The Daily Talking Points

News and views on U.S.-Iran relations for December 17, 2010:

  • Weekly Standard: Michael Weiss attacks the concept of ‘linkage‘ in a long, convoluted piece on the Standard‘s blog. Leading off with an overstatement explanation of linkage (“by resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict most other problems will be resolved”), Weiss goes on to list statements by some Arab leaders about both Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Where linkage plainly fails as an interpretive mechanism is in its weighing of Arab motives for making Palestine the Key to All Mythologies for regional harmony,” he writes.  Weiss analyzes linkage through the lens of previous Arab support for perpetuating the conflict, rather than the current push to end it. Returning to the straw man version of linkage (“attribut[ing] immolated churches in Iraq to ongoing Palestinian statelessness”), he concludes by writing: “In the end, if Palestinian statehood is achieved it will be largely in spite of, not because of, the self-serving efforts of unelected Arab leaders.” The connection to linkage remains unclear.
  • Commentary: Writing on the Contentions blog, Jonathan Tobin says that Australian Foreign Minister Paul Rudd “blindsides” Israel when, on a tour of the region, the diplomat said that Israel should be subject to IAEA inspections. “The problem with Rudd’s shot fired across Israel’s bow is not so much the request itself but the fact that it represents a tacit acceptance of the main talking point of apologists for Iran’s nuclear ambitions: the positing of a moral equivalence between Israel’s nuclear deterrent and Iran’s desire for the ultimate weapon,” writes Tobin. He says it’s a sign of Israel’s isolation: “With allies like Australia and Kevin Rudd undermining Israel’s case, we must hope that the stories about Stuxnet’s devastating impact really are true.”

Ali Gharib

Ali Gharib is a New York-based journalist on U.S. foreign policy with a focus on the Middle East and Central Asia. His work has appeared at Inter Press Service, where he was the Deputy Washington Bureau Chief; the Buffalo Beast; Huffington Post; Mondoweiss; Right Web; and Alternet. He holds a Master's degree in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science. A proud Iranian-American and fluent Farsi speaker, Ali was born in California and raised in D.C.