Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Arabs Fear Iran?

So our government's war mongering rhetoric directed at Iran has been vindicated by none other than Wikileaks. Secretary of State Clinton says that yes, Iran's "neighbors" regard it as a threat. Iran is a serious concern far beyond her region.

That's actually true if keep to a very narrow definition of who Iran's neighbors are. It's not the population. It's the few thuggish propped up dictators in the region. Some Arab dictators have indicated they would like to see Iran attacked.

What if we widen the definition to include the Arab populace? In fact their views are well known and meticulously documented in a study put forward by the Brookings Institute in conjunction with Zogby International. The results are quite fascinating. Most think that yes, Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program. But they likewise think that it has every right to do so. Here are some questions and answers from the poll:

There is international pressure on Iran to curtail its nuclear program. What is your opinion?
77% - Iran has the right to its nuclear program
20% - Iran should be pressured to stop its nuclear program.

If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, which of the following is the likely outcome for the Middle East region?
57% - More positive
20% - Would not matter
21% - More negative

Name TWO countries that you think pose the biggest threat to you.
88% - Israel
77% - United States
10% - Algeria
8% - United Kingdom
10% - Iran
3% - China
1% - Syria

Hillary Clinton wants to pretend that the opinions of the Arab populace don't matter. She probably would prefer that their opinions were irrelevant just as she would like to think the opinions of Americans were irrelevant. This is really why the political class hates Wikileaks. There really isn't much in the way of danger to individuals in combat, but there is real danger to the political class. They don't want the population to know what they are doing behind a wall of secrecy. Public reaction can cause consequences that Hillary wouldn't like.

I imagine it's kind of demoralizing for 88% of the Arab world when they hear these things. 88% of Arabs think Israel is the threat, so they'd rather see the US attack them then attack Iran. Yet an individual Arab watches TV and gets told that in fact his country doesn't think like he does. He's told that the rest of his country would rather do the bidding of Israel, the very country that this individual Arab regards as a threat. He would probably like to think that he's not crazy and he's the only one that thinks this way. But he'd have to do a research project to figure it out. People aren't talking about the Brookings study. They talk about how "Iran's neighbors" want Iran bombed.

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