Last night I was struck by the fact that one of the net’s top bloggers Allahpundit, who’s stellar coverage of Iran at Hotair has been remarkable struggled to wrap his head around what in reality is going on in Iran like much of the West in general.
On the surface, none of what is going for many American minds makes much sense. If the Theocracy controls Iran, hand picks the candidates, and already resisted a ‘reformist’ presidency previously without much difficulty why is the Supreme Leader so invested in Ahmadinejad. Yesterday in two of his amazing posts on the issue he asked himself and readers that very question twice.. It is an excellent question.
Why is Khamenei so invested in an Ahmadinejad victory?
As a frequent commenter at HotAir I responded to the query, but it is so vitally important to understanding these events that it deserves some expounding. By the same token, the answer sheds some light as to why the entire American administration is seemingly equally clueless & impotent regarding events in Iran in general, and why the Americans are now failing miserably with their new Hope & Change strategy and engagement policy. A strategy which has now been thoroughly shredded, despite the fact that Obama, Hillary & CO. are living in convenient denial.
The initial Revolution has undergone Evolution
The answer is simple enough if one understands Iran in its current incarnation. The Theocracy is invested in Ahmadinejad because the Revolutionary Guard are invested in Iran. When I say invested I mean literally and figuratively. Over the last number of years the Revolutionary Guards have instituted a near full takeover of Iran. Wielding incredible power internally they have utilized Iran’s great wealth and their positions as the upper crust of Iranian society or access to it, to seize power across the board. The relationship between the guards & Khameni is symbiotic, as much as the Guards need Khameni, the Supreme Leader needs the guards.
Iran’s great oil wealth has been squandered on weapons, the military, terrorism, ballistic missiles and illicit WMD programs. All of which is under the control and auspices of the Guards or those that serve them. The real Coup D’etat has not occurred in the last 48 hours, it has been occurring over the last few years. Key families & individuals through Islamic cronyism now control vast amounts of wealth in Iran, its key businesses and industries, its key centers of influence, and its key economic pillars, the guards control important components of the commanding heights of the Iranian economy.
They are also the instruments of Iran’s foreign policy, and by the same token they are the baton of Iran and the key power keeping Iran in line domestically through force and intimidation, in a rapidly changing world seemingly moving in a direction that can only be described as the antithesis of Iranian theocratic philosophy. Every dictatorship needs its brownshirts. Another famous maniac, Adolph Hitler used the same tactics but was somewhat more strategic. When Hitler sensed his brownshirts (the implements of his initial power) were themselves growing too powerful he cut them down to size, lest they one day rival his own megalomaniac thirst for messianic greatness. He was always mindful of keeping the brownshirts and later the SS firmly under his thumb.
Khameni, Iran’s Supreme Leader naturally is also similarly aligned with his own brownshirts the Guards, but unlike the Fuhrer the implements of his own power have evolved to seize much more control than even the Supreme Leader can himself a lone man wrestle through the worship of his Islamic masses. Ahmadinejad, hand picked by Khameni for the last elections is a Guardsman, he is not a man of the people as western media likes to portray, he’s a man of the original Revolution and more importantly he is a man and now a key leader of the Evolution to total Guard control.
America in all of this
Iranian expats and Iranian experts in the west understand this, but it eludes the liberals in America. Looking at Obama, he first declared in the campaign he was willing to meet Ahmadinejad without preconditions. When others pointed out to him the folly of this strategy (including fellow Democrats running for high office) he altered that position. Mahmoud is simply too tainted by radicalism and hatred, too big a pill for America to swallow. As such the mantra became that the Supreme Leader would be the man to engage as he controls Iran, as if this is some big distinction. The truth is the far left liberals will alter realities & disregard fact to tailor their delusional views of the world and their even more deluded solutions for it, irrespective of reality.
In contrast, those more grounded in the previous Bush administration acknowledged these realities clearly. Both the aspects of ruling power in Iran, as well as the realities of who controls Iran militarily & economically. They quickly ascertained that sanctions, the only leverage they had were not working. Attempts to pin down Iranian central banks and big business were failing because Iran today is not like normal countries. Its key economic systems were not playing by the normal rules. Normally, one can pressure a nation politically by pressuring its economic institutions. Why was this failing? The answer lies in the realities of the immense power internally & externally of the Revolutionary Guards.
The Solution – Kyl-Lieberman.
In order to put pressure on these key organs in Iran, which were of course also killing American soldiers and destabilizing American efforts, the US Senate adopted the proposed Kyl-Lieberman act in late 2007. The proposal to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, these key wielders of Iranian power as a terrorist organization. In doing so, real leverage and the power imbued in American legislation and tools to fight terrorism could be wielded against these Iranian forces. Money could be monitored, seized and traced. Key Guard individuals now in control of vast power as mentioned above could be sanctioned, their businesses which operate outside normal chains, part of these commanding heights in Iran - seized. Weapons sales, proliferation could be stemmed with tough action, which would have been another massive blow to the circle of power that the Guards wield in Iran.
