Angry Arab on Bob Woodward

The Angry_Arab has a good review of Bob Woodward’s new book on the Iraq war.  Two points that need to be clarified:

And you really have to read Secretary Rice analyzing Arab public opinion. I mean, who can you blame such people: her chief adviser on Arab affairs is Elliott Abrams, for potato’s sake. She insists that “Many of the Arabs see Iran now as more dangerous problem than Israel.” (p. 220) Such is the quality of Middle East expertise at the White House. I remember that chief Middle East hand at Clinton’s White House, Bruce Reidel telling Middle East Quarterly that Arab public opinion is not displeased with the sanctions that were imposed on Iraq in the 1990s.  (He now advises Obama on the Middle East, I heard). You read how Gen. Petraeus orders another US puppet, Iyad `Allawi: “Get in the game.” (p. 332). And Bush summs up his views of Iranians: “These are assholes.” (p. 334

On multiple occasions and usually more explicitly, the Angry Arab has called out Bruce Reidel’s knowledge of the Middle East based on this one statement he made in the early 1990s.  He says the same thing in his book.  Assad is correct to question the credentials of many of those in Washington who claim expertise on the Middle East, but Bruce Reidel is clearly a Middle East expert, and I say this from personal experience.   One statement which may or may not be correct does not make a break a person’s credibility as an expert.

Secondly, Assad takes issue with Rice’s statement that “many of the Arabs now see Iran as a dangerous problem than Israel,” saying that this shows a lack of knowledge of the Middle East in the White House.   But just last week, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi gave an interview with Al-Masri Al-Youm where, prompted by his Egyptian interviewer’s question “Which is the greater danger the Wahabis or the Shias,” he went on a long anti-Shia rant about their assault on Sunni societies.   I don’t believe that Israel was mentioned once in his long two-part_interview.  Signifigantly, Qaradawi prides himself (and is) genuinely independent of any regime or group, so his views are seen as more credible and genuine.  He is considered a moderate and certainly can not be dismissed as_some_kind_of_government_lackey,  That he felt the need to say all these negative things about Shias suggests that the fear actually exists and is not some made up concoction by Condaleeze Rice.

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