The Daily Talking Points

News and views on U.S.-Iran relations for February 3:

  • National Review Online: Foreign Policy Initiative Executive Director Jamie M. Fly opines that the possibility of the Muslim Brotherhood taking control in Egypt is concerning “but the solution is not for conservatives to cling to the supposed stability represented by Mubarak.” He argues that Mubarak’s presidency is “finished” and, “As long as chaos and uncertainty reign, the more likely it will be that extremist elements in the Muslim Brotherhood or elsewhere take advantage of the situation, just as the Islamists did during Iran’s drawn-out revolution in 1978–79.”
  • The New York Times: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a fellow at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute, writes that she knows the Muslim Brotherhood from her experience in a 2002 political campaign, on behalf of the conservative party, in the Netherlands. She repeats the oft-used Islamophobic meme that the Brotherhood, “argue[s] for taqiyyah, a strategy to collaborate with your enemies until the time is ripe to defeat them or convert them to Islam.” Hirsi Ali warns that secular democrats in Egypt must explain to the Egyptian people why a “Shariah-based government” would be a disaster but, “unlike the Iranians in 1979, the Egyptians have before them the example of a people who opted for Shariah — the Iranians — and have lived to regret it.” She concludes, “The 2009 ‘green movement’ in Iran was a not a ‘no’ to a strongman, but a ‘no’ to Shariah.” and “ElBaradei and his supporters must make clear that a Shariah-based regime is repressive at home and aggressive abroad.”
  • The Weekly Standard: Thomas Donnelly, another fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, writes about the comparison of the fall of Hosni Mubarak with the overthrow of the Shah of Iran in 1979. He writes, “It is one thing to acknowledge that we cannot determine or dictate the outcome of the changes coming to the greater Middle East, quite another to act as though we don’t care enough to continue to exert a shaping influence,” calling on Obama to assert greater support for the protesters and to not cut the Pentagon budget. “In sum, at the moment when the movement to create a new order in the region is accelerating – and who can seriously think that the likelihood of violence is diminishing, will be self-regulating, or can be met only with ‘soft power?’ – the United States appears to be backing away,” says Donnelly.

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.