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Iran Super Thread- Merged



Looks like an updated V1.  They worked out great for the Germans too.


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jollyjacktar said:
Looks like an updated V1.  They worked out great for the Germans too.
So, if the fecal matter hits the oscillator, can we use 1940's technology too?



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Pics of the said new Iranian unmanned "bomber" :


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivers a speech during the unveiling ceremony of a long-range drone, the Karrar, in Tehran August 22, 2010. Iran unveiled the prototype of a long-range unmanned bomber on Sunday, the latest in a stream of announcements of new Iranian-made military hardware as tension mounts over its nuclear programme. REUTERS/Vahidreza Alaii


This photo released on Sunday, Aug. 22, 2010, by the Iranian Defense Ministry, claims to show the country's first domestically-built, long-range, unmanned bomber aircraft at an undisclosed location. (AP Photo/Iranian Defense Ministry,Vahid Reza Alaei, HO)



These photow released on Sunday, Aug. 22, 2010, by the Iranian Defense Ministry, claims to show launch of the Karrar, or striker in Farsi, the country's first domestically-built, long-range, unmanned bomber aircraft at an undisclosed location.

(AP Photo/Iranian Defense Ministry,Vahid Reza Alaei, HO)


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jollyjacktar said:
Looks like an updated V1.  They worked out great for the Germans too.

Speaking of German Technology.......

Two Charged in Germany With Missile Tech Export to Iran:

German authorities announced today they had filed charges against two men believed to have provided Iran with technology that could be used to build nuclear-ready long-range missiles, Agence France-Presse reported

read more: Iran/German Technology

          (Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act)


sean m

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Here is an interview from Bob Baer, who Seymour Hersh says he was considered perhaps the best on-the-ground field officer in the Middle East. He is also considered one of the leading experts on the middle east and won the CIA career intelligence medal. His book "See no Evil" is the best book I have ever read, if you like this genre you should pick it up.



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With a bit of finesse or more external pressure short of war, Iran's theocracy might implode on its own. What will replace it is hard to forecast (a liberal democracy isn't one outcome i'd bet on), but perhaps the new regime will focus on the domestic sphere and back off on international provocations:


Iran Sinks into the Muck
September 14, 2010 - by Michael Ledeen

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It is hard to know where to begin with Iran these days. Many commentators are telling us that there is considerable “infighting” within the regime, which is certainly true. But so far I have not seen anyone point out that these conflicts are not merely political. We are witnessing, I believe, a struggle for survival, both within the regime and between the regime and the opposition. All those explosions — big explosions — at the natural gas pipelines running from Iran to Turkey, to Russia, and to Afghanistan cannot possibly be accidents. The latest took place last night (I haven’t seen press reports yet, perhaps because Ahmadinejad has ordered oil and gas facilities to censor any news about disasters), two of them:  one at a petrochemical plant on an offshore island that destroyed a polyethylene plant and pipeline, the other against a pipeline from Bandar Abbas to Bushehr.

Moreover, there have been some open gunfights here and there, with casualties running well over 100. To round out this very ugly picture, the nastiest elements of the regime have been murdering their opponents. If you follow the reports, you will see that many people are being executed every day, and there are events far more terrible than those that have been reported.  In the past five months, some seven hundred “dissident” Revolutionary Guards and Basiji have been executed under the guise of “drug smugglers,” and there is even worse than that:  in the past few days about 30 dissident RGs in the Mashhad prison were told they had been forgiven, and would be reintegrated into the ranks.  They were put on a bus and fed food and (poisoned) drinks.  When they passed out they were dumped into a mass grave and buried, more or less alive.  Astonishingly someone saw it, and reported it, and some fifty security officials are now being interrogated.

Other very obvious signs of the disintegration of regime coherence abound– such as the repeated calls from the Supreme Leader and the people around him for “unity” (a sure sign they don’t have any).  Take, for example, the recent defections of Iranian diplomats based overseas. The two latest ones (one in Brussels, the other in Helsinki) were not merely disgruntled diplomats leaving their country’s foreign service; both proclaimed themselves followers of Mir Hossein Mousavi’s Green Movement, and both forecast that others would soon follow them into open opposition. We shall see.

And more:  the divisions are so intense that Parliament has been closed for fifteen days, on top of the Ramadan holiday.

As most everyone has pointed out, the Sarah Shourd affair also shows deep fissures within the regime. First, Ahmadinejad ordered her release. Most likely, he wanted to take her on his airplane to New York, where he could present her to American authorities and then go on to meet with Pres. Obama. The Iranian judiciary put a stop to that, asserted their authority over all prisoners, and insisted she would stand trial along with her traveling companions. Then came the story of bail, a fantastically high bail of half a million dollars.  In any case, it’s wonderful to see her free.

There are lots of unanswered questions, as usual in these matters. Did they compel her to sign some sort of confession? And what about the bail payment? On the face of it, any such payment would fly in the face of sanctions against Iranian banks, so one wants to know who paid it, and if there was any American complicity.

There may well be a missing link — call it the story of the other Sarah. In a letter to the Wall Street Journal today, Sarah Levinson laments that she is soon to be married and cannot share her joy with her father, Robert, the former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran three a and a half years ago. I have been told — although I can’t verify it — that Robert Levinson died in an Iranian prison a few months ago, and that the American government has come to that conclusion as well.

According to this version, the Iranian leaders did not want to have a second American die in their prisons, and so — just as they have been saying — the decision to release Sarah Shourd was indeed driven by serious concern about her health.

Then there is the geopolitical element: the regime leaders are very happy with President Obama and they do not wish to see him hamstrung. Ahmadinejad’s original idea was to try to help Obama (and help himself as well) by freeing the American woman, just as the leaders of the Islamic Republic did a favor for President Carter when they freed women and blacks in 1979, long before any white male was released from captivity.

In short, as an Iranian friend of mine put it, what we are witnessing is less a power struggle than a survival struggle. One other good way to see this at work is to look around the neighborhood. As Green leader Mehdi Karroubi said the other day in an interview with Al Arabiya TV, “the regime in Tehran depends on creating international and domestic crises to safeguard its existence and continuation.” And so we see explosions in Bahrain, bombs in Iraq, Kashmir and Afghanistan, and fighting in the streets of Iranian cities.  Indeed, the internal conflict has reached such a point that one of Ahmadinejad’s top assistants finally came out and told the clergy to go back into their mosques.  Banafsheh’s invaluable Planet-Iran was the only one to give this amazing statement the big font it deserves:

Mohammad-Ali Ramin, Deputy Minister of Islamic Guidance and Culture for Media Relations and Ahmadinejad’s adviser on the “Holocaust Commission” announced: “We call upon all clergy to abandon civic and politics issues, partisan matters, NGO’s and western-style organizations and return to the mosques where they can benefit from greater social clout, that will ultimately elevate societal and Islamic interests. We need to be able to put our clergy to proper use, as mosque attendance has thinned out.

Pay attention to that last clause. Whatever the Islamic Republic of Iran once was, it is no longer a source of enthusiasm for the Iranian people. They have had it. They know that the only thing the regime can do with any degree of efficiency is kill their own people. The latest stories revolve around the dreadful present in Mashhad, where hundreds of prisoners have been slaughtered in recent weeks. One of the sources for the story, Ahmad Ghabel, was thrown back into prison after he told the Green Movement what was going on.

