Netanyahu: A nuclear Iran ‘infinitely more dangerous’ than North Korea

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures while giving a lecture at Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs, in London Nov. 3, 2017. Netanyahu spoke to outline his government’s foreign policy priorities in light of the current geopolitical landscape across the Middle East and took part in a question and answer session. (AFP/Adrian Dennis)
Updated 04 November 2017
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Netanyahu: A nuclear Iran ‘infinitely more dangerous’ than North Korea

LONDON: Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu has said Iran would be “infinitely more dangerous” than North Korea should it develop nuclear weapons, pointing to Tehran’s aim for “world domination.”

Netanyahu, speaking at the Chatham House think-tank in London, pointed to Iran’s backing of Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen and Shiite militias in Iraq.

“The one potent force in militant Islam that has emerged is Iran. And it is devouring one nation after the other. It is doing so either by direct conflict, or more usually by using proxies,” Netanyahu said.

“The good news is that the other guys are getting together with Israel as never before.”

Pointing to a large map behind the stage at Chatham House, Netanyahu illustrated Iran’s apparent plan for a so-called Shiite crescent extending to Israel’s borders.

“They have actually a conception of world domination that should have gone out the window with the last religious wars,” he said.

“There’s something … irrational and dangerous in such a cause.”

Netanyahu said a “new alliance” has emerged between his country and the Sunni Arab states to combat an “irrational and dangerous” Iran.

Most Arab states do not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel, but Netanyahu said ties have been growing stronger due to the perceived threat from Tehran.

“There is something that I wouldn’t have expected in my lifetime, but we are working very hard to establish, and that is an affective alliance between Israel and the moderate Sunni states to (combat) the aggression from Iran,” he told the audience in London.

Netanyahu said that the “new alliance between Israel and the Sunni states” was not dependent on peace with Palestinians, but could lead to it.

He described the shift in Arab-Israeli relations as “dramatic,” adding that “attitudes to Israel are mellowing considerably” in the Arabian Gulf amid heightened tensions with Tehran.

States such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain have accused Iran of meddling in other countries’ affairs and see Iran as the largest state sponsor of terrorism.

“When Arabs and Israelis are saying the same thing, it’s worth paying attention to it,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu’s lecture came the day after he joined his British counterpart Theresa May at a dinner celebrating the Balfour Declaration of 1917.

The controversial document offered Britain’s support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

Netanyahu said on Friday he hoped a US peace initiative on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will work.

Asked if he felt now was the moment for peace in the region, noting US President Donald Trump’s involvement in peace efforts, he said: “Hope so.”

“What’s being discussed now is an American initiative. Obviously we make our interests and our concerns known to Mr.Trump. He’s coming with a sort of refreshing ‘can-do’ ... they’re trying to think out of the box,” Netanyahu said.


Is a spate of terror incidents in Egypt a ‘last dance’ for militants or a failure in security operations

Updated 22 min 34 sec ago
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Is a spate of terror incidents in Egypt a ‘last dance’ for militants or a failure in security operations

  • Some have speculated that the sudden spate of incidents is the militants lashing out to spoil the image that Egypt is returning to stability

CAIRO: Three terrorist attacks in the space of as many days have raised questions over whether the Egyptian security forces have brought extremist militancy in the country under control.

The attacks between Friday and Monday came after a period of relative calm. The Egyptian military has been involved in an extensive operation against terrorist groups in their stronghold in the Sinai Peninsula for more than a year. Police forces have also been carrying out operations against cells in a large number of governorates.

The first of the three incidents was a failed attempt to plant a bomb near security forces in Cairo on Friday. On Saturday, however, a massive blast killed 14 members of the military on a security mission near El-Arish in Sinai.
The third bombing on Monday could have been just as deadly. A suicide bomber blew himself up after he was chased by police in the densely populated Al-Hussein district of Cairo near Al-Azhar Mosque. In the end three officers were killed.
The attacks came after months of relative calm in an insurgency that began after the Muslim Brotherhood president Muhammad Mursi was removed from power in 2012.
Since then, militants have targeted the Egyptian security forces, churches, coptic Christians, tourists and ordinary Egyptians, killing hundreds.
In November 2017, gunmen carried out the deadliest terror attack in Egyptian history — killing more than 300 people at a Sufi mosque in northern Sinai.

In response, the military launched a vast operation in February last year to “eliminate terrorism in Egypt.” The operation is ongoing.

Some have speculated that the sudden spate of incidents is the militants lashing out to spoil the image that Egypt is returning to stability.

“[Terrorists] want to give Egypt a bad image to foreigners living abroad, on order to make a point. They want to abort the democratic reform process that Egypt’s been implementing in the past period,” MP Mohamed Maher Hamed told Arab News.

Author and political analyst Walid Qutb said Egypt is keen to host more important regional and international events and forums, including the African Nations football tournament, and a drop in terror-related incidents is key to this.

He said the return of terrorist operations at this time is an attempt to send a clear message that Egypt is not a safe country. What the extremists have done recently is a final dance and lost, Qutb said.
But political analyst Nabil Omar told Arab News that the elimination of terrorism requires more than just maintaining security forces.
There needs to be improved education and the spreading of correct information to improve the mentality of Egyptians, he said.
“I don’t think that the return of terrorist operations happening currently is linked to changes in politics in Egypt,” Omar said. “It has nothing to do with how well security is either. “Terrorist attacks are happening because the terrorists in question have decided to do so.”
The recent incidents in Cairo are both strange, Omar said. They targeted police forces in locations packed with civilians.
This could mean that terrorists want their attacks to be even bigger and deadlier, even if that comes at the cost of the innocent or unarmed.
“The positive thing here is that these recent terrorist attacks came after a long period of silence. During that period of time, the Egyptian military had the upper hand in relation to the terrorists – who used to be more in control before,” Omar said.
The attacks came after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi described to the Munich Security Summit this week the Egyptian experience in regards to terrorism.