Foreign Policy Blogs

Marc Lynch on Iran

Marc Lynch has an article in the Christian Science Monitor on US policy toward Iran vis a vis the Gulf States.   The thesis is essentially that the Gulf States have shifted their policy toward Iran to one of pragmatic accomadation (though not friendship).

Lynch writes:

The states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are accommodating themselves to Iran's growing weight in the region's politics. They remain key parts of America's security architecture in the region, hosting massive US military bases and underwriting the American economy in exchange for protection. But as Saudi analyst Khalid al-Dakheel argues, they are no longer content sitting passively beneath the US security umbrella and want to avoid being a pawn in the US-Iranian struggle for power. Flush with cash, they are not interested in a war that would mess up business.

I find this idea very hard to disagree with.  Even though it seems just like yesterday that the Sauds and others were lining up to fight the “Shi’ite Crescent”, and are still weary of Iran, they are consumate pragmatists, and never need a weathervane to know which way the wind blows. 

This point is hammered home by Christian Koch of the Gulf Research Center (.pdf file), who writes that Iran no longer threatens the GCC's sense of purpose.

 These two articles are I think surely correct, but, just as it turned out to be wrong in the long run to talk about the anti-Iran axis as a permanent feature, we shouldn't go talking about this development as anything other than a trend, something that could change at any moment. 



Brian O'Neill

Brian O'Neill is a freelance writer currently based out of Chicago. He has lived in Egypt and in Yemen, and worked as a writer and editor for the Yemen Observer publishing company. He currently is an analyst with the Jamestown Foundation.