Events in Iran might force Obama to change Middle East plans

Posted: June 16th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, the US and us | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off

Don’t miss this excellent analysis by the BBC’s Jim Muir of the political situation in Iran (with notes on the growing protest’s implications on all key players).

Muir also makes an interesting point on the way the unexpected developments surrounding the elections have damaged President’s Obama’s plans to engage in a dialogue with the regime in Tehran.

For Mr Obama to have opened dialogue with Tehran under a credibly-re-elected Mr Ahmadinejad would have been difficult enough in US domestic political terms.

But American experts on US-Iran relations believe his task will be considerably complicated in Congress and elsewhere should the election be seen as rigged and the results imposed by repression.

The outcome has also played into the hands of Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline government in Israel.

Under pressure to come up with what it regards as concessions on the Palestinian issue, Mr Netanyahu has tried to argue that priority should go to what he sees as the true threat to the region – Iran.

If the Iranian election crisis is not somehow defused, he will clearly find it easier to argue his case that “the biggest threat to Israel, the Middle East and the entire world is the crossing of a nuclear weapon with radical Islam” and that there should be “an international coalition against the nuclear arming of Iran”, as he said in his policy speech on Sunday.

Four more Years: Ahmadinejad Wins

Posted: June 13th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: elections, In the News | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

cross-posted with FPW.

Events are still rolling in Iran, but Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared winner in the presidential elections, and there are no indications that the demonstrations of Mir Hossein Mousavi’s supporters can change that. Not with the supreme leader Ali Khemenei and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps on the president’s side.

Here are some of my initial thoughts on the matter.

● Some people might see the election’s outcome as a blow for president Obama. This is true only to a certain extent. I don’t believe the American president was thinking that his speech in Cairo – inspiring as it was – will result in immediate political changes in the region. Things just don’t work this way, so we shouldn’t credit Obama for the success of the pro-western coalition in Lebanon, nor for the reformists’ failure in Iran.

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