Damage Has Already Been Done

On Friday, Iranians went to the polls and elected Hassan Rouhani as president, the only relatively moderate candidate left in the election. By all reports, the turnout was large. While not as high as in 2009, it certainly dwarfed our own Presidential election this past November.
Analysts, those with a deeper knowledge of Iran—not the Daniel Pipes of the world– remain hesitantly hopeful that Rouhani can bring about any change in the increasingly isolated regime. The Iranian president is still subservient to the policies and desires of the Supreme Leader. Ahmadinejad’s last four years was instructive of how the Supreme Leader deals with those who question his authority.
Rouhani’s ability to be less antagonistic than his predecessor will undoubtably create more space for the Iranians—and some have argued the US—to formulate a solution to the nuclear impasse that has characterized the relationship over the last decade. But, did Obama’s recent announcement on arming the Syrian rebels nullify any of that supposed space?
For Iran, the battle raging in Syria is much like the impasse over Iran’s nuclear program—it’s an existential issue. Syria connects the dots of Iran’s supposed arc of control—the so called Shia Crescent that runs from Iran to Lebanon. If Syria falls, Iran loses its ability to supply its biggest ally Hezbollah—one of the ways in which Iran has been supporting Assad. The Iranian backed militia provides a significant amount of the fighting force keeping Assad in power.
By arming the rebels, Obama puts himself and America directly opposite Iran—not that this is a new thing. The President’s passé announcement has likely sent a signal to the Iranians that the US remains steadfast–albeit half-heartedly–in its desire to check any Iranian power grab—although, I argue in another piece that Syria is a lose-lose situation for Iran regardless of our intervention. Diplomatically, this may make it increasingly difficult to reach an agreement over Iran’s nuclear program.
Essentially, if Syria falls with the help of American supplied arms, Iran will become more vulnerable–not to mention the region becomes even more destabilized. They won’t be able to supply Hezbollah with the resources necessary to check any attempts by Israel to neutralize its nuclear program—Israel will certainly take advantage of that situation. More than likely, Iran will determine it’s far more prudent to pursue a weapon. Their calculus, in my opinion, will be that weaponizing will be the only way they can protect themselves from an outside attack.
However, if Obama can keep our involvement to a minimum—no boots on the ground or no-fly zone—it is likely we can avoid an outcome that precipitates Iran deciding to weaponize their nuclear program. I’m not hopeful of that, as the interventionists within the Obama administration will be emboldened by his acquiescence to their demands of arming the rebels.
Regardless, the damage may have already been done.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Katie Putz

Writing the Good Write.

journeyman coffee

Coffee shop and Coffee Catering

diverseparentingunplugged.wordpress.com/

A mama blog for all things parenting and mixed heritage kids

Eyes on Europe & Middle East

Des regards croisés sur l'Europe et le Moyen Orient

teflresearch

Bringing language research into the classroom

All Things Revolutionary

An objective view of what Iran's revolution means in the 21st c/e

Foreign Policy

the Global Magazine of News and Ideas

LobeLog

Critical Perspectives on U.S. Foreign Policy

dianadarke

Syria and Turkey commentary

Media Diversified

Analysis. Stories. Aesthetics. By and from the diaspora.

Sorry Television

Reading a book a week

bookconscious

"Books are humanity in print." Barbara Tuchman

Sentence first

An Irishman's blog about the English language.

QWF Writes

Quebec Writers' Federation. Two cents, once a month.

Bespoke Traveler

Immersive Tales for the Curious Traveler

%d bloggers like this: