Why do US media insist that Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Gulf states oppose Iran deal?

Israel/Palestine
on 48 Comments
Brian Lehrer

Brian Lehrer

One of the irritations of coverage of the Iranian deal is the extent to which the American media say reflexively that Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States along with Israel oppose the deal. Yesterday on WNYC, for instance, Brian Lehrer urged listeners “not to pigeonhole Israel as the only major opponent of this. It’s also Saudi Arabia, it’s also Turkey… the other Gulf states like Qatar… don’t want Iran strengthened as they see it or even legitimized.” His guest, Fred Kaplan of Slate and the Council on Foreign Relations, agreed and (in otherwise excellent remarks welcoming the accord) said that these countries view the Middle East “entirely as a battleground of Sunni versus Shia … if Iran is suddenly a relegitimized country… this will increase the power of Iran and thereby in their eyes reduce the power of them.”

But wait. Kerry reportedly used a backchannel in the Gulf to gin up the talks. And this Oman publication says that Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia have all welcomed the deal. VOA chimes in:

Qatar and Kuwait have joined the nations praising the nuclear agreement struck between Iran and a group of world powers, while Israel continues to criticize the deal.

Turkey likes the deal too.

Turkey hopes to increase trade with Iran following the deal reached between Iran and world powers last weekend that eases some of the sanctions in exchange for a curb on the country’s nuclear program.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister is going to Tehran today, it’s reported.

And as for Saudi Arabia, which is always held out as a fierce opponent of Iran diplomacy:

Al Jazeera echoes that, from the Saudi cabinet.

Yes it appears there has been grumbling about the deal from Saudi Arabia too. And I’m just stripping the wire; I’m not an expert on any of these countries. Or on Sunni-Shi’a differences either. But then I don’t pretend to be.

The need by so many American journalists to pin opposition to the deal on Arab states is really a manifestation of the Israel lobby. These journalists are trying to take the onus — or the pigeonhole — off forces that are actually far more familiar to them than the Gulf States: Israel and its lobby. It’s like blaming Christian Zionists for the fact that Obama calls Jerusalem the capital of Israel. Or like Chris Matthews blaming neocons and Republican “redhots” for trying to block the deal, and leaving out Chuck Schumer and Robert Menendez, i.e., the bipartisan lobby.
P.S. Can’t wait for Saudi Arabia to push on a nuclear-free Middle East.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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48 Responses

  1. Walid
    November 26, 2013, 10:43 am

    Everything I’ve read talks about all Gulf states being happy that the deal was signed and that there was a bit of hesitation from Saudia. The government of Lebanon has been following Saudia’s lead for obvious reasons. I also heard that even Qatar had been secretly helping in the negotiations since a few months.

    • Walid
      November 26, 2013, 10:51 am

      From Qatar’s Gulf Times:

      “Qatar has welcomed the agreement reached at Geneva talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany on Tehran’s nuclear programme.

      An official source at the Foreign Ministry, in a statement to the official Qatar News Agency (QNA), described the agreement as “an important step towards safeguarding peace and stability in the region”

      “The State of Qatar calls for making the Middle East a nuclear weapon-free zone,” the source said, stressing Qatar’s keenness on the stability and security in the region.

      link to gulf-times.com

      • Walid
        November 26, 2013, 10:57 am

        From UAE’s The National

        “UAE welcomes Iran nuclear pact, hopes for comprehensive accord
        Elizabeth Dickinson
        November 24, 2013Updated: November 24, 2013 08:49:00

        ABU DHABI // The UAE yesterday welcomed Iran’s preliminary deal with six world powers to curb its nuclear programme, saying it hoped it would lead to a comprehensive accord.”

        link to thenational.ae

      • Walid
        November 26, 2013, 11:00 am

        From Bahrain’s Gulf Daily News”

        “Saudi welcomes Iran nuclear deal
        Posted on » Tuesday, November 26, 2013

        RIYADH: Saudi Arabia said yesterday that an interim deal between Iran and world powers could be a step towards a comprehensive solution to Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme – provided there was goodwill.

