ישראל נאמן | Lectures, Articles, Tours: Israel | Mideast onTarget | Elliot Chodoff & Yisrael Ne'eman | Western Press

Western Press Blackout: Egypt vs. Iran

May 4, 2009
Yisrael Ne'eman

Selective reasoning and self-delusion are the results of self-censorship or maybe it is the other way around. In recent months Islamic extremism has been on the march but in the main only partially reported in the western press. Recently Cairo reported the arrest of an extensive 49 member Hezbollah cell led by Sami Shehab which had evaded Egyptian security forces in Sinai for several months until apprehended in November. Not only were the operatives involved in smuggling arms into the Gaza Strip by way of the tunnels (reported to number over 1000 by now) but the main purpose of the Hezbollah operation according to Egyptian intelligence was (and still is) the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak's pro-western regime. As everyone knows, Hezbollah is the operational arm of Iran's Khomeinist regime in the Arab world and against Israel. The Egyptians are furious and both Pres. Mubarak and Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman are threatening to take serious action against Hezbollah and its Iranian patron. Threats and counter threats are being made while a form of insurgency - counter insurgency war spreads throughout Africa and the Middle East. Interestingly, virtually none of this is reported in the western press, least of all in the New York Times.

 

Other Middle East issues are "important", such as every word being uttered by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, especially when he incorrectly denies there were ever understandings accepted by the Israeli government at Annapolis concerning a two-state solution with the Palestinians. He has continuing verbal run-ins with the Egyptians over bi-lateral relations yet he met with the Egyptian intelligence chief. The media spotlight is focused on the government's Palestinian position, seen as at odds with that of the Obama administration, even if everyone knows PM Benyamin Netanyahu has not announced any official policy concerning the Palestinians, whether a two-state solution or not. He does speak of beginning with an "economic peace". Shimon Peres saw such a development as a prerequisite to a diplomatic peace already in 1993 when negotiating the Oslo Accords. And let us recall that the Yisrael Beitainu party platform favors a two-state solution and that the Likud being 16 years behind Labor in the diplomatic process with the Arab world is not startling news.

 

The West has shown a moderate interest in the Taliban destabilization of Pakistan and Afghanistan and of course events in Iraq, but anything exposing Iranian threats to Arab world stability are either being dismissed as insignificant or impossible otherwise it should be newsworthy. Or maybe such reporting is deemed as undermining policies set by much of the western news media. The lines of battle are being drawn. One the one side is Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Egyptian Moslem Brotherhood, Syria, extremist religious elements in Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, and the satellite TV station Al-Jazeera (as defined by Mubarak himself) while on the other are Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, North Africa (excl: Libya), the Arab Emirates and Fatah. Not only have Iran and Egypt been at it verbally, but there has been quite a bit of proxy warfare going on, especially in and around Sinai. Even the fact that Egypt is courting Israeli help in the name of the latter is of no interest to the western press. Israel has twice in the last three years served very much as the operational arm of the moderate secular Arab countries when taking on Iranian proxies such as Hezbollah and Hamas.

 

As everyone knows US President Barack Obama wants to engage Iran and Islamists everywhere, even if the other side - Iran, Hezbollah, the Taliban and the Moslem Brotherhood (incl. Hamas) show no real interest. Anyone reading Khomeini, Nasrallah, Hasan al-Bana (Moslem Brotherhood founder) or any Jihadist writings knows there is no chance for rapprochement with extremist Islam. The Times itself reported that Jihadist Abu Muhammed al-Maqdisi is under attack in his own camp for not being extreme enough. Yet the western liberal left sees none of this as part of the equation or maybe it is just too embarrassing to connect the dots and admit their own theories are wrong. The situation is only getting worse and when the truth is finally reported everyone will express "shock" that the media missed such a story or more truthfully, they refused to do their job.

 

One of the reasons for all this censorship is the all holy term "balance". If Israel is truly on the side of the moderate Arab regimes then it might be interpreted that the Jewish State will be helping western interests and this could be seen as a positive action or "good". Israel's adversaries like Iran will be seen as the opposite, meaning "bad" or even "evil" and of course that would be judgmental (as well as aggravate The New York Times, their columnist Roger Cohen and anyone else who thinks like them) since Israel and Iran must be equally "in the right" and "in the wrong", a pre-determined finish to any article to ensure "balance".

 

The other reason is that neither the Khomeinists or Jihadists are seen as a threat since one can "reason" with them just like any liberal, secular, western leader or interest group. The Islamists do not really want war, it is all just "posturing" being that no one could possibly want a conflict. And if the facts get in the way, well maybe they are not worth reporting.