Monday, March 11, 2013

"Iran will continue to influence politics in the region, with or without war & regardless of what happens in Syria"

"... In fact, among those who appear to favor a possible American military strike on Iran, the  betting is that Iran is much weaker than it looks militarily and that its ineffectiveness  against a major American assault will only reveal its exaggerated claims and  consequently reduce its influence, particularly related to its projected ability to stand up  to Israel over the Palestinian issue. This betting is not widely shared among Arab governments, with many fearing that the consequences of war would be devastating to them and would play into Iran’s hands by tapping into the deep reservoir of Arab anger toward Israel and the United States.
There may be some convergence, for varying reasons, between Israel and some GCC states in favor of an American military campaign against Iran. But the difference in reasoning leads to different conclusions about a mediated deal with Iran and about the desired consequences of war. If Iran were to accept strict limits on enriching uranium on  its soil and intrusive international inspections of its nuclear facilities, in exchange for  total removal of international sanctions and acceptance of a regional role for Iran, Israeli  and Saudi reactions would be different. Israel may be inclined to live with such a deal,  although it would demand limits on Iranian support for Hezbollah and Hamas; the Saudis  would feel uncomfortable with such a deal as it is likely to enhance Iranian economic and  conventional power and provide further opportunities to expand Tehran’s influence. War, too, would likely have different, possibly opposite, consequences for Israel and GCC  states, as Arab states worry about a wider regional war that could be more devastating to  them than to Israel. For GCC states, sustained containment of Iran may be a preferred
The complexity of these Arab attitudes meansthat, unless and until Egypt becomes a  stable, popular, and credible Arab power that captures Arab public imaginations, Iran will  continue to have ample opportunity to influence politics in the region, with or without  war and regardless of what happens in Syria—particularly in the absence of IsraeliPalestinian peace. For American policy toward Iran, including the prospects of war, the  starting point is, of course, an analysis of direct American interests. What is clear is that  even aside from the potential military and economic costs of war with Iran, war is  unlikely to limit, and can possibly expand, Iranian opportunities for influence in the Arab  world—regardless of its consequences for Iran’s nuclear program."

No comments: