Despite being the director of research at the conservative Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) and head of its Iran Security Initiative, Patrick Clawson, as I posted Saturday, urges the West to go slow in a recent WINEP Policy Note, An Iranian Nuclear Breakout Is Not Inevitable. He argues that, for various reasons, Iran is operating at a disadvantage to the United States these days. Among them:
… Iran’s closest—arguably, its only—regional ally is in deep trouble. The problems of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad fit poorly with Iranian leaders’ “resistance narrative,” according to which radical Islam is the wave of history and is supported by the region’s peoples, while the United States and its allies—Israel and the moderate Arab states—are on the wane and lack popular support. Iran’s support in the “Arab street,” so prized by the regime, has slipped badly as Tehran is seen as backing a brutal dictator, while the wave of history is with popular protests against authoritarians.
Iran’s not the only one that’s on the proverbial “wrong side of history.” Hezbollah also continues to support Assad. On Saturday (Jan. 14) its Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah called on the Syrian opposition to “relinquish its weapons and to accept to engage in dialogue” with the Assad regime.
Nothing becomes a self-styled resistance movement, the founders of which were inspired by the Islamic Revolution of Iran, less than supporting a tyrannical regime — and a comparatively secular one at that.