The regime continues its efforts to intimidate the Greens, to no effect. Thugs attacked Karroubi’s home, shooting 30 or 40 times into the house and setting it on fire.  Karroubi told them that death did not frighten him, and the outcry was so great that within two days the government announced the arrest of the guilty parties. Mousavi’s house is under siege, every visitor is interrogated by regime thugs, and yet Mrs. Mousavi comes and goes, issuing clarion calls on behalf of Iranian women, and Mousavi himself remains an outspoken opponent of the regime.

And then, in yet another surprising retreat from the policy of all out repression, the former Justice Minister has been called to stand trial for the mass murders that followed the demonstrations of last June.

How will this play out? I think there are two basic scenarios. The first is that the Revolutionary Guards somehow get a grip on the country. It’s hard to imagine, but they do have lots of guns, and if they can kill hundreds of their own, they may well be willing to kill thousands of political opponents and normal citizens. I think the country has gone beyond the point where the tens of millions of suffering Iranians will put up with that again.  But you never know.

The second scenario is that the regime implodes, unable to make decisions, unable to act decisively, and, as one key leader after the next goes over to the other side, the whole ugly thing collapses into the muck. Unlikely?  Perhaps, but then it seemed even more unlikely back in the days of the Soviet Empire before it sank.


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Opening the Cyber front?


Poetic Justice — Will a ‘Worm’ Destroy A-jad?
September 23, 2010 - by Roger L Simon

Is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad crazy, evil, or both?

Most likely both, but the question is something of a weird psychological litmus test — one I first gave myself back in April 2009 when I personally came within five feet of the Iranian president in the lobby of Geneva’s Hotel Intercontinental. We were both there to attend the UN’s Durban II Conference on (so-called) Human Rights, he as a speaker and I as a humble new media reporter.

The moment he marched by with his entourage, nodding to those of us in the lobby, from many nations, as if we were loyal subjects of the Islamic Republic, is etched in my brain forever.  It was like seeing Hitler up close in, say, 1937.  (In this case Godwin’s Law does not apply. Hitler comparisons are not just Internet inevitability — they’re required.)

I was so shaken by the experience, it drove old agnostic me to God.  If you can believe in pure Evil, well, there has to be Good, etc. A video I made of the experience is here, if you haven’t seen it — “How Ahmadinejad Made Me a Believer.”

Well, A-jad is back, as most of you know, speaking at the UN and being walked out on by Western delegates, just as he was in Geneva. Mahmoud opens his mouth and out comes the usual — the U.S. is behind September 11, the Holocaust is an illusion, etc., etc. and everyone from the West gets up and leaves. Well, not everyone. Some minor delegates from Norway and Switzerland apparently stayed to hear the madman out.

Interesting tandem of countries that. I wonder if they would have walked out on Benjamin Netanyahu. No, they just would have treated him equally with A-jad.  All’s fair, you know — just as long as you don’t inspect anybody’s bank accounts. “Poor Switzerland” is suffering too in the economic downturn.

But speaking of the prime minister of Israel, there is hope coming from that small benighted nation in this blog from Forbes: The War Against Iran Has Already Started. Their Trevor Butterworth is reporting on an article from Computer World on a new computer worm known as Stuxnet:

    Computer World magazine recently pronounced Stuxnet, “a piece of malware so devious in its use of unpatched vulnerabilities, so sophisticated in its multipronged approach, that the security researchers who tore it apart believe it may be the work of state-backed professionals.” And according to the latest article in the magazine, speculation is rife that Israel may have been behind the worm – and that it was designed to sabotage or even take control of the operating systems for Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor.

    Whether that is what really happened is beside the point. The reality of Stuxnet (and more to the point,  its next incarnation) is that critical state infrastructure can be commandeered and destroyed without anyone firing a shot. The very prospect that Israel – or whomever – could shut down Iran by destroying its electrical grid through causing every generator to overload in a matter of minutes is a powerful signal: the signal that cyber war has physical consequences that make conventional air strikes look quaint and maladroit, so 20th century.

Ah, those devious Israelis — hard at work in the Silicon Wadi.  Can you imagine — one day A-jad opens his laptop and … the worm eats the worm. Wouldn’t that be poetic justice?  Well, nothing is ever that good.  But my best guess — and it is just a guess — is that the Israelis are deeply engaged in such projects. They certainly aren’t waiting around for our pathetic President what’s-his-name who couldn’t even muster up the energy to support the Iranian democracy movement to do anything. You remember the guy — the one who thought the way to deal with Mad Mahmoud was negotiation.  How’d that work out? Great judge of character, our president.

Anyway, back to cyberwar.  Apparently it’s not just the stuff of sci-fi novels.  It’s happening now. And if I were the Israelis, I’d go for it hard.  Who’s going to stop them? Obama? If he does, they might commandeer his Blackberry. I learned how that’s done in a Daniel da Silva spy novel. And you know where the agents were from.


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Fully operational flying boat squadron. http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2010/09/iran?page=1

I'm hesitant to mock them too much for this idea. I could see these enjoying some success at hit and run operations on shipping in the Straits of Hormuz. Although I imagine a missile, rocket, or artillery shell would be more effective.

Still, +1 to Iran for thinking outside the box.


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From a look at the video and pictures, these are actually Wing in Ground Effect (WIG) craft, with very limited powers of free flight. The idea has merit, although to take on modern ships, you would actually need a WIG capable of moving at least at the same speed as a turboprop aircraft (and big enough to carry a battery of ship killing missiles). The Soviet Navy did experiments with WIGs ranging in size from the "Caspian Sea Monster" (weighing 500 tons, it was actually larger than a 747) to the 200 ton "Lun" and the smaller A-90 "Orlyonok". Picture the C-130 as a flying warship and you have the idea.

These are military craft with the speed, range and payload that could be serious threats to surface combat units. The other way to go might be to revive jet powered flying boats, like the Martin P6M SeaMaster. Now we have a high speed, long range threat to surface warships and (to a lesser extent) submarines.

The Iranians clearly intend to deal with threats by using a series of "mosquito" attacks with speedboats and these aircraft in an attempt to overwhelm the sensors and systems of Allied ships and commanders. How this will work remains to be seen.


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The administration is advancing with glacial speed, but advancing nevertheless:


Clinton Denies Calling for Regime Change in Iran
Posted By Ryan Mauro On October 3, 2010 @ 12:00 am In Homeland Security, Iran, Middle East, Politics, US News, World News | 6 Comments

Secretary of State Clinton is denying [1] what she obviously called for on September 19: regime change in Iran. Her spokesman rejects that this is what she meant, but read her words [2]:

And I can only hope that there will be some effort inside Iran, by responsible civil and religious leaders, to take hold of the apparatus of the state.

That means replacing those in power — in other words, regime change.

She even went so far as to warn the regime of a popular uprising:

When you empower a military as much as they have to rely on them to put down legitimate protests and demonstrations, you create a momentum and unleash forces that you do not know where they will end up.

Clinton was clearly offering moral support for an internally driven regime change, or at least challenges from figures within the regime to restrain Khamenei, Ahmadinejad, and their ilk. She stopped a few steps short of actually endorsing the democratic opposition, as the Obama administration still sticks to the flawed but conventional view that doing so de-legitimizes them. “But we also knew that the worst thing for those protesting was for them to be seen as stooges of the United States,” she said. A spokesperson for the Green Movement has asked [3] for more direct moral support and the regime has consistently labeled its opponents as U.S. and Israeli agents without making a dime’s worth of difference, but these facts have yet to shake away this misguided view.

Administration officials are simultaneously warning that the regime is becoming a “military dictatorship,” in what can only be a calculated decision to label it as such. Clinton’s remarks follow her other recent statement [4] that although she has “grave disagreements” with Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1979 Islamic Revolution,

the early advocates of it said this would be a republic. It would be an Islamic republic, but it would be a republic. Then we saw a very flawed election and we’ve seen the elected officials turn for their military to enforce power.

