Sunday, May 11, 2008

Iran Overplaying Its Hand?

Reuel Gerecht has an article showing all the strange permutations of Iranian policy after the surge in Iraq altered its game-plan. The new playbook has the mullahcracy outwitting the Bushies by playing a hand in Lebanon that GWB is now longer able to thwart and Ehud Olmert is just as discredited in Israel. But Gerecht doesn't deal with that problem, because Iran has plenty of problems itself.

Gerecht does indict the Keystone Kops at Langley for their ill-timed [or was it another intentional iron bar in GWB's house of cards?] IIS that curiously concluded that Iran had stopped its nuclear program years ago. [Read Legacy of Ashes for details of the modus operandi of this curious collection of collegiate old-boys.] Here's Gerecht on how Langley acted as a colleague of El Baradei and allowed the feckless EU more time to weasel their way into the Middle East:
Running with the gift from Langley, Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad outflanked the more cautious and polished crowd led by Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iran's second most powerful mullah. Rafsanjani, his sidekick Hassan Rohani, a former nuclear negotiator, and Ali Larijani, an intelligent, titanium-tough former Revolutionary Guards commander who, as

Rohani's successor, played well with European diplomats, all appeared worried that Ahmadinejad's aggressiveness might actually provoke George W. Bush to attack another member of the axis of evil. After the NIE's release, all three men gave reluctant concession speeches, emphasizing Iran's victory over the West more than the success of Ahmadinejad's unflinching approach. In a triumphalist mood, Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader who has consistently backed Ahmadinejad, let loose a broadside against the United States in January 2008, referring to America as "Satan incarnate" and calling on Muslims worldwide to emulate the Islamic republic and not Westernized Muslims, who lead to national weakness and perdition.

Hopefully, Rafsanjani will win the election scheduled in 2009 as he is well supported in the so-called Council of Guardians. However, in the meantime, the Syrian breeder reactor is a piece off the chessboard & the surge has exacerbated fights among the mullahcrats in Qom, where the Sadr faction and another Iraqi shadow army's mymidons throw shoes at each other in contempt---always a bad sign of disrespect. Will the hyper-aggressive former hostage holder Ahmadinejad and his Pasdaran/Basij/Revolutonary Guards power base prevail against a populist revolt returning Rafsanjani to the presidency, or Larjani in another hopeful scenario?
Gerecht says there's plenty to worry about in the meantime:
Make no mistake about it, Iran is gaming for this kind of confrontation, which will be difficult and costly for Israel. Tehran loved the outpouring of Arab warmth for Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah in 2006, when even secular Arab moderates started openly to rethink whether they had to live with a Jewish state. Europeans and Americans, especially those of a "realist" persuasion who imagine that Iran's Islamic mission civilisatrice has played out, just don't appreciate how much the clerics still enjoy the adulation of anti-American Arabs, especially those who have dropped pan-Arabism and embraced "Islamic values."

What will Obambi do if there is a full-fledged confrontation and a reprise of 2006 takes place? Will he keep saying that Jaw Jaw beats War War? That might lose the Jewish vote in a situation which puts Israel between the loony H's.

This election campaign has more imponderables than a roulette wheel.

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