The mullahs have stepped up their tempo of killing, both at home and abroad. The main difference is that the Iranian citizens who are tortured and executed are slaughtered by fellow-Iranians. Our guys and our friends and allies are gunned down, or, more often, blown up, by proxies. As I have said before, the Iranians dread direct confrontation with other countries, both because they have no confidence in the loyalty of their armed forces (including the thoroughly corrupted Revolutionary Guards Corps), and because it’s not their way. They prefer to kill stealthily, not openly. You may have noticed that when the Saudis sent troops to help their neighbors in Bahrain put down an Iranian-inspired insurrection, the Tehran regime first thumped its chest and promised to send the Guards to fight it out. Then… nothing happened. They just slinked away, back into their caves.
Call it the mullahs’ way of war. Let someone else die for you, avoid exposure, and never ever risk your own skin. And they pay heavily for it. As some Israeli analysts have written,
It can be assumed that the Sunni camp, headed by Saudi Arabia, is fully aware of the political and military significance of Iran’s weakness and its unwillingness to initiate face-to-face conflict. This will have ramifications on both the regional and the global levels.
The proxy killings are on the front pages: Iraq and Afghanistan, with American forces on the way out, are prime targets for Iran’s clients, as our military commanders—including Robert Gates, now departed from the Pentagon—and yesterday, Ambassador Jeffries in Iraq, have been telling anyone who cares to listen. If my information is right, we will see lots more of this, as well as similar havoc in Africa, where the Iranians have considerable appetite for terror bases, commercial agreements, and basing rights.
The direct slaughter at home is not so well covered in the popular press, but Iranians see it every day. Over the weekend, more than fifty executions were publicly announced, and poor souls are rounded up for outrageous prison terms. Crackdowns on “immoral” behavior (the wrong sort of haircut, the wrong sort of head scarf) are intensifying, and women are now forbidden to enter coffee and tea bars where hookahs are in use.
Have a look at this interview with one of the country’s leading human rights lawyers, who was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment. He told the interviewer he felt fortunate to have escaped with his life.
For those who have chosen to believe that the Tehran regime is stable—and therefore that we should appease it–this is the good news. It shows that Persia is ruled by mass murderers who are determined to kill anyone they fear. You’ll recognize the recent application of these methods in Syria, which is because the Iranians are “guiding” Bashar Assad through his time of troubles. The mullahs know that if Syria falls, Iran is suddenly without its favorite fighters, from Hezbollah to Hamas, from the Brothers to the Islamic Jihad. As if they weren’t frenetic enough, they are also counseling Qadaffi (so sayeth Le Monde ).
On the other hand, it is hard to imagine any group wrecking a country, and its own ability to rule, more effectively than the tandem of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, now the political equivalents of colliding sub-atomic particles. In recent weeks, several of Ahmadinejad’s appointees have been sacked, and some even arrested. He was subjected to the startling indignity of being censored by the official state broadcasting network. He tried to recover by announcing that every Iranian family would receive one thousand square meters of land (think sand, there’s quite a substantial desert in the east), only to have Khamenei himself diss the scheme. Meanwhile, the Middle East’s evilest empire attracted the attention of the U.S. Department of State, for its generous toleration of human trafficking, mostly in women’s bodies.
No surprise, then, that Ahmadinejad lost it. This regime has been a fascinating example of reciprocal payoffs and blackmail for years, but the facts have usually been hidden from public view. No more. Ahmadinejad made an amazing speech, accusing the Revolutionary Guards (hitherto almost universally believed to be the president’s most reliable base of support) of smuggling two billion dollars’ worth of cigarettes into the country via ports and piers outside the purview of Customs. Such enormous sums, he said “invite all the smugglers of the world, not to mention our own ‘smuggler brethren.'” The last two words are code for the Guards.
