Hillary Announces Sanctions and Arab Poll Says Iran is Bigger Threat than Israel/ Prof.B.Rubin

Two Big Developments: Hillary Announces Start of Sanctions Push, Arab Poll Says Iran is Bigger Threat than Israel

It may well be that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has given the signal for the new phase of U.S. policy toward Iran. On December 14, she said that the engagement policy with Tehran hadn’t worked and now it needs to press for additional sanctions.

Either this is her attempt to lobby for a tougher line against other administration officials or it's the long-awaited start of the sanctions made necessary by the looming of the administration’s own end-of-the-year deadline to get a deal with Iran or impose more sanctions.

Trying to negotiate, she said, has "produced very little" so "additional pressure is going to be called for."

Her phrasing was interesting, almost as if she was taking a poke at rivals in the administration who are reluctant to take action. "I don't think anyone can doubt that our outreach has produced very little in terms of any kind of a positive response from the Iranians," Clinton said, as if daring someone in the White House to disagree?

So what is the administration going to do? Try to get the UN and EU to support more sanctions. Here the administration likes to claim that its popularity and patient (arguably too patient) coalition-building will bring broad support.

Yet there’s another development that shows the opposite may be true. An important meeting to discuss sanctions, set for December 22, has been postponed at China’s request. As an AP account put it:

“Russia in recent days has moved away from suggesting it would support [sanctions]. And recent statements from Chinese officials indicate that Beijing has not changed its traditional opposition to new sanctions. While Russia and China signed on to three previous sets of UN sanctions against Iran, they also forced their Western Security Council partners to water them down substantially.”

Note that the administration keeps claiming that Moscow and Peking are on board. We are going to see something quite different when the negotiations get serious in January and February.

Buried in a paragraph of an obscure article is explosively important news. A survey of people in 18 Arabic-speaking countries commissioned by a Qatari group—and not fully released yet-- found that a majority see Iran as a bigger threat to their security than Israel and one-third believing Iran is as big a threat as Israel.

This is of historic importance and, of course, reflects reality. This doesn’t mean the Arab attitude toward Israel is going to change drastically, but it does indicate that the real main demand of Arabs toward the West is not making instant Israel-Palestinian peace but protecting them from Iran’s extremist Islamist regime. Western policymakers should take note.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.

The Obamas Watch But Don't See the Tragic Fate of Middle East Women: A Four-Picture Allegory

Turkey used to be a secular state striving for modernization and a place in the Western world. That dream is turning into a nightmare. The AKP regime, despite its pretense of being a center-right, family values, good government party, is moving Turkey toward Islamism. Washington and the West in general doesn't seem to notice though horrified Turkish secularists and liberals are yelling for help.

Look at the photos below of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his wife arriving in Washington to meet the Obamas. It's not so much that his wife, Ermine, is wearing a hijab (in Turkey called a turban) but look at her slumped over and self-effacing like a slave. I'm of no importance, is what her posture seems to say. Compare her abject stance to the three others in the picture standing tall and proud. In the first photo her sleeves are so long to conceal her hands that she can't even control them. Her head is slumped in a pose conveying submissiveness and shame at being a woman. And then in the fourth photo, she slinks off, like a servant who has been dismissed.

The sequence seems to symbollize the fate stalking Turkish woman, subverting the equality envisioned under the Ataturk republic to a status of servility and second-class citizenship. This holds true in much of the Muslim-majority countries and it is getting worse--Egypt and Iraq come to mind--not better.

Yet the Obamas don't even notice what's going on before their eyes. To them, Turkey is the very model of a moderate Muslim democracy, a good model to be encouraged rather than a NATO ally slipping steadily into the Iranian-Syrian alliance.

Take a look at those photos below and shiver.

But for sheer insanity there's this New York Times article. It celebrates the growing Turkish-Syrian alignment, claiming that this means Syria is becoming more moderate! The author actually states:

"For some [in Syria], the new closeness with secular, moderate Turkey represents a move away from Syria’s controversial alliance with Iran. For others, it suggests an embrace of Turkey’s more open, cosmopolitan society. And for many — including Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad — it conjures different dreams of a revitalized regional economy, less vulnerable to Western sanctions or pressure."

Let me explain something. When a former ally joins your enemies you don't cheer about how your enemy is becoming your friend. Why should Turkey-Syria friendship mean Syria-Iran coolness, especially when Turkey and Iran are acting like great buddies? This article is just a pitiful parroting of Syrian disinformation. Shameful.

It isn't that Syria is aping a moderate pro-West Turkey but Turkey imitating an Islamist Iran. Want to see where Turkey is headed? Look at the photos below:

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.


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