Sunday, September 11, 2011

Why Is Iran's Influence in the Arab World Declining? What is New Regional Line-Up?

By Barry Rubin

Often, coverage of the Middle East in the mainstream media is bad or at least inadequate beyond belief. Even when the article has good information it often misses the main point. Such is the case with an article in the Wall Street Journal, "Arab Spring Turns Up Heat on Iran." The article correctly reports that Iran is losing popularity in much of the Arab world:

In Egypt, favorable views of Iran declined from 89 percent in 2006 to 37 percent today. In Saudi Arabia those holding such beliefs declined from 85 percent to 6 percent; and in Jordan from 75 percent to 23 percent. That's an incredibly steep decline. Incidentally, in these countries, attitudes toward the United States remained highly unfavorable and only got worse under President Obama.

A reader who doesn't have any understanding of the region--a category probably including most Western leaders, academic "experts," and journalists--would think: Aha! Democracy is triumphing over radical Islamism.  Iran is no longer much of a threat  These are great things! This is how the media is presenting this development and no doubt that's what Western policymakers think.

Such an analysis, however, is ridiculous so I'm glad you are reading this article. Don't stop now. Here comes the good and original part.

Read it all:  

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