Sunday, October 17, 2021
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David Nussbaum: Benjamin Netanyahu: the Most Dangerous Man in the Middle East?

Imagine that.  Benjamin Netanyahu– according to Guardian journalist Simon Tisdall, the author of the one-sided hit piece Shadow Warrior: Benjamin Netanyahu Takes a Dangerous Gamble with Iran [April 18, 2021]”  is the most dangerous person in the Middle East.  Who’d have thought it?

Iran’s ayatollahs finance proxy wars across the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, and Latin America and help fund advanced missiles and drones in Yemen, which they use against Saudi Arabia. Still, for Tisdall, Netanyahu is more dangerous than any of them.

As he writes, “In a region famous for warmongers and tyrants, who is the most dangerous man in the Middle East right now? Not Bashar al-Assad, the isolated gauleiter of Damascus. Not disgraced Mohammed bin Salman, the princely Saudi executioner. Not even Turkey’s misogynist-in-chief, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the local neighbourhood bully.”

Come again?  Mr. Netanyahu is so dangerous that previously hostile Middle East countries such as UAE and Bahrain, and even Saudi Arabia have openly aligned themselves with this perceived enemy, for fear of the extremist Iranian Shia theocracy and its nuclear ambitions.

Suddenly, little Israel no longer appears to them like the contrived regional aggressor they loved to hate anymore. For a combination of reasons, Mr. Netanyahu has situated Israel within a not insignificant group of Sunni neighbors in the Middle East to foster the first “warm peace” (Egypt and Jordan remain “cool”) that Israelis and many Arabs have known since the establishment of the Jewish state.

And yes, President Trump’s Abraham Accords facilitated that rapprochement by focusing on the commonalities rather than the differences between Muslims and Jews in the Middle East. Those genuinely seeking peace should not lose sight of this reality.

However, none of these remarkable developments register on Simon Tisdall.  Nary a flicker of acknowledgment in that direction, makes it to Mr. Tisdall’s keyboard.

So, what is it, exactly, that makes Mr. Netanyahu so dangerous?  He dares to act.  On April 12th, the Mossad, Israel’s famed spy agency, allegedly sabotaged Iran’s Natanz nuclear facilityAccording to The New York Times (Apr. 13, 2021/Ronen Bergman, Rick Gladstone and Farnaz Fassihim) destroying its power supplies for advanced centrifuges that develop the enriched uranium, possibly set back Iran’s nuclear program by nine months. 

One would have thought this was a result worth celebrating.  Not so, at least according to Mr. Tisdall. After all, it also possibly set back the indirect talks between Iran and the U.S. slated to  return Iran to “full compliance with the  2015 nuclear deal [JCPOA] constraining Iran’s nuclear program,” a program that we now know was not, in fact, ever “constrained”.

Is Mr. Tisdall simply  unaware, or does he intentionally choose to ignore the fanatical Ayatollahs’ stated objective, openly proclaimed, namely, to eradicate the “Zionist entity”? Or, at the very least, following the lead of ally North Korea, to use nuclear weapons as leverage towards establishing and maintaining Iranian hegemony over the entire Middle East.

Talk about a double standard!  Apparently, it is perfectly acceptable for a United Nations member to threaten another with nuclear annihilation, without censure. However, it is downright “dangerous” for the intended target to disrupt the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction by that self-proclaimed aggressor.

Instead of placing the escalation of tensions where it belongs – on Iran–, Mr. Tisdall insists on blaming Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and former U.S. President Donald Trump for Iran’s behaviour.

Iran kept its nuclear program hidden for years until it was exposed in 2002 by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an Iranian dissident group.  Did Netanyahu and Trump compel Iran to install more advanced centrifuges and step up their uranium enrichment production to 60%, well on its way to the 80 – 90% needed to produce a nuclear bomb?  Moreover, on National Nuclear Technology Day, Iran announced the launch of advanced centrifuges at Natanz, three days before the attack on its nuclear facility.

Mr. Tisdall goes further. It’s not enough for him to criticize Israel’s alleged actions; he absurdly demonizes Mr. Netanyahu, the longest-serving prime minister in Israel’s history, for his leadership abilities! He refers to Netanyahu’s “paranoid brand of nationalistic, borderline racist, rightwing populist politics.”  And he also attributes Israel’s actions regarding Natanz not to Israel’s legitimate fear of a potentially nuclear Iran that openly threatens to annihilate it, but to its prime minister’s need to hold onto power by “sowing fear and crisis.”

That the Prime Minister’s position regarding Iran, whether he is entrenched securely in office or not, has not changed one iota over the decades, is completely ignored. Likewise, is the reality that Israeli intelligence reportsprove conclusively that Iran’s nuclear program is not for peaceful purposes.

The Washington Free Beacon writes that more than 2,000 former high-ranking Israeli military, law enforcement, and intelligence community officials, in a letter sent to President Biden, recently warned against the nuclear agreement because it would endanger Israel and its Arab allies. They write, “We are troubled that the Biden administration and a handful of European countries are promoting a return to the Iran deal while disregarding the concerns of those closest to Iran, most vulnerable to Iran, and most knowledgeable about Iran.”

Neither is Israel alone in decrying the JCPOA; it is joined by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, Egypt, and numerous Sunni Muslim countries. Even China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States acknowledge – albeit reluctantly – that the original JCPOA did not prevent, but only slowed Iran in attaining nuclear weapons. There is no reason to presume that this new agreement will improve upon the first, given the U.S.’s hunger to make a deal no matter what.

But for now, Mr. Netanyahu retains the infamous distinction, according to Mr. Tisdall and his progressive ilk, of being the most dangerous person in the Middle East.

The illogic here would have people believe that disarming the criminal with a stated genocidal purpose is more dangerous than allowing the criminal to attain the weapon of his choice. This framing of Mr. Netanyahu as the villain speaks to the complete inversion of reality that is now typical of progressives and why they should be afforded no credibility.

David Nussbaum, Ph. D., C. Psych. is a retired Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough (2005-2013.) A Registered Psychologist (Clinical, Forensic and Neuropsychology, Province of Ontario.) He is an Elected Fellow of both the Canadian and American Psychological Associations. He held Guest (Visiting) Professorships at the China University of Political Science and Law between 2013 and 2020, and an Adjunct Professor at York University in Toronto.  He has Chaired CPA Sections on Criminal Justice Systems, Psychopharmacology and the Study of Extremist and Terrorism.  

 

 

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