The Daily Talking Points

News and views on U.S.-Iran relations for February 1:

  • The Wall Street Journal: Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Max Boot writes, “[I]t does scant justice to the complexity of the situation to claim that Mr. Mubarak was a superb ally, or to imagine that we can manage an easy transition to a post-Mubarak regime.” Boot uses a series of quotes catalogued by the controversial Middle East Media Research Institute showing “rabid anti-Semitism and anti-Westernism that polluted Egypt’s state-controlled news media.” Boot doesn’t find Mohammed ElBaredei to be an attractive alternative to Mubarak because “[h]e called the Gaza Strip ‘the world’s largest prison’ and declared that it was imperative to ‘open the borders, end the blockade.’ Boot adds, “Mr. ElBaradei also spoke glowingly of Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has assailed Israel in harsh terms and voted against United Nations sanctions on Iran.”
  • The Wall Street Journal: Ronen Bergman, an intelligence analyst for Yedioth Ahronoth, an Israeli daily, draws lessons from the fall of the Shah in Iran that apply to the current situation in Egypt, and recommends that the U.S. stand by Mubarak or risk repeating the mistakes that led to “the establishment of an Islamic regime in Tehran that has been no friend to the U.S.” Bergman concludes, “Past experience  suggests that if Mr. Mubarak’s regime is toppled, not only will American interests suffer, but the cause of freedom in Egypt could be set back dramatically. And the U.S. will have contributed to a Middle East that is less stable and more dangerous than it is today.”
  • AOL News: The American Enterprise Institute’s Michael Rubin opines that the Obama administration must be careful to avoid an “Iran-like tragedy in Egypt” but Mubarak might not be the lynchpin to maintaining U.S. interests in Egypt. “The true value of Egypt was its peace treaty with Israel, an event that predated Mubarak’s rise,” writes Rubin.  “Many analysts see the shadow of Iran’s Islamic revolution in the Egyptian chaos. One parallel is certain: Should Mubarak flee, it will be the end of the beginning rather than the beginning of the end,” he warns. Rubin concludes, “If the White House is to avoid an Iran-like tragedy, it must stay one step ahead of the Brotherhood, refuse to be a populist foil and guarantee the September elections, and bestow legitimacy only upon those groups that eschew violence and abide by the Egyptian constitution.”

Eli Clifton

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. He is a co-founder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Eli previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.



  1. Why has the Islamic regime in Iran proved “no friend to the U.S.”? Because we supported the Shah and the torturers of Savak, overthrew a democratic government in 1953, spurned Iranian overtures both before and after 9/11, and continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with an apartheid regime in Palestine. Perhaps if we had behaved a little better the state of relations would be much different?

    “The cause of freedom in Egypt” hasn’t concerned Israelis or Americans until now, when their own interests are threatened. Bergman = hypocrite. The same is true of Michael Rubin.

  2. RE: “If the White House is to avoid an Iran-like tragedy, it must…bestow legitimacy only upon those groups that eschew violence and abide by the Egyptian constitution.” – AEI’s Michael Rubin
    QUESTION: Should the White House likewise bestow legitimacy only upon those groups in Israel that eschew violence and abide by the Israeli [nonexistent] constitution? “Enquiring minds want to know.”

  3. We need to admit when the Neo-con’s are correct. Their fears here are sound, their calls for democracy in the Arab world were correct. Their utter hypocrisy should (and you here at Lobelog do a great job) exposed. OK I couldn’t get the parenthetical tense to line up, but you get my point–suffering Cabin Fever in Texas

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