About An NRO Q & A: The Iranian Time Bomb
|September 7th, 2007||#1|
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An NRO Q & A: The Iranian Time Bomb info
Most people…do not realize that, for nearly thirty years, the Iranians continuously attacked us, and, aside from some harsh rhetoric from time to time, we never responded.” So writes NRO contributor and American Enterprise Institute scholar Michael Ledeen in his new book The Iranian Time Bomb. The book is an analysis of Iran’s ongoing war with “the Great Satan” and a blueprint for finally fighting back. Ledeen took a few questions on the book and the current scene from National Review Online editor Kathryn Lopez over Labor Day weekend.
Kathryn Lopez: Let me channel some Senate Democrats: Is there anything the Bush administration has done right on Iraq?
Michael Ledeen: Sure. Embracing what is now known as the Petraeus strategy was certainly right.
Lopez: What’s been the biggest mistake?
Ledeen: The failure of strategic vision, which endures still: believing “the war” was in Iraq alone, and that we could liberate and protect Iraq from inside her borders. It always was a regional war, but we keep denying it, above all to ourselves.
Lopez: How can it be remedied ASAP?
Ledeen: Call for regime change in Damascus and Tehran, and threaten Riyadh with grave actions if the Saudis don’t stop funding the jihadi global network.
Lopez: Why hasn’t there been another big attack on the U.S. homeland if the Iranian “terror masters”: are as evil as you say?
Ledeen: Nobody knows. Maybe we caught some of them. Maybe they decided not to do anything that would strengthen Bush. Maybe — this one is fairly likely, actually — there’s a rift within top leadership and the two sides (Hit America; no, hit Americans abroad and American allies first, then and only then go after America directly) paralyze each other.
Lopez: “There has been no break in ideological or operational continuity from Khomeini to Khamenei and Ahmadinejad; only the public face of the Revolution has changed.” Is there something more dangerous about Ahmadinejad? Brashness and nukes?
Ledeen: Iran, not a single individual, is getting more dangerous. Ahmadinejad is the mask currently worn by the regime.
Lopez: If the Iranian regime is opposed by literally “millions” of Iranians, why haven’t they taken action already? Why does what George Bush says and does matter? How would they even know what he does and says?
Iranians believe that nothing of consequence can happen in the world without American support (some of them add the queen of England). Millions of Iranians have protested against the regime and called for its downfall, but no country outside Iran has supported them. If Bush were to stand up and say “we want regime change in Iran,” I think there would be a fundamental change in the world, including inside Iran.
You ask how the Iranians would know what George Bush does and says? We can tell them directly, via radio and television. We should also tell them what’s going on in their own country.
Lopez: Who are the dissidents from Iran we should be supporting? How can we?
Ledeen: They are the Iranian people, probably upwards of 80 percent of them, more than fifty million. We should broadcast to them, assemble strike funds for them, get them laptops, servers, anti-censoring software, etc.
If we could overthrow the Soviet Empire with a small fraction of the population, why should we be pessimistic about Iran, where we’ve got most of the population with us?
Lopez: Tell me about the bus workers and union organizers. Are they poised to for a solidarity redux?
Ledeen: Unions are illegal, and the heads of the workers’ organizations are being tortured. The head of the bus workers’ organization is one of the bravest men in Iran, he recently went around Europe trying to get support for Iranian workers, knowing full well he would be arrested upon his return.
Lopez: Who is Akbar Mohammadi and what happened to him?
Ledeen: Akbar Mohammadi was one of the founders of the independent student movement. He was tortured to death by the mullahs about a year ago, and miraculously — despite a truly shameful performance by the State Department — his brother Manoucher escaped and is now in this country.
Lopez: You’ve been criticized by bloggers for having never been to Iran. Is that a problem?
Ledeen: I have never been to fascist Italy either, but I’m considered an expert on it.
Lopez: How important is the success of Hezbollah to Iran?
