Subject: The Iran Situation
Continuing on from my scorecard on the MidEast
I sent you a while ago:
There are several things to keep in mind with
respect to Iran, and they all affect that situation.
Iran has a number of nearby states with nukes
or the ability to build such in six months or so. This would obviously
include India, Pakistan, China and Russia in
the first group, along with several of the old Soviet satellites.
could probably have nukes in six months to a
year. Israel won't admit to nukes officially, but they've got quite
according to every serious source I could find.
And of course, Iraq is under the US nuclear umbrella now. Consider
how the US nearly had a heart attack when missiles
were found in Cuba. Multiply that by about ten, and you've got
the Iranian feeling about nukes. I doubt
it would matter who you asked in Iran, young or old, they'd probably say
if the question was whether they thought Iran
needed nuclear weapons for defense.
Consider also the unique status of Iran's government.
They are the only officially Islamic government in the world
which has a Shiite cleric as the Constitutional
formal head of the government, mandated to be such. This Supreme
Ayatollah appoints half the Guardian Council
(which determines who gets to run for high office, what bills can
become law, etc.) The President essentially runs
things with a Congress and so forth, but the laws they pass have to
pass muster with the clerics as well, or they
have no chance.
It should be noted here that the Supreme Ayatollah
did issue a fatwa that nuclear weapons production, stockpiling
or usage were not permissible under Islam.
I'm not sure of how much importance to lend to that, he can change
his mind, or the next man in office can.
Then there is the oil price issue. During
the high oil prices of not long ago, the Iranian government spent money
like water. Now they are cutting back,
that's not popular. So the government is under stress from that direction
And remember, they are Shiite, not Sunni.
The Sunni state of Saudi Arabia is just across the Persian Gulf.
get along, to the extent that they are fighting
on opposite sides in Yemen, with the Saudi's fighting the Iran backed Houthi
in the North, while the Saudi funded (via the
Wahabbi sect) Al-Qaeda groups are fighting the Yemen govt in the South.
And finally, there are the youth. The youth
of Iran does not like the restrictions the government places on them in
to dress or the internet or school curricula
or a host of other matters. The youth voted for a government overhaul,
was very probably stolen (if not, someone has
to explain how whole districts switched parties at a rate of 100% of voters,
all of whom voted against someone from their
own ethnic group) and they are furious about that. Moreover, the
are leading the rebellion, going so far as to
take off their scarves and shake their hair loose in public, in front of
This is very much equivalent to the bra burnings
of the 60's, or perhaps goes even further, as the laws against that type
"indecency" are pretty strict in Iran.
All these tensions are leading up to a Shiite
vs. Sunni war in the MidEast, and there doesn't seem to be much avoiding
And the Iranian government, as presently constituted,
is unlikely to survive much longer.
The fall of that government won't release the
tensions between Sunni and Shiite, though it may ease tension between
Iran and the US. It's unlikely to release
the tensions with Israel either. (Iranian law does require a member
recognized minority religion in Iran to have
a seat in Parliament, the current Jewish member is Ciamak Moresadegh.
Be nice if we could get his opinion about all
this.) The Supreme Ayatollah will be stripped of his powers, almost
certainly, and the government will become much
less antagonistic towards the West.
That said, whoever takes power is still going
to be looking at their neighbors, and they'll still want nukes.
Now, do I trust Iran with nuclear weapons, given
that they already have the means to deliver them? No, because the
MidEast doesn't need another nuclear power along
with the ones I named above. Were I President, I'd be pretty
serious about doing all I could to prevent them
from getting nuclear weapons.
That would make you, like me, - another Cheney
Do I think they'd attack Israel without provocation
if they had nukes? I seriously doubt it, however, the Israeli
government seems sometimes to make a sport of
provoking their neighbors, in that regards Lebanon complained
just a few days ago that Israel is overflying
their territory daily with military planes.
Syria in particular, makes no secret of having
thousands of rockets loaded with nerve gas aimed towards Tel Aviv,
and they've said flatly that if Israel invades
THEM, it's war to the knife. Syria hasn't launched on Israel, and
seems unwilling to attack Syria, for whatever
Now, as to what the current President of Iran
will or won't do, I do not have a clue. Frankly, he's a copy of George
only cut from Muslim cloth rather than Christian.
He has said a lot of crazy things in public, things that he may be hoping
will reunite the country behind him. For
example, he's said the US is active in the MidEast to prevent the return
of the Mahdi.
That's equivalent to saying we are trying to
prevent the return of Christ! The man appears to have some serious
problems dealing with reality.
That said, it's also true that most of the Arabic
television translations come from an Israeli outfit named Memri, which
to have the statement that they supported Israeli
Zionism on the front page of the site. They aren't neutral in what
translate, they do intend to bend Western reporting
in favor of Israel.
Given the number of religious fanatics in the
region, that's not hard. One wonders if Pat Buchanan, Ralph Reed
GW are showing up on the Muslim websites and
blogs as the pro Ayatollah factions translate the other way.
And that's how it looks from where I'm sitting.
Keep the hammer flying!
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