Friday, March 20, 2015

Stephen L. Carter — Mideast's Balance of Power Tips Toward Iran


Difficult though it may be to believe, Iran presents more important challenges than whether a nuclear deal negotiated with the regime in the teeth of congressional opposition would be legally binding. Nuclear weapons are scary, and they do matter, but in the long run, geopolitical reality matters more. That’s why this report, which arrived over the weekend from the Dubai-based Orient Advisory Group, should be disturbing:
Ali Younusi, advisor to Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei, said in a seminar titled “The Iranian Identity” held in Tehran on March 8th, that his country is in Iraq to stay. “Iran is an empire once again at last, and its capital is Baghdad. It is the center of our civilization, culture and identity as it always was along the course of history.”
This is rather heady stuff. But might it be mere rhetoric, designed for domestic political consumption? There is reason to think not. Iraq has served for decades as a bulwark against Iran’s territorial ambitions, but that status was exploded by a pair of U.S. decisions: first, President George W. Bush’s invasion; and, second, President Barack Obama’s withdrawal of U.S. forces.