Obama’s Iran Strategy: Grounds & Obstacles

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Kasra Nouri

Although the US president-elect Barack Obama has focused his main attention and potentials on settling the chaotic economic situation in the US but the Middle East and the new administration’s strategy vis-à-vis bigger challenges in this strategic region are in the center of attention by American analysts.

As far as the economic crisis is concerned many are of the belief that after the power transition to Obama, the capitalist system in the US would have to revise its insatiable appetite and for the big companies to check their excessive demands which have reached their peak in recent years. They are also expected to inject part of their huge profits made under the eight years of Bush administration into the society in a bid to safeguard the capitalist system and to restore the economic balance, though in relative terms, to the American class society.

This group of analysts maintains that the US capitalist system has in fact the potential to carry out Obama’s slogans in the society in the form of reform projects so that they would never be described as a fundamental transformation in the center of the capitalist system. Based on this analysis, such protective and vulnerable modus operandi has been fit into the body of the ruling establishment in America so that it would keep the capitalist system unharmed in the face of any situation. This point of view is based on the fact that Obama is not basically supposed and is practically unable to play the role of vanguard of campaign against capitalism in the center of global capitalism (US). But what is certain is that under reforms introduced by Obama the middle and labor classes would have a chance to breathe and get reinforced so that a return to the bitter time of George Bush would not be simply possible. From this perspective, some are of the opinion that the US capitalist system would cooperate with Obama for the sake of its own interests though this would be difficult for them. Other analysts opine that Obama will be facing breathtaking challenges in the foreign policy area, particularly in the Middle East as he faces the same in the economic sphere.

These analysts voice the concern that considering Obama’s emphasis on a troop withdrawal from Iraq during his election campaign, which would jeopardize the interests of the powerful arms industries, measures are likely to be taken towards escalation of unrest in Iraq which would make it difficult for Obama to order a military pullback or reduce the number of troops.

Meanwhile, these analysts say the role of Israel in Iraq too should not be overlooked because a US withdrawal from Iraq would mean a strategic triumph for Iran and Syria and reduced threats and dangers against Tehran and Damascus. In view of the fact that Tel Aviv would not like to provide such an opportunity to its staunch enemies in the region it would probably plan to make Iraq more insecure.   

On the other hand, a group of experts referring to Obama’s readiness to hold direct talks with Iran believe that this strategy covers two main axes: First, Obama wants to assure the IR of Iran that the US has no intention to harm the ruling establishment in Tehran and in other words the scenario of a regime change would be shelved forever. Secondly, Washington would provide the grounds for Iran’s presence and activity in global economic trade on easy terms. These American analysts say in return the US would expect Iran to revise some of its strategic domestic and foreign policies as well as its nuclear program. But irrespective of the fact as to what extent such a deal would be possible to make, there are already serious arguments about the obstacles in its way.

Some experts believe that as there are staunch opponents to resumption of diplomatic relations with US in Iran Obama too is faced with serious obstacles inside and outside America in trying to mend ties with Tehran. The regime in Tel Aviv and the powerful Zionist lobby are the biggest obstacle in the way of reestablishment of ties between Tehran and Washington in the opinion of these observers. They are worried that in case Tehran and Washington exchange serious messages to this end and before taking any practical action for rapprochement, the Zionist regime would embark on acts to compel Obama to enter a new field of conflict in favor of its strategic ally in the Middle East that would be more dangerous than the Iraqi and Afghan crises. The stance taken by the Zionist foreign minister just one day after Obama’s election and her warning to the US president-elect to avoid of direct talks with Iran is interpreted in this same line.

Yet another group maintains that the influence and power of the Zionist lobby in the US is so high that Tel Aviv would not need to take such actions and that “Obama can be contained within the White House.” Delegation of sensitive and key posts such as administration of the White House to figures known to be very close to the Zionist lobby is among the reasons cited by this group of observers. In some other analyses, mention is made of certain regional countries which have reaped huge economic benefits due to lack of relations between Iran and US as well as certain European countries which have taken the place of American companies in their economic contracts with Tehran as states not very eager to see Iran-US differences settled. Of course, compared with the domestic obstacles faced by the leaders of the two countries as well as the pressures of the Zionist lobby the latter are not considered very important and just cited as secondary obstacles.


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