Monday, March 26, 2007

Sink the Iranian Navy?

Sadly, back in 1979 in the first hostage crisis, the impotent wimp Jimmy Carter demonstrated to the Iranians that there was no punishment or taking hostages.The Wall Street Journal examines the consequences of Carter's feckless hand-wringing incompetence, a precedent which the Ayatollahs and Revolutionary Guards now regard as western suppliant behavior when western hostages are seized by the Iranian government. [Incidentally, records from KGB archives indicate that the USSR decided that Carter would not object to a Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the light of his limp-wristed response to the Iranian hostage coup.]

The recent kidnappings of 15 British RN personnel should be viewed in the multiple contexts of:
1] a UNSC vote over the weekend to impose further sanctions on Iran
2] a Russian demand that payments be brought up to date on its Busheir Nuke Plant
3] a silly contretemps on Prez Ahmedinejad's visit to the UN, ginned up by the Iranians to make the silliness appear the fault of the USA.
4] the fact that the kidnappings were done by the Revolutionary Guards, the sole arm of the Iranian govt that remains under the control of Ahmedinejad.

As additional background, it should be borne in mind that the Majlis recently passed legislation to move the next presidential election forward to 2008 to coincide with the parliamentary elections, a move which is an affront to Ahmedinejad, as his election was previously slated for 2009. There is much dissatisfaction with the economic situation, and the strict religious rules are not being enforced in many areas of Tehran and cities like Tabriz. Ahmedinejad's chief opponent, Hashemi Rafsanjani, is now the head of the Expediency Council and sure to be the diminuitive madman's opponent in the presidential elections next year.

With regard to the Revolutionary Guard "Navy" which engineered the kidnapping, Ahmedinejad rose up the political ladder through the Revolutionary Guards, an organization technically outside the Iranian state apparatus, and many of his aggressive radical policies derive from their messianic Shi'ite world view. The external Hezbollah terrorist organization derives its support from the Guards. If unauthorized by the Ayatollah, this amounts to a mini-coup by the President to protect his fast diminishing political clout.

Ahmedinejad wants to get back the Iranian general Asgari who defected with nuke secrets and lots of intelligence on Ahmedinejad, whom Asgari detests. If he can't do that, he wants to throw a wedge between the US, which captured five Iranian secret agents operating under consular cover in Mosul, and the British. Iran will predictably ask for the US captives in return for the British naval personnel. Ahmedinejad also wants some sort of overt retaliation by the west, knowing that that will boost his very low esteem among the vast majority of Iranians, who will unite in the face of foreign retaliation.

So this is a desperate gamble by a "politician" unafraid to play high-stakes brinksmanship with opponents hamstrung by democratic politics. The Democrats in the US and the ultra-left in the UK are appeasement addicts. The Carter gene is alive and well in the US Democrat Party.

Ahmedinejad may be crazy, but he also may have judged his opponents well, and is crazy like a fox.

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