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Arab Media Praises Netanyahu After Congress Speech

The Arab world has shown surprisingly strong support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech yesterday in the United States Congress. A number of journalists from Arab countries expressed their backing for the speech and said that its message is important due to the possibility of Iran becoming a nuclear power under the emerging deal.

“Netanyahu exposed the Iranians when he said that Iran controls four Arab countries,” wrote Auni al-Kaaki in an opinion peace in the Lebanese news site Lebanon Files (Arabic link).

The editorial in the Saudi newspaper al-Sharq  (Arabic link) expressed a similar concern:

What Netanyahu said about the Iranian nuclear issue, Iran’s actions and its expansion in the Arab states – from Iraq to Syria and Yemen – is true. Netanyahu tried to inform the American congress members about that (because they don’t know).

Support for Netanyahu’s speech was expressed beforehand too.

An op-ed published yesterday by Faisal Abbas, editor-in-chief of the Al-Arabiya news network, praised Netanyahu for “[getting] it right, at least when it came to dealing with Iran,” noting that the threat posed by Iran’s aggression is the “only thing that brings together Arabs and Israelis.”

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) translated a column by Dr. Ahmad Al-Faraj that appeared Monday in the Saudi daily Al-Jazira, which also praised Netanyahu for challenging President Barack Obama on the matter of the negotiations with Iran.

“I will conclude by saying the following: Since Obama is the godfather of the prefabricated revolutions in the Arab world, and since he is the ally of political Islam, [which is] the caring mother of [all] the terrorist organizations, and since he is working to sign an agreement with Iran that will come at the expense of the U.S.’s longtime allies in the Gulf, I am very glad of Netanyahu’s firm stance and [his decision] to speak against the nuclear agreement at the American Congress despite the Obama administration’s anger and fury. I believe that Netanyahu’s conduct will serve our interests, the people of the Gulf … Do you agree with me?”

In analysis of the speech for The Times of Israel, Haviv Rettig Gur asserted that the Sunni Arab world was, in fact, an intended target of Netanyahu’s speech.

It was to another audience, to the Sunni Arab peoples and governments who watch in despair the unchecked ascent of Shiite Iran, that Netanyahu dedicated the most persuasive and actionable part of his speech. Israel will hold the line even if America fails us on Iran, he told the Arabs.

As Arab leaders know well, Israel is not the only regional power battling ferociously against the impending nuclear deal – it is merely the only one that can take its case publicly to the heart of the world’s most powerful capital, even in brazen defiance of the wishes of the American president.

The location of Netanyahu’s speech was as important as its content in delivering this message to the Arab world. Israel would defy Iran not only with its advanced warplanes and intelligence agencies, but with its most famous strategic asset – the ability to deliver its case before a joint meeting of the United States Congress.

In his historic address yesterday before a joint session of Congress, Netanyahu re-emphasized the strength of the America-Israel alliance, thanked President Obama for the support he gives Israel, described the threat Iran poses to the United States and the world and made a strong case against the emerging nuclear deal that the P5+1 nations appear ready to make with Iran.

[Photo: The New York Times / YouTube ]