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European Union foreign policy chief Catherine AshtonThe Iranian delegation at the talks with the US, the EU, and Russia refused even to discuss Iran’s nuclear program. The only thing they wanted to talk about was Israel’s nuclear arsenal.

Iran’s position is unpredictable as it reflects the ever-changing balance of power among the Revolutionary Guards, ‘moderate’ supporters of the nuclear project like Rafsanjani, Ahmadinejad the populist, and the clerics. Since being hit with Stuxnet and the assassination of one of its nuclear scientists, Iran’s leadership has adopted a more militant stance at the talks.

Israel is getting support for an attack on Iran from an influential voice: Tony Blair, arguably the most influential European in Obama’s circle, lashed out against Obama and Netanyahu for being too soft on Iran. The problem is that the people who recently took the top posts in Israel’s army and intelligence are afraid to attack Iran.

The White House kept a good face, calling for further engagement with Iran in the diplomatic process.

Large anti-government protests took place recently in Jordan. The relentless US pressure pushed the king to adopt free-market policies while at the same time liberalizing his country compared to other Arab autocracies. In a corrupt state like Jordan, free-market reforms worsen the economic situation for most citizens, and liberalism allows them to express their grief.

Monarchy cannot survive in the modern world, and liberal monarchy is too weak to preserve itself against popular will. When the Jordanian monarchy eventually falls—and it will not fall just yet—democratic elections will bring Palestinian majority to power and transform Jordan into a bastion for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Which is similar to the effect American democratization produced in Lebanon and Gaza.

Demonstration in Amman

January 2011
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