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Posts Tagged ‘Ahmadinejad

Iran: Hold your Horses!

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The US media is predictably awash with euphoria at the latest protest movement in Iran. Originating after the botched election of June 2009, this anti-Ahmadinejad movement has whet the appetites of our policy planners, who clearly hope it will lead to a “more democratic” (read: pro-west) government in the place of Ahmadinejad’s “repressive” regime. Though the original movement died down after a couple months, this latest resurgence, on the anniversary of the 1979 revolution, proves it has not quite vanished. The US establishment could not be happier.

Read for instance this joyful op-ed in today’s Times, entitled “Will Iran become a Beacon of Liberty?” (like Iraq was supposed to be?):

A democratic revolution in Tehran could well prove the most momentous Mideastern event since the fall of the Ottoman Empire. A politically freer Iran would bring front and center the great Islamic debate of our times: How can one be both a good Muslim and a democrat? How does one pay homage to Islamic law but give ultimate authority to the people’s elected representatives? How can a Muslim import the best of the West without suffering debilitating guilt?

Wow. That’s pretty optimistic.

Two notes in connection with this:

First, it remains clear that the main opposition candidate, Mir-Hossein Moussavi does not seek a dismantling of the Islamic Revolution, likely seeks to keep Khamenei in the seat of power, and has spoken repeatedly in favor of the current constitution, claiming it carries within it the “seeds of democracy” (source).  We in the West like to demonize Ahmadinejad, but the fact remains that he is a relatively minor player in Iranian politics. Ayatollah Khamenei holds all the real power, and any “reform” which leaves him in place is no reform at all.

On that note, Khameni’s behavior in this struggle is utterly inscrutable. Why does he continue to support Ahmadinejad, who is clearly unpopular, and probably incompetent to boot? Why not just tell Ahmadinejad his time is up, and let Mousavi be the puppet for a while? Khamenei’s vacillation has cost him, because now Mousavi’s supporters are shouting “death to Khamenei!” – something which Mousavi never endorsed. A situation which he could have easily contained now presents him a significant problem.

Secondly, it is clear that America is making heavy use of this protest movement, while it appears to refrain from actively funding it. Twitter, and Google, to take just two examples, have made millions off of these protests – indeed, a few bloggers have cynically termed the movement “one big advertisement for Twitter”. And while the US may have hidden its hand in these particular protests, the fact remains that it has attempted continuously to destabilize the Iranian Government for years. As Paul Craig helpfully notes in Counterpunch:

On May 23, 2007, Brian Ross and Richard Esposito reported on ABC News: “The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert “black” operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell ABC News.”

On May 27, 2007, the London Telegraph independently reported: “Mr. Bush has signed an official document endorsing CIA plans for a propaganda and disinformation campaign intended to destabilize, and eventually topple, the theocratic rule of the mullahs.”

A few days previously, the Telegraph reported on May 16, 2007, that Bush administration neocon warmonger John Bolton told the Telegraph that a US military attack on Iran would “be a ‘last option’ after economic sanctions and attempts to foment a popular revolution had failed.”

On June 29, 2008, Seymour Hersh reported in the New Yorker: “Late last year, Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources. These operations, for which the President sought up to four hundred million dollars, were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush, and are designed to destabilize the country’s religious leadership.”

Whether these protests are a product of such “covert action” – or even what that action entailed – we’ll never know. However, recall the “National Endowment for Democracy”, a US-sponsored group which promoted several ‘color revolutions’ across Eastern Europe, and which is known to have given money to the Mousavi clique.

In the end, I wish the Mousavi protesters all the best in their efforts. I don’t think Iran will become signifiantly “more democratic” so long as Khamenei is allowed to remain in power, but with Mousavi in the presidency, it is likely to become more “western-oriented”. This, of course, means relinquishing its right to sell oil in whatever currency it wants (infuriating the US via the Iran Oil Bourse), and also relinquishing what should be its right: to develop nuclear power. So the United States’ agenda will thus be fulfilled. But one hopes the Iranian public would also incur some benefit.

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Written by pavanvan

February 12, 2010 at 12:37 pm

US Escalates Aggression in Iran

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Via The New York Times:

The Obama administration is accelerating the deployment of new defenses against possible Iranian missile attacks in the Persian Gulf, placing special ships off the Iranian coast and antimissile systems in at least four Arab countries, according to administration and military officials.

Military officials said that the countries that accepted the defense systems were Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait. They said the Kuwaitis had agreed to take the defensive weapons to supplement older, less capable models it has had for years. Saudi Arabia and Israel have long had similar equipment of their own.

He also described a first line of defense: He said the United States was now keeping Aegis cruisers on patrol in the Persian Gulf at all times. Those cruisers are equipped with advanced radar and antimissile systems designed to intercept medium-range missiles. Those systems would not be useful against Iran’s long-range missile, the Shahab 3, but intelligence agencies believe that it will be years before Iran can solve the problems of placing a nuclear warhead atop that missile.

It’s important to remember that in the mouths of our “military planners”, words have a tendency to mean their opposite. Thus, “defensive” means “aggressive”; “defense systems” mean “offensive weapons platforms” and “deterrence” means “coercion”. With that in mind, the true designs of the United States become evident.

Iran, you see, is not allowed to have nuclear weapons – or even peaceful nuclear power plants. Only the United States is mature enough to decide who can and cannot be “trusted” with nuclear weapons. Iran, naturally, doesn’t consider this legitimate or fair. So to “protect” themselves from the Iranian “threat”, the US sets up umpteen missile bases all along Iran’s border and arms its neighbors to the teeth. For “defense’, you see.

It’s also worth mentioning that “missile defense” is error-prone, unreliable and impracticable. There is no technology capable of reliably shooting a missile out of the sky. None. The real point of setting up “missile defense” systems on Iran’s border is for offense – to have a quick button we can push if Iran further incurs our displeasure.

Written by pavanvan

January 31, 2010 at 2:47 pm

More political infighting in Iran

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Ahmadinejad flouts his patron Ayatollah’s authority

This is somewhat strange, particularly in light of Ayatollah’s alleged illness. In any case, Ahmadinejad has backed down to the “conservative” protests – the disputed deputy is safely out of the picture. His crime was to suggest Iran’s friendliness to all nations, without specifically excluding Israel. Ayatollah wrote a strongly-worded letter demanding the deputy’s resignation, and after a week of hesitation, Ahmadinejad complied.

Despite eulogies by the likes of Roger Cohen that Iran’s population has largely pro-west leanings, an influential contingent of ultra-conservatives clearly has just asserted itself. Ahmadinejad finds himself in an unenviable position – assailed both from the right and left. The Iranian political spectrum appears to be splitting yet again. If the Ayatollah has grown displeased with the fellow whom he just installed by force, it likely suggests the formation of a third power center. On the reformist end, Moussavi and his supporters, on the ultra-nationalist, Islamic end, the Ayatollah and his committed followers, and Ahamadinejad, incredibly, in the center.

The Ayatollah evidently seeks to cut the power out from under Ahmadinejad, but this move probably signifies nothing more. Such “personnel shifts” were not uncommon in the Soviet Union, as Stalin jealously prevented his supporters from forming their own independent cadres. This sorry little episode is further evidence that Ahmadinejad is merely a puppet of the Ayatollah, and that the American Right directs their implacable ire at quite the wrong man.

Written by pavanvan

July 26, 2009 at 2:53 am

Posted in Politics

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