Archive for June 23rd, 2009

“Coverage of protests largely subdued among Iran’s Arab allies and enemies”

“Coverage of protests largely subdued among Iran’s Arab allies and enemies”
June 22 & 23, 2009
     In an overview of Arab media coverage of the protests in Iran, Josie Delap and Robert Lane Greene speculate that state media in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, both of which strongly oppose Iran’s nuclear program, have been “eerily quiet” on the protests due to government fears of similar domestic discontent. Controversy over the election results has also been downplayed in Syria, an ally of Iran, as well as in media owned by Lebanon’s Hezbollah. However, media outlets in Lebanon and the Gulf emirates (with the exception of Bahrain) are offering more extensive coverage and have been supportive of the Iranian opposition, and pan-Arab publications based in London have portrayed the current developments as a serious threat to the Iranian government (The New Republic).
     Other analysts add that Arab states such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia are afraid of angering Tehran and continue to hope the US and European states will address the election issue and the overall Iranian threat (Associated Press). Ronen Berman writes that debate in Palestinian online media has been minimal due to the view that regardless of the outcome of the controversy, Iran will continue to provide support for Hamas and Islamic Jihad and seek to destroy Israel. Nicholas Blanford says that while Hezbollah prefers President Ahmadinejad to Mir-Hossein Mousavi, they are more concerned about the power struggle between Iran’s clerical rulers and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, as Khamenei has provided the group with funds, arms and military training (New York Times).
The New Republic | Associated Press | New York Times

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“Despite missile cooperation, Iran and North Korea a study in contrasts”

“Despite missile cooperation, Iran and North Korea a study in contrasts”
June 12-16, 2009
     David Sanger describes the contrast between the US strategies of “overwhelming pressure” against North Korea, which is cornered and concerned primarily with survival, and diplomatic outreach toward Iran, which seeks a role as a regional power. Regarding the latter, Sanger warns that applying US strategist Dennis Ross’ “hybrid option”, which would combine diplomacy with economic pressure on Iran’s oil sector, could create more anti-US sentiment among Iranians protesting the recent election results (New York Times). US Missile Defense Agency head Patrick O’Reilly recently said that technical cooperation between Iran and North Korea has led to significant progress in the missile programs of both states (Reuters).
     In a May report on the effects of economic sanctions in combating nuclear proliferation, Matthew Levitt and Michael Jacobson write that while North Korea was successfully pressure by sanctions in 2005, Iran has circumvented “smart sanctions” targeting specific entities and the financial sector. The writers cite Iran’s use of re-export markets in the UAE and Malaysia to access Western technologies, its growing economic ties with China, and the inability of the EU and the UN to enforce and monitor the implementation of sanctions. The writers suggest that while the threat of sanctions may be effective in applying pressure on state such as Iran, the implementation of sanctions may simply lead states to develop countermeasures and alternative economic relationships rather than work toward a diplomatic solution (Jane’s).
New York Times | Reuters | Jane’s