The Daily Talking Points

News and views on U.S.-Iran relations for February 2:

The New York Times: Yossi Klein Halevi, a fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute and a contributing editor at The New Republic, writes, “Israelis fear that Egypt will go the way of Iran or Turkey, with Islamists gaining control through violence or gradual co-optation.” Hezbollah’s increasingly strong role in Lebanon, Hamas’s control of the Gaza Strip, and the downturn in Israel-Turkey relations leads Halevi to comment, “[A]n Islamist Egypt could produce the ultimate Israeli nightmare: living in a country surrounded by Iran’s allies or proxies.” While the Egyptian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood has forsworn violence, “it is small comfort to Israelis, who fear that the Brotherhood’s nonviolence has been a tactical maneuver and know that its worldview is rooted in crude anti-Semitism.”

National Review Online: The American Enterprise Institute’s Michael Rubin opines on the developing situation in Egypt and suggests that the Muslim Brotherhood and “anti-Western forces will look to blame Egypt’s problems on the U.S.” “What worries me is this: Today marks the 32nd anniversary of Khomeini’s return to Iran. Most people making dark allusions to Iran forget that more than nine months passed between Khomeini’s return and the seizure of the U.S. Embassy,” says Rubin. “The question then becomes, what grievances can the Muslim Brotherhood or other anti-Western forces manufacture in those nine months to try to appeal beyond their natural constituency of perhaps 25 percent?” Rubin concludes that Obama should avoid making George W. Bush’s mistake of supporting elections in Gaza and “enabl[ing] political groups which maintain militias to claim the mantle of electoral legitimacy.”

Los Angeles Times: Jonah Goldberg, also based at The American Enterprise Institute, warns that the democracy movement in Egypt could turn into “a replay of the Iranian revolution, in which justified popular discontent with an authoritarian ruler was exploited by Islamists who ultimately imposed an even crueler brand of tyranny.” Goldberg goes on to compare political participation of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to a “contagion.”

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. Fear always runs high in certain quarters. It helps keep money flowing from the diaspora and from the US Treasury…

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