Ray Takeyh’s nonsense on Iran-Palestine

Ray Takeyh, an Iranian-American expert on Iran at the Council on Foreign Relations, had an oped in today’s WaPo that makes the nonsensical claim that,

    The notion that the incumbent Arab regimes are reluctant to collaborate with the United States on Iran because of the prevailing impasse in the peace process is a misreading of regional realities.

Takeyh argues in the piece that the U.S. can and should operate on the basis that there is no real “linkage” between the U.S.’s (and Israel’s) ability to maintain or escalate tensions at will with Iran, and Washington’s performance on Palestinian-Israeli peacemaking.
His argument is plagued with gross errors of fact as well as some extremely tortured “reasoning.”
It’s a very dangerous argument, because its effect is to urge Americans not to worry about any possibility of negative fallout from continued escalation– or even, apparently, a U.S. or Israeli military attack– against Iran.
Here is one of the more bizarre parts of his argument:

    unlike the United States, Israel is not entangled in conflicts that Iranian mischief [whatever that is ~HC] can aggravate. Hamas and Hezbollah are not only unreliable proxies but ones that Israeli armor can handle.

Um, Ray Takeyh, can you tell me what evidence you’re basing this claim on??
Why does anyone publish this guy’s bellophilic rantings? Why does anyone pay him a handsome salary to sit at the august-seeming “Council on Foreign Relations”?
Nonsense. Just nonsense. But as I said, dangerous nonsense.

19 thoughts on “Ray Takeyh’s nonsense on Iran-Palestine

  1. Pirouz

    Ray has always been one of our disgruntled exiles. But since the June election, and since his departure from the USG, he’s become totally unreliable as an Iran “expert.”
    Personally speaking, it’s really sad to witness many Iranian-American Iran experts become so caught up in the Green Movement, extending themselves so far out with bias, to be proven wrong in their expectations. and react by becoming ever more anti-Iran.

  2. Rebecca Solowitz, Boston

    Unlike yourself Helena, R.T. undertands that Arab regimes throughout the Middle East fear expansion of Iranian influence far more than they fear Israel. Unlike yourself Helena, R.T. understands that Arab regimes real interest is in their own security and development and that just underneath their loud displays of vocal support for the Palestinians is a deep vein of disgust and contempt for everything the Palestinians have failed to accomplish in the past sixty years. Unlike yourself Helena, R.T. understands that Hamas and Hezbollah know that their next big push against Israel will be their very last, as this time the Israelis will not fail to utterly destroy anything and everything they failed to utterly destroy last time. Unlike yourself Helena, R.T. knows that Iran is a despotic, criminal regime fueled by ancient religious hatreds that beats, rapes, kills and imprisons its own citizens to maintain power. Unlike yourself Helena, R.T. knows that huge numbers of Iranians, both inside and outside Iran, are still clinging to the hope that the U.S. (and yes, Israel) will help put an end to the insane efforts of Iran’s current leaders to maintain their hold on power by securing nuclear weapons. Unlike yourself Helena, R.T. has a swell job at a “handsome” salary at a prestigious Washington think tank and has just had a column printed in the Washington Post.

  3. Helena

    Rebecca, tell me about any experience you have of studying or understanding this part of the world.
    Your last point, by the way, is hilariously funny. The fact that Ray has that particular “swell job” and gets published in the WaPo merely– in the long heavily bellophilic atmosphere of those institutions merely indicates that he has trimmed his sails to fit those particular winds… nothing else.
    Fwiw, I had a regular column in the the Christian Science Monitor for 17 years and prior to that published quite frequently in the WaPo, NYT, etc. I don’t suffer from ‘publications envy’ for Takeyh’s one slender contribution to the WaPo.

  4. Jack

    I too would like to know the source of Rebecca’s insider information about what various Arab regimes are thinking. Sharing it with the rest of us who are not so well informed would be appreciated.

  5. Erik

    They pay him because he tells them what they want to hear…
    Lots of D’bags have done well for themselves here lately by doing that.

  6. kassandra

    Rebecca should contact Monty Python.
    I have only spent a small portion of my time reading various English language papers (I wonder what the Arabic ones would say?) published in various Arab/Muslim countries, and some blogs, including Helena’s, to come to a completely different conclusion. A big salary and a “swell” job do not translate into truth. Talk to Stalin, Rebecca, your idea of truth is similar.

  7. Ken Ward

    Those despotic leaders of Iran must have discovered a secret denied to Khrushchev,Gorbachev, Musharraf and others, namely how to use the possession of nuclear weapons to stay in office. I guess you need first to decide what nuclear weapon to point at the mob outside your presidential palace. Maybe such insight comes from the prolonged contemplation of ancient religions, hatreds and all. It would be great to get RT’s confirmation of this hunch.

