Ever since Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, came back from his recent visit to the United States, it has repeatedly been shown that he was right to stand before Congress and issue his warnings. Tehran's Ayatollahs have not only held a naval exercise in the Strait of Hormuz, where they targeted a simulated a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, they also displayed new missiles that could paralyze all the shipping in the Gulf.
Iran has already surrounded the oilfields of the Middle East, and is openly increasing its efforts to bring down the "Big Satan," the United States. Iran's President, Hassan Rouhani, has even openly admitted that Iran's diplomacy with the U.S. is an active "jihad." How much plainer does a message have to get?
Iran has not only taken over Yemen, Lebanon and Syria It is also in the process of taking over -- presumably with the help of its negotiations with the U.S. -- Bahrain, Iraq, Libya and parts of South America, especially Venezuela, with its vast reserves of uranium, and Bolivia, now with a suspected nuclear installation.
In its evident, inexplicable eagerness to sign just about any deal with Iran to allow it to achieve nuclear capability, the U.S. State Department has removed Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah -- two of the world's most undisguised promoters of terror -- from its Terror Threat Report, presumably at Iran's request.
After Republican Senators sent a letter to Iran warning that any agreement with the U.S. would have to be endorsed by Congress, the Iranians used it to claim that the United States is so weak it is about to fall apart. The king of Saudi Arabia said that if the U.S. did not halt Iran's nuclear program, Saudi Arabia would begin enriching its own uranium, to acquire a nuclear potential equal to that of Iran.
Ashraf Ramelah, president of the Christian human rights organization Voice of the Copts, asked House Speaker John Boehner to invite Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to address Congress, to warn America of the mistake it clearly intends to make. The members of the Arab League met in Riyadh to warn America of the approaching disaster.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently hinted that the agreement with Iran was not particularly urgent, and claimed that should the talks fail, the United States had alternatives.
Apparently with the sole objective of embarrassing Netanyahu, no one in the U.S. administration was willing to admit that he was right, or that unfortunately there were many American individuals and organizations actively intervening in the Israeli elections, with the goal of toppling Netanyahu. The U.S. Administration clearly wanted to replace him with Yitzhak Herzog, who is weak -- another link in the chain of American foreign policy failures, from Allende and the Shah of Iran to Mubarak, all victims of the political and diplomatic elite's ignorance and lack of political common sense.
The lesson President Obama has not yet learned from his experience with Arabs is that anyone who deliberately ignores or applauds when his own fanatic Muslim nationals (or guests) kill "infidels" will eventually be repaid with the killing of his own non-extremist Muslims. That is exactly what is going to happen in Iran, Turkey, Qatar, Lebanon and other countries that support terrorism.
The Western world should be wary, and not be tempted into breathing a sigh of relief because the Muslim Brotherhood condemned the burning of the Jordanian pilot. The Muslim Brotherhood, which consistently preaches the murder of innocents of every stripe, is currently trying to cover its tracks regarding murder carried out in the name of Islam through the taqiyya, which permits Muslims to lie to "protect" Islam -- in this case against the global wave of outrage against Islamist terrorism. Perhaps they condemn the burning alive of the pilot because, according to Islam, only Allah can burn someone to death. But behind their pious declarations they are overjoyed by his death, and continue inciting their followers to murder more of those they have designated as "infidels," while every day designating still more.
That Hamas and ISIS identify with one another, collaborate and have almost identical goals was made clear recently by the arrests of Hamas operatives in the Palestinian Authority on the grounds that they vandalized the memorial set up in Ramallah for the murdered Jordanian pilot.
In their misguided, fumbling experiments, EU officials, along with the Arab League foreign ministers, are forming a united front to fight Islamist terrorism, while including the very countries known consistently to support it. These include Turkey, which mainly supports ISIS, and Qatar, which supports the Islamist terrorist organizations in the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip.
Despite the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood and the other Islamist terrorist organizations thrive in Arab states -- although in some they have been outlawed -- the West, especially the Obama Administration, doggedly refuses to outlaw them and insists they are peace-loving religious organizations. For some intriguing reason, the leaders of the Western world find it impossible to see the relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamist terrorist organizations it fosters.
Obama's behavior underlies the conspiracy theory, common in the Middle East, that he is a Muslim Brotherhood mole.
The U.S. Administration refuses to recognize the dangerous game Turkey is playing by ignoring the West's sanctions on Iran. Despite the fact that Turkey is a member of NATO, it has, in fact, upgraded and improved its trade agreements with Iran.
The European Union, in its cowardice and folly, has removed Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood's Palestinian branch, from its list of designated terrorist organizations. Europe refuses to change its stance, even though barely a week ago, Egypt designated the entire Hamas movement a terrorist organization. Hamas supports ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula and within Egypt itself, as they attack government, security and civilian targets.
