Faster, Please!

Iran's War, and Ours, From Gaza to Caracas

“The whole world knows that the main source of the weapons serving the resistance is Iran.”

The Islamic Jihad spokesman knew what he was talking about.  His own terror organization is part of the Iranian proxy army that includes Hezbollah and, with some ups and downs, Hamas.  Islamic Jihad is very much in that network, and undoubtedly worked alongside Hamas in the recent Gaza fighting.  If you have any doubts, Iranian leaders — especially at high levels of the Revolutionary Guard Corps — have bragged about their role in the Gaza war, one of the most reliable Israeli think tanks has written about it at length, and Congressman Ed Royce, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, confirmed it.

Moreover, as the region becomes more tumultuous, the Iranians have taken a big step:  they have sent their own fighters and commanders into battle in Iraq and Syria.  Lots of them have been injured or killed.  I have been told by usually well-informed Iranians outside the country that there have been several demonstrations against the regime’s strategy (this is not a “Sunni vs Shiite” thing;  Iranians generally do not love the Arabs, and don’t want their men sacrificed for an Arab “cause” of whatever doctrinal convictions).

Iranian commanders are bragging, but Gaza can’t have done much for the domestic popularity of the Iranian regime.  Like most of human life, political support is all about winning and losing, and Hamas quite clearly lost to Israel.  Therefore, the regime is in bed with losers, and all that bragging and chest-pounding can’t conceal the facts.

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani know this, and they are keenly aware of the hostility of the Iranian people.  You don’t need public opinion polls to prove this.  Just look at the behavior of the regime.  It’s been about a year since Rouhani became president.  In that time, the regime has executed more than a thousand people, making Iran the worldwide #1 killer of its own people.  If Khamenei and Rouhani were confident of popular support, they wouldn’t be arresting, torturing and killing so many Iranians.

There is a second indicator.  On that death list, two names are notably missing:  opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.  Both are under “house arrest,” but the regime hasn’t dared to put them on trial, fearing uncontrollable protests.

And there is a third element:  even the pathetic pretense of press freedom hinted at by Rouhani and his claque has now been crushed.

Finally, the editor of one of the best Iranian human-rights groups was just found dead in Turkey, and it looks suspiciously like a regime assassination.

Machiavelli considered tyranny the most unstable form of government, and the Tehran regime exemplifies tyranny’s fragility.  Given a free choice, the Iranian people would remove the mullahcracy, and a freely chosen government would rein in the terror war now being waged against the West.  That would change the entire world.  It would strike at the heart of the global alliance that seeks our destruction. (Russia, another key element, is now scrambling to bust the remaining petroleum sanctions on Iran, having negotiated some sort of deal in recent days.  And the foreign minister of Venezuela, yet another keystone, has just embraced Rouhani in Tehran, promising yet-closer strategic cooperation)

Freedom in Iran requires Western political support, and at the moment there is no sign that any major Western leader will lead a campaign for it.  As time passes, the chances of peaceful change become slimmer and slimmer, and the chances of our being drawn into yet another round of military action become greater.

There is no inevitability to Western involvement in the increasingly bloody fighting. It will have been the result of failed leadership from Obama, Cameron, Hollande, Merkel and the others.  Lest we forget, Canada and Australia have at least rhetorically defended the honor of the Western world.  Let’s hope that a new generation of European and American leaders emerges soon enough for the political option to get a chance.