Sunday, December 27, 2009

Iran On Fire Again...

An Iranian opposition supporter next to a burning police motorcycle in Tehran

Two concurrent events combined to provoke massive unrest in Tehran and other cities in Iran this week - the death of Ayatollah Montazeri, a senior Shi'ite cleric identified with Rafasjani, Mousavi and Iran's Green movement and the coming of Ashura,a Shi'ite festival commemorating the death of Ali, Mohammad's grandson and son-in-law in one of Islam's first power struggles.A big part of Ashura involves voluntary bloodletting and hysterical self flagellation.

Combined with the political unrest going on and Mantazeri's death, it has created a volatile mix some people are dubbing an Iranian 'intifada'.

There's no way of actually knowing what's really going on in Iran, since the news is dependent of either government sources or grainy cellphone camera images and commentary sent via the internet. What we've heard so far is that eight people have died in the street protests, including Mousavi's nephew who was reportedly gunned down by the paramilitary basij militia. It could just as easily be eighty - there's no way to tell. There are also numerous protesters probably locked up in the regime's dungeons.

While I wish the Iranian people well in their struggle for freedom, anyone who thinks that 'Green Movement' and its leader Mousavi are going to make the problems of Iran's illegal nuclear weapons program and its ongoing support for Islamist terrorism go away in the unlikely event they overthrow Khamenei and his regime is simply in denial.

Mousavi is just as much as Islamist fascist as Ahmadinejad and Khamenei and no democracy-minded reformer. He's always been a longtime proponent of Islamist triumphalism and terrorism, a hardliner on Iran's illegal nuclear weapons program and an anti-Semite who has called for Israel to be destroyed. He was a key aide to Ayatollah Khomeini during the Islamic revolution in 1979 and played a large part in Khomeini's decision to overrun the US embassy and take American diplomats hostage. As Iran's prime minister between 1981-89, Mousavi was vociferously anti-Western and anti-American. He had a major hand in the creation of Hezbollah in Lebanon. His handpicked interior minister, Ali Akbar Mohtashami, was Mousavi's liaison when the Iranian government formed and funded that terrorist group. One of Mohtashami's first major operations was the murder of 240 US Marines in Lebanon, and he's also been implicated in the blowing up of the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

As the recent election campaign revealed, when it came to issues that matter to the West -- Iran's quest for nuclear weapons, threats of genocide aimed at Israel, interference in Iraq and Afghanistan, support for Islamist terrorism and any reasonable compromises with the West on these issues -- Ahmadinejad and Mousavi were virtually the same.

Some of Mousavi's followers might actually be pro-democracy, but their viewpoint is not likely to be the one that would prevail in the event of a another Iranian revolution. There were a lot of Iranians who learned that the hard way after the Shah was ousted in 1979 and the revolution was co-opted by the Ayatollah Khomeini and his hardliners into something very different than what they had imagined. Those of Mousavi's supporters who claim to be for real democratic reform in Iran may have forgotten that Mousavi and his patron Rafsanjani were a key part of the process that turned the revolt for democratic freedom against the Shah into Khomeini's Villayat-e faqih, a revolutionary Islamic republic.If Mousavi returns to power, expect a slightly less clerically dominated Islamic Republic, with simply a new set of 'ins'.

Even the patron saint of the latest outbreak, Ayatollah Montazeri had the typical Shiite intolerance for non-Muslims, and only became identified with with Rafsanjani and the so-called reform movement after he lost a power struggle with Khamanei and was more or less sidelined.

Mousavi's followers claim the Islamist color green as their emblem and shout "Allahu akbar!" as a battle cry from the rooftops. There are Iranians who yearn for political liberty, but their number is dwarfed by the ones that embrace Islamism.

That's especially true since the Obama Administration has refused to voice any concrete support for Iran's pro-democracy movement whatsoever.Had the president made a point of doing so, it might have made a difference. As it is, he's now stigmatized as a supporter of the old regime, just as Jimmy Carter was.

Is the Iranian revolution going to succeed? A key turning point will be if the Pasdaran( Republican Guards) and the armed forces either join a revolt against the mullahs or stand aside, as they did in 1979. So far, that hasn't occurred, although there are indications that Khamenei and other Iranian leaders may be making contingency plans for the future if their regime is overthrown.

If it happens,don't expect any miraculous changes. As Omar Abdel-Rahman, the so-called Blind Sheik who masterminded the first World Trade Center bombing was fond of saying, "Islam is Islam."

And it trumps everything in this part of the world.

1 comment:

B.Poster said...

You write: "There are Iranians who yearn for political liberty, but their number is dwarfed by the ones that embrace Islamic piety." This is a very true statement. Until this changes, there will be no possibilty for any type of friendship between America and Iran. It may be possible to forge some type of relationship based upon mutual respect but it would be unwise to trust them. The moment you turn your back on them you will find a knife in it. As such, it really doesn't matter who rules Iran. They will ultimately not be a friend of America.

What can we do? A military action is likely futile. The Iranian military is backed up by the Russians and Chinese. The two most powerful nations on earth are unlikely to just sit by and watch their investment be destroyed. Even without direct Russian or Chinese assistance, the Russian supplied weapons pose a formidable challenge.

The costs of a military operation will likely entail one or more of the following. 1.)Oil prices of over $200 per barrel. 2.)The American mainland will likely be attacked by Iranian operatives already in the US. Major metropolitan areas will likely be laid to waste. The resulting death toll will be in the thousands and possibly the millions or even the tens of millions. Think dirty bomb or suit case nuclear war head. At least the dirty bomb, the Iranians probably already have and suit case nuclear war heads can be gotten from their friends in Russia. 3.)The cost in life to American service men will be high. I would estimate a minimum of 50,000 dead American service men of all levels. 4.)To top this off the prospect of winning a military confrontation with Iran right now is only 50/50 at best.
5.)We would expect most of the world to side with Iran. As such, Anti-Americanism will explode to levels never seen before.

As you can see, this is quite high!! These are the bare minimum in costs, as the true costs are likely to be even higher.

Again, what can be done? Maybe some form of containment. We do have precedent for defeating a much more powerful adversary than even Iran through a form of containment in the Soviet Union. Maybe a modified form of this policy will work here. To pull it off, we will need a great deal of assistance. See number 5 above. With the current level of anti-americanism such assistance will be extremely difficult to obtain.

I hate to be a pessimist but there really are no good options for dealing with Iran. I suppose we could build up our military capabilities but with a struggling economy and a massive national debt where does the money to do this come from?