Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


Daybreak: False Alarm From Iran

But real unrest in Bahrain and problems with Gaza, and more in the news

Print Email
Bahraini tanks move in.(Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images)

• The two Iranian ships that threatened to attempt to pass through the Suez Canal won’t; an Arabic television station reported that Egypt’s new regime quashed their efforts. [Ynet]

• A profile of Amr Moussa, the popular Egyptian opposition politician—the Mohammed ElBaradei whom Egyptians actually like—who is nonetheless probably too old, at 74, to make a real run at the presidency. [LAT]

• Bahrain’s day of rage leads to violence, a crackdown, and a state of emergency. [WP]

• Last week, the Palestinian Authority declared September elections. But now President Abbas says that if Hamas doesn’t allow voting in Gaza—which it probably won’t—then the voting will probably be cancelled. [Ynet]

• A secret Obama adminstration report had predicted that populations under U.S.-backed Arab despots may grow restive and revolt. [NYT]

• Yet since that prophesy has come to pass, U.S. intelligence has struggled to keep up with the sheer speed and volume of events in the region. [LAT]

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

“A secret Obama adminstration report had predicted that populations under U.S.-backed Arab despots may grow restive and revolt. [NYT]” So now we know where that prescient speech by Clinton regarding “reform or be reformed” came from.

Some “insights” regarding the swift unfolding of Arabian Peninsula events (and definitely not a whitewash of this administrations continuously belated response to events):

Bahrain, where police swooped down in the middle of the night to clear the square and left at least four dead and hundreds injured is 70% Shiite, =/- 20% Sunni, and ruled by the Sunnis. This ratio, where the Shiite, religiously identified with Iran, are majority approximating 70% existed in Iraq at the time the US invaded in 2003.

Is it a stretch to consider that in “liberating” the Iraqi people from the tyrant that Bush infused a spirit of entitlement also in Shiites throughout the Peninsula, that Bush is the inspiration behind the drive for democracy in the region and across North Africa?

American diplomacy, even today as described by the president and his secretary of state, is to promote freedom and democracy. A worthy cause. But are these goals achievable according to experience to date? Iraq is still engaged in a reduced Sunni-Shiite civil war, with a Shiite government increasingly allied with Iran, and intent on removing the American invaders; Afghanistan, well that is Afghanistan.

Point being that it takes more than an election to make a democracy. It takes an evolved civic culture which cannot be achieved by street protest, or bestowed by “benevolent” invasion.

To date Bush has changed regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan; may have god-fathered social unrest leading up to today’s events across the region. And the US is helpless to contain or contribute. And Hopeless is the image it has acquired thanks to its inadvertent empowering of Iran, and its export of Islam.

And the US may well be on the threshold of completely losing the Middle East.


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Daybreak: False Alarm From Iran

But real unrest in Bahrain and problems with Gaza, and more in the news

More on Tablet:

A Tale of Three Twitter Feeds: Hamas Tweets in Arabic, English, and Hebrew

By Aaron Magid — Analysis of the social-media messaging of Hamas’ military wing reveals distinct voices for the West, the Arab Middle East, and Israel