Skip to comments.Iranian Alert - November 13, 2005 - Iran believes it can win a clash with the US
Posted on 11/12/2005 3:47:48 PM PST by DoctorZIn
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Iran believes it can win a clash with the US
Amir Taheri, The Jerusalem Post:When Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made his "wipe Israel off the map" remarks last month, many diplomats on both sides of the Atlantic rushed to explain, read between the lines and relativize what was an unambiguous statement of Teheran's long-established policy. They expressed the hope that Iran would "clarify" - meaning soften - its position.
That was followed by feverish diplomatic activities, mainly by the United Nations' Secretary-General Kofi Annan, to persuade Teheran to tone down Ahmadinejad's remarks. (Annan was forced to cancel a planned visit to Teheran after the Iranians told him they would not allow any conciliatory phrases into the final communique.)
Last week, however, Iran's "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenehi, the nation's ultimate decision-maker under the Khomeinist Constitution, not only gave his ringing endorsement to Ahmadinejad's remarks, but went further by offering his "vision for Palestine."
Addressing a congregation at the end of Ramadan, Khamenehi said Iran rejected the two-states formula proposed by the US, and would fight for the creation of a single state encompassing Israel and the Palestinian territories. In such a state, power would be in the hands of Muslims, although some Jews would be allowed to remain, under unspecified conditions.
Khamenehi went further by suggesting that Israel's political and military leaders, especially Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, be tried on charges of crimes against humanity.
WHY HAS Teheran decided to play hardball? The answer is that it wants a clash with the US over the future of the Middle East, and is convinced that it can win.
For almost a quarter of a century the Islamic Republic has been trying to change the status quo in the region while the US sought to preserve it. After 9/11 President George W. Bush transformed the US into an anti-status quo power and introduced major changes by toppling the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Ba'ath in Iraq. Sooner or later a new status quo has to emerge in the Middle East. The question is whether it will be shaped by the US or by Iran.
Ahmadinejad believes that Iran has a better chance of putting its imprint on the new Middle East.
The US lacks staying power and Bush is an aberration in contemporary American history. All that the Islamic Republic needs to do is wait until the Bush presidency is either politically destroyed by its opponents in Washington or comes to the end of its term. Then, once Bush is crippled or gone, no American leader would have the stomach for a fight with Iran.
In the meantime, the only regional powers capable of challenging Iran's leadership are out of the race for different reasons. Turkey has decided to become part of Europe, and would not cherish the prospect of being sucked into the Middle East's deadly politics. Egypt, for its part, is heading for a period of instability under an octogenarian leader who just managed to retain power with the support of no more than 12% of the electorate in a rigged election.
Iran, on the other hand, has become more powerful. Internally, the soft-liners have been kicked out, allowing a new generation of radical revolutionaries to seize control of all levers of state power. Iran's oil income is at an all-time high, allowing the new president to buy popular support.
Abroad, while the US is bogged down by the insurgency in Iraq and the periodical resurfacing of the Taliban in Afghanistan, Iran has formed solid alliances in both countries. Iran has also emerged as the main supporter of Palestinian radical movements, some of which had been without a patron since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Next February, Teheran is scheduled to host the largest gathering of radical leaders from across the Muslim world to endorse its one-state formula for ending the Israel-Palestine conflict. Syria, isolated and terrified, has become even more dependent on Iranian support while Iran, operating through Hizbullah, remains a major player in Lebanon.
THE NEW Iranian leadership is also encouraged by the current weakness of the European Union. Germany is apparently unable to form a new government while Britain's influence is fading as Premier Tony Blair becomes a political lame duck. As for France, it is facing a Muslim intifada while its top three leaders are tearing each other apart over who should be a presidential candidate in 2007. Italy is heading for elections that seem certain to spell the end of pro-American Premier Silvio Berlusconi and the return of weak coalition governments.
Closer to home, Iran is positioning its pawns.
After more than a decade of relative quiet, Teheran has also reactivated its network of Shi'ite contacts in the Persian Gulf region.
