Thursday, December 13, 2007

Washington's Misguided New Middle East Policy: "Containing Iran today would mean promoting Sunni extremism"

Nasr & Takeyh writing "The Cost Of Containing Iran" in Foreign Affairs, here
"...The specter of Shiite primacy in the region will persuade Saudi Arabia and Egypt to actively help declaw Hezbollah. And, the theory goes, now that Israel and its longtime Arab nemeses suddenly have a common interest in deflating Tehran's power and stopping the ascendance of its protégé, Hamas, they will come to terms on an Israeli-Palestinian accord. This, in turn, will (rightly) shift the Middle East's focus away from the corrosive Palestinian issue to the more pressing Persian menace..."
"... But there is a problem: Washington's containment strategy is unsound, it cannot be implemented effectively, and it will probably make matters worse.
"...The ingredients needed for a successful containment effort simply do not exist. Under these circumstances, Washington's insistence that Arab states array against Iran could further destabilize an already volatile region ... But the same Arab governments that complain about Tehran's influence also oppose the Shiite government in Iraq, which is pro- Iranian and pro-American, and favor its Sunni opponents -- leaving Washington having to figure out how to work with the Iraqi government while also building a regional alliance with Sunni Arab states..."
"...The last time the United States rallied the Arab world to contain Iran, in the 1980s, Americans ended up with a radicalized Sunni political culture that eventually yielded al Qaeda. The results may be as bad this time around: a containment policy will only help erect Sunni extremism as an ideological barrier to Shiite Iran, much as Saudi Arabia's rivalry with Iran in the 1980s played out in South Asia and much as radical Salafis mobilized to offset Hezbollah's soaring popularity after the Israeli-Lebanese war in 2006. During the Cold War, confronting communism meant promoting capitalism and democracy. Containing Iran today would mean promoting Sunni extremism -- a self-defeating proposition for Washington..."

Secretary of the Iranian National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, addresses the media at the embassy of Iran in central London, 30 November 2007, following a meeting with European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana at Lancaster House. Iran's top nuclear negotiator said Friday it was "unacceptable" to press Tehran to stop enriching uranium, insisting it can do so under international treaty rules. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

how about insisting on being secular?

the US administration is acting on particular, individual, corporate interests in the Middle East ...