Tel Aviv - If they were to follow the ancient proverb, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend," one would think Israelis would be rooting for Iranian opposition candidate Mir Hussein Mousavi and the hundreds of thousands of Iranian protesters who have challenged the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
But even though Mr. Ahmadinejad has threatened the Jewish state with destruction, many officials and analysts here actually prefer the incumbent president because – short of the downfall of Iran's theocratic system of government – he'll be easier to isolate. Reformist leader Mr. Mousavi, by contrast, isn't expected to alter Iran's drive for nuclear power, but he would win international sympathy.
"Just because Mousavi is called a moderate or a reformist doesn't mean he's a nice guy. After all he was approved by the Islamic leadership," says Ephraim Inbar, director of the Begin Sadat Center at Bar Ilan University. "If we have Ahmadinejad, we know where we stand. If we have Mousavi we have a serpent with a nice image."
But the street protests make for great video that boosts ratings of cable TV news channels. Those street battlers can be portrayed as freedom fighters.
Is Mousavi wrong when he claims he was cheated out of a victory? Also, are secular moderates in Iran a small fraction of the total Iranian population? Quite possibly "yes" on the first question and definitely "yes" on the second question. Here's some more unconventional wisdom about Iran.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2009 June 23 12:23 AM MidEast Arabs Versus Israelis|