Here, Clinton acted upon another calculated decision to criticize the regime as violating the principles of the original Islamic Revolution in order to promote a fissure between the regime and its more conservative opponents who haven’t repudiated the original revolution or openly called for regime change.

The tone of the Obama administration on this issue is different from when it first came into office. President Obama’s first Persian New Year greeting respectfully referred to the “Islamic Republic of Iran” and was conciliatory, without any challenge being made on behalf of the people. The second one devoted [5] four paragraphs to outlining the regime’s abuses and the commonalities between the values of the U.S. and the Iranians fighting for their freedom.

This change reflects the triumph [6] of Secretary Clinton and Vice President Biden in the summer of 2009, assisted by pressure from the Republicans. The two pressured President Obama to stop being silent as the Green Revolution grew. President Obama did not [7] hold a single high-level conference call or meeting to discuss a response to the protests as they reached their height. He belatedly responded [8] with a strong statement referencing the videotaped death of Neda Soltan, and Clinton claimed [9] that “behind the scenes, we were doing a lot” to help the protestors. Now, advocates of supporting the opposition appear to have won the debate, with the remaining argument focusing on the limits of that support.

Following Ahmadinejad’s ridiculous accusations of 9/11 being an inside job, President Obama was quick to add [10] that “it stands in contrast with the response of the Iranian people when 9/11 happened, when there were candlelight vigils.” He then went to BBC’s Persian service to directly address the people, saying [11] that when they face their hardships because of international sanctions, “they have to look at the management of their government, both in terms of the economic management but also in terms of them deciding that it’s a higher priority to pursue a covert nuclear program than it is to make sure that their people have opportunity.” An administration official said [12] they will  deliver his interview to the Iranian people through the Internet.

More and more, we’re seeing administration officials readily addressing the concerns of the Iranian people without being prodded. President Obama appears to have finally understood that the internal opposition is the most painful pressure point to press on the regime. The administration appears to be gently egging on regime change in its own restricted way, as that would rid them of a major headache, but that is not the objective of the policy. The administration is still not ready to ditch its goal of making the regime cave to a negotiated settlement, but rather sees limited support for the people as a means to that end.

This is encouraging but it definitely doesn’t go far enough. There isn’t a consistent campaign to make political prisoners famous, or to materially aid the opposition with the non-violent materials they need, or to establish a strike fund, or any other substantive moves, but it’s far better than the U.S. stance last year. And unlike the 2008 presidential campaign, this time around Obama may be forced by his aspiring Republican opponents to clearly declare whose side he is on (as the Iranian protestors have asked [13] him to do) and embrace or reject a policy comprehensively supporting the opposition.

Long-shot potential Republican presidential candidate John Bolton addressed a rally of Iranians in New York City protesting Ahmadinejad on September 23. He and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani called [14] on the Obama administration to remove the Mujahideen-e-Khalq from the State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

The debate over the MEK’s legitimacy and viability as an Iranian opposition group has divided proponents of regime change (I wrote an article laying out each side’s arguments here [15]), but putting that debate aside, the probability is growing that whoever the Republican candidate is will make supporting the opposition the centerpiece of his Iran policy. Newt Gingrich [3] has bluntly called for a policy of regime change, as has Rick Santorum [16], both likely presidential candidates.

The debate has moved from whether to support the Iranian opposition to what’s the best way of doing so. And that debate sends chills up the spines of the regime.

Article printed from Pajamas Media: http://pajamasmedia.com

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/clinton-denies-calling-for-regime-change-in-iran/

URLs in this post:

[1] denying: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iRyntoAsbsMq9W-VEPChqbiJiiVw
[2] words: http://www.alternet.org/rss/breaking_news/285254/clinton_urges_%27responsible%27_leaders_to_take_control_in_iran/
[3] asked: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/194737/gingrich-iran-its-1930s/robert-costa
[4] statement: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gRG9gjAjvtPqq9p-fGMSlUGC21ygD9IB1QCO0
[5] devoted: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-obama-marking-nowruz
[6] triumph: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/18/us/politics/18prexy.html
[7] did not: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/15/world/middleeast/15diplo.html
[8] responded: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1194641/Obama-praises-YouTube-martyr-Neda-Agha-Soltani-Britain-expels-Iranian-diplomats.html
[9] claimed: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hcI2cEI2R_30663RxlsVetrBx_dg
[10] quick to add: http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/24/obama-calls-ahmadinejads-911-comments-inexcusable/
[11] saying: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11408615
[12] said: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/24/barack-obama-mahmoud-ahmadinejad-un
[13] asked: http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/11/iranian-protestors-call-to-president-obama-for-support.html
[14] called: http://www.worldthreats.com/?p=3710
[15] here: http://pajamasmedia.com../../../../../blog/a-court-victory-for-the-enemy-of-the-mullahs/
[16] Rick Santorum: http://thinkprogress.org/2006/12/11/santorum-iran-bus-drivers/


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More evidence that the regime is under internal pressure. Classical COIN theory suggests that unless there is a secure area where the rebels can rest, regroup and receive training and supplies there will be no chance for victory or regime change; even mass movements like the Cedar and Orange revolutions were unable to implement lasting changes (and effectively weakened the existing body politic to the point that the Hezbollah and Russians were able to move in and impose themselves on Lebanon and the Ukraine respectively).

How this will play out is now in the realm of chaos theory, where even small inputs might trigger unpredictable large changes:


How Long Can the Iranian Regime Last?

Posted By Michael Ledeen On October 18, 2010 @ 9:07 pm In Uncategorized | No Comments

I’ve received many questions about the recent explosion at a Revolutionary Guards base near Khorramabad (near the Iraqi border) that reportedly killed nearly twenty Guardsmen and, according to some accounts, destroyed several new Shehab missiles.    The regime described it as an accident, but even the Washington Post’s Thomas Erdbrink, who often shows a touching tendency to accept the official version of events, had his doubts [1]: “It was unclear whether the incident…was an accident or the result of terrorism or sabotage.”  He was right to wonder; there have been three such events at the Imam Ali Base in the last several months, and while there are lots of accidents in Iran, it is most unlikely that repeated explosions are all accidental.

The base is a training center for high-level Iranian officers and experienced foreign fighters. According to a reliable Iranian source, the foreigners were being trained in the use of roadside bombs, the so-called IEDs that account for most American and other NATO casualties in Afghanistan. Those were apparently ignited, along with jet fuel, and killed 19 Iranian officers and badly burnt another 14, most of whom are in critical condition. No figures are available for the foreigners, although some of them were certainly killed or wounded.

The base was attacked by two men on motorcycles, who first killed two security guards and then launched rockets over the walls into the base. There were indeed four missiles at the site, but they were short-range missile with a range of 200-250 kilometers, not the latest generation of intermediate-range Shehabs.

The latest deaths bring the number of RG casualties in the last 26 days to 102, which gives you a sense of the intensity of the internal war against the Iranian regime.  Earlier in the month, armed gunmen attacked police in Kurdestan [2], killing five and wounding four others.

Meanwhile, Iranian workers and merchants were also challenging the regime, with workers walking off the job in the south [3] and the operators of the gold bazaars locking up their shops all over the country, nominally in protest against the new 3% value added tax, but actually against the regime’s increasingly centralized control over the national economy.  Negotiations to end the shutdown broke down early this week [4],  as it became evident that the regime was determined to crush the traditional merchant class.  Indeed, the Iranian currency becomes weaker by the day, which has the dual effect of ruining the traders and smugglers who have long been the source of merchandise for the bazaars, and further empowering the Revolutionary Guards who have abundant quantities of hard currency from their (legal and illegal) oil business.

In addition to pauperizing the merchant class, the regime is striking at other middle-class sectors by rationing gasoline and ending subsidies for such staples as cooking oil, sugar, and rice. The subsidies will be replaced by aid — in the form of coupons — for the staples, which will be given to supporters and withheld from opponents. In this manner, the Iranian economy will increasingly resemble that of North Korea, albeit with a very wealthy state and elite, living the good life financed by oil revenues.

These measures – some of which have been announced, while others will emerge in coming weeks – will further enrage most Iranians, who are already alienated from the regime. The ranks of the enragés include many senior clerics, and in recent weeks the regime has assaulted their mosques, beaten and arrested their followers and even family members, and shut down their websites and Facebook pages.  The regime’s critics are not going quietly.  The Ayatollah Ali Mohammad Dastgheib, for example, who is a member of the Assembly of Experts that chooses the supreme leader, has recently challenged Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s legitimacy [5], saying that “the only duties of someone selected by the Assembly of Experts are ‘…to coordinate the efforts of the three branches of government and to prevent the violation of citizens’ rights by the three branches.’ This bold claim means that the supreme leader’s powers are much more limited than is currently the case.  Dastgheib asserts, ‘This person…has no right to interfere in the affairs of the people.’”

Other senior clerics have taken similar positions, and Khamenei is traveling today to the holy city of Qom, where he will meet with many of them in an attempt to shore up his waning legitimacy.  Matters have gone too far, too many people have been killed, tortured, and humiliated to expect the Qom clerical establishment to fully embrace Khamenei.  Remarkably, at least some of these men of the turban are prepared for martyrdom rather than accept Khamenei’s tyranny. I doubt we will see a mass rejection of Khamenei in Qom, however, and in all likelihood many will support the supreme leader, and those who reject him will face harsh treatment when the leader returns to the capital.

Thus the vice of oppression tightens more forcefully on all levels of Iranian society, as the regime uses the only method that can keep Khamenei and Ahmadinejad in power: the iron fist, combined with foreign adventure (about which more in my next blog).

Can it last? The regime would surely fall in short order if its opponents received a modicum of real support from the West, but no such support seems to be forthcoming from the feckless men and women who mistakenly fancy themselves to be real leaders, and who one day will have earned a shameful page in the history of this period.

And so the agony of Iran continues, until the inevitable explosion of righteous wrath finally destroys this evil regime.

Article printed from Faster, Please!: http://pajamasmedia.com/michaelledeen

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/michaelledeen/2010/10/18/how-long-can-the-iranian-regime-last/

URLs in this post:

[1] had his doubts: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/13/AR2010101300901.html

[2] armed gunmen attacked police in Kurdestan: http://www.ilmattino.it/ANSAviewnews2.php?file=newsANSA/2010-10-07_107555809.txt

[3] workers walking off the job in the south: http://www.rferl.org/content/Unpaid_Workers_Go_On_Strike_In_Iran/2185158.html

[4] Negotiations to end the shutdown broke down early this week: http://www.iranfocus.com/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=21996:talks-collapse-leading-to-new-strike-at-tehrans-gold-bazaar&catid=32:tehran-grapevine&Itemid=47

[5] recently challenged Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s legitimacy: http://www.insideiran.org/media-analysis/senior-ayatollah-criticizes-khamenei-for-overstepping-powers-as-supreme-leader/

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It seems like with the Karzai government, there seems to be a much reduced chance of achieving any significant positive change in the country. Even though there are peace talks, the Taliban does not always heed them. In Pakistan, as we all know, even after peace talks they still fight and is supported by the Taliban leadership.


On Monday, Afghan President  Hamid Karzai said the country had received money from several "friendly countries" and specifically named the United States and Washington's diplomatic adversary, Iran, describing the money as a "transparent" form of aid.

Karzai said his office received sums up to 500,000-700,000 euros ($360,000-$975,000) once or twice a year from Iran and that he would continue to ask for Iranian money.

The New York Times, citing an unidentified Afghan official, said that millions of dollars in cash had been channeled from Iran in a bid to buy influence and loyalty and have been used to pay Afghan lawmakers, tribal elders and Taliban commanders.

In Tehran, the semi-official Fars news agency initially said on Monday that Iran's embassy in Afghanistan denied the New York Times report and described it as "baseless rumours" spread by some Western media.

On Tuesday, however, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Iran had been helping with reconstruction efforts for some time.

"Iran, as a neighboring country, has helped a lot in order to reconstruct Afghanistan and that help was started by the former government," Mehmanparast said.

"Iran is helping Afghanistan and will continue in the future," he told reporters at a weekly news conference.

A former governor of a border province who says he was ousted for his criticisms of Tehran told Reuters this week that Afghanistan and its Western allies were dangerously underestimating Iran's destabilizing influence on the country.

A U.S. State Department spokesman did not question Iran's right to assist Afghanistan, but questioned Tehran's motives, given its history of playing a "destabilizing role with its neighbors."

Iran has wide and growing influence in Afghanistan, especially in the west of the country, where it has important economic ties around the commercial hub of Herat.

Tehran denies supporting militant groups in Afghanistan and blames the instability on the presence of Western troops, just as it has done in Iraq.

(Reporting by Paul Tait and by Robin Pomeroy in TEHRAN; Editing by Ron Popeski)


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What everyone is worrying about:


If Iran Gets the Bomb
October 26, 2010 - by Michael J. Totten

I sought out Martin Kramer in Jerusalem because I knew he would give me an analysis well outside the box on Iranian nuclear weapons. He’s a scholar, not a politician or pundit. And while he certainly has his opinions, he doesn’t conveniently fit into anyone’s ideological category.

I was not disappointed, and I don’t think you will be either. What he has to say is different from anything you’ve read from anyone in the media, including me.

MJT: I assume you read Jeffrey Goldberg’s article in The Atlantic this summer. He asked dozens of Israeli decision-makers and analysts if they think Israel will strike Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities, and the consensus seems to be that the odds are greater than fifty percent that it will happen before the middle of summer in 2011. What do you think?

Martin Kramer: It’s in Israel’s interest to convince the world that the decision-makers are leaning in that direction. The idea is to prompt somebody else to take action, in particular the Obama administration. So there’s a debate about whether or not Jeffrey has been spun.

MJT: Yes, and he mentioned that himself.

Martin Kramer: The whole purpose of spinning Jeffrey Goldberg — assuming that’s what happened — was to prod the United States into taking a more forward position. Americans are taking a forward position already, but the idea here would be to multiply the effect.

But I don’t know. I haven’t spoken to all the people Jeffrey talked to, and there are a lot of variables that we don’t know yet. The timeline is open to question. The intelligence is also being debated. So while I wouldn’t put a percentage on it, plans are definitely on the table. If the Unites States doesn’t act, the moment will come when a decision will have to be made. We don’t know what the arguments will be or in which ways the calculations will shift between now and then. Israel has the option, though, and it’s on the table. I wouldn’t say the odds are greater than fifty percent, but it’s a credible option.

Martin Kramer

MJT: What do you think Iran would actually do with a nuclear bomb?

Martin Kramer: The Iranians have a structural interest in creating doubt and uncertainty in the Persian Gulf. They have a larger population than any other Gulf state, and they don’t have the share of oil resources that Saudi Arabia has. So their first objective would be to create a climate of uncertainty.

