Posts Tagged ‘saudi arabia’
In Jerusalem at the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, more than a hundred thousand Muslim worshipers convened and listened to a Friday sermon that attacked not only the State of Israel, but also the very prospect of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority:
Tens of thousands of Muslims poured into the heavily guarded Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem for the last Friday prayers of Ramadan as Palestinians protested against newly re-launched peace talks.
Israeli police put the number of worshippers at 160,000 to 170,000, while Muslim authorities said it exceeded 200,000.
In his Friday sermon Sheikh Yusef Abu Sneineh criticized the re-launch on Thursday of Middle East peace talks in Washington, saying “these negotiations are a joke.”
He went on to accuse Israel of seeking normalization with the Arab and Muslim world while “continuing its colonization” of the occupied West Bank through the building of Jewish settlements.
When one considers that Saudi Arabia heavily regulates the practice of Islam and that Egypt has a long history of regulating sermons, it makes this kind of liberty, in a place far more threatened by Islamist extremism, all the more impressive. Even liberal Europe fails to display the degree of religious tolerance that exists in Israel.
And yet, if you listen to the European media or the Arab media, only Israel is the world’s oppressor. Perhaps rather than condemning Israel, they should seek to emulate Israel.
Note: This piece is cross-posted at View From Damavand.
Lee Smith, a rising star in the Middle East analysis world, has an excellent exploration over at Newsweek of the alliance against an Iranian bomb in the region.
Although most fear an Israeli attack on Iran, Smith lays out the case for much broader support for an attack. Indeed, he presents an Israeli attack as a backup to a far more compelling case for an American-led attack on behalf of Arab states. In the final paragraph he notes:
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal explained to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that sanctions against Iran did not offer the immediate solution required to stop the revolutionary regime’s push for a nuclear weapon. This sentiment was echoed a few weeks back by the United Arab Emirates’ ambassdor to Washington, Yousef Al Otaiba, who calculated that bombing Iran was preferable to an Iranian bomb. Even as the ambassador later backtracked, the Middle East’s worst-kept secret was now in the public record: the Arabs are even more concerned than the Israelis about an Iranian bomb.
The Persians have a history of being closer to the West than do the Arabs. The alignment of so many disparate interests against Iran is a sad reflection of the disastrous course that the Ayatollahs and Ahmadinejad have taken. They have converted the Persian nation into a uniter of some of the world’s most bitter enemies … and against Iran.
I have no doubt that Israel will not permit Iran to obtain a nuclear bomb. Israelis across the political spectrum perceive an Iranian nuke as an intolerable existential threat and are willing to tolerate almost anything (particularly any diplomatic consequences or military consequences from Iran’s proxies) more than such a threat.
What has interested me most is whether other nations, specifically Saudi Arabia, the United States, or France might preempt the need for such an attack by carrying out an attack of their own. After all, Iran attempted to destroy Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor in Osirak before Israel finished the job.
And, today, we get pretty solid news of at least some coordination between Israel and Saudi Arabia from The Times:
The Israeli press has already carried unconfirmed reports that high-ranking officials, including Ehud Olmert, the former prime minister, held meetings with Saudi colleagues. The reports were denied by Saudi officials.
“The Saudis have tacitly agreed to the Israeli air force flying through their airspace on a mission which is supposed to be in the common interests of both Israel and Saudi Arabia,” a diplomatic source said last week.
It is still my hope that such eventualities do not come to pass. Iran has every right under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to peaceful nuclear energy. But, it must submit to safeguards to prevent nuclear weapons development. Those safe guards are not in place, the IAEA has been kicked out of Iran, and the nuclear fuel enrichment in Iran goes well beyond peaceful uses.
We need the Green Revolution to restore sanity to the government of Iran and constrain the nuclear pursuit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. If they do not succeed, I have little hope that Supreme Leader Khamenehi and the insane Mahdi-obsessed public face of the regime, Mahmoud Ahmadi-nejad, will submit to a peaceful resolution.