Ahmadinejad just fired fourteen of his closest advisers, a few days after firing Foreign Minister Mottaki, a man he didn’t much like. Does this suggest a strong, confident regime to you? Not to me. Meanwhile, in a spectacular display of bumbling confusion, one bigtime prosecutor says that Green leaders Mousavi and Karroubi are going to be put on trial, and then another bigtime prosecutor says “we didn’t say it would happen right away.” And then the regime backs off altogether, saying that the necessary conditions aren’t present.
Indeed, it’s even worse than that. While the prosecutors are trying to figure out what to do about the Greens, the supreme leader himself announces a vicious 10-day campaign against his opponents. And just what do you think he has in mind? Why, he’s going to issue some statements, that’s what.
Meanwhile, in yet another sign of the regime’s profound distrust of the country’s armed forces, there’s a “restructuring” of the Army. You and I would call it by its proper name: a purge.
So what’s going on?
In part, it’s probably a blizzard of trial balloons. For more than a year, some of the most vicious regime leaders have been calling for the trial, imprisonment and punishment of the opposition leaders, insisting that failure to act vigorously would strengthen the anti-regime forces. Supreme Leader Khamenei is believed to have argued that a move against Mousavi and Karroubi would unleash a mass uprising, with an uncertain outcome. The recent threatening statements from Iranian prosecutors seemed designed to measure the public’s likely reaction if Karroubi, Mousavi et. al. were arrested.
Khamenei is entitled to be concerned, as was demonstrated by the reaction to the trial balloons. Karroubi’s polemical response to the latest call for his arrest doesn’t show the slightest sign of concern. The Greens do not fear a trial. On the contrary, they seem to be begging to be put in the docket and in prison, where, as Mousavi said several months ago, the best Iranians are to be found and the best conversations are taking place.
Let me put that more bluntly: the supreme leader is afraid of what might happen to his regime if his enemies are arrested and tried, while the Green leaders are challenging him to do just that. So who’s the stronger horse?
If we had a serious Iran policy, we’d put some money down on the strong horse, but we haven’t had a serious policy since the fall of the shah. And we’re not the only ones. Take the Germans, for example. Once upon a time they’d have inspired a bit of fear in the hearts of an Iranian regime that arrested two of their journalists. But not any more. Now they beg. A bunch of famous Germans are asking the Iranian tyrants to be nice to the two German journalists imprisoned in Tehran.
We’re pretty much the same. There are still two American hikers in a Tehran prison, and now there is the weird story (nicely reported by Scott Peterson in the Christian Science Monitor) of an American lady “spy” with a microphone in her teeth, just arrested crossing into Iran from Armenia. Jeanette Bond? I don’t believe it. Too awful to be true. But the State Department is sorting it out…egad.
The Iranian regime only knows how to kill, and its victims are mostly Iranians. Having lost legitimacy in the eyes of their own people, Iran’s leaders lash out at real and imagined enemies, and, in one of the most pathetic attempts at political stagecraft, deploy phony lighting in the supreme leader’s car to create the illusion of a halo.
Which pretty much tells you where they’re at.
UPDATE: State Dept says the woman named by the fanatic buffoons in Tehran as an American spy isn’t in Iranian custody after all. She’s in Istanbul. I don’t quite see why State would tell us where she is. All we needed to know is that she’s not in the clutches of the FBs.
UPDATE 2: Thanks to Instapundit for the link.
UPDATE 3: Thanks to Gateway Pundit similarly.
UPDATE 4: And to Newsbeat1