The RG Commander, Mohammad-Ali Jafari, denied it all, but then a news service still friendly to the president published a list of jetties where Customs did not function. Whereupon a retired Guards officer said that if the Supreme Leader asked the Guards to bring him a hat, they would obey. This (h/t Ali Alfoneh) is a reference to an old Persian saying, “If the King demands someone’s hat (the president’s in this case), his servants will bring it with the head still inside.”
I have long thought that Khamenei and Ahmadinejad were fused somewhere below the ribs, and would not be foolish enough to engage in public combat. I may have to reconsider. As we used to say in the old days, the objective situation is very revolutionary, and the people are openly contemptuous of the regime. The economy is so bad that the Central Bank has been forbidden to release official data on inflation and other key indicators—a sure sign that the actual numbers are considerably worse than the official ones (knowledgeable sources tell me that real inflation is well over 50%). And favoritism for the mullahs-and-commanders-of-industry is so blatant that workers are getting the back of the regime’s gnarled hand:
In an interview with the Iranian Labor News Agency, Ali Akbar Eivazi, a board member at the Tehran Islamic Labor Councils Coordination Center, has reported new proposed changes to the Iranian Labor Law…he said: “In the modifications submitted by the Labor Ministry, 28 articles have been changed—in effect, all workers’ benefits have been axed in those 28 items.”
It’s not likely to help anyone. Iran’s economic performance last year ranked in the bottom ten countries, and there is no sign that it’s getting better. The owners can clearly oppress the workers all they want (the many strikes and protests over worsening conditions and chronic failure to pay salaries have little effect and are rarely reported outside the blogosphere), but the wreckage of Iran at the hands of the ruling mullahcracy will be hard to reverse. The palpable inability of the regime to manage the country adds to the people’s contempt, and fuels the frequent nocturnal chants from the rooftops of the major cities, “Death to the Dictator.”
The misery of Iranian workers—in its most dramatic manifestation, the arrest and ongoing torture of Mansour Osanloo, the president of the Tehran Bus Drivers’ Organization—has come to the attention of Western trade unionists, and the Teamsters recently made Osanloo an honorary member, and called for their counterparts around the world to support him and his followers.
If we had a government that took seriously the Iranian war against us, we would be echoing the Teamster’s call for freedom of association in Iran. Indeed, we’d be busy supporting the people against the regime, both in Iran and in Syria. But no. Instead we appease Iranian allies like the Muslim Brotherhood, continue to meet with regime officials, and have just acquiesced in the official participation of the Islamic Republic in a NATO conference, which further demonstrates our utter failure to fight back against our known killers.
One might well marvel at the fecklessness of our so-called leaders, but the pattern of their cowardice and their headlong retreat from even minimal support for democratic revolution in enemy lands—while hailing it when it threatens friends, allies, and dubious characters (let’s say) like Qadaffi—is so well established (not even a peep on behalf of American hostages, lest we all forget) that most of us have long since stopped being shocked.
That does not mean we should lose our rage at the appeasers. Military families like ours are certainly entitled to demand that our troops strike back at our enemies, and the so-called “peace movement,” if it understood what peace actually requires, would be campaigning in favor of the Iranian and Syrian revolutions. They don’t, and we know why: they want the Syrian and Iranian tyrants to prevail, dominate a new Middle East devoted to the destruction of the West, and create a radical Islamist and radical Leftist caliphate.
That’s a road to war, and the Obama Administration has found a unique way of sprinting along it: empowering our enemies at home and abroad, encouraging them to believe that we will never fight back.
And our brave domestic opposition? So far as I know, only Pawlenty—who does not seem to have generated much enthusiasm–has defined the defeat of the Tehran regime as the central goal of a sensible policy. None of the others has even come close. So color me unimpressed.
As of now, our best hope lies in the self-destructive activities of the Iranian leaders. Watch that space.
UPDATE: Thanks to “Shiraz” in the comments for reminding me that Rep. McCotter has made similar statements. So that makes two.