Saturday, August 20, 2005

Who's Who In Iran

Michael Ledeen at National Review tells us who, exactly, is running Iran these days:

Iranian President Ahmadi Nezhad has been busy putting together a cabinet for the Islamic republic, and while all real power remains firmly in the clammy hands of Supreme Leader Khamenei, it's worth taking a look at some of the new ministers, if only because it tells us two important things:

(1) The face the regime wishes to show to the world at large, and

(2) the policies the regime intends to unleash on the long-suffering Iranian people.

Who's Who

Let's start with the interior minister, Hojatoll-Islam Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi. He was formerly the number-two man in the ministry of intelligence and security — where he was directly in charge of the foreign section (and thus the sorts of foreign operations now running full bore in Iraq and Afghanistan) — and, even more significantly, the man in charge of those matters in the office of the supreme leader.

Pour-Mohammadi comes from a sartorially celebrated family; his father and brother are tailors for leading clergy. Indeed, they prepared the raiments for both bin Laden and Zawahiri in their recent videos, in which their clothing was distinctively Iranian.

The minister for intelligence and security is Hojjatol-Islam Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ezhei, from Isfahan, where he acquired a reputation as a particularly vicious and barbaric head of the Islamic tribunals which regularly issued brutal sentences. He has been special prosecutor in the intelligence ministry, where he was also in charge of key personnel decisions, and at present he is judge and prosecutor for the special tribunal of the clergy.

And then there is the defense minister, Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar, another brigadier general in the revolutionary Guards, where he has been since its official formation in 1979. As several commentators have pointed out, he was the commander of the RG forces in Lebanon in 1983, when the Marine barracks were blown up by the Guards and Hezbollah. So we owe him one.

The mullahs have torn off their conciliatory mask in order to bare their fangs to us, the Europeans, and the Iranian people.

If we had an Iran strategy worthy of the name, our confused leaders would have pointed out the remarkable interview with the chief nuclear affairs negotiator, Hossein Musavian. It was broadcast on Iranian television August 4th, and made it quite clear that the Iranians deliberately tricked the Europeans into giving the mullahs an extra year to complete a vital part of their nuclear program in Isfahan.

"Thanks to the negotiations with Europe," he bragged, "we gained another year, in which we completed...Isfahan."

"We suspended (the enrichment program) in Isfahan in October 2004, although we were required to do so in October 2003...Today we are in a position of power: (the program) in Isfahan is complete and UF4 and UF6 gases are being produced. We have a stockpile of products, and...we have managed to convert 36 tons of yellow cake into gas and store it..."

President Chirac? Chancellor Schroeder? Prime Minister Blair? How do you all intend to answer your parliamentary inquiries? You were all gulled by the mullahs (or, to put the darkest light on the matter, willing accomplices).

Meanwhile, the mullahs are killing us. Time published a long report from Baghdad on August 14, entitled "Inside Iran's Secret War for Iraq," which lays out chapter and verse of the mullahs' longstanding efforts — often coordinated with Assad's Syria — to drive us out of Iraq.

It is the first time I've seen a major publication confirm what I reported months before Operation Iraqi Freedom: planning for the terror war against Coalition forces in Iraq "began before the U.S. invaded." And Time quotes a "British military intelligence officer about the relative inattention paid to the murderous Iranian activities. 'It's as though we are sleepwalking'."

We are at war with Iran, whether we want to admit it or not. If we don't then they will win. If we do then, we can win. If they win, the price we will pay is they will become a member of the nuclear club. We can not afford that.

My friend Titus, wrote an excellent post on what to do about Iran over at the new group blog I am working on; The Internet Journal for Public Policy. Titus believes we need to push for regime change. I am sceptical of the chances such a policy would have for success.

Here are my comments to Titus:

... you think we should do this BEFORE we attempt to take out their nuclear facilities.You believe, apparently, as Kenneth Timmerman believes, that bombing their nuclear facilities would turn the populace of Iran against us.

I can understand that idea. But, that brings a few questions to my mind.

1) How long do we give the attempts at subversion?

2) If subversion is going to work in Iran, wouldn't the perfect time to have done this already have passed - that is during the time when Iraq had their elections and the Lebanese managed to throw the Syrian military out?

3) If we somehow missed such a great opportunity, does that mean that Bush, apparently, doesn't have the same view on this as you?

4) If subversion is the way to accomplish the task of regime change, why didn't we use it in Iraq?

Indeed, if subversion is the way to topple the Mullahs, we ought to have NO hesitancy to simply supply weaponry, and other assistance, right out in the open. We have made it no secret that we consider theirs to be an illegitimate government. Therefore, the more openly we target them, the more clearly we give the signal to the Iranian people that we are TRULY behind them, and that we will come to their rescue, if they get in over their heads.

See what I mean?

Honestly, by not moving during the time of the Iraqi elections/Lebanese rejection of Syrian military, I believe we have sent the OPPOSITE message to the Iranian people.

This is not the first time we have sent a message of support to a tribe of Middle Eastern people, only to leave them when they needed us. We did this to the Kurds, after the Gulf War. The problem is, the Iranian people know that. And they very well may think we would do it again.

Anything we do, we need to do boldly; right out in the open.

No pussyfooting.

As Ledeen say, "Faster please."