        The Cabinet, in a statement carried by state news agency SPA, said the kingdom hoped the agreement would be followed by further steps that would guarantee the rights of all states in the region to peaceful nuclear energy. Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) could relax some sanctions on Iran as soon as next month, French and EU officials said last night. EU foreign ministers will meet next month to discuss a proposal in this regard. ”

        link to gulf-daily-news.com

      • Philip Munger
        November 26, 2013, 11:09 am

        Key to why the support of these states is being erroneously reported:

        The Cabinet, in a statement carried by state news agency SPA, said the kingdom hoped the agreement would be followed by further steps that would guarantee the rights of all states in the region to peaceful nuclear energy. [emphasis added]

      • ritzl
        November 26, 2013, 11:22 am

        @Philip Munger I’m not sure I understand. Is the key a deliberate misrepresentation based on the pro-Israel antipathy to a comprehensive regional nuclear deal? Or some confusion with that wording?

        Sorry, I’m pretty dense on this stuff, but I asked “why” just below.

      • marc b.
        November 26, 2013, 11:38 am

        I don’t know if that is the key or not. (It seems to me that the proliferation of peaceful uses of nuclear technologies for energy production isn’t a positive thing. they’re in SA. don’t they have like a lot of sun there? the royals could pool up all the money they spend at the roulette table and on French hookers and buy some scientists to work on solar technologies, or improved desalination processes, for example.)

        I think the key to broad support (or non-support) of the Iran deal by other ME actors is the extent to which they believe that Israel is actually, sincerely attempting to gin up a military conflict with Iran. that, really, is the worst of all possible results for everyone in the region but Israel, far worse economically than more of the punitive, dimwitted sanctions regime, and far worse than the prospect of Iran with an active civilian nuclear program. and as I keep repeating, overt cooperation between SA and Israel militarily against Iran is a potential stake to the heart of the collective royal degeneracy.

      • Walid
        November 26, 2013, 11:43 am

        Finally! Lebanon has gotten on board, echoing Saudia’s reserved approval; From the Beirut Daily Star:

        Sleiman hopes Iran nuke deal positively impacts region November 26, 2013 03:58 PM

        The Daily Star

        BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman expressed hope Tuesday that the initial plan over Iran’s nuclear program would have a positive impact on the region.

        “Sleiman … hoped that the deal would have a positive impact on the regional situation in accordance with the principles of the rule of law and [would help build] neighborly relations based on mutual respect and common interest without interfering in the affairs of other countries,” his office said.

        The president also said he hoped that such an understanding would pave the way for the adoption of the logic of dialogue and for political solutions amid the risk of violence and divisions.

        He also stressed on the importance of fortifying national unity, stability and the logic of moderation in such critical time.

        Iran and Western countries agreed over the weekend on an initial plan for Tehran’s disputed nuclear program that stipulates a reduction in the country’s nuclear activity in exchange for sanctions relief.

        Most Lebanese politicians welcomed the deal between Iran and Western powers reached in Geneva, with Hezbollah describing it as a “major victory” for its regional ally.

        link to dailystar.com.lb

  2. agatharchides
    November 26, 2013, 11:05 am

    FWIW, I’d say there may be a fair bit of sour grapes in Saudis approval of the deal. They probably don’t actually like it but they are smart enough to know that they can’t stop it and if they try they will simply be regarded as throwback sectarian bigots and ignored. Better to cut your losses and smile than be regarded as an obstacle in the way of all the great powers. Turkey is probably more sincere, they want to expand trade with Iran and as fear of al-Qaeda in north Syria grows in Anakara Iran is more and more seen as an acceptable partner again.

    • Walid
      November 26, 2013, 11:59 am

      “Turkey is probably more sincere,” (Agatharchides)

      It’s not about sincerity; Turkey is looking out for itself , especially concerning the Kurdish problem, and realizing it should stop making enemies of its neighbours. Relations with Israel are strained, Europe wants no part of it, the Arabs are spooked by it and the Egyptians expelled the Turkish ambassador. It doesn’t have many other options.

