All eyes on Egypt– but Pipes looks at Iran

This is a crosspost from Lobelog.

Everyone’s watching Egypt. Everyone. But Daniel Pipes sees right through it, to where Iran is lurking in the background.

It’s right there in the opinion section of the Washington Times, where even Frank Gaffney is zoomed in on the Muslim Brotherhood and has the decency not to mention Iran. (Gaffney’s piece is called “The Muslim Brotherhood is the Enemy“, and I didn’t read it, but searched it for ‘Iran’, ‘Tehran’, and ‘mullah’, and: nada.)

But not Pipes. The show must go on. (Just as Clarion Fund’s “Iranium” premieres tomorrow.) Here’s Pipes’s lede:

As Egypt’s much-anticipated moment of crisis arrived and popular rebellions shook governments across the Middle East, Iran stands as never before at the center of the region. Its Islamist rulers are within sight of dominating the region. But revolutions are hard to pull off and I predict that Islamists will not achieve a Middle East-wide breakthrough and Tehran will not emerge as the key powerbroker.

Check out that deft change of subject in the first sentence!

Oh, and did you know that U.S. President Barack Obama is supporting the nasty Islamists in Egypt, the very Brotherhood that Gaffney is warning us about?

Sure, you say, democracy advocates from across the political spectrum are asking for Obama to do more to usher Egyptian dictator Honsi Mubarak out of power. But Pipes has a different story. He concludes:

Barack Obama initially reverted to the failed old policy of making nice with tyrants; now he is myopically siding with the Islamists against Mr. Mubarak.

The link for that Islamist allegation, from the version of the piece on Pipes’s hompage, goes to Obama’s catch-up speech on Thursday night after he spoke to Mubarak. Only Pipes saw the Islamist connection; he went to Harvard, you know, and runs a think tank.

But do tell, Pipes, what should Obama do?

He should emulate Bush but do a better job, understanding that democratization is a decades-long process that requires the inculcation of counter-intuitive ideas about elections, freedom of speech, and the rule of law.

If there’s any question about whether some neoconservatives are democratic opportunists for the purpose of scoring political points, that about settles it.

And the “inculcation of counter-intuitive ideas about elections, freedom of speech and the rule of law”? It seems to me that Egyptians, at this moment, are perfectly attuned to these notions. How racist.

And wasn’t the idea that all people have these aspirations at the very heart of Bush’s 2005 State of the Union? Jennifer Rubin, the neoconservative Washington Post blogger, cited that very passage in support of her hallucination “that it was the left that said that democracy was alien to the Middle East. Bush was right; they were wrong.” (Pipes may actually be on Rubin’s left.)

Elliott Abrams, too, hauled out a similar Bush passage — that everyone is ‘ready’ for democracy — when he presented his own bogus narrative that the Iraq War was being vindicated by current events. (Doesn’t Pipes read his comrades?)

Nonetheless, on Egypt: Eli Lake has a good piece on the New Republic about Bush’s failure to push for genuine reform in Egypt. We don’t really know exactly what’s going on in the White House right now, though we’re getting some hints (Mubarak will be out).

After reading Lake’s piece, what’s stands out as ironic is that Obama’s caution, at the moment, seems an awful lot like he’s already ‘emulating’ Bush. To do something about it, and call for or arrange Mubarak’s ouster, would indeed be doing a “better job” than Bush, as Pipes put it.

But Pipes can’t be bothered with details or history. It’s all about Iran.

Oh, and the guy in the Obama administration responsible for designing U.S. policy toward Iran (and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process) sits on the board of editors at Daniel Pipes’s pseudo-academic journal. How comforting is that?

Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 7 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. RE: “Pipes can’t be bothered with details or history.” & “he went to Harvard, you know, and runs a think tank.” – Ali Gharib
    ALSO SEE: In Jerusalem, Pipes suggests Muslim polygamy has ended ‘Jane Austen’ England, by Phillip Weiss, Mondoweiss, 09/17/10
    LINK – link to


      …Daniel Pipes is speaking, the U.S. neoconservative, the hall is sold out, but we jam in the back. The Hadar-Israel Council for Civic Action. He’s talking about the Muslim threat in Europe. England and Sweden have lost their essential character, England has given up the “Jane Austen” side of its culture for a new Muslim flavored England. “Before our eyes it is becoming a different country.”
      Pipes concedes that you can’t kill the Muslims or put a “head tax” on the hijab. You have to encourage the “moderate” Muslims, the ones who believe in interest on savings accounts and are against slavery. (As if most Muslims oppose interest and are for slavery.)
      The problem is not the hijab or the minarets, that is just “symbolic,” Pipes says. The problem is laws that allow polygamy. Apparently that is the thin edge of the wedge that will destroy western civilization, Muslim practice of polygamy! Pipes says that we must use all means we can to counter radical Islam, including “demographic” means. I am not sure what he means, but he suggests that means having more babies. Europeans are only having 2/3 of the babies they “need” to have to replace themselves. Immigrants are making up much of the rest…

      SOURCE – link to

  2. bijou says:

    Let him go to the dustbin of history where he belongs.

  3. pabelmont says:

    “He should emulate Bush but do a better job, understanding that democratization is a decades-long process that requires the inculcation of counter-intuitive ideas about elections, freedom of speech, and the rule of law.” Oh Pipes!

    What he means — as we USAers know all too well, whose democracy has only been perfected (i.e., stolen by the various oligarchs and big-money folks) over a long time, even DECADES — is that real democracy is not what he is talking about and a deflected, {capitalist/moneybags}-managed pseudo-democracy is what is desired (by hime) and that THAT takes decades.

  4. Taxi says:

    Somebody do Pipes a favor and remove the windup key from his back.

  5. Jan says:

    No matter what this vile Piper of Evil has to say we can be sure that is first thought is about Israel. It matters not a bit to him whether people in other countries have their freedom. It is all about Israel.
    He can just stick it up his Pipes.

  6. hughsansom says:

    The most telling thing here is the tacit re-writing of history. Not long ago, Daniel Pipes and his cohorts were asserting with absolute confidence that what is now happening on the streets of Cairo could not possibly happen anywhere in the Arab or Muslim worlds. To hear likes of Frank Gaffney or Daniel Pipes or Bernard Lewis, you would have to conclude that Arabs and Muslims were genetically incapable of democratic action of any kind. Thus Israel was not just “the only democracy in the Middle East” but the only people capable of being democratic in the Middle East.

    Now the pro-Israel fanatics/bigots have a real propaganda problem. On the one hand, they’ve been spouting about democracy for who knows how long, and so are pressed to support protesters in Cairo. On the other hand, they know that a true Egyptian democracy will not support Israeli war crimes against Palestinians. What to do? Divert attention. Start raising alarms about the Muslim Brotherhood. Call for “realism” and “pragmatism” about Mubarak as an ally of the United States (by which they really mean a toad for Israel). Prepare the groundwork for a rejection of whatever outcome Egyptians democratically reach if it doesn’t satisfy Israeli and American demands.