June 15, 2009

An Enemy of the World

The Islamic Republic regime in Iran is vividly revealing itself as an enemy of the entire world.

“Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenei’s police and the Basij militia are using violence and terror to suppress the Iranian people at home. His terrorist proxies fire missiles at Israel while torturing, maiming, and murdering Palestinians. He sponsored a violent coup d’etat against the elected government in Beirut last year with his Hezbollah militia. He sponsors a terrorist insurgency against the elected government of Iraq, while his fanatical proxies shoot and kill American soldiers. A car bomb cell belonging to the regime’s Lebanese franchise was recently arrested in Azerbaijan, and more cells were rolled up in Egypt. Terrorists sponsored and encouraged by him and his predecessor, Ruhollah Khomeini, have murdered civilians from Argentina to Japan.

The regime’s only allies in the world are terrorist armies and Bashar Assad’s Baath Party state in Syria. Assad himself, like Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, is a pariah among the Arabs, Persians, Turks, Kurds, Azeris, and Israelis who make up the region.

Iranian civilians risk violent beatings and worse by the thousands for standing up to the regime in the streets and treating it as the enemy it clearly is. There is no better time for the rest of us to do so, as well, especially since such gestures carry far less risk for us. The Pasdaran have no divisions in Washington, Paris, or London.

Obama Administration officials still hope they can talk Khamenei out of developing nuclear weapons and supporting Hamas and Hezbollah. This is delusion on stilts. Khamenei can’t even compromise with his own regime or his hand-picked presidential candidates. He placed them under house arrest, along with a Grand Ayatollah, and deployed thousands of violent enforcers into the streets. Not only does he confront the world, he is at war with his very own country.

Understand the mind of a totalitarian. “Probe with a bayonet,” Vladimir Lenin famously said. “If you meet steel, stop. If you meet mush, then push.”

The Khomeinists in Iran likewise only stop when they meet steel. In his book The Persian Night: Iran under the Khomeinist Revolution
, Amir Taheri describes how since 1979 the regime has always continued to push until, as he put it, it hits something hard. It’s hitting something hard right now within its borders. This is no time for mush from everyone else. The regime today is weaker than it has ever been. If the insurrection continues, a fast hard shove might well push it over. If the regime survives, it may well feel invincible.

Read the rest in Commentary Magazine.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at June 15, 2009 7:44 AM


A lot of the Khomeneist stuff is just variants of Maoist revolutionary doctrine adapted to a different religion and culture. (Although Maoist revolutionary doctrine is largely a synthesis of previous revolutionary and guerrilla doctrine refined, with the serial numbers filed off and any unnamed contributors taken behind a tree and shot.) Abdullah Mohtadi tried telling us this two years ago when he discussed the operational phase the revolution was in and the insanity of PJAK violence.

The success of this revolution remains to be seen, although we know people who've been laying the foundations for thirty years and more. This may very well be a general uprising that will send past the classic phase II assassinations and strikes and move directly to overthrow. It could well be that the mullahs listened to their own press releases too long and this is going to roll over because of their complacency.

The question becomes, in the event of an opportunistic overthrow, who takes charge? The Islamists are despised, the Palevists are discredited, the communists are infighting, the anarchists are disorganized, and every other potential leader has be extensively harassed and oppressed. It is entirely possible that some kid with an overdeveloped thumb and mad texting skills will twitter his way to power.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell Author Profile Page at June 15, 2009 9:22 AM

An Iranian Peter Wiggen (from "Ender's Game")?

Couldn't resist.

On a more serious note, my more or less uninformed guess is that the demonstrations will largely fail - at most we're looking at the Iranian version of Tianenmen Square. But the groundwork will be laid for something further in the future.

I hope I'm wrong about the former, and I want to believe that I'm wrong. But I suspect that I'm not.

Posted by: junior Author Profile Page at June 15, 2009 11:46 AM

That's a helleva regional synopsis on Iran's agenda abroad and at home Michael. Nice compilation. How odd that you put the framework together so clearly and the big media here can't.

Maybe because they have to stick to the antithesis of Bush's axis of evil which is looking heavily redundant now.

Nice call on Taheri's book. I'm going to start reading it and he's been an impressive columnist on all things Iran for a while now.

Expect some fancy Iranian chess playing ahead with an attempt to defuse the rioting, protests and shootings. The Supreme Leader has taken a fancy to batons and behind closed doors torture.

All those people in custody right now probably wish they could get off with just a little waterboarding.

And Obama can't even muster support for the aspirations of the Iranian people.

Then again, Madagascar hasn't issued a statement along those lines either. Praise Obama.

Posted by: Sheva Author Profile Page at June 15, 2009 4:05 PM

Can I really comment? I've signed in several times and been accepted, only to find my proposed post rejected for failing to register. What am I to make of that?

Posted by: DougK Author Profile Page at June 15, 2009 8:07 PM

Can I really comment? I've signed in several times and been accepted, only to find my proposed post rejected for failing to register. What am I to make of that?

Well, it worked this time. I don't know what the problem was before. There are bugs in the system sometimes. Sorry about that...

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at June 15, 2009 8:12 PM

So I just wrote another terse, pithy, Nobel-prize-winning analysis and got rejected once again for failure to be registered. Appears to be random. I'd love to participate, but can't seem to. Donated in the past so that clearly isn't the issue. Whatever. Support individual freedom; reject oppressors.

Posted by: DougK Author Profile Page at June 15, 2009 9:13 PM


When I post things on Michael's blog that exceed a sentence or three minutes after signing in, I copy the comments before posting them. I got into this habit after the twentieth time I lost a good post to timeouts.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell Author Profile Page at June 15, 2009 10:53 PM

I've learned my lesson: compose offline. And a wise teacher once told me to let it cool before serving. When I ignore the advice I embarass myself.

Posted by: Paul S. Author Profile Page at June 15, 2009 11:45 PM

I can only wonder at what hard thing that probing bayonet is hitting. The ribs of some Iranian student or the resolve of Pres Obama? But one bright note is the continued claim by David Halberstam that the US has hundreds of SFOs in Waziristan trying to start an anti-mullah rebellion. But then again Mr Halberstam doesn't have much of a reputation for accuracy in the last twenty or so years.

Posted by: Pat Patterson Author Profile Page at June 15, 2009 11:59 PM

Thanks for the tips about how fast a log-in can time out. That must have been the issue, and I'll compose offline in future.

Posted by: DougK Author Profile Page at June 16, 2009 8:20 AM
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Winner, The 2008 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Winner, The 2007 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

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