Friday Iran Talking Points
from LobeLog: News and Views Relevant to U.S.-Iran relations for February 11th, 2011:
The Weekly Standard: Stephen Schwartz writes on â€œIranâ€™s Conspiracy Industryâ€ and observes that â€œconspiracy theories have long flourished in the lands of Islam.â€ Schwartz offers a rundown of recent anti-Semitic television programming in Iran, warning, â€œall of this might seem like nothing more than typical, daily insanity in Iran.â€
The Washington Post: Charles Krauthammer writes, â€œOf course, yesterday it was just George W. Bush, Tony Blair and a band of neocons with unusual hypnotic powers who dared challenge the received wisdom of Arab exceptionalism â€“ the notion that Arabs, as opposed to East Asians, Latin Americans, Europeans and Africans, were uniquely allergic to democracy.â€ Krauthammer goes on to identify the new totalitarianism as â€œIslamismâ€ and argues, â€œas in Soviet days, the threat is both internal and external. Iran, a mini-version of the old Soviet Union, has its own allies and satellites â€“ Syria, Lebanon and Gaza â€“ and its own Comintern, with agents operating throughout the region to extend Islamist influence and undermine pro-Western secular states.â€ He concludes, â€œWe are, unwillingly again, parties to a long twilight struggle, this time with Islamism â€“ most notably Iran, its proxies and its potential allies, Sunni and Shiite.â€
The Washington Post: Michael Gerson asks, â€œDo Egyptâ€™s protests mean American decline?â€ He warns, â€œThe emergence of a Sunni version of Iran in Egypt would be a major blow,â€ and â€œThereâ€™s a reason shahs are sometimes followed by mullahs â€“ because religious extremism is the opiate of a humiliated people.â€
National Review Online: The Foundation For Defense of Democraciesâ€™s Benjamin Weinthal blogs, â€œThe failure of the West to energetically confront Iranâ€™s bellicose policies might very well be revealed in the post-Mubarak era.â€ He argues, â€œIranâ€™s understanding of a new Egyptian political system mirrors the fiercely anti-democratic goals of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.â€ Weinthal segues the jubilation over Hosni Mubarakâ€™s resignation into a call for tighter sanctions on Iran, writing, â€œIf the West, particularly the Obama administration, is serious about the business of democracy-promotion in Egypt and in the Muslim world, then an accelerated round of hard-hitting sanctions ought to be implemented against Iranâ€™s energy sectorâ€¦ Crude-oil sanctions targeting Iran serve the twin goals of advancing democracy in Egypt and perhaps contributing to the demise of the Iranian regime.â€ He concludes, â€œIn short, democratic change in Egypt is arguably contingent on blocking the spread of revolutionary Iranian Islam in the Middle East.â€
Visit Lobelog.com for the latest news analysis and commentary from Inter Press News Serviceâ€™s Washington bureau chief Jim Lobe.