Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Dangerous Words that Say a Lot

Dangerous Words that Say a Lot

Sunday, 18 December, 2022 - 08:15
Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

After winning the Israeli premiership for the third time, Benjamin Netanyahu promised to “do everything necessary to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.” He also said in an interview with Al Arabiya English with colleague Mohammad Alyehya that he would do so even without Washington’s knowledge.

Netanyahu said, and here is the danger that explains several things, that the measures that have been taken against Iran “so far, and I’m not saying which ones we did, we did without the US. We didn’t do it with US approval because the US probably would disapprove.”

He continued: “And if we told them what it is, every operation, what we were about to take, you know, they would say “we oppose it,” in which case would be a direct conflict.”

He noted that in case Washington was informed, “…it might leak. And if it leaks in The Washington Post, in The New York Times, then the Iranians would have forewarning, and our action would be nullified in advance.”

This is an astonishing statement; but let us link his answers together to make the picture clear.

In the same interview, Netanyahu said: “The traditional (US) alliance with Saudi Arabia and other countries, has to be reaffirmed. There should not be periodic swings, or even wild swings in this relationship, because I think that the the anchor of stability in our region.”

“I will speak to President Biden about this,” he remarked.

Well, if Netanyahu says publicly that Israel, the main ally of the United States, does not inform Washington of the operations aimed at disrupting the Iranian nuclear project for fear that they will be leaked to the media and that information will reach Tehran, then how can our countries trust the American moves towards Iran?

During the period of former President Barack Obama, our region, which is directly affected with everything that Iran does, was surprised by secret understandings between the US administration and the mullahs of Tehran about a nuclear agreement and a change in the map of our region. Who forgets that Obama at that time called on Saudi Arabia to share influence in the region with Iran?!

Accordingly, how can the traditional alliances between the countries of the region and the United States be reaffirmed if “some” in Washington are leaking Israeli operations against the Iranian nuclear project to the media?

How can alliances be reaffirmed if “some” US officials contradict each other while communicating with countries concerned with the Iranian nuclear file? How can the alliance be consolidated to be the “anchor of stability in our region” in this way?

No sane person can believe that the void left by the US withdrawal from the region can be filled with an “actual” force. This is not a political entreaty as some naive people try to promote, based on prejudiced goals.

For example, a 2020 report by the European Parliament says that without Washington’s help, Europeans will struggle to defend themselves, lacking intelligence, reconnaissance aircraft, medium-range missile defenses, as well as submarines and amphibious ships.

Therefore, Netanyahu’s dangerous and important statements tell us that a Saudi-American strategic dialogue is necessary. I have already written here that such dialogue must begin in Riyadh. It should be a Gulf-American-Arab dialogue, that is, between the countries of moderation.

It is not about a confrontational interchange and loud statements by Washington, but real diplomacy to assess risks and interests, and to renew mutual commitments, with the right of our countries to diversify their relations and sources.

Other opinion articles

Editor Picks