Saturday, June 13, 2009

There Will be War and Rumors of War. ...

Iran lays an egg. Is Armageddon looming?

So much for my modest hopes from yesterday.

Well, it's actually doubtful that the people of Iran laid an egg themselves. I feel badly for these frustrated young people in Tehran. It appears that the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has allowed that beady-eyed, snaggle-toothed cretin Ahmadinejad, that anti-semitic crackpot messianic fool who believes he has a direct line of communication with the Hidden 12th Imam, to steal the presidential election. Try reigning in his nuclear ambitions now.

To their credit, the young people of Tehran are not taking this lying down. Watch the video of the ensuing demonstrations and street-fighting on the BBC.

A week or two ago the credential-less pundit Fareed Zakaria wrote an article in Newsweek called Everything You Think You Know About Iran is Wrong.

Is that so, Fareed? Really now?

You may be right about that. It's probably worse than what I thought.

Says Fareed...
Iran isn't a dictatorship. It is certainly not a democracy. The regime jails opponents, closes down magazines and tolerates few challenges to its authority. But neither is it a monolithic dictatorship. It might be best described as an oligarchy, with considerable debate and dissent within the elites. Even the so-called Supreme Leader has a constituency, the Assembly of Experts, who selected him and whom he has to keep happy. Ahmadinejad is widely seen as the "mad mullah" who runs the country, but he is not the unquestioned chief executive and is actually a thorn in the side of the clerical establishment. He is a layman with no family connections to major ayatollahs—which makes him a rare figure in the ruling class. He was not initially the favored candidate of the Supreme Leader in the 2005 election. Even now the mullahs clearly dislike him, and he, in turn, does things deliberately designed to undermine their authority.
Whoops. Whenever I hear Fareed Zakaria speaking, I'm always reminded of that line by King Edward Longshanks in the movie Braveheart, "Who is this person who speaks to me as though I needed his advice?"

How does a guy like Zakaria gain gravitas and any credibility with an outfit like Newsweek to begin with? Because he's smart, young, Ivy-league, Indian, pro-business and hip?

Yes, Fareed. We know that students in Tehran like hip-hop and texting their girlfriends just as much as kids everywhere else... That's not the point. It doesn't mean that we are wrong in thinking that this "regime that jails opponents, closes down magazines and tolerates few challenges to its authority" is going to be incredibly difficult for us to work with, and that it should be difficult.

The real meaning of this outcome is that a new and horrible war is virtually inevitable, especially with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in power. And this new horrible war may just be an amateur opening act for the real problem from hell which is Pakistan.

Meanwhile, keep worrying America, about Tila Tequila, Miley Cyrus, and us tearing each other apart over really important issues like gay marriage. Keep worrying about all that while we continue to ignore the two wars we're already fighting with the same small set of beleaguered and worn-out volunteers, with a couple of new ones on the horizon.


cowboyangel said...

Zakaria ia annoying. It's too bad - Newsweek has some excellent reporters. He's just not one of them.

Juan Cole has some very good analysis of the election situation. Stealing the Iranian Election from yesterday, and two follow-up posts today.

Why do you think these results mean "a horrible war is virtually inevitable"? I don't necessarily see apocalypse as an outcome.

Garpu said...

With Iran's military refusing to do anything against the protesters, I think the writing's on the wall for the old regime.

Jeff said...

Hi guys,

Juan Cole makes a convincing case to me. As for Zakaria, he seemed to have known that there were certain mullahs who didn't like Ahmadinejad, but aslo seemed completely unaware of the fact that there is bad blood between Khamenei and Mousavi that goes all the way back to the 1980s. The MSM in the USA knows about as much about Iran as the CIA does, and that's not a compliment. Our media does a horrendous job.

I sure hope Andrew Sullivan is right about what he's been saying in his wall-to-wall coverage, that this is an incipient revolution and not just a set of reform movement protests that will fizzle out like the 1997 and 2003 protests did.

Why do I think a war is inevitable if this election stands? I think the reaction of the students in Tehran pretty much says it all. Mousavi is not a liberal. At best, he could be described as a moderate conservative. To fix this election so transparently, it just goes to show how extreme and radical the current regime is.

For the most part, the young people in Iran do not want to overthrow the Islamic Republic (at least not yet). The are proud of their ancient Persian/Iranian culture and most would vehemently defend Iran's right to have a peaceful nuclear program. I think, though, that in addition to their desire for more personal freedoms, they are also horrified and embarrassed by the rhetoric coming from Ahmadinejad and the conservative cadre to be found in the Basij and the Revolutionary Guards.

Honestly, I think the only thing that has prevented a war so far is the "wait-and-see" attitude towards this election that the world had been urging on the US and Israel. Now that Ahmadinejad seems to have the backing of the conservative mullahs(we'll have to see how Khamenei reacts to these protests), he will only be emboldened in his hard-line stance, and there will be no one to reign him in. And now that Benjamin Netanyahu is in power in Israel, and is being pressured by Obama to support a two-state solution, there will be a price to pay for that. He's going to ask for a harder US line against Iran in return. I don't know how much longer Israel is going to be kept sitting on it's hands if an Ahmadinejad who is answerable to nobody keeps pursuing this nuclear program and keeps on with the saber-rattling.

The main reason why I think a war is inevitable if Ahmadinejad continues in power is because he has absolutely no interest in avoiding one. He's one of these religious fantatics who's completely at peace in his apocalyptic worldview. He just doesn't give a f___.