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Hey Stupid! It's Not About Nukes, It's About Life and Death

There are none so blind as those who will not see, and hardly anyone wants to see Iran for what it is:  an evil regime bound and determined to dominate and destroy us, our friends and our allies.  The evidence is luminously clear, but most all of our attention has focused, as usual, on the nuclear issue.  Did the Iranians promise to stop enriching uranium or "dismantle" some of the components of their nuclear program?  How many Western sanctions are being eased or lifted in exchange? And on and on...

We don't know the answers to these questions, as the text of the agreement is secret.  However, we do know that the Iranians now have six months -- the sort of deadline that often slides -- to reach a "final" agreement with the 5 + 1 countries.

We can expect the Iranians to prolong and exploit this period to their advantage and our peril.  They've already begun. The Iranian regime is expanding its regional and global power, killing its domestic enemies, and subverting and intimidating Middle Eastern nations that are reluctant to bend to its will.  These matters require serious Western attention, but they aren't getting much.  For us, it's all about nukes and sanctions.

Just take a few of their major actions:

● A few days ago, Mohammad Reza Naghdi, the head of the Basij-- a highly ideological militia under the umbrella of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps -- publicly announced that Iran had created Basij units in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and "Palestine."  This means that the world's leading sponsor of terrorism has put paramilitary forces on Israel's borders.

● In a closely related matter, Iran has taken a giant step toward establishing control over Lebanon.  A week ago, Saad Hariri, a key Sunni leader long opposed to Iranian influence and a declared enemy of Iran's close ally Bashar Assad, said he is willing to form a government with Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy.  Hariri made this grim announcement in the Hague, where he was attending the trial of four Hezbollahis accused of murdering his father in 2005.  It came soon after the Beirut assassination of his close advisor, Mohamad Chatah, during the Christmas holidays.  The murder was widely blamed on Hezbollah.

● In Syria, where Iran is effectively in command of the pro-Assad forces, the slaughter of opposition forces and innocent civilians continues unabated.  Now that chemical weapons have been banned (although the opposition continues to claim they are still being used), more conventional weapons of mass destruction -- like the "barrel bombs" -- are being dropped on opposition centers in and around Aleppo, and elsewhere regime enemies are being starved to death.

● In Iran itself, the tempo of executions is surging, as it has for more than a year.  Hardly a day goes by without an announcement of multiple hangings, and those who closely follow this nasty business invariably find that the real numbers are significantly higher than the official ones.  Even the UN has taken notice, but the dips and businessmen are jockeying for position to make deals with Zarif and Rouhani.

● Iran continues its activities in our hemisphere, working ever more closely with Uruguay and Bolivia and continuing its operational activities with Venezuela.  According to the Uruguayan foreign minister, his country holds "identical view on international affairs" with Tehran.

● Finally, Iranian-sponsored terrorists continue to plot very nasty operations against us.  There's a court case under way, involving two men arrested in Canada and another in New York.  They are accused of planning to attack a passenger train traveling between the two countries.  According to documents made public in Canada, one of the two Canadians was trained in Iran.

While Iranian President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif whisper sweet words to reporters and businessmen, and even dangle the possibility of reopening the American Embassy in Tehran, the regime continues to wage war against us and our friends and allies.  Instead of simply crunching numbers on centrifuges and sanctions, it behooves serious strategists to pay attention to Iranian activity, now as ever aimed at our global defeat.

Our former close friends in the area know full well what's going on, and they are acting accordingly.  The Gulf countries have just agreed to unify the command of their armed forces, creating an army of roughly 100,000 men to defend themselves against the ever-more threatening crowd around Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Anyone with minimal understanding of human nature knows where all this is headed:  to ever more violence, and eventually to a war with Iran that everyone says they don't want.  The hell of it is that the regime has never been so riven with internal conflict as it is today, as the various factions maneuver for position in the succession struggle that has intensified over the past couple of years.  The wave of executions is a sign of weakness and fear, not evidence of a regime that is firmly in control.  If Khamenei and Rouhani were confident they were firmly in control of Iran, they would fulfill some of Rouhani's "moderate" promises, from greater rights for women to greater press and assembly freedoms, to release of political prisoners.  Instead they are nastier than in Ahmadinejad's time.

If we were serious, we would support the oppressed people of Iran instead of making deals with their evil tyrants.  But, as throughout the past 35 years, our leaders keep trying to reach that elusive grand bargain with the mullahs.  Our leaders have confused the Iranians' bark with a real ability to bite, when the sharpest teeth in Iran belong to the people.  As Winston Churchill once remarked, "Dictators ride to and fro upon tigers which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry."

I'm not holding my breath for Obama to embrace the cause of democratic revolution in Iran.  He's already abandoned the freedom fighters from Tunis to Tehran, and from Aleppo to Cairo.  But he's losing.  His pals in the Muslim Brotherhood have been routed, Tunisia has turned around, and his best friend in the region, Turkey's Erdogan, is beginning to sense a hard wall at his back.  Life is full of surprises, sometimes even pleasant ones.  Obama's betrayals may paradoxically be catalyzing revolutionary change more powerfully than his support could have accomplished.

Or not.  You never know.  But it's wild out there...