• Thursday, December 14, 2017

Obsession With Iran Is Driving the Mideast and the U.S. Crazy - NYT

Discussion in 'Iranian Defence Forum' started by ashok321, Dec 7, 2017.

  1. ashok321

    ashok321 ELITE MEMBER

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    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/05/...BB-12-7&utm_term=Editorial - Early Bird Brief


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    If there is a common denominator explaining so many recent events in the Middle East — actions by Saudi Arabia, the U.S., Syria, Israel and Yemen — it can be expressed in one word: Iran. Everyone has Iran’s growing power and influence in the region on the mind — including Iran — and that obsession is making a lot of people crazy.

    For instance, the Trump administration, like Barack Obama’s, actually wants to get away from the Middle East — as much as possible — but while leaving as little Iranian influence behind as possible.

    Saudi Arabia, under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as M.B.S., wants to get ahead in the Middle East and reform his economy for the 21st century — while curtailing as much Iranian influence in the region as possible.

    And the Iranians want to get wide — to expand their influence from Tehran to the Mediterranean — not by creating a successful and attractive development model at home that Arabs and other Muslims would want to emulate, but rather by forcing their way into Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and Iraq through local Shiite militias that have created states within these states.

    This is generating a lot of anxiety in the Arab world, the U.S. and Israel without enough people stepping back and thinking: So pro-Iranian militias control a bunch of bad neighborhoods in Beirut, Sana, Damascus and Baghdad. Tell me, what is second prize? What are they really “winning”?

    Precisely because these intertwined religious and economic reform agendas are so critical, wise friends of M.B.S. would also be offering him some tough love — by telling him that it’s great to arrest thieving Saudi billionaires and throw them in the Ritz-Carlton, but it has to be done with transparency and within a rule of law — which would enhance his legitimacy — not in an arbitrary way that will hurt his legitimacy and frighten future investors. They also have to stress to him that to be an effective anti-corruption campaigner, he has to be open to criticism himself and live modestly. No more giant yachts.

    On foreign policy, M.B.S.’s real friends would also tell him that while Iran has expanded its influence across the Arab world, the Saudis do not have the muscles to take it head-on right now. The Iranians have spent nearly 40 years developing their influence through underground networks and Shiite proxies.

    Meanwhile, the Saudis wrote checks to Sunni militias, who never stayed bought. Or they bought big weapons systems that are useless in this age of irregular warfare — and only lead to the kind of Saudi aerial bombardments of Yemen that have led to so many civilian deaths, disease and starvation — and a costly stalemate for Riyadh. Saudi Arabia needs to end that war — now — and get out of Yemen, even if it means leaving some Iranian influence behind.

    I was just speaking to a Kuwaiti banker who told me that M.B.S.’s popularity among Kuwaiti women and youth on Kuwaiti social media is unlike anything he has ever seen. Kuwaiti youth are asking why isn’t anyone throwing their corrupt princes into a Ritz-Carlton or just a tent in the desert? Why doesn’t their aging and unimaginative ruling family have someone shaking things up like M.B.S.?

    But they don’t like M.B.S.’s foreign policy — Yemen most of all, but also the ham-fisted interventions in Lebanon and Qatar. They look bullying. M.B.S. would unlock so much more good will and influence for himself if he curtailed these ill-conceived, Iranian-obsessed foreign adventures.

    My view on Saudi Arabia today is very simple: Because it has so much deferred reform to undertake — before its oil money runs out — the biggest question is not if M.B.S. is too brash, too brutal, too power-hungry or too imperfect. It’s whether he’s too late — that Saudi Arabia is now un-reformable. I think not, but that is why, with all of M.B.S.’s flaws, we need to help increase his chances for success. If he can turn Jiddah into another Dubai, where so many Iranians now love to vacation and bank, he will do more to increase his influence in the region and diminish Iran’s than anything else he could do.

    But just about the last thing Saudi Arabia or any of our Arab allies need right now is for President Trump to do what the White House says he will do Wednesday — announce plans to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. I can’t think of anything more unnecessary and destabilizing. It is such a gift, wrapped with a bow, to Iran and Hezbollah. You can bet they will use it to present the Saudis, Jordanians, U.A.E., Palestinian Authority and Egypt as enablers of an American “Zionist agenda.”

    At a time when Iran is extending its influence, and our Arab allies are preoccupied with domestic reforms — which require a lot of pain for their publics that strains the legitimacy of their leaders — this is the last thing they need from their American friend. It is such a pathetic way for Trump to deflect attention from his utter failure to make any progress on the Israeli-Palestinian front.

