This article is reprinted from the New York Post.
First, the bad news. If you’re keeping score at home, another day passed with more slaughter of demonstrators in the streets of Syria without serious objection from the White House. The stalemate in Libya remained a stalemate and Jordan can’t get a handle on a new wave of protesters.
Now, for the really bad news.
There are increasing signs that the “Arab Awakening” is a gift to Iran and its terrorist franchises. In Bahrain and especially Yemen, anti-American and anti-Western forces are filling the gaps as government control shrinks.
And now for the worst news.
The most dangerous developments are happening in Egypt, which was a bulwark for 30 years against Iranian expansion and Arab Islamic fundamentalists. But the risky departure of Hosni Mubarak, under American pressure, threw the door wide open to both and the results already are disturbing.
Many people saw this coming – but apparently, they did not include a single soul in the White House.
Even though leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood were talking about getting Egyptians ready for “war with Israel” in January and sabotaging a natural-gas pipeline between the countries, President Obama still decided that Mubarak had to go even before a succession was clear. Saudi Arabia, among others, saw the push against Mubarak as a betrayal of an American ally and an invitation for Islamists to make a move.
They were right, and it didn’t take long for proof to emerge. Published reports around the world say Iran and Egypt are on the cusp of establishing diplomatic relations and exchanging ambassadors. The London Telegraph quotes a spokesperson for the Egyptian foreign minister as saying, “The former regime used to see Iran as an enemy, but we don’t.”
The paper also reports that the Egyptian leader of the Islamist Labour Party, who was imprisoned under Mubarak, has been released. He is running for president and, in Tehran to meet the Iranian foreign leader, declared that the revolt against Mubarak was “inspired by the Islamic revolution” in Iran.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian foreign minister, in another sharp break with the past, said he might visit Hamas leaders in Gaza.
Egypt is the largest and most important Arab country to both the United States and Israel, and its decision to move closer to Iran is a potential disaster that can only be read as a lack of confidence in American leadership. For the same reasons, a miffed Saudi Arabia is trying to improve relations with Russia and China.
About all this, American officials are said to be “worried.” Well, that’s rich – and very late.
After initially floundering in its responses to the Arab upheavals, the White House decided to formulate a single policy of backing the protesters, even when, like Mubarak, their targets were our allies.
When that backfired, the White House opted for common sense – one nation at a time. It realized that one size did not fit all and that it had to take a more strategic view of American interests.
Or at least it seemed to. More lately, Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton seemed to have made another decision: not to have any policy at all. So while the nasty thugs in Syria shoot down protesters, we pass up a chance to help possibly bring regime change to a true adversary. We wade into Libya without a real plan and we seem to have no answer at all for Yemen, Bahrain and Jordan.
All of which benefits Iran, which counts Syria as it most reliable ally and conduit for its terrorists and weapons. Meanwhile, the mad mullahs continue their march toward the bomb.
The good news in all this? There isn’t any.