Saturday, December 17, 2005

Iran's Game.

The resurgence of anti-Jewish rhetoric in Iran has had me puzzled even if it's an old trick used by other Arab figures in the past.
Some commentators have said that the Iranian anti-Jewish theme was aimed at unifying a country that is increasingly divided over the regime and even that is a sign that it is cracking up from the inside. In other words, the speeches by
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are to be understood strictly in the sense that they are aimed at the “domestic market” and that they are a sign of weakness rather than a real threat. That may be but the staging and everything else seems to indicate that the Iranian government is also trying to reach out to the rest of the Arab world. Pan-Arabism has always been, after all a dream of many Arab leaders, and what is better than some good old Israel-bashing and Holocaust-denying to rally divided Arbas around the green flag.
Matthew Yglesias, however, has a lightly different geo-political perspective that makes sense:

One key swing constituency in this whole standoff is the Arab world. The regimes in the Gulf and beyond the Egypt are not very excited about the prospect of a nuclear Iran which they naturally see as a threat to their own standing in the area. But the Arab public is pretty sympathetic to the Iranian position on this. If Teheran can successfully frame its nuclear program as directed at Israel, rather than the Gulf monarchies, then it becomes extremely difficult for the Arab regimes to support an anti-Iranian policy even though they'd be inclined to do so. In that sense, I worry that the tendency of western diplomats to explicitly link the Israel and nuclear issues every time Ahmadinejad launches one of these tirades is a mistake.
In this light, the news of Hamas' victory in the local elections in Palestine is something to worry about.


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