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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Arab League pressing for closer ties with Iran

At a meeting this weekend in Sirte, Libya, the 22-member Arab League will discuss closer ties with Iran.
The engagement would take the form of a forum for regional cooperation and conflict resolution that would include non-Arab nations Iran and Turkey, two Arab League diplomats said. They agreed to discuss details of the proposal on condition of anonymity because of their sensitivity.

One of the diplomats, who has seen Moussa's document, said the League's chief hopes the inclusion of Turkey - an increasingly influential Sunni Muslim nation - will provide a powerful counterbalance to Shiite Iran.

Moussa also wants the leaders to authorize him to initiate direct talks with Tehran on Arabs' concerns over what they view as Iranian meddling in regional affairs, including through its support of militant groups beyond its borders.

A senior aide to Moussa, Hisham Youssef, confirmed the secretary-general would present the ideas to the summit.

It is not clear if Moussa has yet consulted with key Arab nations such as
Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which have resisted closer ties with Iran in the past.
Some of you may be wondering why countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which allegedly fear an Iranian nuclear attack, would be supporting closer ties with Iran.

The answer is quite simple. The 'moderate' Arab states have despaired of the United States taking any effective action against Iran (their preferred course) or supporting effective Israeli action against Iran. Therefore, they are trying to bring themselves far enough into Iran's orbit that - they hope - Iran will spare them.

We saw a similar process in Lebanon a couple of months ago, when the United States stopped backing the March 14 coalition. As a result, the Saudis reached a rapprochement with Syria, Hezbullah was granted a veto over the formation of a new Lebanese government, and one former March 14 leader after another (Saad Hariri, Walid Jumblatt) is traveling to Damascus to hug and kiss Bashar al-Assad. Because of American weakness, they feel they have no choice.

Israel, of course, doesn't have these kinds of options. The only way we could reach a rapprochement with the Iranians or the Syrians or the Saudis would be to start swimming to Europe. At which point the Europeans would probably patrol their waters to prevent us from getting close.

What could go wrong?


At 1:31 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

No one wants the Jews. And Israel is effectively left to fend for itself. That is the only way it is going to play out and Israel doesn't have the option of going for closer ties with Iran in the face of Obama's fecklessness.

At last, we're approaching the hour of truth.


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