Now, the Persian Gulf has been — since the United States took over from the British — a zone that is essentially under an American security umbrella. It is as crucial to American security as Lake Michigan. The United States doesn’t use most of the oil coming out of the Gulf, but its allies do, so the stability of the Gulf has been associated with a steady flow of oil and a price that moves within a predictable range.

Iran wants to create uncertainty there because oil is the only thing it has. Iran has nothing else — some carpets and pistachio nuts, and that’s it. Their population continues to grow, their needs continue to grow, and their grand ambitions continue to grow. So this, I think, is the first thing they would do with it. All it takes is to create a crisis or a succession of crises.

Iran knows it can’t wrest sole hegemony in the Gulf from the United States, but it wants to create a kind of dual hegemony shared with the United States. Nobody knows where the lines would run, but they wouldn’t run just five to ten miles off the coast of Iran into the waters of the Persian Gulf. Iran would like to see its share extend to both sides of the Gulf, to effectively create a kind of push and shove between the United States and Iran.

A lot of people on the Arab side of the Gulf will say they feel Iran’s breath on their faces. The United States is there now, but the British were there once, too, and now they’re gone. The Persians are always there and will always be there. So we’ll see a lot of hedging. Iran would be perceived as the rising power and the United States a declining power.

Don’t assume that in the Persian Gulf they don’t hear what we say about this. Obama was famously photographed holding a copy of Fareed Zakaria’s book The Post-American World during the election campaign. And don’t assume they don’t hear Americans talking about imperial overstretch.

MJT: You’re talking about the Arabs here.

Martin Kramer: Yes, the Arabs. And this creates a dynamic where if Iran also has nuclear weapons they will increasingly hedge. Things they allow Americans now — such as basing rights for operations in the Persian Gulf and beyond — will become more and more difficult to negotiate if Iran opposes them. So we would see an erosion of the American position in the Persian Gulf.

I think Iran is a lot less interested in justice for the Palestinians than in establishing their command over the gulf they call Persian.

MJT: We call it the Persian Gulf, too.

Martin Kramer: For reasons of geographic exactitude and custom. But Americans don’t mean it should be dominated by Iran.

MJT: Right.

Martin Kramer: The Iranians do. That’s the longer term objective. And like I said, they’re less interested in justice for the Palestinians than they are in this. They remind me a bit of Saddam Hussein. He said at one point that he would burn half of Israel, yet turned around and instead burned a lot of Kuwait. He wasn’t as interested in being admired by the Palestinians as he was about controlling resources. The Gulf is always very much a resource game. So that would be the first objective of the Iranians. But, of course, Iran also wants to wage proxy wars elsewhere.


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Part 2:

MJT: They do have interests in the Levant [the Eastern Mediterranean].

Martin Kramer: They have interests in the Levant, but there’s nothing here that can solve their fundamental problems, which is the mismatch of population and resources. Their game in the Levant is to get around America’s flank. They see Israel as an extension of America, but it’s not their primary area of interest.

Obviously, though, they have an ideological interest here, and they’re willing to fight Israel to the last Lebanese Shiite, but it’s an open question how much they’d be willing to sacrifice themselves directly.

So that’s why I think Iranian nuclear weapons are a world problem as much as, or even more than, they are an Israeli problem.

MJT: The Persian Gulf is certainly more of a world problem than an Israeli problem.

Martin Kramer: Israel has to take it seriously, though. After listening to Iran’s discourse, Israel can’t rule out the possibility that even a small faction could get their finger on the trigger.

It’s a world problem, though, and the world has to ask itself if it can tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran deliberately creating uncertainty, instability, and doubt surrounding the great reservoir of the world’s energy. If a coalition ever comes together to stop Iran, this will be the reason.

MJT: What do you think will happen in the Levant if Iran builds a bomb? Will wars with Hezbollah and Hamas be more or less likely, and peace with the Palestinians more or less likely?

Martin Kramer: Those are two separate issues.

MJT: Yes, but they’ll both be affected.

Martin Kramer: Right. It will certainly create a situation where there would be an expectation among the supporters of Hezbollah and Hamas that Iran would act to come to their defense by using its nuclear capabilities to threaten Israel, but I’m not sure Iran wants to do that. We saw during the last Lebanon war that the timing of the crisis was not to Iran’s liking. The Iranians would not have chosen the summer of 2006 to have Hezbollah in a crisis with Israel.

MJT: They were angry about it.

Martin Kramer: They view the Levant as an arena that can be integrated into their larger strategy, not so they can support a strategy that has been independently formulated by Hezbollah. Hezbollah doesn’t deliberately formulate an independent strategy, but Hamas certainly does.

If Iran decides to take the route that Israel and Japan have taken—either nuclear ambiguity or being one screw away from having a bomb—it would be less subject to moral extortion by the extremists in the Levant who would act unilaterally and expect Iran to come to their aid. So an ambiguous scenario wouldn’t increase the possibility of warfare, but if Iran becomes an explicit and open nuclear state, that’s a different story. Even the United States and the Soviet Union went on nuclear alert over an Arab-Israeli war. But you never know. Knowing in advance that it could lead to that kind of escalation, there might be mechanisms which would kick into action before things reached that level.

I do think a nuclear Iran creates a dynamic where Israel, from a strategic point of view, is compelled to keep a tight grip on Jerusalem and a large swath of the West Bank for the simple reason that it creates a deterrent to an Iranian attack. If all our strategic assets are concentrated on the coastal plain around Tel Aviv, we’re vulnerable. An Iranian ayatollah, Rafsanjani, has already noted that Israel is vulnerable to one strike. So how to we change that calculation?

A big country like the United States disperses its assets across a vast continent when facing nuclear adversaries. A small state can’t do that. But within this small state is a prime Muslim holy place, the liberation of which is championed by the Iranians, and it’s in Jerusalem.

So if Israel faces a real nuclear adversary that threatens its destruction and has Islamic fervor as the basis of its ideology—one that holds up Jerusalem as a symbol—it will make all the sense in the world to concentrate every strategic asset it can right next to it.

The Israeli leadership has built a duplicate command center in Jerusalem exactly like the one it has in Tel Aviv in the Ministry of Defense. So why stop at the top brass and the political leadership if you know that over the long term we’ll face a hostile nuclear adversary? It makes sense to load up Jerusalem with strategic assets which would themselves serve as a deterrent to a future exchange. And it’s a lot easier to do than position submarines in the Persian Gulf or the Indian Ocean.

So the long term effect would be to make Jerusalem central to Israel not only for political and cultural reasons, but also for strategic reasons. That doesn’t mean all kinds of arrangements can’t be made on the ground between Israelis and Palestinians about the day-to-day running of the city. In the past, Israel was concerned about holding the Jordan Valley as its eastern front against an invading conventional army

In a nuclear scenario the city itself would become crucial to preventing an adversary from striking a decisive blow which would render it no longer viable as a state. The idea is to persuade that adversary that even if there is a strike against Israel’s concentration of population, Israel will still remain viable.

MJT: It sounds, though, like this would make resolving the conflict with the Palestinians much more difficult.

Martin Kramer: Yes.

MJT: I figured we’d agree, but can you explain why you think that’s the case?

Martin Kramer: If there’s a shift of Israel’s assets from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the struggle over real estate up here becomes even more acute. There will be less leeway for Israeli concessions. Concessions are difficult to make in any case. Local security issues can be, in way or another, finessed, but once they play out in this mega arena of confrontation between nuclear states, flexibility diminishes quickly. It would create tremendous pressure on Israel to maintain its right to decide the future of different pieces of turf close to the city.

