Why Iran’s mullahs should never have nuclear weapons

May 12, 2014

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In the words of Bret Stephens below in the Prager University video, we must never allow Iran to get “the bomb,” because they are likely to use it:

All of what Stephens says is true, but the key is that the real power in Iran is held by millenarian fanatics who see it as their duty to bring about the Shiite “End Times.” To these people, the temptation to use nuclear weapons in fulfillment of what they see as a religious duty might well be irresistible.

What’s so very frustrating in this situation is that all too many see only a binary choice: either accept Iran as a nuclear power, or preemptively invade the country at a potentially tremendous cost in blood and treasure. There is a third way, though we’ve wasted much time.

My friend Michael Ledeen has often written about the brittleness and vulnerability of the Iranian regime, which lives in desperate fear of the people it rules. (If you’ve read any Iranian history, you’ll know why.) Here’s an example from a recent column:

The wreckage of the Iranian state is not just the result of corruption and incompetence;  it also derives from the intense infighting within the elite.  Unconfirmed stories have appeared in the Iranian press reporting phone taps organized by the Revolutionary Guards Corps against members of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s inner circle, as well as against one another within the Guards.  There are documented fractures within the ranks of Hezbollah.  Assassinations continue apace, as in the case of Mojtaba Ahmadi, the head of the Cyber Army, in October.  The Iranian Embassy in Beirut was bombed in November by a terrorist group the Iranians had actually created.   And, in a telling blow to the regime’s ideology, Christianity is booming, and the regime is resorting to public meetings to warn the people about its dangers.

The regime does not seem to know how to cope with this crisis.  On the one hand, it increases repression.  The tempo of executions has famously increased since Rouhani’s election, and the recent brutality in Evin Prison–discussed by Ben Weinthal–shows that regime leaders are even afraid of prisoners.  For good reason:  last year many leading political prisoners refused to join the regime’s call for easing sanctions, despite torture and isolation.

It’s a hollow regime.  Its internal opponents hold it in contempt and do not fear it, and it is palpably failing.  

Between acquiescence to a nuclear Iran and outright invasion lies the choice of aiding the democratic opposition, which is large and growing. In the 1980s, we undertook a similar program in Poland, aiding the anticommunist resistance both with non-lethal aid (radios, etc.), but also open, loud public support for the rights of the people against the regime they hated. It was part of a broader American-led effort to resist Soviet aggression, and it worked. The fall of Communism in Poland was the crack that eventually lead to the collapse of the whole Soviet Empire.

Something similar could well work in Iran, whose people are desperate for the only genuinely revolutionary nation on the planet to lend its still vast moral authority on behalf of a nation that wants to free themselves from the schemes of the mad mullahs.

We missed a great chance to do this in 2009, when massive street demonstrations brought the regime to the edge of collapse. When the world needed the moral clarity of Ronald Reagan, there was instead the diffidence of Barack Obama.

And now, five years and one farcical agreement later, Iran is that much closer to having a nuclear weapon. We had better hope that they don’t achieve it before 2017, when, we again hope, a new and competent administration comes takes over. One that will not fool itself about the dangers of an Iran with a nuclear bomb.

Because, otherwise, they will use it.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Why on Earth are we selling spare aircraft parts to Iran?

April 8, 2014
No way!!

You did what??

This is an unbelievably stupid decision. I’ll let my friend Michael Ledeen explain why:

Somebody on Twitter posted an upbeat message saying the US delegation to the latest round of talks with Iranian officials was quite optimistic. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a born optimist and I love optimism, but I’d rather revel in victory than hope for good news, and the Iranians have every reason to revel. The Obama crowd has just ok’d something the Tehran tyrants have desperately wanted since the eighties: spare parts for their long-grounded American passenger aircraft. Boeing and General Electric were given export licenses by the Treasury Department and everyone involved has been chanting “we take aircraft security very seriously,” in order to cloak this latest gift to the Khamenei-Rouhani regime in humanitarian hues.

Frankly I’d rather they took national security very seriously. Iran uses its commercial aircraft for military purposes (one of the reasons that eery flight between Tehran and Caracas is so worrisome), and the mullahs have been limited by the degradation of the national fleet. The Boeing planes and GE engines date to the 1970s, and very few of them are in service. Back in the mid-eighties, when I spent quite a bit of time with Iranian officials, they repeatedly asked for spare parts, both for the passenger planes and for the aging military craft, the F4s and F5s. Secretary of Defense Weinberger of course vetoed any such discussions, and the embargo has held until just now.

Now we’re arming Iran.

Emphases added.

The idea that a state-sponsor of global terrorism like Iran would adhere to understandings to keep the civilian and military functions of their aircraft separate is self-delusional nonsense. They’ll no more do that than they have to keep their civilian and military nuclear programs apart. (Really, I have a bridge for anyone who believes they’re honoring the recent nuclear agreement.)

What these fatuous dunderheads at State and in the White House refuse to see is that Iran has regarded itself as being at war with the United States since 1979. A deal like this, when Iran could easily ferry troops or equipment on “civilian” flights is tantamount to selling them the rope they’ll use to hang us.

This is part of a larger, global war of tyrannies against democracies. George W. Bush was mocked for his “Axis of Evil” comment, but he was right. The players have changed a bit since then, but still include Pyongyang, Moscow, Beijing, Havana, Caracas — and Tehran. And they’re taking advantage of the openings we’re giving them. More Michael:

And so it is, indeed the war has been on for some time, and it’s a bit hotter than Cold War 1.0 was for most of the twentieth century.  Kiev burned, and may burn again soon.  Caracas is burning, as are many of Venezuela’s cities and towns.  Crimea has been annexed, and Syria is still aflame, as is Iraq, and also Yemen.  Estonia and Finland are seriously frightened, as well they should be.  If we pull back from the crisis du jour, we can see it’s a global conflict.  Iran and Russia are fighting in Syria, sometimes with and sometimes against the jihadi marauders.  Cuba is fighting in Venezuela, a country the Castros largely command, and Hezbollah is in there, too.  And for those of you who follow Africa, know that the Iranians are up to their necks in Nigeria, buying influence and supporting the mass murderers in Boko Haram.

The West needs to wake up and smell the smoke from the fires starting to burn all around it, before it turns into a real conflagration. Our foes are vulnerable, and the West can win, but only if with American leadership. The US government is the only one that can convince the other nations to take the steps necessary to push back against Putin, Khamenei, and the others. As John Schindler recently wrote:

We will have many allies in resisting Russian aggression if we focus on issues of freedom and sovereignty, standing up for the rights of smaller countries to choose their own destiny.

It would help if we had leaders who saw themselves as the heirs to Churchill, rather than Chamberlain.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Smart Power in Action: US and Iran on same side in Libya

August 29, 2011

Well, Obama did promise to offer an “open hand” to Iran to achieve a new era of more cooperation and less confrontation. But, somehow, I don’t think even the striped-pants set at the State Department thought that meant cooperating to overthrow another government:

Iran “discreetly” provided humanitarian aid to Libyan rebels before the fall of Tripoli, Jam-e-Jam newspaper quoted Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on Sunday as saying.

“We were in touch with many of the rebel groups in Libya before the fall of (Moamer) Kadhafi, and discreetly dispatched three or four food and medical consignments to Benghazi,” Salehi told the daily.

“The head of the National Transitional Council (NTC), Mustafa Abdel Jalil, sent a letter of thanks to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for having been on their side and helping,” he added.

And so, for the price of some food and medicine (1), we and NATO did Iran a favor by removing a rival for influence in the Middle East and giving them easy access to eastern Libya and the Benghazi area, a region well-known as a fertile recruiting ground for Al Qaeda and other Islamic radical groups. (2)

That’s “Smart Power” for you. Real smart.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying Daffy Qaddafi wasn’t a bad man — far from it, and I hope the Libyans catch him and string him up. But, from the point of view of American interests, there was no point to this war. Qaddafi had given up his nuclear program in the wake of our liberation of Iraq, there was intelligence cooperation against Al Qaeda, and he had largely stopped sponsoring terrorism. In other words, he had been tamed, and there was no pressing reason to go after him.