Ledeen: Very. Very very. Hezbollah provides many of the footsoldiers and most of the strategic planning for their international terrorist operations. I think we will eventually find that Hezbollah has been the spinal cord of the “insurgency” in Iraq.
Lopez: Why should I think “Iran” when I hear “al Qaeda”?
Ledeen: Because they’ve been working together since 1994, and we are now up to our uvulas in evidence showing Iran’s support for al Qaeda in Iraq. The 9/11 Commission — as Tom Joscelyn has written for years — found striking evidence of the al Qaeda/Iran partnership, starting with the sensational discovery that Imad Mughniyah, the operational chief of Hezbollah, was on the plane that took some of the 9/11 terrorists out of Saudi Arabia, en route to the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.
Lopez: So does bin Laden and crew work for Iran? Have they always?
Ledeen: I don’t know about “always.” Certainly they have worked closely with Iran for quite a while. I think the Iranian domination of al Qaeda started when we destroyed al Qaeda in Afghanistan. The key leaders ran to Iran and have mostly been there ever since.
Lopez: Was Iran involved in 9/11?
Ledeen: I don’t know. It’s possible, but certainly unproven. The most tantalizing factoid is the story of Ramzi bin al Shibh, the logistics officer for the 9/11 operation. He went to Iran for a month in late December, 2000, and then he returned to Iran less than a week before 9/11.
Lopez: This war on terror — how akin is it to the Cold War?
Ledeen: It’s similar in that our major enemy sees itself as the inevitable winner of an historic conflict with us. in that conflict, both Iranians and Soviets became major sponsors of international terrorism. it’s also similar in that the Iranians, like the Soviets, have a great talent for wrecking their own country and turning their own people against the regime.
It’s different in that Iran’s army isn’t remotely on a par with the Red Army. nobody’s worried about being invaded by Iranian armed forces.
Lopez: Speaking of: If Reagan was a disaster on Iran, as you say in the book; we’re most definitely not looking for another Reagan for president?
Ledeen: Long question about which I once wrote a book called Perilous Statecraft. The Reagan administration fell into the same self-delusion as every other American president since Carter: he came to believe that we could surely reach a modus vivendi with the Islamic Republic. Nothing new there, just a few years later Clinton was busy approving Russian arms sales to the mullahs, and signing off on Russian help with the Iranian nuclear project.
Lopez: How would Hillary be on Iran?
Ledeen: Who knows? We don’t even know if she’s really a Yankee fan. Certainly her husband was a great appeaser of Iran, and she was said to have had input into all his policies. If that is true, then you’d have to decide if she would repeat her earlier appeasement or if she learned something useful from it.
Lopez: Is it a problem and most Americans do not know the name of just released Haleh Esfandiari?
Ledeen: All is well; now they can read The Iranian Time Bomb and get educated.
Lopez: You do a little criticizing of General Petraeus on Iran. How’s he been doing this summer?
Ledeen: Magnificently. and I am told his report is particularly brilliant on Iran.
Lopez: How much better might have the Iraq war gone if we had addressed Iran differently?
Ledeen: I thought at the time that if we supported revolution in Iran, it would almost certainly succeed, and then we would not have had to face the jihad from Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia when we went into Iraq. I also thought that our strategy in Iraq was excessively military and insufficiently political.
What drives me crazy is that even our most brilliant analysts — among whom I count some very close friends — still aren’t talking about the regional war. They still talk about Iraq alone. And down that road only misery lies.
Lopez: If there’s on message you hope to effectively get out to members of Congress, especially this month, what might it be?
Ledeen: That they’re debating the wrong question. We have to win the war, but the real war, not the battle for Iraq. We must have a winning strategy for Iran and Syria. I don’t think it requires the use of massive military power, although I do think we should attack both the terrorist training camps in Iran and Syria and the sites in Iran where the new explosive devices are being manufactured and assembled.
In other words, I agree with Lieberman, although I don’t think he is yet prepared to talk about a regional war.