In the past we had the idea that in order for Israel to remain viable we had to settle the Negev Desert and the Galilee because they have large Arab populations.

That was never for religious reasons, it was always for strategic reasons. A nuclear Iran would create strategic calculations for Jerusalem that weren’t there before. There were always other strategic calculations for Jerusalem, but this would create a powerful new one. What would the Israelis and Palestinians discuss at the table once that became a factor?

Linkage is a big issue, but there’s a debate over which way linkage runs. Some say a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would make it much easier for the United States to deal with Iran. But I think the absence of a solution to the Iranian nuclear dilemma places a high premium on Israel holding if not the totality of the occupied territories, at least a sizable bit of real estate around Jerusalem as a strategic reserve.

I say this as someone who has always believed there would be some way to compromise over Jerusalem, but when I see the prospect of a nuclear Iran on the horizon threatening Israel, I say to myself that I want as many of Israel’s strategic, demographic, industrial, and technological assets in and around the city as possible.

MJT: So what do you say to people who prioritize the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over Iranian nuclear weapons?

Martin Kramer: I’d like to know more about how this is supposed to affect Iran’s calculations. I don’t think it will. I think they decided long ago that they want to have a hegemonic role enhanced by nuclear capability. A resolution of the conflict here wouldn’t deter them or persuade them from that ambition. On the contrary, they would believe that Israel would grow stronger and would be even more of a threat than it is today. They’re going to pursue this track no matter what.

The theory is that a resolution to the conflict would make it easier to mobilize Arab support.

MJT: Right.

Martin Kramer: But how much Arab support does the United States need that it doesn’t already have? Support from the Gulf Arabs is already guaranteed. They see Iran as a threat directed more at them than at anyone else.

MJT: They do.

Martin Kramer: The Arabs who could conceivably be swayed are the Arabs of Egypt and the Levant, but it’s difficult to envision a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that would satisfy all of them. Quite a few formulas will alienate lots of them.

And the question is: are they really necessary? Is it that important to have the so-called Arab street? It’s extremely difficult to turn the Arab street into a strategic asset. Nasser tried to do it. Saddam Hussein tried to do it. Ahmadinejad is trying to do it. Erdogan is trying to do it. It’s flattering, I suppose, to have your poster on walls here and there, but nobody has found a way to turn that into something they can use, and I don’t think the United States has much prospect of doing so either. It’s an intangible.

A nuclear Iran, on the other hand, would be tangible. So I think linkage, in fact, runs the other way.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict only has a chance of being resolved if the Levant can be disconnected from the Gulf. So we have to deal with the Iranian issue first.

Look at the history of the Middle East since the creation of Israel to the present. We have had two separate periods. The first lasted from 1948 until the late 1970s. During this period we had a war between Israel and the Arabs every decade. The Gulf region was stable. The British were there. There was always a concern that the conflict between Israel and the Arabs might create a ripple effect in the Gulf, and it finally happened in 1973 when they cut off the oil.

Then the United States changed its policy. The Americans said they were going to support Israel so staunchly that the Arabs would despair of ever achieving victory and would therefore have no choice but to sign peace agreements. And that’s what happened.

Since 1973 there has been no state-to-state war in the Levant. We’ve had intifadas, we’ve had wars between Israel and non-state actors, but we haven’t had the devastation of a state-to-state war. And the oil hasn’t been shut off since then. The oil only gets cut off as an act of solidarity between states, not as an act of solidarity with the PLO, Hamas, or Hezbollah.

So we now have an architecture that works in the Levant, but the Gulf has experienced a succession of wars. The Gulf now destabilizes the region. It has seen the Iran-Iraq war, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the latest Iraq war, and who knows what’s to come. And we’ve seen that the instability in the Persian Gulf region has a ripple effect in the Levant. It goes the other way now, and it’s a consequence of the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

Israel is the stake that has been planted in the Levant. Because it’s powerful, it puts a high premium on rationality among all those who surround it. It serves as the basis for the security architecture.

When the British left the Gulf in the early 1970s, the Americans weren’t in a position to pick it up because they were busy in Vietnam. They had their dual pillars in the Gulf, Iran and Saudi Arabia, but one of them collapsed in 1979. And since that collapse, there has been no equivalent of Israel in the Gulf which the United States could use as a fulcrum around which to organize a region. So the pillar of stability has been the American deployment of its own forces again and again and again. They’ve put millions of boots on the ground, and it’s still not enough.

So here in the Levant we’re feeling the wash from the long-term destabilization of the Gulf. It is America’s primary interest to keep these as two separate regions. The regional hegemon needs to make sure there is no cross-contamination between them.

The regions used to be separate. During the British time, the Levant was run from London and the Persian Gulf from India. The Levant was called the Near East, and the Gulf was called the Middle East. These were two distinct zones. We’ve conflated them in the meantime, and it’s in the interest of the United States to disaggregate them again and to keep them disaggregated. Any attempt to project power from one into the other undermines the position of the regional hegemon. That was true when Saddam Hussein fired missiles at Israel, and it’s true when Iran sends missiles to Hezbollah. It’s always the radicals who do the bridging. The same was true with Nasser.

And it compels others to do the same. If Israel acts over the head of the United States against Iran, it will be just the latest example. It’s something the United States can’t afford. It means that every time we have a problem in the Levant, it will create problems for the United States in the Gulf, and vice versa.

MJT: How can the United States drive a wedge between the two regions?

Martin Kramer: That’s easy. The U.S. just has to say that it supports its Israeli ally to keep order in its arena, and the U.S. will take responsibility for keeping order in its arena. Just effectively divide responsibility. If the U.S. flags in its resolve to do that, it will be under pressure from those who are tempted to act outside their arena.

My friend Steve Rosen at Harvard once said it would be shameful if the United States were to leave it to Israel to do what it should do in the Gulf. The Persian Gulf is an area of world interest where America plays the guarantor role.

If Israel has to act as the guarantor in the Gulf, it will be a sign that America has dodged its responsibility.

MJT: The Gulf Arab states are not-so quietly hoping Israel will do it if the U.S. does not.

Martin Kramer: They’re looking for someone, anyone, to do it.

MJT: They’re the ones who should be the most worried. We don’t hear much about this from the Arab states in North Africa. They don’t have as many reasons to be concerned.

Martin Kramer: That’s a separate area altogether.

MJT: Egypt is sort of a bridge, though, isn’t it? Cairo sides to a certain extent with Israel against Hamas, and we know Mubarak isn’t thrilled about what’s happening in Tehran.

Martin Kramer: The main problem with Egypt is that its own regional role has been so much diminished. Not only can Egypt no longer project power beyond its borders as it did in Nasser’s days, it can barely control events inside its national borders as we’ve seen in the Sinai. Egypt clearly resents the rise of Iranian power. They don’t necessarily trust anyone as a counterweight. Their approach all along has been that they don’t want a nuclear Iran, but that the way to go about it is to de-nuclearize Israel as part of a grand bargain. They would achieve two goals at once. Both Iran and Israel would be cut down a peg.

MJT: Do you think that’s their sincere approach? Egyptian officials will say this in public, but what do they really think?

Martin Kramer: I think there’s no question they’d like the United States to play the role. They’d much rather have the U.S. take the lead than Israel. They know what everyone knows—the United States would do it much more effectively.

MJT: Of course.

Martin Kramer: There would be nothing worse than a botched or half-complete operation. There’s a very strong preference that the U.S. take care of this, among the Gulf Arabs and the Egyptians.