      • RoHa
        November 26, 2013, 7:43 pm

        “it should stop making enemies of its neighbours. ”

        I find this totally baffling, Walid. Only a few years ago Turkey was pursuing a “no problems with the neighbours” policy, and yet in the last couple of years or so it seems to have reversed that policy.
        What is going on?

      • piotr
        November 26, 2013, 9:40 pm

        In ME everybody is a friend with everybody if you apply the logic “enemy of my enemy is my friend”.

      • Walid
        November 26, 2013, 10:45 pm

        “What is going on?”

        For one thing, Turkey is an unadvertised bastion of Brothers and Erdogan and Co are all part of them. When Mubarek fell, Erdogan rushed to Tahrir to share in the joy and tell the people there that Turkey’s Brothers were ready to jump in and give a hand but was told to take his marbles and get lost. At just about that time, Turkey resigned itself to the fact it would never be made part of Europe and Oglu was shooting off his mouth that Turkey’s new vocation was to revive the Ottoman Empire, albeit an economic one only, but the word was enough to spook the Arab neighbours for which the word Ottoman still had a negative connotation. When Morsi also fell from grace, Turkey rushed in to pressure Egypt on his behalf and that of the Brothers and ended up getting its ambassador kicked out because of its meddling. Back to Syria, after Turkey had signed a free trade agreement with it about 5 years ago, trade between the two countries was super-flourishing, until Turkey decided to take up the cause of the distressed Brothers in Syria that degenerated into a cause for the much more rabid fundies. As far as Lebanon was concerned where Turkey had been well regarded, there was the incident of the 10 Lebanese Shia pilgrims that were kidnapped in Syria on their way back from Iran and held for political and monetary ransom for almost 2 years by rebels on the Turkish border where all indications led to Turkey being behind the operation. They have been released recently supposedly after Qatar paid the ransom of several hundred millions and the Lebanese released 2 Turkish pilots kidnapped a few months back in retaliation to the kidnapping of the 10 Shias. Turkey had been making a lot of wrong moves these past few years.

      • RoHa
        November 26, 2013, 11:43 pm

        Thanks, Walid.

    • lysias
      November 26, 2013, 3:01 pm

      If what Saudi Arabia fears is an Iran with nuclear weapons, why shouldn’t it welcome a deal that may avert that possibility?

      • Ron Edwards
        November 27, 2013, 10:55 am

        Because everyone knows, accurately, that this entire situation has nothing to do with Iranian nuclear weapons, and never did.

  3. ritzl
    November 26, 2013, 11:06 am

    Good article. Looks like the Lobby is running out of invented/self-invited groupings to mask its machinations.

    Please keep peeling back the onion.

    I guess my question is, as Walid just showed with four quick links to four separate Gulf countries, what drives people like Lehrer and Kaplan to just make stuff up? Can’t they help themselves? Is support for Israel just that ingrained?

    They were not able to separate reality from fantasy on this deal/matters Israel.

    • Walid
      November 26, 2013, 2:21 pm

      “They were not able to separate reality from fantasy on this deal/matters Israel.”

      The fantasy, ritzl, is Israel making everyone believe that the the Iranian agreement is good only for Iran. In reality, other countries stand to gain from the deal. French automakers Peugeot/Citroën whose Iranian market was second only to the one in France, and Renault are banking on the trade restrictions being lifted to get them out of their economic problems because of a slump in their sales elsewhere. Kia Motors also had a huge market in Iran. Other Europeans will benefit from sales to Iran of petrochemicals, aviation parts, gold, and insurance for oil cargoes. We’ve already discussed here what the agreement has done to the price of oil. Sanctions were also penalizing other countries. Maybe now that trade restrictions have been partially lifted, di Blasio will shut up about the new Nissan taxi busses for NYC as his main objection had been the embargo issue with Nissan and sister company Renault dealing with Iran. The Iranian agreement is good for everyone, except for Israel of course.

