It's not easy being Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu these days. He has faced heavy criticism in western circles for his uncompromising stance on Iran's nuclear program. His October 1 address to the United Nations plenum, where he accused Iranian regime President Hassan Rouhani of being "a wolf in sheep's clothing, who is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the international community," was met with accusations of war-mongering. Columnist Roger Cohen accused Netanyahu of "crying wolf" while a New York Times editorial blasted Netanyahu for "Blind distrust of the Iranian regime," seeming eager for a fight... and sabotaging diplomacy, especially before Iran is tested."
While optimistic western elites bristle at Netanyahu's rejection of Rouhani's "smile and conquer diplomacy," The Middle East's silent Sunni majority backs Netanyahu's "distrust, dismantle, and verify" approach towards neighboring Iranian regime's nuclear program and race for regional supremacy.
Led by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states and supported by the region's many minorities including Kurds, Christians, Druse, Sufis, Baluchees and others, several hundred million Sunnis across the Middle East are quietly banking on Netanyahu's making good on his declaration before the UN General Assembly that, "Israel will not allow Iran to get nuclear weapons," and "If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone."
While official Arab Sunni and non-Arab Sunni criticism of America's softer approach to Iran and its Syrian state proxy remains muted, as is expected in non-democratic "fear societies" as former soviet dissident Natan Sharansky has coined them, voices have begun to pierce the silence.
Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi journalist who is close to the Saudi royal family, told the New York Times recently that, " There is a lot of suspicion and even paranoia about some secret deal between Iran and America.
My concern is that the Americans will accept Iran as it is - so that the Iranians can continue their old policies of expansionism and aggression."
The Times also reported that Mustafa Alani, a Dubaibased security analyst, said the Saudis think US President Barack Obama is "not a reliable ally, that he's bending to the Syrians and Iranians." Mishaal al-Gergawi, a United Arab Emirates-based analyst, said, "There is a lot of cynicism, and it feeds into the notion that Obama is very naïve - he was naïve with the Muslim Brotherhood, naïve with Bashar al-Assad, and he is now naïve with Iran."
Sunni concerns over Iranian regime-sponsored Shi'ite power extends beyond Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.
A very senior Jordanian lawmaker told this author in 2009 during a visit to the Jordanian senate in Amman that the Iranian regime "could only be stopped by military force and that only Israel was capable of doing that."