Leading article: A policy of desperation on Iran

Share
Related Topics

There is a certain irony in the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, touring the authoritarian regimes of the Gulf in order to gain their support in confronting Iran for its "drift towards military dictatorship". But then that is a sign of just how far the Obama administration in Washington is now reverting to the policies of President Bush where Iran and the Gulf is concerned.

Mrs Clinton's jibe is a calculated one. Faced with an obdurate regime in Tehran on the nuclear issue and under pressure from Congress and the Iranian opposition to show more support for the democratic forces in Iran, the White House is now becoming more openly critical of the Iranian government. At the same time, it is also pushing for tighter sanctions against the country specifically aimed at hurting the Revolutionary Guard and its multifarious commercial operations. The intention is clearly to penalise the regime itself rather than its people. The aim of Mrs Clinton in her current tour of the region is to raise Arab support for those sanctions and add to the pressure on the Iranian government.

It's a policy born out of desperation as much as rational policy-making. The reality, as Mrs Clinton admitted right at the start of her tour, is that President Obama has failed to deliver on almost all his hopes in the Middle East. A settlement of the Palestinian question is further away than ever. The nuclear negotiations with Iran are frozen and the issue has now been clouded by the internal disputes there.

Targeted sanctions may prove more painful for the country's elite military but they are most unlikely to change the government's view or make it more amenable on the nuclear issue. Iran's ambitions have certainly aroused fears among its Arab neighbours but whether they are ready to confront it more directly, openly on behalf of the United States, is a moot point. Upping America's military aid will only increase the corruption and popular resentment of regimes already held to be too much in thrall to the West.

What Washington needs, and what the Arab world wants from it, is some fresh thinking on the Middle East. Trying to revive President Bush's old plans of setting Arab against Iranian and Sunni against Shia isn't that.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’  

Children's TV shows like Grange Hill used to connect us to the real world

Grace Dent
An Indian bookseller waits for customers at a roadside stall on World Book and Copyright Day in Mumbai  

Novel translation lets us know what is really happening in the world

Boyd Tonkin
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine