Thursday, May 16, 2013

"A Strong Iran Is Good for America"

"...Don't defeat Iran. Shi'ism is not America's enemy. It is not in the long-term interest of the United States to side with the Sunni Arab states against Iran or vice versa. Doing so produces an imbalance of power in the region as we learned with the collapse of the Iraqi state in the aftermath of the American invasion of 2003. Iran was then able to establish a contiguous sphere of influence stretching from western Afghanistan to the Mediterranean -- something that was only averted by the Arab Spring reaching Syria.
The two-year-old Syrian crisis has now come to a point where Iran is on the defensive, as its positions in Lebanon and Iraq come under threat. But Washington's talks with Moscow in an effort to reach a negotiated settlement on the Syria crisis may indicate that the United States is not interested in allowing the pendulum to swing in the other direction this time around.
Remember that the United States had a bad, decadeslong experience with Sunni domination of the Middle East. It was Sunni dominance, in which the Shias were not sufficiently feared, that helped lead to a phalanx of Arab dictators -- in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere -- who had little incentive to quell anti-Americanism in their midst. Such Leaders as Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and King Fahd in Saudi Arabia fostered a rotten and calcified political climate that was relatively empty of reform, while quietly tolerant of extremism, which resulted in the leader of the 9/11 terrorist cell being Egyptian and 15 of his 18 cohorts being Saudis. But at least the likes of Fahd and Mubarak ran strong states that cooperated with Western intelligence agencies: Perhaps not so the Sunni Islamists who might yet gain even more influence and power in Egypt and Syria. The last thing the West should want is a situation in Syria in which radical Sunni Islamist forces are able to project power in the region, especially across the country's eastern border into Iraq. ..."

No comments: