aggression in the region and in the world."
Rather than continuing its political attacks on Netanyahu, the administration ought to explain why the deal it is contemplating is justified - or reconsider it
(Washington Post)

What Netanyahu did was raise the bar for Obama.
Any deal that the administration signs will have to address the concerns Netanyahu voiced. Given what's at stake in the Middle East, that's probably a good thing. As administration officials said at the outset of negotiations, no deal is better than a bad one. The Israeli prime minister's speech served to sharpen the focus on what a good deal would look like. 
(Washington Post)

One must admit, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did get it right when it came to dealing with Iran. The Israeli PM managed to hit the nail right on the head when he said that Middle Eastern countries are collapsing and that "terror organizations, mostly backed by Iran, are filling in the vacuum." In just a few words, Mr. Netanyahu managed to accurately summarize a clear and present danger, not just to Israel, but to other U.S. allies in the region.
Nobody disagrees that ridding Iran of its nuclear ambitions is paramount. However, the real Iranian threat is not just the regime's nuclear ambitions, but its expansionist approach and state-sponsored terrorism activities which are still ongoing. 
Israel Speaks for the Sunnis - Nicholas M. Gallagher

An Israeli prime minister came to Washington not just as the voice of Israel, but also of much of the Sunni Arab world.
Netanyahu's speech was a crystallization of the policy that every Sunni, non-Iran-dominated capital holds today. His analysis of Iran's recent progress in its hegemonic quest, his case that the oil crash gives the West fresh leverage when combined with sanctions, and his warning that this agreement would lead to a regional nuclear arms race - the King of Saudi Arabia would have said much the same.
Both Israel and the Sunni Arab states have become so alarmed by Iranian advances and the receding American security guarantees that they have made common cause. Both want Iran's nuclear and conventional ambitions stopped.  
(American Interest)


Arab Allies Fear Obama's Deal - Yaroslav Trofimov

America's other key allies across the Middle East - such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE - are just as distraught as Israel over the U.S. administration's pursuit of a nuclear bargain with Iran. These allies fret that America is about to ditch its long-standing friends to win love from their common foe, at the very moment that this foe is on the offensive across the region.

Trying to assuage such concerns, Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Saudi Arabia to discuss with King Salman and foreign ministers of other Gulf nations their worries that the nuclear deal may enable Iran to dominate the region.
(Wall Street Journal)
Stand Up to Persian Hegemony - Editorial

Saudi Arabia believes that the Middle East cannot calm down except by cutting Iran's role down to size and preventing it from continuing to meddle in its neighbors' affairs. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt have been the focal states in confronting the threat of terrorism, forming an Arab front that stands up to all of Iran's attempts to impose Persian hegemony and secure Persian expansion in the region.
(Al-Watan-Saudi Arabia-3March2015)

Saudi Arabia: Iran Taking over Iraq - Ghazanfar Ali Khan

Iran's belligerent policies, which are hampering all plans for restoring peace and security in the Middle East, came under fire during talks between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the foreign ministers of the GCC states on Thursday in Riyadh. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal said, "Tehran today promotes terrorism (and) it occupies lands...these are not the features of a country that seeks to improve its relations with its neighbors."

He said that the involvement of Iran in the push to retake the Iraqi city of Tikrit from the Islamic State was a prime example of what worries Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, saying that "Iran was taking over Iraq." 
(Arab News-Saudi Arabia)

A Naive U.S. Welcome for Iran in Iraq - Editorial

The Tikrit operation raises multiple red flags. The U.S. was excluded by the Iraqi government of Haider al-Abadi; meanwhile, Iran has dispatched its own ground forces, artillery and drones. The assistance is being overseen by a notorious general, Qassem Suleimani, who previously supervised attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq. 

By allowing Iran to take the military lead in Tikrit and other parts of Iraq, the U.S. might speed the destruction of the Islamic State. But the administration is also allowing Iran to take another step toward replacing the terrorist regime with its own malevolent hegemony.
(Washington Post)


LHwrites said...

You had mentioned the Washington post editorial in another response but since it appear here I will answer your comment here.
The Washington post editorial is wrong as is Netanyahu because Iran managed to get close to nuclear under very harsh sanctions. The world leaders understand they have to engage Iran with the threat of sanctions because sanctions alone didn't work. Indeed, with sanctions and lack of negotiations Obama is right---it will eventually lead to war because that is the direction Iran and Israel were heading. And there are countries that the world failed to stop from becoming nuclear: North Korea and Pakistan, that would not allow sanctions to stop them from helping Iran if they choose to. New ways need to be tried for new times and that is why Obama keeps bringing up the mistakes Netanyahu and the GOP made in the past about Iraq. Because poor judgement is relevant.

Bruce said...

In this circumstance, the only poor judgment is President Obama ignoring an emerging coalition of Israel & Sunni Arab states. You'd think this would interest him with his dreams about a Palestinian-Israeli agreement. But just as he ignores the peace implications of this coalition, he has taken the wrong side in the Sunni-Shia war.