Inaccuracy in Middle East reporting

Iran is not the only country in the Middle East to not be trusted.

Christine Gentry

I would first like to point out that after some research into the âÄúCommittee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America,âÄù an organization to which Samantha Bass belongs, and the pretense under which her letter was sent, it is important to note that the committee has a noticeably pro-Israel agenda. One can easily discover this by browsing through their Web siteâÄôs home page. I think this is important because it shows the letter is written by a person that has a bias and this should be taken into consideration when one evaluates the accuracy of the authorâÄôs reporting on the Middle East. Secondly, the article shares a very close resemblance to Avigdor LiebermanâÄôs opinion of the Islamic Middle East as untrustworthy and extremist, an opinion which disregards completely the modernity of Iranian culture. Also, the article briefly addresses the recent agreement that was made to allow U.N. officials into Iran to inspect the nuclear facilities. I would like to address a very important fact âÄî also disregarded âÄî that Iran has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferations Treaty, which states that it has the right to nuclear power for peaceful purposes. Yes, it is true we must take IranâÄôs word on its promise not to obtain nuclear weapons, but that is international diplomacy and it is an important factor that is addressed in every treaty that is signed everywhere. And to disregard Iranian promise undermines sovereignty, which in my opinion is just as important as any nationâÄôs âÄî including IsraelâÄôs âÄî right to self-defense. And yes, this includes Iran. Iran has as much right to self defense as any other country. Sure, Iranian President Ahmadinejad has threatened Israel, but with powerless words. If one accurately understands the Iranian political system, one would know that Ahmadinejad does not command the Iranian military. Former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski stated, âÄúPresident Ahmadinejad sounds very impressive, but heâÄôs not really the president of Iran âĦ He neither commands the Iranian armed forces nor is in charge of the Iranian foreign policy even. The country is ruled by higher echelons culminating in the supreme leader.âÄù So even though Ahmadinejad has proven to be a blatant Anti-Semite, his words are meaningless rubbish. Israel has also threatened Iran, even the United States is unsure if and when the Israeli Air Force will be sent to Iran to bomb Iranian uranium enrichment plants, as it did in Syria in 2007. This is a real threat; history has shown that Israel does not respect national sovereignty and Iran must constantly be worried about being attacked. Yes, there are times when Israel is defending itself, which it has the right to do. But as a country whose diplomatic platform in the United Nations is the âÄúright to self defense,âÄù Israel should not be the first country to push for the prohibition of another countryâÄôs right to self defense (assuming that Iran may build a nuclear warhead). I think it is important to reiterate that Iran is allowing U.N. officials to inspect its country, while Israel, who has been suspected of possessing nuclear weapons by the U.S. since the âÄô70s, has never allowed U.N. inspections of its nuclear plants. In fact, it has avidly fought against inspection. And though Israel has âÄúpledged not to be the first country to introduce nuclear,âÄù it is only one of two nations in the entire Middle East that has continued to refuse to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferations Treaty (unlike Iran). The author brought up the notion that Iran is a âÄúfanatic ShiiteâÄù country, and that history has shown that Iran has lied about its nuclear program. I would like to address that Israel has yet to disclose information about their nuclear weapons, which is estimated at more than 200 warheads. And Israel has, historically, been accused of âÄúover reacting.âÄù In the 2006 Second Lebanon War, when Hezbollah and Israel engaged in combat on the Lebanese-Israeli border, Hezbollah fired less than 5,000 missiles. Israel reacted with a little more than 4,500 small grade missiles, but, according to JaneâÄôs Defense Weekly: âÄúDuring the campaign, IsraelâÄôs Air Force flew more than 12,000 combat missions, its Navy fired 2,500 shells, and its Army fired over 100,000 shells.âÄù Israel was criticized by the entire world community, even by the U.S. for its disproportionate reaction. Likewise, in the recent Gaza War 2009, Israel was also accused of disproportionate reaction and is currently fighting Judge GoldstoneâÄôs report that condemns both Israeli and Hamas actions as war crimes and crimes against humanity. Iran is not the only country in the Middle East to not be trusted, though it does have a record of trying to cover up its nuclear facilities. Israel has both lied about its own nuclear proliferation and has a record of over reacting when it feels threatened. The country to fear most in the Middle East âÄúrace for armsâÄù is Israel, who, if engaged in combat with Iran, will no longer be fighting against small powerless militant groups, but rather an army that challenges the Israeli Defense Force to an almost fair fight. If Israel is backed far enough into a corner, it may be the first country in the Middle East to use its nuclear weapon stockpile. Christine M. Gentry is an undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota. Please send comments to [email protected]