Michael Slackman of the New York Times penned a front page story arguing that the slew of popular revolts are strengthening Iran in the region. Iran analysts Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett have also adopted this view. But the premise seems to rest on a crude “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” logic that posits that because the protests are removing and unsettling adversaries of Iran ergo Iran is the big winner. But in fact, Iran is likely going to be a loser in the region as the result of the protests.
The popular revolts shaking the Arab world have begun to shift the balance of power in the region, bolstering Iran’s position while weakening and unnerving its rival, Saudi Arabia, regional experts said… Saudi Arabia, an American ally and a Sunni nation that jousts with Shiite Iran for regional influence, has been shaken… The uprisings are driven by domestic concerns. But they have already shredded a regional paradigm in which a trio of states aligned with the West supported engaging Israel and containing Israel’s enemies, including Hamas and Hezbollah, experts said. The pro-engagement camp of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia is now in tatters.
It is no doubt the case that Saudi Arabia has been shaken and the previous regional paradigm, noted above by Slackman, is in tatters. But this is not because of anything done by Iran. It is because of the emergence of liberal popular revolts and the potential reemergence of Egypt… >>>