As planned, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered his long awaited speech in Washington. The speech resonated with wise calculations and a slew of alternative angles to turn a bad deal into a good one. It stripped Barack Obama of all excuses not to demand more of Iran to protect US interests and those of our allies in the region.
One of the most poignant point made was to address the potential arms race this bad deal could unleash in the region. The PM said:
“This is a question that everyone asks in our region. Israel’s neighbors — Iran’s neighbors know that Iran will become even more aggressive and sponsor even more terrorism when its economy is unshackled and it’s been given a clear path to the bomb.
And many of these neighbors say they’ll respond by racing to get nuclear weapons of their own. So this deal won’t change Iran for the better; it will only change the Middle East for the worse. A deal that’s supposed to prevent nuclear proliferation would instead spark a nuclear arms race in the most dangerous part of the planet.
This deal won’t be a farewell to arms. It would be a farewell to arms control. And the Middle East would soon be crisscrossed by nuclear tripwires. A region where small skirmishes can trigger big wars would turn into a nuclear tinderbox. “
Senator John McCain has already declared publicly that some of the rulers in the region told him they will begin developing their own nuclear programs if the United States signs a bad deal with Iran. While this is good news to hear from the Senator, it is high time the Gulf countries made a public stand on this issue in the aftermath of the speech to keep the pressure up on a White House that believes it is accountable to no one.
To keep the momentum going, King Salman of Saudi Arabia or his representative Ambassador Adel al-Jubair should publicly announce that a bad deal with Iran that keeps its centrifuges intact and spinning would prompt the Kingdom to find alternative solutions to defend itself to include developing its own nuclear program.
Such a public statement will heighten the pressure against the White House and the U.S. State Department, both oblivious to the bad deal they are presently negotiating and the consequences it will have on a fearful Sunni world. An announcement by Saudi Arabia, followed possibly by Egypt would be a warning no Democrat in Congress would be able to ignore. The Arab countries need to douse them and Obama with cold water for them to realize the folly of this deal.
It is not enough to visit Washington or to dispatch one’s Ambassador for private consultations with the U.S. State Department. Such tactic seems to have reached its end because no one is listening at the White House. Time for diplomacy is over. A signed bad deal will have grave consequences for the Arab world, and the Arab world must act to block it the way Benjamin Netanyahu is acting for the same goal.