      • American
        November 26, 2013, 3:21 pm

        ”The fantasy, ritzl, is Israel making everyone believe that the the Iranian agreement is good only for Iran”..Walid

        The REAL fantasy is the ‘red herring’ of Iran nukes.
        That is not what this is about.
        No serious FP people believe that Iran would ever commit suicide by nuking Isr or Saudi.
        It is and always has been about the balance of ME power and influence and who wants to keep and hold onto theirs—-mainly Isr and the Sunni Saud Kingdom.
        The O adm has let the red herring stay, aided by the media hype.
        But….by what they ‘are doing’ on the Iran deal the FP realist have taken hold.

        Pay attention to Walt:..he predicted last year if the realist did take hold O would swing to leveling the ME field as a way to stablize the region and require less US involvement.

        link to walt.foreignpolicy.com

        In fact, the real issue isn’t whether Iran gets close to a bomb; the real issue is the long-term balance of power in the Persian Gulf and Middle East. Iran has far more power potential than any of the other states in the region: a larger population, a fairly sophisticated and well-educated middle class, some good universities, and abundant oil and gas to boost economic growth (if used wisely). If Iran ever escapes the shackles of international sanctions and puts some competent people in charge of its economy, it’s going to loom much larger in regional affairs over time. That prospect is what really lies behind the Israeli and Saudi concerns about the nuclear deal. Israel and Saudi Arabia don’t think Iran is going to get up one day and start lobbing warheads at its neighbors, and they probably don’t even believe that Iran would ever try the pointless act of nuclear blackmail. No, they’re just worried that a powerful Iran would over time exert greater influence in the region, in all the ways that major powers do. From the perspective of Tel Aviv and Riyadh, the goal is to try to keep Iran in a box for as long as possible — isolated, friendless, and artificially weakened.
        But from the U.S. perspective, that’s neither a realistic nor a desirable long-term goal. As I laid out last week, America’s main strategic interest in the Greater Middle East is a balance of power in which no single state dominates. In such a situation, U.S. interests and leverage are best served by having good relations with as many states as possible and at least decent working relations with all of them. America’s long-term interests are best served by helping reintegrate Iran into the global community, which is likely to strengthen the hand of moderate forces there and make Iran less disruptive in other contexts (e.g., Lebanon). ”

        I am not saying that is definitely the O adm final ME goal– but it looks like what they are trying to get to.

      • lysias
        November 26, 2013, 4:11 pm

        I would have said Turkey has a power potential comparable to Iran’s.

  4. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    November 26, 2013, 11:49 am

    Although the Saudis have officially welcomed the deal, I doubt they’re particularly happy about it in private. It’s just that, unlike Bibi, they do know the art of diplomacy and are aware that throwing tantrums in front of the world’s press isn’t how you win friends and influence people.

    That said, while the Gulf States won’t be happy about a rapprochement between Iran and the US, it’s nowhere near as big a deal for them as it is for Israel. I think the role of Oman in all of this is intriguing. The GCC states are very anxious not to anger the Saudis, yet Oman hosted the secret talks between the US and Iran – presumably with the full knowledge (and approval?) of Saudi intelligence. So yes, the picture is rather more complex than it’s being made out to be. I reckon the media just can’t see beyond this ”Sunni-Shia” rift that they’ve been fixated with over the past few years: They are assuming that if a country is majority Sunni, they MUST oppose the deal. Not so.