The Islamists have nothing but contempt for Europe's weakness, and in the meantime, ISIS's wave of success in Iraq and Syria, and its brand as "powerful," encourage young, impressionable Muslims to join its ranks.
In the meantime, in the wake of rising Islamist sentiment in the Muslim communities of Europe and the U.S., imams and Islamist activists have been falling over themselves to reassure the public. They have opened mosques to casual visitors, in an effort to allay their fears and downplay the threat, as if a Westerner on a guided tour could possibly understand the degree of propaganda and incitement churned out behind closed doors, in classrooms and libraries.
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The wages America pays Iran, in return for questionable aid it may or may not receive in the fight against ISIS, only serve to strengthen the Ayatollahs and their collaborators -- Russia, Syria and Hezbollah -- and ease the sanctions against Iran to make it stronger, enabling further expansion. And that is before Iran achieves nuclear weapons capability. What about after?
The saga will likely end with an agreement ending the sanctions on Iran, permitting it to build its nuclear bomb "for peaceful purposes," while in the meantime Iran will have taken over Yemen, completed its new line of "defensive" missiles, of the sort that will be able to reach Europe and be loaded onto submarines.
The soon-to-be-signed agreement between Iran and the United States not only abandons the Sunni Arab states and Israel to their fates; it also paves the way for an inevitable nuclear arms race involving Sunni states, carried out in the vain hope that they will be able to contain the Shi'ites before they launch a nuclear Armageddon on the Middle East.
There is also the rumored approaching death of Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Thus, any agreement signed with the Iranians won't be worth the paper it is printed on, because no one knows who will replace him and if his replacement will agree to honor any commitments signed by the previous regime.
Instead of strengthening moderate Sunni states such as Egypt and the Gulf States, both of which are exploring an innovative, moderate, contemporary Islam, America has chosen to support the Muslim Brotherhood, which has fooled it into thinking it is not doing its utmost to weaken those moderate states.
The U.S. is driving a wedge into the unity of the Sunni Arab world and weakening its efforts to counter Iran.
To misrepresent the agreement with Iran, the Obama Administration enlisted European countries to create a smokescreen and media white noise, labeling Israel's failure to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians as the only important issue problem the Middle East.
They are using Europe to turn Israel into a leper, as if it is Israel's bound duty to accept American dictates because of its dependence on the American veto in the UN. Obama's National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, instead of focusing on the catastrophically serious Iranian threat, recently made the hostile statement that Israel must now resolve the Palestinian issue.
The efforts Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has made to convince Congress not to support the agreement with Iran were brutally attacked by the White House, which is apparently only open to hearing opinions that agree with it.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks before the U.S. Congress, March 4, 2015. (Image source: C-SPAN video screenshot)
Despite reservations regarding Netanyahu's hard line in Israel's negotiations with Palestinians, many of us in the Middle East are of the opinion that he is another real hero of the Middle East.
Many people here are also hoping that as the Arab Israeli vote was the third largest bloc in the yesterday's election, perhaps now the government of Israel will focus more on bringing the Arabs of Israel even closer and more comfortably into the Israeli fold. Otherwise, there is the serious possibility that a "fifth column" could form and harden, one that will drive the Arab Israelis into the open and waiting arms of Hamas and other terrorist groups.
We also hope that the Arab Israeli politicians will focus more on such an effort, rather than, as many Arab politicians do, lashing out and blaming others for what is wrong -- a lazy, destructive substitute for actually helping improve the lives of their people.
In these terrible times, critical for the future of our region, Netanyahu spoke to the representatives of the American people, despite the objections of many Israelis and Americans. He was willing to accept personal, political and diplomatic setbacks in order look after his people's security.
Throughout history, prophets have often been without honor in their own countries, and have been rejected by the very people who should pay attention to them. There is, it seems, in every culture, a deep and real wish to kill the messenger.
The West would do well to understand that anyone really interested in fighting terrorism needs to outlaw the Muslim Brotherhood movement -- all its branches, wherever they are. Even more, it needs to paralyze Iran, rather than appease it.
The West's dark, contradictory dealings with Turkey, Qatar, Iran and other shadowy regimes serve the growth of Islamist terrorist organizations. They destroy the chance for any success against radical Islam.
The fight against Islamist organizations needs to be creative, deliberate and continuous, to keep them from gaining even one victory either on the ground or in their propaganda campaigns. The Muslim public must not view them as attractive, or see joining them a sign of success. A series of significant defeats to Islamist organizations will counter the effects of their efforts to entice young people to join them, especially ISIS.
It is sad that in the face of the coming catastrophe, Western leaders -- either blind, naïve or malevolent -- are going to make a deal and appease Iran, just as a deal was made to appease Hitler in 1938.
Bassam Tawil is a scholar based in the Middle East.