Arab States Aligned with U.S. Savor Turmoil in Iran

[New York Times] Michael Slackman - The dispute over Iran's presidential election could turn into a win-win for Arab leaders aligned with Washington who in the past have complained bitterly that President Ahmadinejad was destabilizing the region and meddling in Arab affairs. The thinking goes like this: With Ahmadinejad remaining in office, there is less chance of substantially improved relations between Tehran and Washington, something America's Arab allies feared would undermine their interests. At the same time, the electoral conflict may have weakened Iran's leadership at home and abroad, forcing it to focus more on domestic stability. The dramatic video of Iranians being beaten or shot by Basijis has done incalculable damage to Iran's image as the region's most religiously pure and populist state. Iran's allies in the region, including Syria, as well as Hizbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian territories, also seem likely to suffer a blow to their credibility, and perhaps to their financing. "I think Ahmadinejad will concentrate in the economic field to improve living conditions for his population after this crisis," said Emad Gad, an Egyptian expert in international affairs. "That means less giving money, less meddling, less penetration in the Arab world, less involvement."

2009-06-25 06:00:00

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