    And it is such a pathetic way to disguise the fact that America really is not present in the Middle East these days. Our ability to shape events there is less than anytime since World War II.

    “For the first time since 1945 America is no longer a leader,” argued Ivo Daalder, the president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and a co-author of a forthcoming book, “The Empty Throne: How America Abdicated Its Global Leadership Role.” Though we are less powerful “we could still be influential,” he added. “But that influence has to come by building strong coalitions.”

    Alas, Trump has neither the patience for such coalition-building nor the willingness to make the compromises with allies — let alone with distasteful rivals like Russia or Iran — that will be required to stabilize the Middle East when we have neither power nor desire to do it alone.

    So Trump will rail against Iran and pretend that he is Thor, throwing down thunderbolts, like recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. But he’s really just a lost tourist, looking for his bus. Which is really unfortunate at a time when Saudi Arabia needs a wise U.S. ally more than ever, Iran needs to be confronted with smart diplomacy more than ever and Israel’s security requires some kind of creative diplomacy in Syria more than ever.
     
  2. AmirPatriot

    AmirPatriot SENIOR MEMBER

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    Turn Riyadh into Dubai = Defeating Iran? :lol:

    EDIT: It's that Friedman guy, I shouldn't have been surprised :lol:
     
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  3. Fafnir

    Fafnir FULL MEMBER

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    I know right?,smart diplomacy?,from the us?,in the middle east?,with der trumpenfuhrer in charge? LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!:disagree::disagree::disagree::disagree::disagree::no::no::no::no::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:
     
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  4. Serpentine

    Serpentine INT'L MOD

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    Don't blame Thomas Friedman, he is the Pen for Sale, he is ought to do his job, which is being a PR robot for Saudi regime. His previous article costed him enough credibility among respected journalists.
     
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  5. VEVAK

    VEVAK FULL MEMBER

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    Your picture of that idiot makes the rest of your comments seem even more idiotic!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You delusions about what Iran wants is in reality nothing more than a mirror image of what the U.S. & Saudi Arabia want and that is proxy states which is NOT what Iran wants or has any interest in!

    Is Iran dropping bombs on it's Neighbor, creating a Naval blockade that's creating famine in a neighboring country? as Saudi's are doing in Yemen! NOPE! Is Iran Blockading another neighbor as Saudi's are doing in Qatar? Nope!

    Saudi actions against Yemen, Qatar, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria & Iraq are evident it's just that they are loosing and now they are crying about it!

    ISIS in Iraq & Syria would have run out of weapons years ago without Saudi backing! And it was the Saudi's that started ISIS and tried to take over Iraq and Syria with ISIS & if Iran is sending weapons and advisors there it's because the Iraqi and Syrian governments requested that we be there!

    In Lebanon Iran doesn't need to hold the prime minister of Lebanon and his kid hostage! That's what the Saudi's do!!!

    In Egypt the Saudi's paid the Egyptian Military to overthrow the democratically elected government because they couldn't stand an independent democracy there

    And what reform has that spoiled cave man looking moron in Saudi Arabia actually brought?? Allowing WOMEN to DRIVE!!! And what he wants a medal for that? LOL! Having overtly covert relations with Israel really!! LOL! The idiot is locking up and torturing his own family members!
    Saudi Arabia is spending more on weapons per GDP and Capita than any other country on the planet!!! Is that reform??

    In Lebanon the Christians and Shiites support Iran & slowly but surly more moderate Sunni's are seeing the Saudi's for what they truly are and that has nothing to do with anything Iran is doing and everything to do with Saudi behavior!

    In Palestine Hamas is a Sunni group elected by the people yet they lean more towards Iran! Even the PLO is slowly seeing the Saudi's for what they are!

    Iraq is a majority Shiite country and in Iraq, Iran is looking long term so a stable strong Iraq allied with Iran is far more beneficial to Iran than what the Saudi's want which is a proxy state!!
    Iran wants an Iraq that can join Iran in Joint economic projects, Joint military projects, Joint space programs, Joint R&D program.... As the Europeans do in Europe!

    This why Iran is playing chess and the Saudi's and American's are playing checkers!

    And Iran so far hasn't imposed it's version of government on anyone! They used to say if Hezbullah gains political power in Lebanon they will start forcing Hejab on people!

    France, Germany & U.K. don't go around forcing their way of government on each other! And the French don't expect the Germans or the U.K. to follow their style of governance or use them as an example and vice versa because that is absurd so why the hell should anyone in their right mind think that Iran expects other to follow their example of governance!!!
     
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