On Sunday, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, appearing on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” celebrated the deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates while taking a shot at the Obama administration, saying, “I think the only people that were against the deal were the Ayatollah and maybe Ben Rhodes.” Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser for strategic communications for the Obama administration, crafted a false narrative to the media that helped seal the Iran nuclear deal, as The Washington Post reported in 2016.
Host Chuck Todd started the conversation by acknowledging, “From Joe Biden to Nancy Pelosi, the praise has been pretty universal. Last week, President Trump announced that Israel and the United Arab Emirates, also known as UAE, would establish full diplomatic relations, making the UAE only the third Arab state, after Egypt and Jordan, to officially recognize Israel. It was a significant achievement with broad implications for the Middle East.”
“The president portrayed it as an icebreaker, if you will, for Israel to normalize relations with other countries in the region, particularly Gulf states,” Todd continued. “What kind of timeline should we expect? Is this months? Is this years? Who will be number four?”
I’ll tell you, last week was quite an accomplishment. It was the result of very hard diplomacy, much of it being quarterbacked by the President of the United States himself on calls with Bibi Netanyahu and Mohammed bin Zayed. He really pushed this over the finish line. But it took a lot of courage by the other leaders as well. As you indicated, there have only been three of these peace treaties since Israel’s founding, so it’s a historic accomplishment. We think that there’s momentum for some additional parties to join and to normalize relations with Israel.
We fanned out, as soon as this was announced, and have talked to — I’ve been on the phone with leaders in the region, the president has, Jared Kushner has, Secretary Pompeo has. And so we’re quite hopeful that we can build on this momentum. I can’t give a timeline because these things are tough. You know, these are the toughest negotiations in the world, to broker peace between Israel and the Arab and Islamic world, but we’re confident that we think there are a couple of other countries that are going to get on board soon and we’re looking forward to that.
“I’m curious, Saudi Arabia,” Todd pressed. “Because they’re the guardians, if you will, of some important religious aspects of Islam, do they end up the last, do you think, to publicly do it? Or could they be next?”
“Look, it’s possible that they could be next,” O’Brien replied. “The three great holy sites in Islam, as you know, Chuck, are Mecca, Medina – and the king of Saudi Arabia is the keeper of those two sites. But the other site is the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and King Hussein of Jordan and Jordan supervises that. One of the great things about this agreement is you’re now going to have direct flights from those fantastic airports, both in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, into Ben Gurion in Tel Aviv. And we’re going to have Arab and Muslim pilgrims coming to Jerusalem and going up to the Mount and worshiping at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. And we think that’s something that will be a great confidence builder. And so, I’m hoping that King Salman and MBS, Mohammed bin Salman, see that development and realize that this would be great for Saudi Arabia, it would be great for the Arab people, and for the Islamic world as well. So, we’re hopeful. We’ll have to see what happens, but we’re talking to a number of countries in addition to Saudi Arabia.”
Todd segued to pushing for the Iran deal to be reinstated, asserting, “Your loss at the U.N. on the extension of an arms embargo on Iran, and given how much the United — how few allies the United States had on their side on this issue, do you at all look at this — wouldn’t the United States be in a better position to extend this embargo on Iran if they had remained in the Iran deal? Is that turning out to be a big diplomatic mistake?”
O’Brien shot that idea down quickly:
No, I think it was — it’s exactly the opposite of that, Chuck. I think getting out of the JCPOA and showing our allies and partners in the region, who are terrified of a hegemonic Iran that received over $150 billion under the JCPOA in sanctions relief — they didn’t take that money to improve the lives of ordinary Iranians. They took that money and engaged in proxy wars in Iraq, in Syria, in Lebanon, in Yemen, and other parts of the Middle East. And so, I think getting out of the JCPOA was the predicate for this fantastic deal between UAE and Israel.
And look, the only people — you know, you had Thomas Friedman coming out with an unqualified endorsement of the UAE-Israel deal, which I never thought I’d see President Trump being endorsed by Thomas Friedman on this deal, and David Ignatius and others. I think the only people that were against the deal were the Ayatollah and maybe Ben Rhodes. But this happened because we got out of the JCPOA, not because we should have stayed in it.
The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.