Blogs > HNN > JANE HARMAN: IRAN IS ALSO PLAYING

Mar 27, 2011 3:50 pm


JANE HARMAN: IRAN IS ALSO PLAYING



Few analysts remember that the enemy also has a hand to play. Bob Kagan certainly does not seem to while Congresswoman Jane Harman does. Note the following exchange:

HARMAN: And I totally agree with that and would point out that both the African Union and the Arab League, who were, according to President Obama, some of the initial input that justified the action we took in support of a no-fly zone, are not really participating in the no-fly zone.

The UAE and Qatar are now going to provide fighter jets, but there's no major buy-in by either of these organizations, and it is yet unclear what tomorrow, Monday's, action is going to be in terms of a more robust NATO presence. We don't really know yet what the NATO objectives will be, although we know that NATO is taking over command from the United States.

And my final point is - and I've made this over and over again - about limited brain cells. Yes, you're right, Bob, that we mostly have our navy in place, although imagine if the Straits of Hormuz were blocked, we might need our navy there, or if something happens in another part of the world, we might need it there. We've got a lot of assets offshore Libya.

But - but my point is that brain cells are limited. And if we have most of the White House tied up trying to make this come out right, oh, by the way, what about the unrest, the transformation sweeping every country we can name in the greater Middle East? . . .

BORGER: . . . I mean, if you're sitting in Iran and you see what's going on, not only in the rest of the Middle East but particularly in Libya, what are you thinking? KAGAN: Well, I think the - the question is, is Iran immune from this tidal wave that's sweeping through the region? And I think surely the answer is no. if I were sitting in Tehran, in the government, right now, I would be shaking in my boots.

I mean, they're - with Syria now under tremendous political pressure, I don't think there's any government in the region that's immune. And one of the truly positive outcomes of - of this entire Arab spring may be finally a real pressure for political change in Iran, and I think - I think we should be supporting that. . . .

BORGER: Jane Harman, can we walk and chew gum at the same time, I guess is the question, huh?

HARMAN: Well, let's hope so. But the government of Iran is not just sitting in Iran. They're playing in all of this. They're playing in Bahrain, they're playing in Lebanon, they're playing in Gaza. Arms with Iranian markings were just picked up by the Israelis, fortunately before they went into Gaza. They're playing in Egypt. They're -

You know, we should assume that this may not come out to be - to be an Arab spring. It could be an Arab winter, and that would happen if we take our eye off what I think is our central problem here, which is a - an expanding Iranian hegemony over the region.




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