The Daily Talking Points

News and views on U.S.-Iran relations for February 9:

  • The Wall Street Journal: Kenneth M. Pollack, director of the Saban center at the Brookings Institution, opines, “Could al Qaeda Hijack Egypt’s Revolution?” and observes, “the Iranian regime is also gleeful about the collapse of Mr. Mubarak, one of America’s most important Arab allies and one of Tehran’s most passionate enemies.” He continues, “Iran’s mullahs often see opportunity in chaos and violence, believing that anything that disrupts the region’s American-backed status quo works to their advantage,” and concludes, “All of this gives Iran and al Qaeda common interests that may drive them toward tacit cooperation—with the goal of fomenting a modern Bolshevik Revolution.”
  • Tablet Magazine: Hudson Institute visiting fellow Lee Smith argues that the Muslim Brotherhood is still a radicalizing force in Egypt and calls Yussuf al-Qaradawi, the Qatar-based Muslim Brotherhood preacher who exiled himself from Egypt in 1961, a “prospective Khomeini.” Qaradawi, who hosts the show “Shariah and Life” on Al Jazeera, “has cultivated among some American analysts a reputation for moderation with his fatwas, permitting masturbation and condemning Sept. 11 (while supporting suicide bombers in Israel),” says Smith. Smith goes on to argue, “While the parallels between Iran in 1979 and Egypt in 2011 can be overdrawn, it is foolish to pretend that they are not there,” and warns, “To the Iranians, Qaradawi is perhaps not the ideal voice of Sunni Islamism, but insofar as he rises and the Americans suffer, Tehran will make its accommodations.”
  • Los Angeles Times: Jonah Goldberg writes a column on “The real realism in Israel” in which he argues against linkage and supports the view that the current unrest in Egypt has nothing to do with Israel. Goldberg, who is at the Herzliya Conference, on a trip underwritten by the Emergency Committee for Israel, says that proponents who see an Israeli-Palestinian peace process as a key U.S. foreign policy goal, such as Gen. James Jones, are detached from reality. “Such thinking falls somewhere between wild exaggeration and dangerous nonsense,” says Goldberg.  He goes on to argue, “As we’ve recently been reminded, Israel is the only truly democratic regime in the region, and therefore the most stable. But, we are told, if we were only more conciliatory to corrupt dictatorial regimes and more sympathetic to the ‘Arab street,’ the region would be more stable. (Ironically, this is very close to Israel’s own position, no doubt because it will take any peace it can get.)”

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. Israel will take any peace it can get? Israel could have peace tomorrow on a basis of an independent Palestinian state with the 1967 borders, plus some right of return and generous compensation for the rest of the refugees (which the U.S. would willingly pay). In fact, Israel wants peace on its terms — lebensraum on the West Bank and no (or very limited) right of return.

    Of course Israeli-Palestinian peace is a key U.S. foreign policy goal. To think otherwise amounts to “dangerous nonsense.” Is Goldberg once again mistaking perceived Israeli interests for real American ones?

    Regarding al-Qaradawi: anyone who condemns 9/11 and promotes masturbation can’t be all bad.

  2. Ken Pollak discerns the common interests of al qaida and Iran in Egypt and sees potential of cooperation.
    Zee! One wonders why despite “common interest in Africa and latin America” did the Europenas fight themselves to multiple self destructive wars?

    This oes for F** punditry nowadays? Or does interest of israel trump even the simple use of common sense?

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