  8. annie

    Unlike yourself Helena, R.T. understands that Arab regimes throughout the Middle East fear expansion of Iranian influence far more than they fear Israel.
    all the neocons keep telling us that rebecca, but nobody else. can you direct us to any no neocon affiliated ME blog or expert that trumps this line? Takeyh was an aid to dennis ross so excuse me for taking him less than seriously, these guys on one trick ponies and always stay on message. the question should be, is it anyone else’s message and why should i take a neocons word for what the arab states think?
    what are you doing here Rebecca Solowitz?

  9. Salah

    understands that Arab regimes real interest is in their own security and development
    Rebecca Solowitz, assuming you are right in this matter, but Unlike Israelis their real interest is in their own security and development by grapping Palestine’s land with fake and illegal ways or by initiates more wars almost 5-10 years in the region?
    Unlike Israelis their real interest is in their own security and development they killed German scientists early 1950s Egypt, then followed Egyptians scientists, then followed targeting Iraqi scientist also Iraqi tope military commanders who had proven military skills and leadership.
    Unlike Israelis who publicly their real interest is in their own security and development with just underneath their loud displays of vocal about Iran they hidden buying their oil and other things also the sold Mullah weaponry during 8 years of war with Iraq
    Good luck with your lies Rebecca Solowitz with your swell job at a “handsome” salary from Israeli defence ministry or Hasbara agencies.

  10. External

    Rebecca is working on behalf of “Yvette” and the Ministry of DISinformation -Hasbara. The Megaphone is well and alive

  11. vadim

    Annie, here’s Ian Black (in the not very neoconnish Guardian citing Mustafa Alani of the Gulf Research Centre)
    Privately, things may be different: “If we have to choose between Iranian nuclear deterrence and intimidation, or accept military action as a solution, we’ll accept military action,” says Alani. “We in the Gulf can live with Iranian retaliation for a week or a month. That’s manageable compared to the possibility that Iran will be a nuclear power.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jul/10/middleeast.iran
    and here’s Salah Nasrawi (AP) in 2009:
    http://blog.taragana.com/n/possibility-of-us-iran-rapprochement-rattle-americas-mideast-allies-54114/
    “There exists a strategic and military threat (to Gulf countries) and we are against any nuclear program that isn’t approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency because we believe that the Iranian nuclear program should not destabilize the region,” the organization [GCC] said in its statement.

  12. bevin

    Two points, Vadim:
    1/ Mustafe Alani us talking hypothetically. There is no Iranian nuclear weapon programme. If there were, if Iran had muclear weapons then he might very well prefer military action to living under a nuclear threat. As it is Iran does not have such weapons and so Alani’s point is irrelevant.
    2/ Salah Asrawi’s point is interesting. Iran’s programme is carried out under the auspices of the NPT and monitored by the IAEA. Then there is the Israeli nuclear threat which is live and real, is not monitored by the IAEA and is not part of the NPT.
    On the other hand Israel has a modern, highly sophisticated delivery system (supplied gratis by the American people), while its government is exceedingly belligerent and composed of an alliance of racist religious bigots and unreconstructed fascists from the Jabotinsky school.
    There is certainly cause for concern but not about Iran.

  13. Rebecca Solowitz, Boston

    Wow Helena, I do seem to have touched a nerve
    among your readers. To respond to your question
    about my own suitability as a commentator on the
    Middle East, I am a student from Israel (born and bred there) living at the present time in Boston.
    I make no claim to special expertise in
    Middle East affairs, apart from the fact that I
    love my country and am very proud of it and
    want very much for its people to prosper and
    live in peace. I make no apologies to you
    or anyone else for believing that Israel is,
    first and foremost and should remain always,
    a Jewish country. I believe the Jewish people,
    given both our ancient and modern history, have fully earned that right. And yes, I believe also that the Jewish State of Israel represents the fulfillment of a divine objective.
    That being said, I look forward with great
    anticipation to the time that Israel and its
    Palestinian neighbors will live in full peace and harmony with each other. Unlike yourself and most
    of your readers, I think this may actually be
    something that I will personally experience
    in my own lifetime, as I believe the Arab people
    as a whole, and not only the Palestinians,
    are desperate to experience their first taste of freedom, and recognize fully — without being able to openly admit it — that Israel has come far closer to achieving a democractic system of government for all of its citizens — including its Arab citizens — than any Arab nation on earth.
    I am sorry if your were offended by my comments pertaining to your professional qualifications as compared to Mr. Takeyh’s, but as a long-time reader of this blog, I have long ago come to the conclusion that a great deal of your attitude toward Israel, neoconservatives and other Middle-East experts who disagree with you is indeed
    fueled by personal jealousy and animosity
    toward academics and policy experts you perceive as having achieved public and professional recognition (and grant funds) that, as a matter of simple justice, should have gone to you.
    Perhaps, if I ever see the slightest hint from you in the future that Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state in the historic land of
    Palestine (however the boundaries of that state might be defined) or see you take the slightest issue with any of the crude caricatures of Israel that are regularly made by your readers, I will have reason to change my opinion of you. But, truthfully, I don’t expect this to ever happen.

