Thursday, February 24, 2011


Obama Is Helping Iran

Most people I know are having difficulties figuring out what is happening in the Middle East and why. This is understandable, given the Western (and especially US) mainstream media's tendency to hand out the propaganda that Washington wants deployed precisely for domestic consumption. Hence, I feel compelled to highlight the following article by authors Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett. Flynt Leverett, who is about my age, is no light-weight. He: a senior fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C. and a professor at the Pennsylvania State University School of International Affairs. From March 2002 to March 2003, he served as the senior director for Middle East affairs on the National Security Council. Prior to serving on the NSC, he was a counterterrorism expert on the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, and before that he served as a CIA senior analyst for eight years. Since leaving government service, Leverett served as a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy before becoming the director of the Geopolitics of Energy Initiative in the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation.

So, if you would like some insight about the Middle East and what is happening and likely to continue happening there, then do yourself a favor and read his article in Foreign Policy. Here are some excerpts:
On Obama's watch, the regional balance of influence and power has shifted even further away from the United States and toward Iran and its allies. The Islamic Republic has continued to deepen its alliances with Syria and Turkey and expand its influence in Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine. Public opinion polls, for example, continue to show that the key leaders in the Middle East's resistance bloc -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Syrian President Bashar Assad, Lebanon's Hassan Nasrallah, Hamas's Khaled Mishaal, and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- are all vastly more popular across the region than their counterparts in closely U.S.-aligned and supported regimes in Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, and Saudi Arabia.
From literally the day after Iran's 2009 presidential election, we pointed out that the Green Movement could not succeed in bringing down the Islamic Republic, for two basic reasons: The movement did not represent anything close to a majority of Iranian society, and a majority of Iranians still support the idea of an Islamic Republic. Two additional factors are in play today, which make it even less likely that those who organized and participated in scattered demonstrations in Iran over the past week will be able to catalyze "regime change" there.

Go to the original article at Foreign Policy to discover what those "two additional factors" are. For further antidotes to the US mainstream media, I recommend Juan Cole and The Arabist.


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