On the other hand, in Syria, where we have a great opportunity to weaken or even overthrow one of the key clients of our avowed enemy, Iran, an event that would greatly weaken the Mullah’s power in the region and genuinely serve our strategic interests, for weeks we did… effectively nothing. We clucked our tongues and wagged our fingers, even called the dictator a “reformer,” while the Assad regime, with the assistance and advice of Iranian Revolutionary Guards, slaughters thousands.

If that’s “smart power,” I’d hate to see what their idea of “dumb” is.

via Bryan Preston

LINKS: More from my friend Michael Ledeen, who argues that this is a big regional war with Iran at the center (which the Obama administration may be finally and belatedly starting to grasp), and then draws some lessons from Libya.

Footnotes:
(1) And if you believe the “humanitarian aid” was nothing but rice and bandages and the Iranians accompanying it weren’t Iranian Revolutionary Guards, I have just the bridge to sell you.
(2) Don’t fall for the “Sunnis and Shiites won’t cooperate” myth. Yes, they have a bloody internecine history, but Iran and Sunni radical groups are more than happy to cooperate to strike at us.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Revolution: Is Iran next?

February 13, 2011

Popular revolt has swept away dictators first in Tunisia and then in Egypt. Anti-government demonstrations have broken out in Algeria, as an anti-authoritarian, hopefully democratic wave sweeps North Africa and the Middle East.

Is Iran next? Green Movement leaders encouraged by the fall of Mubarak in Cairo have called for demonstrations Monday against the mullahs. Thousands are expected to turn out, in spite of government threats:

Activists in Iran will go ahead with a banned rally in central Tehran on Monday in defiance of warnings by the regime and a heavy security presence, a figure in the green movement has told the Guardian.

Ardeshir Amir-Arjomand, a spokesman for the former presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, accused the government of hypocrisy in voicing support for protest in Egypt and Tunisia while refusing to allow a peaceful demonstration at home.

“Our dictators in Tehran are ruling the country with terror and panic,” he said. “They are afraid of their own people. They only sanction whatever pleases themselves, and disapprove of anything that is not under their surveillance. The call for renewed street protest in Iran is a clear sign that the green movement is still alive, and that’s why they’re afraid of it.”

The regime has every reason to be afraid. In the wake of stolen elections in 2009, thousands of Iranians turned out day after day to demand their freedom, often battling with the Basij, the militia the mullahs use as their own version of the SA, even at the risk of their own lives.

And they’re taking preemptive measures. Not only have they placed leaders under house arrest and warned people not to show up, but, to make sure the message gets across, they’ve stepped up the pace of the killings:

Since uprisings swept across the Middle East last month, Iran’s government has taken extraordinary measures to suppress dissent. It has executed one person every nine hours since Jan. 1, breaking the per- capita world record, human rights groups say. In January alone, Iran executed 87 people, the state media reported. That one-month tally is higher than the total annual executions in 2005, the year President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power.

Analysts say the judicial process has been hasty and at least three victims were political prisoners arrested during the 2009 anti-government protests.

“The executions are a political message to the population: ‘don’t even think about unrest, we are in control and this is your punishment,’ ” said Hadi Ghaemi, the director of International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, an independent organization based in New York.

Emphasis added.

I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, but I suspect the Iranian people will show up in large numbers to tell the tyrants “Enough!” and to get the hell out. They’ve shown their bravery in the face of evil before, and I expect they will again. Each night for months now, the mullahs and President Gilligan Ahmadinejad have been reminded of their people’s hatred as thousands of cries of “Allahu Akbar” and “Marg bar Dictator”* rise from the rooftops, and the black robes can’t be sleeping easy.

Good luck to the brave people of Iran, and here’s hoping they make Ayatollah Khamenei’s nightmare come true, tomorrow.

*”God is Great” and “Death to the Dictator.”