    • Walid
      November 26, 2013, 1:36 pm

      “That said, while the Gulf States won’t be happy about a rapprochement between Iran and the US, it’s nowhere near as big a deal for them as it is for Israel. ”

      Maximus, we can’t take for granted what’s in the press. Existing rapprochement between the UAE and Iran has always been more than what was let on. As far back as 2006, Iranians had invested $300 billion in Dubai. It was so close that it cost the UAE a major contract to manage American ports.

      link to wnd.com

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        November 26, 2013, 2:31 pm

        Good point. I think the UAE, because of Dubai’s business interests, might welcome the ability to do more business with Iran. The Saudis are a different story, however. My guess is that they’re not a bit happy about this deal, but are trying to put a brave face on it. They saw how Bibi essentially gave the game away with his ranting, in the sense that he made it obvious that for Israel, Iran’s nuclear programme is NOT the issue. He just wants Iran to be shacked and isolated, end of story. The Saudis at least had the sense to give the impression – whether true or false – that their only concern is the nuclear programme, not Iran in general.

      • Ron Edwards
        November 27, 2013, 11:13 am

        In support of your post, Walid:

        Always consider the geography. The Saudis have a lot of the oil derricks, but they don’t have the Gulf itself, specifically its lanes of passage and its ports. That’s what the coastal Gulf States *are*, Arabian peninsula power-blocs that were able to resist Sa’ud control and who, by the 1960s, could demonstrate this by demanding their own states. (exception = Kuwait, a blatant reverse-example of reducing Iraq’s potential power by removing the crucial Gulf port from its control)

        So on the one hand, yes, their rulers benefit from Saudi/American muscle, as witnessed in the vicious suppression of the Spring in Bahrain; but they also dislike the Sa’ud family’s excess in all sorts of ways, notably its paid influence in external communities (the Lebanon Star being a fine example, the Future Movement being another, Al-Qaeda being another), or any hint that it can dictate terms in the Gulf itself, or its long-standing fingers-up-one-another’s-butts relationship with Israel and their shared golden goose (AKA my tax money).

        The concerted Saudi-Israeli attack on Iran which has been ramped up in the past decade, especially in Lebanon, is totally about those very things which I just listed, so that’s why the Saudi rulers are forced to accept the current outcome with gritted teeth and the Gulf State rulers are celebrating it.

  5. Citizen
    November 26, 2013, 11:51 am

    I wish this article, and its author Phil Weiss could get on US main TV news media. No matter which channel U watch, they all trot out neocons and Zionist “experts” to tell John Q Public what’s wrong with the Iran deal. Nobody is discussing the Israel Lobby’s hand in jeering the Iran deal. Never has reality been less represented than on the US mainstream media when it comes to anything impacting Israel. JFK was right: we need to change the US campaign finance system or we no longer have a government acting in American interests in foreign affairs regarding anything Israel.

  6. pabelmont
    November 26, 2013, 12:11 pm

    Walid: thanks for “Saudia”.

    QUOTE: “#Saudi welcomes P5+1 nuclear agrmt w/Iran as primary step towards comprehensive solution to Iranian nuclear program & a ME free of all WMD”.

    My take is that Saudia opposed the deal until it became a “done deal” and the USA told them to get with the program. Of course, the USA cannot persuade Israel of anything (except to gracelessly and thanklessly accept our largess, etc.). So whatever the initial opposition, the remaining opposition now seems to be Israel/AIPAC.

    And the USA MSM is just a bit behind the times — and of course defensive on Israel’s behalf. And, you know, the “fact” that Saudia and others also oppose the deal may make its way — via the circuitous channels of media-land — into FACT.

    As to Saudia’s statement about “a ME free of all WMD”, what fun to think the Iran deal is a kick-off to removal of Israel’s nukes.

    Yes, Saudia and Israel are indeed fast friends!

  7. American
    November 26, 2013, 12:14 pm

    @ pablemont

    Was just going to say the same thing about this leading to curtailing Israel’s nukes.

  8. Patrick
    November 26, 2013, 12:21 pm

    Ludicrous to include Turkey. It’s worth recalling that in May 2010 Turkey and Brazil had negotiated an agreement with Iran that explicitly recognized Iran’s right to enrichment under the NPT.

