By Ali Gharib (source: LobeLog)
Photo: Mark Dubowitz
So desperate to punish Iran are the hawks of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies that they’re willing to partner with one of the least democratic countries on earth to get it done. In an op-ed in the neoconservative opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal, FDD’s executive director Mark Dubowitz and senior fellow David Weinberg are positively giddy about what Saudi Arabia has to offer in the way of defending democracies. It’s, at first blush, a strange alliance, but not when one considers either FDD’s monomania and the geopolitics surrounding Iran.
Dubowitz and Weinberg, under the headline “Where Obama Fails on Iran Sanctions, the Gulf States Can Step In,” posit that “Saudi Arabia and its allies have potent financial weapons they can deploy against Iran.” They note that the “sectarian war between the Sunni and Shiite states”-read: Saudi and Iran and their allies-”is intensifying militarily” and that Saudi Arabia already cut off commercial and travel ties to Iran. So why not escalate things a little, huh?
There are lots of ideas here:
What, in short, do the authors want? Because of Obama’s purported fecklessness-actually a willingness to impose sanctions with the goal of rolling back Iran’s nuclear program, then a willingness to roll back sanctions when that goal is achieved-what’s needed, we’re told, is “economic warfare.” Saudi Arabia may be more than willing to undertake these neoconservatives’ fight on their behalf, but the lionization of Saudi Arabia as the upright saviors of the policies demanded by a place purportedly dedicated to defending democracies is a bit rich.
It’s not, however, at all surprising. In the spirit of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” neocons these days embrace the Saudi kingdom pretty hard. It’s difficult not to see this as part of, as John Judis once put it, FDD’s bent as an “organization dedicated intellectually and politically to the defense of one particular democracy”-Israel. Israeli-Saudi ties, are of course, blossoming amid their mutual opposition to the Iran nuclear deal and their fear that it may portend closer ties between Tehran and the West.
One might thus be forgiven for thinking it’s all about the monomaniacal hatred of Iran shared by the Israeli and Saudi powers-that-be. Now, on the part of pro-democracy advocates, that hatred might be entirely justified-despite Friday’s elections, the Islamic Republic is not exactly a democracy, and its human rights record is pretty horrific. But it seems somewhat awkward for think-tankers purportedly dedicated to defending democracies to make such gleeful hay of the potential to have one of the world’s most retrograde dictatorships-indeed, the regional power most responsible for transforming the Arab Spring into the Arab Winter-as an ally in bludgeoning another one.
About the Author:
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.
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