Reuel Marc Gerecht is a former case officer for the CIA, where he served as a Middle Eastern targets officer with the CIA's directorate of operations. He is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a non-partisan organization centering on national security, where he focuses on Iran, sanctions, terrorism, and the Middle East. He is the author of “Know Thine Enemy: A Spy’s Journey into Revolutionary Iran” and “The Islamic Paradox: Shiite Clerics, Sunni Fundamentalists, and the Coming of Arab Democracy,” among others.
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Muslims cannot be dragged to an embrace of secularism and the liberal values that spring from it. They have to arrive voluntarily at this understanding.
The Obama Administration lacks the vision and nerve to engage Syria effectively.
The West need not fear the Arab uprisings but embrace and support the democratic ideals that lie at the heart of them.
The West should allow the Egyptian revolution to continue even if it means the Muslim Brotherhood will rise.
President Obama should engage the Islamic fundamentalists rising to power.
If President Obama would allow the CIA to do more to help the Syrian rebels, Turkey and even Iraq's Kurds would do more to help finish off the Assad regime.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei leads the efforts to advance Iran's nuclear Daweapons programs and if he succeeds could lead his country to war.
Reuel Marc Gerecht argues, “Looking more closely at the past shows that a regime-collapse containment policy is the best way to effect change.”
Reuel Marc Gerecht argues, “The suggestion that going to war with the clerical regime is too high a price to pay to stop the mullahs from acquiring nuclear weapons (which is what’s implied by defending the limited, temporary utility of the JCPOA) is downright odd.”
Reuel Marc Gerecht argues, “The [Iran nuclear] deal's bad. I mean, it's as holey as Swiss cheese, as the Europeans, particularly the French, tried to point out during the negotiations. It has numerous large flaws.”
“Alone now, Washington has to be willing to play hardball with Tehran by insisting that it does have military options. But our primary task ought to be to squeeze the theocracy relentlessly.”
Reuel Marc Gerecht argues, “If Washington were serious about doing to Iran what it helped to do to the U.S.S.R, it would seek to weaken the theocracy by pressing it on all fronts. A crippling sanctions regime that punishes the regime for its human-rights abuses is a necessity.”
Reuel Marc Gerecht argues, “It is heartening to hear senior Italian and British officers attached to NATO's International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan affirm that they're planning on being there for 10 years, provided the locals want them.”
Reuel Marc Gerecht argues, “A Russian-American entente never made a lot of sense because of one overpowering fact: Russia and the Islamic Republic have deeply shared strategic interests that simply overwhelm the carrots and sticks that Washington can toss at Putin.”
"America’s Iran problem will remain until the theocracy cracks. Given the regime’s inability to escape the contradictions of its own making, that day is drawing closer. The U.S. needs stamina—and a clear understanding of how the enemy sees itself."
"The supreme leader is accustomed to seeing the West blink first. It happened when Barack Obama, alarmed by increasing uranium enrichment, offered significant concessions. Trump’s decision to stand down in the Persian Gulf after the downing of the U.S. drone in June has fortified the impression of an irresolute America. In the weeks and months to come, expect Khamenei to find new ways to test the president’s mettle."
"The 40th anniversary of the Iranian revolution has sparked the usual lamentations from many Iranians. They revolted for democracy only to have the Machiavellian mullahs hijack their revolution and squash its liberal aspirations."
"During the presidential campaign, the outlier in Donald Trump’s foreign-policy orations was his treatment of Iran. On Europe, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Russia (remember President Barack Obama’s “off-mic” tête-à-tête with President Dmitry Medvedev?), and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Trump largely followed his predecessor. Differences existed, certainly in style and manner, but the overlap between the two men on most of the big foreign-policy questions was profound."
"President Trump has revived most of the U.S. sanctions on Iran that were dropped during Barack Obama’s 2015 nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic. More sanctions are coming. But to halt Iran’s march toward enriched uranium and functional ballistic missiles for good, the White House must convince more Americans and U.S. allies to join in raising pressure on the regime. The fruits of Tehran’s imperialism won’t wither until the world chokes its roots."
"Since the parameters of the Iranian nuclear accord became apparent in 2014 until Donald Trump canceled the deal on May 8, Washington essentially divided into three camps: those who supported the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, those who thought it was a seriously deficient accord but didn’t have the stomach to challenge it since that would oblige them to accept the risk of another war in the Middle East, and those who opposed the accord and were prepared to accept the risk of conflict."
"The range and depth of what the United States can do against the regime is large and far beyond the confines of this essay. Patience and perseverance and a willingness to use force, however, are required. Still, despite the president’s dim view of the nuclear agreement and the Islamic Republic, the odds are decent that Trump will follow the footsteps of President Obama: The Great American Retreat will continue. Obama’s most important legacy likely will survive."
"The saber-rattling out of the White House on Iran is getting a lot louder. Saudi oil ships mysteriously attacked. What’s actually going on, and what exactly is the White House plan?" A conversation with Nancy Youssef, Stephen Walt, and Reuel Marc Gerecht.
"Since the 1979 revolution in Iran, the defining religious competition in the Middle East has been between Sunni Saudi Arabia and the Shi'ite Islamic Republic. That clash was not initially sectarian. The clerical regime in Tehran was, despite lapses now and then in Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's rhetoric, explicitly ecumenical: the Iranians wanted to appeal to Sunni Muslims worldwide by depicting themselves as the true paladin against America and the West."
A conversation between John Batchelor of "The John Batchelor Show" and Reuel Marc Gerecht.
"Many Americans remain wary, if not hostile, to the idea of democracy promotion in the Middle East. The Iraq War, which wasn’t launched to bring people power to Mesopotamia, is seen by most critics as the great catastrophe of Americans who wanted to export representative government. The failure of the “Arab Spring” to produce anything but bloodshed and continuing autocracy beyond Tunisia, where the region-wide revolt started in 2010 and democracy has held, has further reinforced the view that the United States really shouldn’t back a rootless, convulsive cause. The American right sees Muslims as a bad Enlightenment bet; the left is more critical of Middle Eastern tyrannies (except in Iran and the Palestinian territories) but is extremely averse to “nation-building” in Islamic lands."