Walid Phares on Obama's Iran message

Dr. Walid Phares is an American Thinker contributor and is a Senior Fellow and the director for Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracie. He is also a recognized expert on Iran, Lebanon, and the Middle East.

I've always found that Dr. Phares has some of the most penetrating analysis of Iranian motivations and intent. This is especially true when it comes to Iran/Hezb'allah plans in Lebanon and the Syrian-Iranian axis in the Middle East. He was one of the few experts to correctly gauge Iranian intent in Lebanon and called Hezb'allah's chess game with the Siniora government there.

He is a man who should be listened to by the Obama Administration - but won't be. Here are some of his thoughts given to Russian and Lebanese TV stations in the wake of President Obama's message to Iran:

President Obama addressed a message to the Iranian people and leadership calling on the regime to open a new page in the strained relationship. Tehran answered quickly that its expectations are to see Washington change its behavior. In comments made on  Russia Today TV, I clarified  that the Iranian regime expects the Obama Administration to take more steps including apologizing for so-called ‘past mistakes'. But the US Administration is on a different track, as far as we know. It is giving Ahmedinijad a chance to begin changing its own policies.  While on the surface, we see a moment of rapprochement, the actual issues to discuss are still too tough to solve. Washington wants to engage Iran on the ground of stopping the military nuclear program and ceasing support to Hezbollah and Hamas, while Tehran considers these matters as a no-go area of concession.

In an interview with Beirut-based NBN TV this afternoon I argued that this statement by Obama may be an opportunity for the Iranian decision-makers to consider a u-turn on strategic matters, but the fact is that the regime feels it has the upper hand everywhere in the Middle East. Why would they make concessions if their perception is that the US is already withdrawing from Iraq, is requesting their help in Afghanistan and is not committed to support democracy in Iran?

Dr. Phares believes there's a real chance that this overture will actually harden the position of the Iranian regime unless Ahmadinejad loses the presidential election this summer. And he makes perfect sense when he talks about Iranian strategic advantages in the region; Hezb'allah on the rise and perhaps poised to control Lebanon; Hamas alive and well after the beating it took from the IDF; their nuclear program on target; America leaving Iraq which will open up all sorts of possibilities for mischief by the Iranians; and the rest of the Middle East if not lining up to support them then learning how to deal with the Irania hegemony.

We don't see much from Obama with regard to shoring up our alliances with our friends nor do we see any recognition of the fact that our sped up withdrawal from Iraq may leave that country wide open to Iranian meddling. In fact, there is little hope the current administration will do anything meaningful to counter growing Iranian strength and the subsequent threat they represent to our interests.




Dr. Walid Phares is an American Thinker contributor and is a Senior Fellow and the director for Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracie. He is also a recognized expert on Iran, Lebanon, and the Middle East.

I've always found that Dr. Phares has some of the most penetrating analysis of Iranian motivations and intent. This is especially true when it comes to Iran/Hezb'allah plans in Lebanon and the Syrian-Iranian axis in the Middle East. He was one of the few experts to correctly gauge Iranian intent in Lebanon and called Hezb'allah's chess game with the Siniora government there.

He is a man who should be listened to by the Obama Administration - but won't be. Here are some of his thoughts given to Russian and Lebanese TV stations in the wake of President Obama's message to Iran:

President Obama addressed a message to the Iranian people and leadership calling on the regime to open a new page in the strained relationship. Tehran answered quickly that its expectations are to see Washington change its behavior. In comments made on  Russia Today TV, I clarified  that the Iranian regime expects the Obama Administration to take more steps including apologizing for so-called ‘past mistakes'. But the US Administration is on a different track, as far as we know. It is giving Ahmedinijad a chance to begin changing its own policies.  While on the surface, we see a moment of rapprochement, the actual issues to discuss are still too tough to solve. Washington wants to engage Iran on the ground of stopping the military nuclear program and ceasing support to Hezbollah and Hamas, while Tehran considers these matters as a no-go area of concession.

In an interview with Beirut-based NBN TV this afternoon I argued that this statement by Obama may be an opportunity for the Iranian decision-makers to consider a u-turn on strategic matters, but the fact is that the regime feels it has the upper hand everywhere in the Middle East. Why would they make concessions if their perception is that the US is already withdrawing from Iraq, is requesting their help in Afghanistan and is not committed to support democracy in Iran?

Dr. Phares believes there's a real chance that this overture will actually harden the position of the Iranian regime unless Ahmadinejad loses the presidential election this summer. And he makes perfect sense when he talks about Iranian strategic advantages in the region; Hezb'allah on the rise and perhaps poised to control Lebanon; Hamas alive and well after the beating it took from the IDF; their nuclear program on target; America leaving Iraq which will open up all sorts of possibilities for mischief by the Iranians; and the rest of the Middle East if not lining up to support them then learning how to deal with the Irania hegemony.

We don't see much from Obama with regard to shoring up our alliances with our friends nor do we see any recognition of the fact that our sped up withdrawal from Iraq may leave that country wide open to Iranian meddling. In fact, there is little hope the current administration will do anything meaningful to counter growing Iranian strength and the subsequent threat they represent to our interests.