A few weeks ago I speculated that what we were seeing was an bourgeois revolution in the Middle East. Today I’m going to propose something else.
Would it be outlandish to consider that the experience of Iraq for the us, including a simultaneous rise in influence of Iran across the Middle East through proxy organizations and governments such as Hezbollah and the Assad regime led to an unexpected response by the us govt?
That response would be, against all normal logic, to allow the downfall of ostensibly secular strongmen in these countries in favor of “democracies” that elected sunni Islamist groups to counterbalance the threat of the Iranian influence through its Shia based proxy organizations. This would only make sense where the west basically felt that the sheiks, pharoahs, dictators and Baathist regimes no longer provided a sufficient bulwark against Iran.
One other thing that also feeds this. Iran, unlike most of the other governments in the Middle East (save Egypt and Turkey) was not based on a tribal culture which coalesced in the last 120 years into geographically convenient national regimes, but that of a pure nation state with both a historical claim (for over 4000 years) of being the main political and military force in this area (not to mention religious in both the Zoroastrian as well as the Islamic eras).
That was what was going through my head as I read today’s news out of Egypt, while I had some coffee…