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Raghida Dergham Guest on Al Jazeera's Min Washington

فيلتمان لـ«الحياة»: عدم انعقاد المؤتمر يعني ترشح الأسد للرئاسة السنة المقبلة


Interview: Raghida with Jeffrey Feltman

وزير خارجية البحرين لـ«الحياة»: كيري أبلغنا ان التركيز مع إيران سيكون على الملف النووي


القربي لـ«الحياة»: «حزب الله» وإيران يقدمان الدعم المادي والمعنوي للبيض

سليمان لـ«الحياة»: لا تسرب لأسلحة كيماوية إلى لبنان ونيات انفتاح بين السعودية وإيران تبشر بانفراج عام


المرزوقي لـ«الحياة»: 4500 تونسي منعناهم من السفر إلى سورية للقتال


العطية لـ «الحياة»: مجلس التعاون يدرس آليات للتحرك في الأمم المتحدة في شأن سورية


زيباري لـ «الحياة»: الأسد باق ولا حل بلا تدخل دولي مسؤول


وزير الخارجية المصري لـ«الحياة»: قرارنا لن يتأثر بالمساعدات الأميركية


العربي لـ«الحياة»: الحل في سورية يجب أن يكون سياسياً ومؤتمر السلام للبحث في هيئة حكومية انتقالية بصلاحيات كاملة

الزياني لـ «الحياة»: اقتراحات سترفع إلى القمة في شأن اقتراحات التحول إلى كيان موحد

أوغلو لـ«الحياة»: التفاهمات الدولية محصورة بالملف الكيماوي ومن السابق لأوانه التكهن بنتائج الحوار الأميركي - الإيراني

ناس و ناس مع كبيرة المراسلين راغدة درغام

FutureTV Society & Lifestyle

Ethics and Politics: Response to the Plight of Refugees
Raghida Dergham - Beirut Institute - April 13, 2013

Beirut Al Yawm - Raghida Dergham
MTV - Lebanon - 05/17/2013

Faith in the Future
Article - Bespoke Magazine

Writer: Raya Jalabi - Photo: Thierry van Biesen
October 2012

Beirut’s New Think Tank
Talking to Raghida Dergham
Hanin Ghaddar, July 3, 2012

Web-Exclusive Video:

بانوراما: هل يسقط المشروع بالفيتو الروسي

Raghida Dergham @ Murex D'or 2012
2012 Journalism Award for the Arab Region

Raghida's Acceptance Speech (@27mins:30sec)

Interview: Raghida Dergham  with Mahmoud Abbas

Raghida Dergham Speaks at The Worldwide Alumni
Association of the American University of Beirut
Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel - Montreal - 10/09/2009

راغدة درغام: حاربت من أجل حياتي

Photo: david abdalla

Weekly Column - 09/11/2014
Translation  - Karim Traboulsi
(Updated every Friday)
Obama’s Last Chance to
Control His Credibility


President Barack Obama has a precious opportunity to carve out a legacy for himself and carry out a coup against the reputation of weakness, repudiation, and retreat that has dogged and haunted him. The Islamic State (IS) had invited the U.S. president to a war, which has opened a window for Barack Obama to shape his own fate rather than leaving his historical political legacy in the hands of others. If he shows boldness and acts decisively from a position of strength and leverage, President Obama will be able to leave the White House on a white horse of sorts, instead of leaving the presidency while being chased by a reputation for political failure and for contributing to the strengthening of terrorism – and perhaps even to the return of terror to the U.S. homeland. Yet limiting military action to airstrikes and covert operations against IS and similar organizations will not reap success for President Obama and will not rescue him from disappointment in his performance, whether at home or internationally. Barack Obama must therefore make qualitatively new political decisions and to forge solid and conscious alliances if he wants to have the legacy of a president who took advantage of the opportunity and altered the way history was set to perceive him. 

