Is the fall of of the mullahs’ regime possible? And could Obama do something to help make that happen?

This evening I wasted ten minutes reading a column by the neocons’ favorite Iranian Iran expert, Amir Taheri in the New York Post. The man knows a lot about Iranian politics, but he can’t write to save his life. Most of his columns, like this one, are eye-wateringly dense collections of bulleted points (whether he uses actual bullets or not, it’s the same) that touch on multiple aspects of Iranian politics but fail to conjoin into any intelligible theme or come to any coherent conclusion, leaving the reader feeling confused and jangled. The man’s unreadable. How, then is he allowed to kill, I mean fill, a half page in the New York Post twice a week? The answer, of course, is that being a part of the neocons’ universe (Taheri has had major articles in Commentary—heavily rewritten by the editors—promoting the Bush democracy project, and was treated as an all-purpose authority on things Islamic by Norman Podhoretz in his seminal work, The Fortieth World War) will take a man a long way in this world.

On the Iran question, however, I want to say this. If from the start of the present crisis I had shared the neocons’ view that the mere speaking up by the U.S. President in favor of the Iranian protesters would make it materially more likely that the mullahs’ regime would fall, I also would have called on him to take a stand. I have not had the view that such a change was in the offing, but of course I could be wrong.

So let’s let the neocons’ perspective be heard. At her blog, Melanie Phillips, who has never called herself a neoconservative (or a conservative of any kind) but seems aligned with the neocons on all issues, draws on the wisdom of the neocons’ favorite non-Iranian Iran expert, Michael Ledeen.

Phillips writes:

There is chatter in some quarters that the Iranian ‘green revolution’ may be petering out. Well, it depends whom you’re reading.

The Iran expert Michael Ledeen says he has no idea what’s going to happen. But there are signs that the regime is preparing for an all-out assault; and that they are panicking and the ayatollahs are at odds amongst themselves; and that, most interestingly of all, this:

…that there are cracks in the regime’s edifice, ranging from declarations of small groups of Revolutionary Guards calling on their brothers to defect to “the people,” to a phenomenon that is just beginning to be discussed here and there, mostly on the Net but originally in an Arab newspaper. Steve Schippert posted on it and did a first-class analysis. Steve starts with a report from al Arabiya that says senior ayatollahs have been meeting secretly in Qom to discuss significant changes in the structure of the Iranian state. In addition to the Iranian clerics, there was a foreigner: Jawad al-Shahristani, the supreme representative of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the foremost Shiite leader in Iraq.

If this is true, it is, as Steve says, huge. Because it means that senior religious leaders in Iran are talking to the representative of an Iraqi Imam who believes, as most Shi’ites did before Khomeini’s heresy, that the proper role of religious leaders is to guide their people from the mosque, not from the political capital. In other words, they are talking about the most serious form of regime change.

[end of Phillips quote of Ledeen]

It’s an intriguing point. Maybe Schippert and Ledeen are onto something; and if they are, it could be something big. However, I must also say from a more critical perspective that the sight of Michael Ledeen hailing for the 357th time the signs of the soon-to-occur transformation of Iran into a democratic society gives me a sensation of unreality not unlike the way I feel when a Darwinian scientist, after acknowledging that the origin of new species by random mutation and natural selection (as distinct from tiny modifications within an existing species) has not actually been demonstrated yet, announces with assurance that the proof is a certainty, it’s just a matter of time, it’s coming very soon, it’s coming … soon, they’re working on it. It’s odd to realize that there are people who have constructed their entire careers on a single idee fixe.

Phillips continues:

As Ledeen also says, however, the protesters know they are on their own facing the thugs of the basiji. Despite Obama’s belated condemnation today of the brutality being meted out, his remarks were far too little, far too late and still far too inadequate….

What a disgrace that this man is leader of the free world; and at such a point in history. If he had put America stoutly behind the protesters and championed them against the regime, by now they might have toppled it. There are signs today that even the fawning American media is appalled.

In a standfirst to an article by Joshua Muravchik observing that the Iran debacle confirms that Obama has totally abandoned the long-standing American objective to promote human rights and democracy, Commentary has this to say:

Iranian exiles in the U.S. are receiving calls from back home asking why President Obama has ‘given Khamenei the green light’ to crack down on the election protestors. To conspiracy-minded Middle Easterners, that is the obvious meaning of Obama’s equivocal response to the Iranian nation’s sudden and unexpected reach for freedom. How to explain that this interpretation is implausible? That the more likely reason for Obama’s behavior is that he is imprisoned in the ideology of loving your enemies and hating George W. Bush?

Whatever the reason, Obama’s failure may destroy his presidency. His betrayal of democracy and human rights through a series of pronouncements and small actions during his first months in office had been correctable until now. But the thousand daily decisions that usually make up policy are eclipsed by big-bang moments such as we are now witnessing. Failure to use the bully pulpit to give the Iranian people as much support as possible is morally reprehensible and a strategical blunder for which he will not be forgiven.

Ledeen also says this: that there are

…reliable accounts that Khamenei has left Tehran for a mountain retreat, and has given orders to his people to go all-out in the coming days, not only against the dissidents in Iran, but also against any and all American, British, French and German targets.

[end of excerpt of Phillips column]

- end of initial entry -

Larry G. writes:

Yes, it is possible. I may also finally win the MegaMillions Jackpot.

But short of the Twelfth Imam crawling out of his well and ordering the mullahs to convert to Christianity, I find it extremely unlikely that current events in Iran will lead to any positive change. I hate to agree with B. Hussein Obama, but there really isn’t much difference between the two candidates. And whether the clerics rule from the pulpit or from political office, their message will be the same: Death to America, Death to the Jews.

The Iranian students are very agitated that they are being shot at, but I’m sure they have no problem with Iran supplying shaped charges for IEDs that kill hundreds of Americans and Iraqis in Iraq. I’m sure they danced on 9/11, and I’m sure they would dance again if Tel Aviv were nuked by an Iranian missile. The outward trappings of the regime may change, but the hearts of the people will not. They remain declared enemies of the West, and will continue to work for our destruction, even while they wear our clothes, listen to our music and drink our soft drinks.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 23, 2009 11:26 PM | Send

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