Who Is the Middle East's Biggest Loser From the Arab Revolutions?
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  • Peter

    You describe Hamas as being part of the “Palestinian resistance.” Hamas is not resisting Israel; it’s goal is to destroy Israel. Furthermore, the same is true for the PLO, which was formed years before Israel’s incursion into Gaza or the West Bank (more properly known as Judea and Sameria). Hamas is not a resistance movement; it’s a terrorist organization.

    I remain a devoted fan and look forward to more posts from you!

    Sincerely,

    Peter

    • Walter Russell Mead

      @Peter: I’m not sure why it can’t be both.

  • WigWag

    I think Professor Mead is absolutely right about this. An Iran “expert” who doesn’t is Flynt Leverett who directs the Iran Project at the New America Foundation, where he is also a Senior Research Fellow. Leverett is both an extremist and an iconoclast who was dubbed (playfully I assume) by his former New America Foundation colleague, Steve Clemons, as a “crack-cocaine realist.”

    Leverett runs his blog “The Race for Iran” with his wife who is as eccentric as he is. A former AIPAC functionary, she now seems barely able to control her giddiness every time some Iranian Mullah or other threatens to destroy Israel.

    In any case, Leverett has a post up now where he specifically repudiates the point of view that Mead and others are expressing about Iran’s increasing isolation in the Islamic world. The post, entitled “Iran and Syria: America’s Middle East Pundits Get It Wrong (Again)” can be found here,

    http://www.raceforiran.com/

    Leverett suggests that Iran is better positioned with the Arab world than ever. He points (correctly) to the dramatic improvement in Iran’s relationship with the Egyptian Government. Leverett is dubious that the Assad regime is in real danger; he says that more than 50 percent of Syrians support Assad. He also suggests that Iran’s relationship with Syria won’t diminish even if Assad falls. He argues that Iran does not need Syria to leverage its relationship with its surrogates, Hamas and Hezbollah.

    I tend to think this is all wishful thinking on Leverett’s part. He is so intensely attached to the notion that the Iranian regime is terribly misunderstood, that he is unable to see the forest from the trees. Actually, I think it’s more than his notion that he is attached to; Leverett seems besotted with the Iranian regime itself.

    Those interested in the subject might find his point of view interesting even if it is idiosyncratic.

  • The WSJ material is from Zogby polls linked and partly summarized here. Iran losing public opinion

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    I have said all along that the Arab Spring is only an early result of the American Cultural attack, which was putting a seed of American Culture in Iraq. It’s not just the Iranians that are losing approval, but all authoritarian elements of middle east cultures. Any Turkish increase in influence is an illusion, based on the falling influence of all the authoritarians. In fact it is the seed of American Culture in Iraq whose influence is growing and driving events.

  • Nathaniel

    What the poll indicates more than anything is how fickle public opinion can be, and whether there is such a thing at all. For instance, will this poll be relevant in six months if Israel bombs the Iranian nuclear reactors? Moreover, would anything significant have changed in the region because of increased vitriol against Israel (besides whatever damage is done to the Iranian nuclear progam)?

    And the Iranian gains are from the fact that Iraq has switched columns from being its chief adversary to something between an ally and a vassal. Sure Iraqis might be resentful of an Iranian strong hand now and then, but it’s not like Iran has to worry about having one of the world’s largest armies training its sights on Iran’s borders anymore either, and its not like the Iraqi Shia wanted it another way (for now).

    Lastly, why wouldn’t the same forces pressuring Assad (heretical minority rule) apply to the Eastern Gulf? Oh wait, similar have already occurred to some extent in Bahrain. Oil money gives the Gulf monarchs a longer lifeline, but it couldn’t save Qaddafi…

  • jzsnake

    What if???????????????? Oh wait…..Sheesh!

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