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Last edited by phoenix80; September 7th, 2007 at 05:39..
|September 10th, 2007||#2|
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'The Iranian Time Bomb'
September 07, 2007
The Wall Street Journal
Chapter One: The Torture Masters - "At the very least, you could have given me a glass of water. Animals are slaughtered more humanely than this." --Atefeh Rajabi, sixteen years of age, about to be hanged for "adultery," August 15, 2004
"Absolutely, we do have political prisoners. There are those who are in prison for their beliefs." --"Reformist" president Mohammed Khatami, April 28, 2004
In the months following his successful revolution against the shah, the Ayatollah Khomeini consolidated his domestic power through the use of four basic techniques:
–The first, common to all modern fascist movements, was the constant mobilization of the masses. The mobilization exploited the symbols and doctrines of Islamic fundamentalism, and the techniques of twentieth-century mass movements, from monster rallies, constant incitement to hatred of the revolution's "satanic" enemies (of which the United States and Israel were the prime examplars), and, once Saddam attacked and the bloody Iran-Iraq war began, constant reference to martyrdom. A fountain in downtown Tehran was stocked with red liquid, to represent the blood of the martyrs;
–Second, the regime devoted constant attention to the needs of the most impoverished sectors of the society. In a sort of Shi'ite version of Robin Hood, money, food, and housing were seized from the old elites and redistributed to the very poor. Khomeini even exempted the poor from paying taxes, and they were provided with free transportation. The regime's largesse was extended to workers as well, especially those in the oil fields, whose salaries were quickly and dramatically increased. This ensured the loyalty of the lower classes, and kept the well-to-do constantly concerned about their own well being;
–Third, total, uncompromising war against anything having to do with the West. As the Taliban would famously do in Afghanistan after the defeat of the Red Army, Khomeini banned music. Western books were removed from the schools and often burned. Above all, a strict segregation of the sexes was imposed throughout the educational system; women would no longer be permitted to teach boys, and the women were subjected to the humiliations described earlier: polygamy was reinstituted (with the additional fillip that "temporary marriages"–perhaps long enough for an afternoon tryst–were legalized, in order to finesse charges of adultery), along with the veil, and divorce initiated by women was made far more difficult;
–Fourth was the use of the judicial system as an instrument of terror. As so often happens at moments of dramatic change, the institution was marked by the ghoulish personality of its first leader, the Ayatollah Khalkhali. He had two nicknames, "the butcher of Kurdistan," and the "cat killer." The first was earned in a murderous campaign against the Kurds in mid-1979. Khalkhali had hundreds of them lined up and executed by firing squads en masse. The second derived from rumors that the man was literally mad, and relieved his mental torment by strangling and dismembering cats. He treated his human victims with the same compulsive violence; a year and a half after the seizure of power, he told an interviewer that he had probably ordered the execution of four or five hundred "sinners." In the first seven months of Khomeini's rule, the revolutionary tribunals killed off more than six hundred people, including many who had wielded great power under the old regime.
This method of seizing and maintaining power has subsequently been used as a template for the export of the revolution. The mullahs have attempted to export the revolution to many countries, from Saudi Arabia to Bosnia, each time using a mixture of religious proselytizing and terror. By and large, these efforts have failed, but the one great foreign success of the Islamic Republic –the creation of Hezbollah in Lebanon–clearly follows the revolutionary model. Hezbollah is at once a political party, a philanthropic organization that pays particular attention to the poor, and the world's most lethal terrorist organization. In its domain in southern Lebanon, the "party of Allah" enforces the rules of a Khomeini-style theocratic state, and enthusiastically spreads the faith by preaching, paying and bullying the populace. These practices are well known in Lebanon, and they are spreading. Iran's strategic siamese twin, Syria, recently approved Shi'ite proselytizing, and the Iranians quickly sent mullahs to preach the virtues of Khomeinism, sweetening the prospects of eternal salvation with cash grants of ten thousand dollars per convert.
From The Iranian Time Bomb by Michael A. Ledeen. link to original article
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