Amir Taheiri ranks as the most informed Persian interlocutor the West has as it engages a nuclear Iran for hegemony throughout the Persian Gulf and South America. Recently he has written a neat summary of the Arab Spring.
This spontaneous political uprising has given the West a ‘broken crescent’! The entire Near East can no longer be viewed through the prism that was the Nation State, for currently we have four distinct political blocks.
1. Countries that have toppled their despots and have embraced democratic reform. Iraq, Egypt and Tunisia could position themselves to counter the rise of a Shiite Persia through a strong pro-democracy government with sufficient economic/cultural ties to the West.
2. Petro-monarchies lead by Saudi Arabia yet include Oman, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait. Ironically, the Saudi’s are impeding both the Arab Spring and an insurgent Shiite movement in Bahrain.
3. Still a third group which consists of Libya, Syria and Yemen are despotic regimes that are waging war against their own people.
4. Only three militant despots have managed not to make the news: Sudan, Eritrea and Mauritaia. No matter how this ends, these regimes don’t have much of future. However, these militant autocracies have a most powerful proxy: CHINA! Which is pursuing a violent 19th century style imperialism throughout the third and developing world.
The saddest part is the most obvious: the United States has not articulated a firm consistent policy to harness and shape the region.
As Reagan once said, ‘we had rabbits when we needed lions.’