Stuxnet: Better than a Tom Clancy novel

December 15, 2010

Because it’s real, and it apparently set the Iranian nuclear program (a.k.a., “Toys for Psycho Tots”) back two whole years:

The Stuxnet virus, which has attacked Iran’s nuclear facilities and which Israel is suspected of creating, has set back the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program by two years, a top German computer consultant who was one of the first experts to analyze the program’s code told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

“It will take two years for Iran to get back on track,” Langer said in a telephone interview from his office in Hamburg, Germany. “This was nearly as effective as a military strike, but even better since there are no fatalities and no full-blown war. From a military perspective, this was a huge success.”

Langer spoke to the Post amid news reports that the virus was still infecting Iran’s computer systems at its main uranium enrichment facility at Natanz and its reactor at Bushehr.

Last month, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog, said that Iran had suspended work at its nuclear-field production facilities, likely a result of the Stuxnet virus.

According to Langer, Iran’s best move would be to throw out all of the computers that have been infected by the worm, which he said was the most “advanced and aggressive malware in history.” But, he said, even once all of the computers were thrown out, Iran would have to ensure that computers used by outside contractors were also clean of Stuxnet.

All without a shot being fired. And the only way to safely restart would be to trash all those expensive computers (and any portable drives)? Glorious. The article speculates that a unit of the Israel Defence Forces was behind this; I doubt the full truth will ever really come out, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn this was a joint effort by several concerned nations. On the other hand, the Israelis are creative and daring enough that this could be their work, all by themselves. And, as a friend once explained to me the First Rule of Mideast Politics:

Do not [mess] with the Israelis!

Regardless, whoever you are, well done!

via Allahpundit

UPDATE: Or was it the Chinese? Plausible, but I have a hard time believing they’d show this card when it would be more valuable to them to save to use against… us.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The United Nations: a sick joke

November 12, 2010

Would you like (yet another) example of why the United Nations is worthless? Well, here ya go, pal. Saudi Arabia has joined the executive board of the new United Nations organization on the rights of women. No, I’m serious. It seems Iran was beyond the pale, but Saudi Arabia was a-okay by the UN’s high standards. I guess the difference must be that, in Iran, they still stone women to death, but, in the enlightened heart of Islam, they’re merely whipped and sent to jail for the crime of being victims of a gang-rape. That obviously qualifies the Saudis to oversee the rights of women around the world

At least, to anyone who understands George Orwell.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


I’d call this an act of war

September 5, 2010

Call me a frothing right-wing neocon zealot, but I’d say Iran paying a bounty to the Taliban for each American soldier killed constitutes an act of war:

Iran is paying Taliban fighters $1,000 for each U.S. soldier they kill in Afghanistan, according to a report in a British newspaper.

The Sunday Times described how a man it said was a “Taliban treasurer” had gone to collect $18,000 from an Iranian firm in Kabul, a reward it said was for an attack in July which killed several Afghan government troops and destroyed an American armored vehicle.

The treasurer left with the cash hidden in a sack of flour, the newspaper said, and then gave it to Taliban fighters in the province of Wardak. In the past six months, the treasurer claimed to have collected more than $77,000 from the company.

The Sunday Times said its investigation had found that at least five Kabul-based Iranian companies were secretly passing funds to the Taliban.

The newspaper’s correspondent, Miles Amoore, said he met and interviewed the treasurer, who he said had been an illiterate farmer who was taught to read and write, plus basic accountancy, by the Taliban last winter.

“We don’t care who we get money from,” the treasurer was quoted as saying. He described the relationship with Iran as a “marriage of convenience.” Iran is a predominantly Shiite country, while the Taliban is dominated by Sunni Muslims.

“Iran will never stop funding us because Americans are dangerous for them as well. I think the hatred is the same from both us and Iran. The money we get is not dirty. It is for jihad,” the treasurer told Amoore.

Emphasis added.

We shouldn’t be surprised, though. Iran funds, arms, and directs militias in Iraq that attack American and Iraqi forces, and they’ve been arming the Taliban for years. In truth, Iran has been at war with the US since the 1979 revolution that brought Khomeini and his religious fascists to power.

Some day we’ll wake up to that and deal with the problem.

(via Hot Air)


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