A Shi'ite coalition was formed in Kuwait last month, while two Shi'ite parties in Bahrain have been told to go on the offensive against the emir and his policy of rapprochement with Israel. Teheran has also resumed contact with Saudi Shi'ite opposition leaders in exile.
In the meantime, Iran's massive military buildup has been accelerated, and it is no longer a mystery that the new leadership is seeking a nuclear arsenal within three to five years.
Teheran also counts on support form China and Russia. Thirsty for energy, China needs Iran, which holds the world's third-largest oil reserves and second-largest gas deposits. A plan, originally negotiated under the shah in 1975, for building 25 oil refineries in China was revived last September as part of Ahmadinejad's "Look East" policy. Russia needs Iran for two reasons: to help counter American influence in the Caspian Basin and Central Asia, and to forestall revolt among Russia's Muslim communities.
Iran also hopes to revive the moribund non-aligned movement as a global anti-American forum, with the help of allies such as President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.
The state-owned media in Teheran are in combative gear. Echoing Ahmadinejad's analysis, the Iranian media present the West, led by the US, as a "sunset" (ofuli) power that must be taken on and defeated by a tolue'e (sunrise) Islamic power led by Iran. In that context the destruction of Israel becomes a key element in Teheran's strategy in the Middle East because Ahmadinejad knows that radical Sunni Arabs will not accept the leadership of Shi'ite Iran unless it is perceived as the only power capable of realizing their dream of wiping Israel off the map.
The writer, an Iranian author and journalist, is editor of the Paris-based Politique Internationale.
- Eli Lake, The New York Sun reported that the Al Qaeda bombings in Jordan have provoked mass demonstrations with calls for Zarqawi to 'Burn in Hell.'
- Amir Taheri, The New York Post examined Jordan's "not taking sides" policy towards Iraq.
- The New York Times reported that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice distanced the Bush administration from a new proposal to resolve the Iranian nuclear dispute, saying: There is no U.S.-European proposal to the Iranians ... I want to say that categorically. There isn't and there won't be.
- Los Angeles Times reported that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made clear it would not support any solution that would leave Tehran in control of even small amounts of nuclear fuel.
- CNN reported that Iran said on Friday it would not accept any proposal aimed at solving its nuclear standoff with the West that did not allow it to enrich uranium on its own territory.
- Kaveh L Afrasiabi, Asia Times reported that the US is driving a wedge between Russia and Iran.
- Michael Young, Tech Central Station discussed Richard N. Haass's proposal for a new foreign policy doctrine which he calls "integration."
- Iran Focus reported that the radical group Ansar-e Hezbollah pledged to root out the virus of mal-veiled women, which they describe as more dangerous than the explosion of a nuclear bomb.
- The Epoch Times reported on the upcoming UN Summit to decide the future control of the Internet. Britain no longer supports the US position.
- Erik Schechter, The Jerusalem Post reviewed Britain's Iranian problem.
- The Associated Press reported that Iran's intelligence minister said yesterday that Tehran has proof of a British connection to suspects in bombings in southern Iran, but never provided evidence.
- And finally, BBC News reported on the "hostage" taking of a British man, his wife and an Australian man by Iranian authorities.
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...sand to glass, Mr. President!
The Iranian people had better step up and oust their psycho leaders or else they're going to wind up being vaporized.
Israel has a very disciplined military, Superior technology, and better allies. Iran I would challenge you to try to invade, oh wait you would be repulsed before you could say "Islam is a religion of peace!!!" that is why your resorting to nuclear weapons.
I suppose Iran thinks that they could win a "regime change" war with the U.S. Depends on how one would define "win", however. We can and ought to f**k them up really bad.
Wal'Mart had better stock up on white flags-the quicker we run them up our flag poles, the safer we will be.
That's what this guy Believed too.
Nice. Sometimes, words are just not necessary, are they?
Obviousely they think Jimmy Carter is still President.
Sure, the same military who faced the Iraqi military to a standoff for the better part of a decade - will sure best the US in a confrontation ... NOT!
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