MJT: And, of course, among the Israelis.

Martin Kramer: It’s absolutely central to the strategy to maintain this division. And the only way to maintain it is for the United States to demonstrate tomorrow that it will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons or to allow Israel to act unilaterally. The Gulf is a zone of American dominance, and the only way to assert that is to do what Carter did with the Carter Doctrine, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. He said there should be no outside power or local power that is allowed to challenge the United States in the Gulf. And a nuclear Iran clearly crosses that line.

If even Jimmy Carter was compelled to issue a doctrinal statement in the wake of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan about the Persian Gulf, one would think that Barack Obama would see the need to do something similar. Obama should especially feel compelled to do so because there’s a question mark there. He should declare the Persian Gulf a nuclear-free zone. It’s too much to talk about the Middle East as a nuclear-free zone at this time, but the Persian Gulf is nuclear-free now, and it’s time for the United States to come out and say it should remain nuclear-free.

MJT: I have a hard time imaging Obama doing anything of the sort.

Martin Kramer: Yeah. Well.

MJT: But I suppose one never knows.

Martin Kramer: It would be an astonishing lapse if a man who promised to roll back nuclear proliferation watched proliferation develop in one of the least stable parts of the world, a place where the United States has only been able to maintain even a modicum of stability by a massive projection of its own forces. The region is of prime interest to the entire world for its energy resources. If it becomes nuclearized, it will be the one thing for which Barack Obama would always be remembered by history, and he would be remembered by history as a failure.

Martin Kramer is a fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and a visiting scholar at Harvard University. He is the author of Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America.


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Failed policy in Washington only buys time for the theocrats, but the Iranian regime seems to be weakening from within. What will the new Congress be willing to do?:


The Failed Obama Iran Policy: Now What?
October 31, 2010 - by Michael Ledeen
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On October 25, Ambassador Dennis Ross — among other things, the National Security Council’s czar for Iranian matters — spoke in Florida to an AIPAC conference. It’s worth paying attention when Ross speaks, because he’s one of the best practitioners of the diplomatic arts, and, having done this sort of thing for several administrations, he is always very careful.  His words are canonical; you don’t have to wonder if he didn’t mean precisely what he said or whether he is at cross purposes with his president.

His Florida speech can therefore be taken as one of the clearest and most authoritative efforts to defend the administration’s Iran policy, and warrants our serious attention.

He began with a false claim that Obama’s outreach to the Iranian regime is something new.  “The first step…was making an unmistakable offer of engagement to the Iranians to show their government — and the rest of the international community — that we were committed to resolving our long-standing differences with Iran through peaceful diplomacy on the basis of mutual respect.  We recognized that during the years of not talking, Iran significantly expanded its nuclear program and sowed its breed of terror and coercion across the region.”

This is the administration’s central myth about Obama and Iran. In reality, there were no “years of not talking.” The Bush years were full of talking, culminating in an embarrassing failure. Secretary of State Rice went to the United Nations to await the promised arrival of a high level Iranian delegation that she expected would sign an agreement with the United States.  Iran would stop enriching uranium, and America would lift sanctions.  But the delegation never arrived.

This was only the latest in a 30-year run of failed “peaceful diplomacy on the basis of mutual respect.” Every president from Jimmy Carter to Barack Obama has tried it, and all have failed, even the current crowd, as Ross admits just a few words later:  “Iran’s own behavior over the past two years…has demonstrated that it prefers defiance and secrecy to transparency and peace.”

Ross continued, “Iran continues to rely on tactics of intimidation and coercion to gain influence, a pattern clearly on display during President Ahmadinejad’s provocative recent visit to Lebanon and through Iran’s ongoing support for Hizballah.”

Quite right.  But he doesn’t go nearly far enough.  It’s not just a matter of “intimidation and coercion.” The central issue is NOT Iranian diplomatic recalcitrance;  it’s the murder of American soldiers in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

And that is the issue that nobody — not national security officials, not members of Congress, not pundits — wants to talk about.  They avoid it with a remarkable single-mindedness, because to acknowledge it means having to respond forcefully, and no president for more than 30 years has been willing to do that.

It’s the poisonous turd in the diplomatic punchbowl, and it infuriates our fighting men and women, who know full well who’s blowing up their brothers and sisters.  And even some of their top brass — from Admiral Mullen atop the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Secretary of Defense Gates and all too many service secretaries and commanders — tiptoe delicately around the defining issue of the war.  Whatever their private convictions, they are not about to risk their careers by publicly challenging their commander-in-chief.

As for Dennis Ross and his cohorts in the White House and Foggy Bottom, they send birthday greetings to Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Different relationship with the world, indeed!  If the State Department had paid attention to Ross’s speech, they wouldn’t embarrass themselves by chanting false mantras.  That sort of nonsense only encourages the regime to redouble its attacks on Americans, and reminds the embattled opposition that they’re not going to get any help from Washington.

And yet, the regime is getting weaker by the day.  Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei just finished a very public trip to Qom, the locus of the Shi’ite establishment.  He went there because he and his dwindling band of followers know that his authority is very weak, and they hoped to organize big crowds to welcome him to the holy city, and then arrange for the most important ayatollahs to pay homage to him.  It didn’t happen; despite a considerable cash flow for participants in the “spontaneous” rallies, he didn’t get big crowds, and while some senior ayatollahs were hauled into his presence, many stayed away.  I would not be surprised to see a crackdown on some of the recalcitrant ayatollahs, but for the moment, the regime is actually backing away from confrontation with the political opposition.  The two leaders of the Green Movement have just met, despite warnings and scores of armed thugs around their homes — Mir Hossein Mousavi got in his car, defied the security officers, and drove to Mehdi Karroubi’s house to collect his colleague and Karroubi’s sons — and Karroubi’s offices are apparently reopening, which is a real sign of regime weakness.

There are other such signs:  in the past, the regime executed its (real and imagined) opponents in public, on the assumption that others would be intimidated, but that policy has failed.  Recent executions — lots of them — have been in secret, but the Greens have publicized them.  Mousavi knows that such accounts bring more people to the Green banner.

And while Khamenei was trolling for love in the streets of Qom, the commander of the Basij forces, Mohammed Reza Naghdi, was calling for Iranian students to be indoctrinated in the ways of martyrdom.  This is part of the regime’s campaign to compel the young to read and hear the most radical Islamic doctrines, a humiliating admission that thirty-one years after the Islamic Revolution, Iranians are not true believers.  Mosque attendance is low, and men in turbans are objects of public scorn (a well known anecdote tells of a mullah having to change into normal clothes in order to get a taxi).

Most Iranian people want an end to this failed state, and so should we.  Ross spoke at length about the efficacy of the new sanctions, and they are undoubtedly having an effect.  But Ross only praises the sanctions within the very narrow context of the Iranian nuclear program, as if we would be happy with a non-nuclear Iran, no matter how many Americans were killed by the terrorists armed, funded, and trained by the regime.

If that is not complicity with evil, what is?

Instead of contorted reasoning and myths about the wonders of talking to the mass murderers in Tehran, intelligent and honorable men like Dennis Ross should be calling for support for the Green Movement and working for the liberation of Iran.

How many Americans have to die at the hands of the Islamic Republic before we finally figure this out?

We’re about to get a new Congress. Is there anyone in its ranks who will say this and fight for it?