  14. Salah

    Some nut picking to show and support their claims.
    Reading the politics in ME will tell more what on the surface and what underneath politics playing not just now but for long time.
    First if some trying to tell or sale that Iran is threat to Arabs states, ok this matter as any country around the world will think what his neighbours up to. what make Arabs countries worry is the experience or the reality of Iranians did doing inside Iraq were Iran and US despite all media speeches and reports and US and Iranians officials but they are underneath working very closely and helping each other to control and counties the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan’s. These are facts just the short minded will objected. may pick your attentions to the report by Nation magazine that published that US ambassador and US high commander met with Quads force in Iraq then that report taken off after US ambassador claims it false but Nation Magazine returned with report buy here editor telling they guarantee the meeting held and the incident happen.
    This one off many meeting inside Iraq for the last seven years I don’t go in details how Iranian helped US in killing million Iraq and destroyed the country, you can ask Iraqis will tell you their storey from their mouths.
    I don’t some comes concerned so much of Arab regime who talk about threats of Iranian seeking regional power with all damming evidences that Iranian are not angels in their goals (from Iraq experience) but they forgot in same time Israelis also worried from Iranian each day there is story or Israeli media talking about threat from Iran or the conferences and meeting all talking the threats that Iran have for the security and development of Israel.
    So why not the Arab states say so? What’s wrong in that?
    But let see how Israeli and US claims are real. US and other western countries build big lies just to invade Iraq while all UN inspector reports telling Iraq WMD not exists but the went and invade Iraq even UN asked for TWO WEEKS to double check the western claims. So now Iran have years telling the world they had Nuclear program and publicly they do, why US and other world doing?
    Did any one of you hear one word from Israeli when they decided to bomb Iraqi nuclear centre in Baghdad Jun 1980? Why not? Because Israelis normal behave like this, in top secret manners to kill and take off their unloved ones.
    But years Israeli telling they will attack Iran in the right time!! Did any one believe in this joke of Israelis? Any military or intelligence specialists should object any leak of these matter even it’s just thought and words not as a plane to be drown to destroy and proclaims enemy.
    As for Israeli there more to see and talk if we search the relations between Mullah and Israeli the best read this book and sees what Mullah and Israeli doing in bed together
    The secret dealings of Israel, Iran, and the United States
    By Trita Parsi

  15. bevin

    You would do well, Rebecca, to deal with facts rather than supposed motives.
    The suggestion that criticism of a country’s policies is likely to be motivated by professional envy would be rather silly in any case. Given the extraordinary and unequivocal nature of Israel’s aggressions and its murderous record I think that you can safely conclude that such things as the Goldstone Report indicate that you, as a partisan of these extremist regimes, have a problem which has nothing to do with Ms Cobban’s career.
    Talking of which, most people would regard it as an indication of good character to side with the poor, the persecuted indigenous, the undefended and barely armed and the wretched. There is always more money and promotion for those who squat at the foot of the throne and lick the tyrant’s feet,(see WINEP posting below).

  16. vadim

    You would do well, Rebecca, to deal with facts rather than supposed motives.
    Right.. from the guy who hates Israel because its government is exceedingly belligerent and composed of an alliance of racist religious bigots and unreconstructed fascists from the Jabotinsky school.
    There is no Iranian nuclear weapon programme.
    Sure, Iran holds no secrets from the IAEA. Personally bevin, I don’t believe Iran has much of a nuclear bomb program. But that’s a blind guess on my part. The fact is that Iran has kept so much of its nuclear research secret (in violation of the treaty they signed long after Israel’s bomb was public knowledge) that it’s hard to know what they are and are not doing at any given time. This misgiving of mine is shared by the IAEA, as you would know if you read any of their recent statements on Iran.
    But as Helena has already pointed out, the NPT is treated as kind of a joke by all parties. Who serisouly thinks any of its signatories are moving in good faith toward total nuclear disarmament?

  17. Salah

    Palestine (however the boundaries of that state might be defined)
    Our Israli (born and bred) could you tell us all what youor book in elementry schools and colleges in regards to your broclaimed Jewish state in the historic land?
    Why you worry to define to us publically and openly as looke you beleiev in your 2000 yers old dream?

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