Not long ago, Barack Obama appeared to be running after the Islamic Republic of Iran. This became the main theme in Obama’s legacy to be, in which he sought to become the president who made peace with Tehran and took the United States out of the confrontation with the Islamic Republic. Obama seemed desperate for appeasement with Iran at any cost, and risked traditional U.S. ties with the allies in the Middle East in order to please Iran. Obama turned a blind eye to the excesses of the mullahs’ regime in Iran, and vowed not to support any Iranian opposition, declaring his respect for the Iranian regime and his recognition of its legitimacy. He claimed not seeing the flagrant violations of Security Council resolutions, with the direct intervention of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in Syria and its support for Hezbollah’s overt involvement in the conflict there alongside President Bashar al-Assad, who the U.S. president had said should step down for having lost his legitimacy. He turned left and right to avoid seeing Iranian hegemony in Iraq where Sunnis were excluded. Obama maintained the de facto partnership with Tehran in supporting former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, whose policies led to the emergence of the IS phenomenon, with support from a Sunni uprising that had had enough marginalization. Obama fought al-Qaeda in Yemen using drones, but he kept mum over the direct Iranian intervention in support of the Houthis there – with the result being that they are now creeping into Sana’a, seeking to topple the government and deliver the country to chaos. In short, Barack Obama had resolved to exempt the Islamic Republic of Iran from accountability, because it was the core of his presidential legacy. 

IS changed the equation. What happened in Iraq when the Iraqi army retreated before the IS onslaught was a major defeat for Iran. Iran no longer enjoys the formidable reputation of being the victor in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon. Suddenly, the illusion collapsed. Suddenly, the Islamic Republic of Iran appeared brittle and breakable – at least in relation to one of its three main demands, namely, forcing the United States and the rest of the world to bless its expansionist regional ambitions in the Arab countries, on the grounds that it is a major regional power with the “right” to do so. 

Moderate Iran represented by President Hassan Rouhani has yet to eliminate hardline Iran represented by the Revolutionary Guard. Moderate Iran wants to restore Iran’s natural status rather than its expansionist status. It wants to rescue the economy and promote respect for rights internally. Moderate Iran does not want regional hegemony and does not want to enter the Syrian war as a direct party in the civil war. It does not want to wage the wars of terrorism as a party. 

President Obama is able to help Iran make positive turns that would be beneficial for Iran, the Middle East, and the United States.

The first important message he must send out to Tehran is that the war on IS requires Tehran necessarily and inevitably to reconsider its policies on Iraq and Syria primarily, and also Yemen and Lebanon. Only this way can the needed alliances be built to defeat IS. These alliances and partnerships include most definitely the moderate Sunnis, at both the level of governments and the level of local populations, which require political ammunition in order to renounce IS, as they had renounced al-Qaeda before through the Awakening movements. 

Some in Iran may think that President Barack Obama will fight extremist Sunni groups like IS on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Iran, where Iran would hit two birds with one stone: Relieve itself from a war that it directly wages to defend itself; and benefit from the U.S. war on IS to improve its odds for victory in Syria with the survival of the regime, and in Yemen by toppling the government. Indeed, another U.S. president had waged a war on behalf of Iranian interests, that is, when U.S. President George W. Bush invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, ridding the mullahs in Tehran of two of their most important enemies – the Taliban and Saddam Hussein. 

It is important for President Barack Obama to make it clear to Tehran that he does not intend to go to war on its behalf, even as he seeks to push back IS wherever it is, as he has vowed. It is important for him to persuade Tehran that the time has come for clear and public attitudes, even if this requires challenging the status quo inside Iran. 

In other words, the U.S. president can remind Iran that it is in dire need to have the sanctions against it lifted, and that this is possible if it is honest in nuclear negotiations and if it abandons its quest to have the know-how to make a nuclear bomb “a few turns-of-the-screw away.” However, the U.S.-Iranian relationship requires more than a nuclear agreement, particularly since IS poses a threat to U.S. national interests. Thus, it is time for President Obama to tell Tehran that it must stop its meddling in Syria and its adventures in Yemen. 

Why would Iran listen? First, because IS is a threat to it as much as it is a threat to others. Second, because postponing decisive military action against IS in Syria will lead not only to the group’s expansion to the point of radically weakening the Syrian regime, but also to the point of  .....

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