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Since Iran's goal is to become a regional hegemon, it stands to reason that the other regional powers stand together to oppose Iranian designs:


Egyptians and Saudis Simulate War with Iran

Posted By Ryan Mauro On November 5, 2010 @ 12:00 am In Iran, Israel, Middle East, Politics, World News | 5 Comments

Egypt and Saudi Arabia are preparing themselves for war with Iran. The two Arab countries just held [1] their first joint military exercises called Tabuk-2 over a one-week period, simulating a scenario unofficially based on a potential conflict with the Iranians. The exercises took place in the northern Egyptian desert and included F-16 aircraft, helicopters, and artillery units. The forces practiced [2] defending against an enemy offensive and counter-attacking with an invasion into the attacker’s territory.

The Israeli intelligence website Debkafile accurately analyzes [3] what this scenario means. They note that the commander of the Saudi forces in the exercise was Prince Khaled Bin Sultan of the Ministry of Defense and Aviation. His most recent experience was in leading the Saudi forces fighting the extremist Shiite Houthis in Yemen that spearheaded a proxy war [4] waged by Iran. The Egyptians and Saudis are preparing to defend Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province from an Iranian assault. This province is about three-fourths [5] Shiite and is the location of about 90 percent of the Saudi oil production. It is ripe for instability and Iranian-backed subversion.

These exercises indicate that the Egyptians are committed to quickly sending reinforcements to the Saudis in the event of Iranian intervention in the Eastern Province, as well as a joint counter-offensive into western Iran to force the regime to pull back its forces. Iran has experienced much internal strife in this area, particularly in the Arab-populated province of Khuzestan. This province holds 90 percent of Iran’s oil production, making it the Iranian equivalent of the Saudi Eastern Province. The Egyptians and Saudis seem to believe that the Arabs in this area, as well as possibly other disgruntled minorities, will rise up in arms against the regime. Acts of violence by these minorities against the regime’s security forces, military bases, and infrastructure have been rising in recent years.

The two Arab countries have a right to be worried. The Iranian proxy war in Yemen showed that the regime is becoming increasingly aggressive in the Gulf. And shortly after the Egyptian government arrested [6] 49 Hezbollah operatives in April 2009 for involvement in a terrorist plot, the terrorist group called for the overthrow of the moderate Arab regimes, specifically that of Egypt. The country’s prime minister flatly stated [7] that Hezbollah had “virtually declared war.” During the fighting in Yemen, the Iranian regime threatened [8] to bring the violence to Saudi territory and warned the royal family that their actions could cause their overthrow.

The leader of the Iranian branch of Hezbollah, Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer Kharrazi, has openly stated [9] that Iran must create an “Islamic United States” that stretches from Palestine to Afghanistan in order to set the stage for the arrival of the Mahdi. The Iraqi Baath Party and the Saudi Wahhabists are specifically mentioned by Kharrazi as enemies that must be vanquished. Therefore, in the view of Kharrazi and undoubtedly the theocratic fanatics that govern Iran, a campaign to seize the Eastern Province and collapse the Arab regimes is a religious obligation.

The desire to unite all the Shiites of Iran, Afghanistan, and the Arab world into one bloc is further heightened by Iran’s own vulnerabilities. The regime is running out of oil. One study says [10] that rising domestic consumption means that Iran will not be able to export oil by as early as 2015, eliminating the majority of the regime’s export revenue. With a steeply declining economy exasperating the country’s internal unrest, the regime will conclude that its prophetic destiny — as detailed by Kharrazi — coincides with its national interests.

Iran and the Sunni Arab world are therefore on a collision course that can only be avoided by regime change in Iran or capitulation. The Arabs’ best hope is a united military front that can beat back Iranian proxy warfare and that the regime is somehow prevented from obtaining nuclear weapons capabilities. Enter Israel.

In July 2009, the Egyptians permitted [11] two Israeli missile boats and a nuclear submarine to go through the Suez Canal, simulating a possible attack on Iran. In June, over a dozen American ships and one from Israel also traveled [12] through the Suez Canal under Egyptian protection. It is now an open secret that Saudi Arabia has given [13] Israel the green light [14] to use its airspace to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, reportedly even simulating [15] such an event. A member of Israel’s parliament has said [16] that a “wall-to-wall coalition” of Muslim countries have secretly assured Israel of their support for any action to stop a nuclear Iran from becoming a reality.

The Egyptians and Saudis are serious about the Iranian threat because they understand that they are the first on the chopping block and are the most vulnerable to Iran’s designs, much more so than Israel. They are said to be planning more joint exercises for the near future. The Arabs believe a major regional war is a distinct possibility, if not a probability. And so should we.

Article printed from Pajamas Media: http://pajamasmedia.com

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/egyptians-and-saudis-simulate-war-with-iran/

URLs in this post:

[1] held: http://www.saudinewstoday.com/article/32841__Saudi+-Egyptian+Joint+Exercise+%27Tabuk+2%27+Continues

[2] practiced: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/world/breakingnews/egyptian-and-saudi-military-wrap-up-week-of-joint-manoeuvrs-105366998.html

[3] analyzes: http://www.debka.com/article/9100/

[4] proxy war: http://pajamasmedia.com../../../../../blog/iranians-and-saudis-fight-a-proxy-war-in-yemen/

[5] three-fourths: http://www.realclearworld.com/articles/2009/03/saudi_arabias_shiites_stand_up.html

[6] arrested: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123957788667111977.html

[7] stated: http://www.worldthreats.com/?p=463

[8] threatened: http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/22081.htm

[9] stated: http://www.jpost.com/IranianThreat/News/Article.aspx?id=175619

[10] says: http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/2006-12-26-iran-oil_x.htm

[11] permitted: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article6715412.ece

[12] traveled: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/report-u-s-israeli-warships-cross-suez-canal-toward-red-sea-1.297068

[13] given: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article6638568.ece

[14] green light: http://frontpagemag.com/2010/06/22/saudis-green-light-for-israeli-attack-on-iran/

[15] simulating: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article7148555.ece

[16] said: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3858557,00.html


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And Iran is allegedly arming its regional proxies with aircraft and UAV's. Given the seeming ease which thousands of rockets can be smuggled into the Gaza strip, this really isn't so far fetched (and Iranian Revolutionary Guard personnel have also been said to have supervised the launch of an anti-ship missile at an Israeli ship and operated a drone over Isreal during the last conflict in Lebanon, so several data points exist)


Report: Iran gave Hezbollah UAVs, attack aircraft

Iranian experts were sent to Lebanon to aid Hezbollah in building the aerial array and train militants, Hezbollah sources tell Kuwaiti newspaper.

By Haaretz Service

Hezbollah has obtained a complete aerial array from Iran, including an attack aircraft and several unmanned aerial vehicles, Channel 10 quoted the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Siyasa on Saturday.

According to sources close to the Hezbollah military leadership, Hezbollah has at least three different kinds of UAVs and an Iranian aircraft that could reach long distances and attack specific targets on the ground.

Iran Hezbollah - AP - Oct 14, 2010

The sources say that these are the "surprises" that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah promised his organization would use in any future conflict with Israel.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard is responsible for the transfer of the aircraft to Hezbollah, sources say, and dozens of Iranian experts were allegedly sent to Lebanon to aid Hezbollah in building the aerial array and to train militants.

According to the report, Tehran allocated a very high budget for the project.

Western sources responded to the report, saying that they fear the aircraft could be an "important card" in a possible future conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.


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Should be a good fight. I was hoping to get out of the desert but I guess it's not in the tarrot cards.    We should win in Afghanistan first though.


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Grimaldus said:
Should be a good fight. I was hoping to get out of the desert but I guess it's not in the tarrot cards.    We should win in Afghanistan first though.

I thought we did?  That's why we're leaving?