    Obama had sent a letter to Brazil’s president outlining his terms for a deal, perhaps thinking these would be unattainable. When Brazil and Turkey secured an agreement consistent with those terms that recognized the right to enrichment, Obama renege on the deal. See: link to todayszaman.com

    • Patrick
      November 26, 2013, 2:23 pm

      Just to follow up – Juan Cole noted the response of Turkey’s President to the agreement with Iran (http://www.juancole.com). In particular, Abdullah Gul said on Twitter on Sunday:

      “I welcome today’s agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. I have been advocating a solution through diplomacy and we hosted many diplomatic efforts in Turkey to this end . . . This is a major step forward. I hope it’ll be sealed with a final agreement soon. I congratulate all parties for their constructive engagement.”

    • lysias
      November 26, 2013, 3:04 pm

      It was mysterious how, after that development, Turkey gave such support to the rebels against Assad’s rule in Syria. (Support which I understand was recently cut off.)

  9. Erasmus
    November 26, 2013, 12:51 pm

    Re : … The need by so many American journalists to pin opposition to the deal on Arab states is really a manifestation of the Israel lobby. These journalists are trying to take the onus — or the pigeonhole — off forces that are actually far more familiar to them than the Gulf States: Israel and its lobby. ….

    That is a conspicuous, but failed attempt of Israel-Firsters (journalists, Congressmen, Senators and respective Jewish Organisations) to remove the Netanyahoo-Israel out of the danger to be cross-haired as the eternal war-mongerer and notorious grumble pot, while abusing the Iran issue to deflect from their own ” Palestine homework” with regard to the simultaneous Kerry-I-P- negotiations.

    And Thomas L. Friedman is one of them as is evident in his recent NYT op-ed of 23-24November, in which he chimes in exactly the same swan song, describing an (alleged) massive and strategic opposition to the recent Geneva 1.step agreement by almost all Sunni Arab States that matter.

    Friedman tries to sell NYT-readers the idea, as if in the first place the Friedman-discerned opposition were a natural clash of the religious Sunni-Shia worlds – with Israel also being named, however, only as one among the many other Arab countries who had their qualms with the 24Nov. Geneva agreement – that might well prove to be/come historic if the good will on both sides will prevail and enable a fair and peace-promoting final agreement in 6months time.

    link to nytimes.com

  10. Sycamores
    November 26, 2013, 1:13 pm

    maybe Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar can see the writing on the wall for the foreseeable future for a possible ‘normalize’ Iran.
    to say that these countries have not benefit from a sanction imposed Iran would be an understatement. putting the Sunni/Shia issue to one side, one of the main bones of contention for these counties (including the US) and Iran is who is in control of the flow of oil (propose pipelines) in region.
    i would err on the side of been weary for now.

    side note: if israel and Saudi Arabia decided to gang up on Iran i wouldn’t be surprise if Saudi Arabia will try to push the Arab Peace Initiative on israel as a precondition to a possible join effort against Iran. now that would be interesting.

    • traintosiberia
      November 26, 2013, 8:11 pm

      Israel has two ace up its sleeve. Israel maintains some control of the jihadist( unbelievable but seems true as it emerged between Israeli and Putin conversation when Putin asked about the alternative to Basher, Israel let him in on the secrets that they have some say what and who and when about post Basher Assad . At one stage it has admitted of preferences to AlQuida to Basher) and Israel can always bring the 911 ghost back to haunt S Arab along with the fear of dismemberment of the kingdom.S Arab has long been a tacit neutral player in the broader Israeli game. It condemned Hizbullah in 2006 fight .

