Monday, February 18, 2019

The Arab World and Its New Relationship With Israel

Thanks to Benjamin Netanyahu, the world leader who never saw a war with Iran that he didn't like, we have an insider's viewpoint of what happened at a private, press-free session on Iran that was held at the recent Ministerial to Promote Future Peace and Security in the Middle East held in Warsaw.

This non-official video which was uploaded to the Israeli Prime Minister's official YouTube channel and reported on by Haaretz shows Bahrain's Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, Saudi diplomat Adel al Jubeir wax philosophically on the toxic role of Iran in the Middle East

Here is the video in its entirety:

Very shortly after Haaretz reported on the video, it was removed from the Prime Minister's YouTube channel.

Let's look at a few quotes:

1.) Bahraini Foreign Minister Al Khalifa (33 second mark):

"We grew up talking about the Palestine-Israel dispute as the most important issue that we had to see solved....

But then, at a later stage, we saw a bigger challenge, we saw a more toxic one - in fact the most toxic in our modern history - which came from the Islamic Republic.  From Iran....

But we saw another challenge from 1979 which came to us from Tehran...

When it comes to Palestine - Israel...there was Camp David Agreement, there was Madrid, there was many other ways of solving it but, if it wasn't for the toxic money, guns and foot soldiers of the Islamic Republic, I think that we would have been much closer today in solving this issue with Israel.  But this is a serious (indistinct) is preventing us from moving forward in any way.  Be it Syria, be it Yemen, be it Iraq, be it anywhere and my country is under threat (from Iran).

(8 minute 10 second mark) What we ask Iran is... to extend your hand to the region not into this region because we will be on our toes 24/7 facing them."

It looks like Bahrain, an influential player in the Persian Gulf, has hung the Palestinians out to dry, cozying up to Israel in its drive to eliminate Iran and its influence in the region.

2.) Saudi Diplomat Al Jubeir:

He opens at the 8 minute 25 second mark by noting the three key issues with Iran, its nuclear weapons program, its ballistic missile development program and how Iran is giving these missiles to terrorist organizations and its support for terrorism and terrorists by paying them money, blowing up embassies and killing diplomats and that Iran should be punished for these infractions. 

Here is one of his more colourful comments (9 minute 22 second mark)

"The JCPOA was signed and everybody thought, okay, now everything is fine.  Iran in ten years is going to turn into Wonderland and let's ignore the other stuff.  Meanwhile, here in the region, we are on the front of all the other stuff that Iran is doing and for us, ten years is the blink of an eye.  So Iran ends up with a nuclear weapon theoretically capable of doing one very quickly.....Who is going to suffer?  We are.  Iran gives ballistic missiles to Houthis.  Who suffers?  We do in the region.

It is interesting to see how at least two Arabic Persian Gulf states have piled on to the anti-Iran train but, perhaps there is an explanation beyond their obvious allegiance to the American-driven agenda in the region:

1.) Iranians are not Arabs, they are Persians.

2.) Religious differences - Shia vs. Sunni as shown on this map:

As you can see, Iran is primarily Sunni while most of its neighbours are primarily Shia including Bahrain (excepting its ruling family) and Saudi Arabia.  Sunni Muslims get along with Shia Muslims about as well as Catholics and Protestants got along in 1980s Northern Ireland.

It is interesting to see how key parts of the Arab world are now focussing on Iran as the great enemy in sharp contrast to the period between Israel's formation in 1948 the decades following when many of these same Arab nations' agenda was to wipe Israel from the face of the world in defense of their Palestinian brothers.  My how the narrative has changed, all in the name of reducing Iran to a defenceless, oil-rich client state of the United States.  Perhaps these recent Middle East developments can be summarized with this saying:

The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

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