Obama / Biden
Two notable candidates for the Presidency vehemently, & stunningly opposed Kyl-Lieberman. Barack Obama, & Joe Biden. One a total neophyte with zero foreign policy experience, the other a supposed ‘master’ of foreign policy. Both share something in common however, liberal democrat delusion. They called the proposal a ‘carte blanche’ for war as their talking point. Of course, that was not the case. That was merely a ruse to whip up support from the Bush Derangement Syndrome crowd. In reality, this was an opportune moment to recognize how little these two now leaders of the free world understood the planet beyond America. They were not able then to detach themselves from their liberal world view delusions, just as they cannot do so now.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSFSUbMWenU
They could not grasp what is really going on, or how to best combat it to further American interests, both were and are too busy hoping on their bandwagon to fame & power – Hope & Change. So while they hoped, Iran has indeed continued to change. The Revolution has continued to Evolution, but the American administration has no understanding, policy, or ability to grasp and deal with these realities. Just as these men made the wrong calls then, they have continued to do so since coming to power.
The result is the poll driven, Axelrod formed fence straddling impotency we see daily now from America. Where Biden goes on Meet the Press to confess it is too soon to formulate policy or make conclusions, no doubt because Rham & Axelrod haven’t been able to poll leftists on these issues yet to determine what to do & maintain Obama’s artificial image..
This unwillingness to come to terms with what Iran really is today is a great danger to not only America, but the world. It is part of the reason even Europe was scratching its head over Obama’s proposed policies. From Sarkozy to Merkel the Europeans were far less enthused than others over Hope & Change and the resulting inevitable Iranian nuclear weapons and terrorist middle finger to the world.
Just this week Sec. Def Gates stated that Iran is destabilizing Afghanistan, just as it did so in Iraq, just as it did so in Lebanon. Now we hear rumors that the realist at NSA Jim Jones is on his way out, we hear rumors that Dennis Ross is being pulled as the Obama envoy to Iran. Both these men are unlikely to cow tow to the hope & change delusions, they must be purged just as the Guards purge those who oppose their own deluded views of reality.. We are seeing it on TV, and the Web.
The Evolution will not be televised
Perhaps these concepts are a bit too deep for the great thinker President Obama, he has shown so far much unwillingness to challenge his cocoon based liberal delusions & views. But just as the Guards’ evolution to the power centers of Iran was not televised widely and worked in the shadows, neither will the failures of this administration in the realm of policy and foreign affairs ever be well illuminated either.
There is too much media infatuation and self glorification. Better to downplay the realities on TV, lest the One be tainted by the stench of his own policy failures and limited understanding of reality in the world around him. Words must mean something? On the contrary. Words mean nothing. Actions speak much louder than words. Obama & Biden could not face the guards then with Kyl-Lieberman, and they cannot face them now as they wrest final control of Iran and beat its peoples to death in the streets.
Here’s the NY Times analysis, there are some correlations in regards to the consolidation of power by the guards. I am looking for more..
Here is Stephen at the Standard on Flynt Everett & his Wife, the chief architects of engagement with Iran.. We can thank them later.
Here’s a now regular read for me, Gateway Pundit on over a dozen dead in Iranian rallies today (videos too). Here’s Peretz at TNR on Denis Ross
As usual, Gabe’s memeorandum is king..
The UK Telegraph..
Obama’s deafening silence over the Iranian election is a disgrace. According to The New York Times, the president “did not even convene any high-level White House meetings or conference calls on Sunday”. That’s not the mark of a leader but a clear display of weakness. It’s a sad day when the greatest power in the world withholds criticism of a brutal, tyrannical and illegitimate regime for fear of upsetting its rulers.
Yup.. We won’t see that on MSNBC though.. Worst Leader in The Woooooooorld!! Can’t dare tip the engagement boat and expose this President for the sham he is right?
UPD II, June 17:
More and more, awareness of what has gone on is seeing some light as experts weigh in. Totten looks at the issue with some good links, including one to an op-ed by Danielle Pletka of AEI (Whom I may be in love with in general, take your pick whom I mean as well, Danielle or AEI). She writes..
The seeds of this coup were planted four years ago with the election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. And while he has since disappointed his public, failing to deliver on promised economic and political reforms, his allies now control the country. In the most dramatic turnabout since the 1979 revolution, Iran has evolved from theocratic state to military dictatorship.
This isn’t a reference to the last 72 hours..
This creeping militarization has not been restricted to the central government: provincial governors, press commissars, film directors, intelligence officers and business leaders are increasingly former members of the guard. The elite force controls much of the economy either directly – the Basij has rights to oil extraction – or through proxy companies like Khatam al Anbiya, which dominates construction throughout Iran.
Who’s going to pay the piper?
While I’m certainly pleased I didn’t road runner off a cliff with my opinions here, a more central concern for me is the other aspect I looked at. I tried to raise two key notions in this post. One, the realities of what has gone on in Iran the last half decade or so, and two its effect or the lack of cognizance the new US administration has exhibited regarding foreign policy in general, and in this case specifically the engagement strategy with Iran.
Whether it be the crux of the Israeli Palestinian issue and Jews thousands year long covenant to the land, the absurd Quid Quo Pro tabled earlier that Israel is the key to solving the Middle East, the walk back to allowing Iran to enrich uranium which is in effect cover for a path to nuclear weapons at any time with microwave speed & convenience, or the overall strategy of appeasing and engaging with tyrants.. This new American administration is wrong on all counts.
That is stunning in itself. The concepts, the philosophies behind the strategies themselves are flawed. The think tanks & experts funded by left wing groups and the cadre of experts formulating & advising the President are dangerously mistaken on every score. Hope & Change is a farce and the cost to America & its allies will be great, the damage & hefty bill will long outlast Obama’s presidency.
My thanks to the Watchers & SD for a non-council nomination this week. Incidentally, there are some other super posts on Iran nominated as well, check them out for all the theories and amazing blog coverage. Best of luck to the members and non council submissions as everyone wins.