Benjamin Netanyahu erupted in anger after the announcement of a deal with Iran, and he was far from alone in the region. NBC’s Richard Engel tells Morning Joe that Sunni allies of the US in the region have also reacted in anger and disbelief at the deal, providing a rare moment of unity in the face of renewed Iranian power. That has these regimes looking for ways to check that power, and that almost certainly means a nuclear arms race in the region:
Morning Joe panelist Mike Barnicle asked Engel what his sense was that this deal could set off a “new and really volatile MidEast arms race.”
“It is very possible,“ Engel said. “In one sense, you have to look at this as a gamble. The U.S. is taking a gamble, and for the U.S. there is relatively low risk … For the region right now, this is not like Cuba. This is not like Myanmar. There are active conflicts underway right now, in which Iran is a major party to those conflicts, so there is a possibility that this agreement could just be adding more fuel to the sectarian fire … An arms race is possible, and a worsening of the active regional conflicts in the region is also possible.”
That is certainly one reason why the Israeli Prime Minister is reacting so harshly this morning to the news, but it’s obviously not the only reason. The Wall Street Journal reports that Netanyahu will lobby Congress to stop the bill:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday the agreement between Iran and six world powers on Tehran’s nuclear program is a “historic mistake for the world.”
“Wide-ranging concessions were made in all of the areas which should have prevented Iran from getting the ability to arm itself with a nuclear weapon,’’ Mr. Netanyahu said. “The desire to sign an agreement was stronger than everything else.” …
Israel is expected to actively lobby U.S. legislators against the deal. Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely pointed to such an effort in her reaction to the deal.
“The implications of this agreement for the foreseeable future are very grave,” she said. “The state of Israel will employ all diplomatic means to prevent the confirmation of the agreement.’’
Speaking to Israel Radio on Tuesday, Mr. Netanyahu’s former national security adviser,Yaakov Amidror, said Tuesday’s agreement lacks tough procedures that prevent Iran from violating it.
“When the foundations of a house are shaky,” Mr. Amidror said. “I don’t care what’s in the windows or doors. That house won’t stand through one storm. This agreement won’t stand through one storm. On the day the Iranians decide to violate it, there is no real mechanism that can operate against them.”
The message in this deal to Israel and its Sunni neighbors is actually worse than that. It’s not just that the US has set up a deal that won’t work — it’s that the Obama administration clearly doesn’t care whether it works or not. This is the West, signing off from the Middle East, and every other nation in the region understands that message loud and clear.