      • Walid
        November 27, 2013, 12:39 am

        Traintosiberia, Israel has these aces up its something else; those fanatical Jihadists abhor Israelis as much as they abhor other Muslims and all other non-Muslims and they are using it to get arms and medical care for its injured in the same way the Christian Zionists are fattening them up for their final hour. One of their major reproaches of Assad is that he and his father hadn’t lifted a finger to liberate the Golan all these 40 years. So the Israelis can’t be that enchanted at having these guys for neighbours. As to reviving the ghost of 911, I’m sure the Saudis would want this back into the open to show who was really behind it; it surely wasn’t the Saudi government. The last ones that would want to revive anything technical to do with 911 are the Israelis

      • traintosiberia
        November 28, 2013, 12:08 am

        Bit Israelis are enchanted. Obama was excoriated during the run ups to the election for not being explicit and firm in supporting the Syrian rebels. He was cornered into face saving escape hatch of doing something in case of some Red Lines had emerged, Obama would not sit idle.
        Saudis could not come out in those darkest hour that threatened its existence in the hands of Woosley, Richard Perle,and Adelman . The truth did not matter then, it does not matter now. What matters now and mattered then , is and , was same reality- who is forcing who what to listen.
        Jihadist may have that plan. But Israel might kill quite a few birds here with one stone quarried from US- Basher Assad, Saudi intransigence of accepting Israel ,and the Jihadi bunches- all together . A few figures may plan and stay in the same plan . But it does not mean the control is shared or the aims are divulged. Person at the top of the planning could still be Israel as it was most in similar other games from Iran hostage crisis to Iran Contra to 911 to Iraq war.

    • Patrick
      November 26, 2013, 11:19 pm

      “to say that these countries have not benefit from a sanction imposed Iran would be an understatement. ”

      The sanctions have been an unwelcome burden for Turkey.

      As Juan Cole wrote (11/26/2013): “International sanctions were therefore extremely inconvenient for Turkey’s policy of trade expansion in the region. Moreover, Turkey depends on inexpensive natural gas from Iran for some of its own electricity production. Compared to the Turkish-Iranian tiff over Syria, the possible cooperation in energy and trade expansion is much more important to Ankara. Likewise, the AKP supports the Palestinians under Israeli occupation, and has that in common with Iran. Turkey is champing at the bit to trade unhindered with Iran and to invest in it, as well as to welcome further Iranian investment in Turkey. The Kerry-Zarif deal could not be more welcome in Ankara.”

    • Walid
      November 27, 2013, 1:09 am

      Sycamores, biggest benefit for these other oil countries was the price they were getting for their oil. Now that the spook element has abated, no thanks to Israel, prices are quickly dropping and it will hit these oil countries most. Saudi Arabia has already committed $100 billion in social programs to dampen what was fast becoming a people’s revolt there a couple of years back and the same applies to the UAE with its huge infrastructures programs. 4 months back, WSJ reported that the breakeven point for Saudia was $80/barrel, for UAE it was $75/barrel, Iraq’s just under $100/barrel. It’s already around $93/barrel, so technically, Iraq is already in trouble with others to join it if the price continues to drop.

      link to blogs.wsj.com

      • seafoid
        November 27, 2013, 3:59 am

        Walid

        If trouble breaks out in Saudi the price will go up again.. it’s a funny old carbon burning world

      • Walid
        November 27, 2013, 6:19 am

        seafoid, they could also cut back production; they’ve done it before and it works wonders on the price.

      • seafoid
        November 27, 2013, 9:35 am

        I hope the Saud family goes just after the bot regime collapses.

      • Ron Edwards
        November 27, 2013, 11:25 am

        They will, or vice versa. Neither Zionism nor Sa’ud power can exist without the other. And I don’t mean in some “need each other to blame” way, but in terms of precise and actual economic alliance, and in terms of perceived threats. The former is the shared reliance on U.S. deals (the Golden Goose for the House of Sa’ud; the $3 billion-plus for Israel; continued fullbacking at the U.N. for both), and the latter is simply put, Hezbollah or the potential for an equivalent. Nothing scares the shit out of the Saudi rulers than the possibility of a home-grown movement of that caliber, and the Hisb has already demonstrated to both Israel and the U.S. that it’s impervious to all their tricks, brutal vs. subtle alike.

  11. Jeff Klein
    November 26, 2013, 2:00 pm

    “P.S. Can’t wait for Saudi Arabia to push on a nuclear-free Middle East.”

