News and views relevant to U.S.-Iran relations for November 18, 2010.
- The Wall Street Journal: Soner Cagaptay, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), writes that Turkey’s governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), due to its identity as the defender of “Islamic Civilization,” may have already signaled a rift with NATO over Iran. In an op-ed entitled “NATO’s Turkey Problem,” Cagaptay says the AKP is expected to drags its feet in implementing the NATO missile defense shield because “it is directed against potential threats from two fellow Muslim countries—Syria and Iran.” Cagaptay adds, “Given that Turkey is the only NATO member bordering Iran and Syria, viewed by the U.S. as ballistic missile threats to NATO, this is a troubling strategic shift.”
- Pajamas Media: Foundation for Defense of Democracies fellow Michael Ledeen rails against Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’s recent comments that an attack on Iran would devastate the nascent opposition movement there. He calls Gates a “blind man” and that there is no evidence for Gates’ assertion, never mentioning that top-level current and former Pentagon brass and diplomats — as well as, notably, Iranian dissident figures — believe otherwise. “I try to imagine one of the tens of millions of Iranian opponents of the regime,” Ledeen fantasizes, rather than asking experts and actual Iranian dissidents. “And then one day somebody blows up a bunch of nuclear labs, some secret military installations, and [Revolutionary Guard] headquarters in the major cities. Does that guy now rally round the supreme leader? I don’t think so.”
- Think Progress: At the Center for American Progress’s Think Progress blog, analyst Matt Duss reports on a conference at D.C.’s National Press Club dedicated to boosting the case for war on Iran. At the conference, Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) cited unspecified “intelligence” to allege that “we know that they [Iran] already have a nuclear capability.” Duss notes that the CIA disagrees with this assessment. Bachmann also called for overt U.S. support for the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), an Islamist-Marxist organization (commonly accused of having a cultish outlook) that fought against Iran in the Iran-Iraq war, and since 1997 has been designated a “foreign terror organization” by the State Department. “We have shackled this freedom-seeking group which has the ability to help Iranians rise up against that tyrannical regime,” Bachmann said.