There are many people who feel like the biggest loser from the wave of revolution sweeping the Arab world. Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in his iron cage, the Great Loon of Libya sweating it out in his hideaway, embattled German Foreign Minister Guido Westervelle trying to tough out mounting calls for his resignation after he mishandled Germany’s response to the NATO mission in Libya, Italians who bet on ‘stability’ in Tripoli and Damascus: they all have their claims.
But the mullahs of Iran increasingly look like the biggest losers of all. Iran’s unwavering support for Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria has brought it under fire from Arabs, cancelling decades of painstaking effort to position Iran as the leader of Islamic resistance to the West and to Israel. (…)
Many critics of the Iraq War pointed to Tehran’s apparent gains across the region as proof that the strategy was deeply flawed; in fact the realignments taking place across the region these days suggest that Iran is being pushed toward the fringes of Middle East politics. With Turkey more of a factor than before, and Saudi Arabia and its allies focused on their Shi’a religious and political archrivals, there is less room for Iranian meddling than the mullahs had hoped. Nothing lasts forever in the kaleidoscopic world of the Middle East, but for now Iran will have to face the critics of its nuclear program with fewer allies and less ability to summon public opinion to its side.