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Daybreak: False Alarm From Iran

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

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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]

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“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.

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Daybreak: False Alarm From Iran

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

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