    The countries of the Middle East are all on record supporting the concept of a “Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone” and have been actively pressing to move it forward. Even Israel says it is for this, though in some distant future when there is “regional peace”.

    Next month there will be an international conference in Haifa organized by the Israeli Left — link to wmdfz.org — to publicize and promote the idea, which has received scant notice in the US press. US and Mass Peace Action are sending delegates, of which I am one and I plan to report on it when I return. Maybe write something about it in the next couple of days too.

  12. GJB
    November 26, 2013, 3:41 pm

    Juan Cole’s post today on this subject is worth reading (link to juancole.com). It occurs to me that deflecting the world’s attention from the ongoing land grabs in Palestine is not the only ulterior motive for Israel harping on the Iran nuclear issue. From reading Cole, it seems that one of the main reasons most of the Middle East countries seem so happy with this agreement is that it eventually could increase pressure towards a nuclear free Middle East; the last thing Israel wants is international pressure for it to give up its nukes!

  13. ToivoS
    November 26, 2013, 4:20 pm

    I think it was the Times of London that was most responsible for pushing the idea of a Saudi-Israel alliance. They have been serving as a conduit for Israeli disinformation for some time (along with J Goldberg). Even with my own natural skepticism I fell for that story. Saudi Arabia might not like the deal but they are not going to let the world view them as a pawn of Israel.

    In any case, this is good news and it will further demonstrate the extreme degree of Israel’s isolation. I wonder if Netanyahu has had any second thoughts about his backing Romney against Obama. Revenge is a bitch.

  14. HarryLaw
    November 26, 2013, 5:11 pm

    That poll released by the Brookings institute several years ago, and much quoted by Professor Chomsky, told us everything we need to know about who the Arabs think are the real dangers to the region, 80% thought Israel was the major threat, followed by the US at 77%, Iran was listed at just 10%. What the Kings and Emir’s think is a different story, their crowns are at stake and they would be foolish to cross the boss of bosses link to failedempire.wordpress.com

  15. RoHa
    November 26, 2013, 7:10 pm

    “If what Saudi Arabia fears is an Iran with nuclear weapons, why shouldn’t it welcome a deal that may avert that possibility?”

    Indeed. If the deal is good enough for the P5+1, why wouldn’t the Saudis think it is good enough to be going along with? They will know they can’t have everything, and it is certainly better than having their Gulf oil facilities destroyed by Iranian missiles. (The Saudis are not stupid enough to think their armed forces will keep them entirely unscathed.)

    Alternatively, if their concern is Iranian power in general, then they know that it is better to welcome the deal and see what else can be done to counter Iranian influence, while still avoiding those Iranian missiles.

  16. traintosiberia
    November 26, 2013, 8:02 pm

    When did lying fail to achieve the promotion ,ensure higher viewers’ ratings,and ensure continued job security ? Never. As long as it is done so that it adds to the perception that AIPAC is trying to promote and jives with the aims and purposes of the AIPAC/ Israeli organizations.
    There is no moral hazard. It s a win win situation.

  17. Peter in SF
    November 27, 2013, 5:22 am

    Really frustrated how the MSM keep bringing up the Israeli reaction to the deal, but then pointedly refrain from making any aside about Israel’s own nuclear weapons program, or asking any of their spokesmen or experts any questions about it.

    Last week, Aaron David Miller was the guest on Michael Krasny’s radio call-in program here in SF, talking about the negotiations with Iran:
    link to kqed.org
    To Krasny’s credit, he accepted a number of calls and read a number of emails from listeners who brought up the Israeli nuclear program, and despite spouting some unconvincing boilerplate about “shared values”, Miller was quite clear that (a) yes, Israel has nuclear weapons; and (b) yes, we have a double standard, but that’s our prerogative as a great power.
    It’s a sign of progress when media people like Krasny can ask the questions using “our listeners” as cover. But when will we get to the next step, when they have the courage (or maybe just the sensibility) to ask these questions on their own?

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