Sunday, December 9, 2007

A Discordant Bell Sounds For Talks With Iran

Many believe that the deeply flawed NIE on Iran’s nuclear weapons program was the product of several State Department personnel pushing their own policy agenda and, in the process, neutering the Iranian policies of our elected leaders. They either do not perceive Iran as a threat or they do not believe that force should be an option in dealing with Iran. And now in the wake of the NIE, we begin to see other of their ilk emerging to make their beliefs known, as in today's Washington Post. The article, by Professor Vali Nasr of Tufts University, implies that we can negotiate with Iran if we understand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Guide since 1989.

Within the structure of Iran’s government, the Supreme Guide, a position created by Ayatollah Khomeini, is the true seat of power. And while Khamenei may allow President Ahmedinejad to be the public face of Iran, Khamenei has the final word to end or alter any of Ahmedinejad’s policies or to order new ones. And the military and intelligence bodies report directly to Khamenei. Khamenei, in essence, holds the strings of the entire government.

And now we have Professor Nasr presenting us a picture of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Guide, reminiscent of the picture we received of "our ally," the Soviet Union, and Uncle Joe Stalin in 1942. Indeed, the professor relies on the NIE to describe Iran as “toothless” and not a threat to the U.S. As to Khamenei, despite the fact that he is a formally trained Shia cleric, Professor Nasr paints us a picture of a secular leader unaffected by the cult of the Hidden Imam. Indeed, Professor Nasr explicitly relies on the NIE to tell us that Khamenei is a rational man who makes his decisions based on a secular, cost benefit mode. It should be noted that the NIE used a single, highly questionable inference to make that assertion, and completely ignored the history of Khamenei otherwise. For the Professor to pick that up and assert it as true is incredibly disingenuous.

But to continue, the professor describes Khamenei in favorable terms. He tells us that Khamenei has a "down-to-earth image" and "calm demeanor," and that he is far more “cautious, conservative and pragmatic than the bellowing Ahmadinejad.” The Professor even manages to stick in a Western fairy tale simile, saying that “Khamenei wants a "Goldilocks" kind of Islamic Republic -- not too hot, not too cold.” Tell us another one, Uncle Ali!

The Professor wholly ignores that Iran has delved ever deeper into terrorism - to become its single greatest source - under the watchful eye of Ayatollah Khamenei. I will assume that this professor does not have a son in the military who has been dismembered by one of Revolutionary Guard’s EFP’s that could only have found its way into Iraq with the approval of Khamenei. And I will bet none of his young nephews or nieces were blown up in the recent bombing at the pet market in Baghdad by Iran’s proxies. Nor does he have a child who died in the Khobar Towers bombing. And its doubtful he is related to any of our intelligence agents kidnapped and tortured to death by Iran’s proxies. Further, I assume he has no relatives in Israel, the Gaza Strip, or Lebanon where thousands have died as a result of decisions that trace back to this quiet, pragmatic Ayatollah. And then there are the countless thousands inside Iran who have been tortured, jailed and executed with Khamenei’s order or acquiescence.

There is a reason Sec. of Defense Gates said today:

"Everywhere you turn, it is the policy of Iran to foment instability and chaos, no matter the strategic value or cost in the blood of innocents - Christians, Jews and Muslims alike. . . There can be little doubt that their destabilizing foreign policies are a threat to the interests of the United States, to the interests of every country in the Middle East, and to the interests of all countries within the range of the ballistic missiles Iran is developing. . .

Khamenei's Allah apparently imposes no restraints on the means Khamenei can use to reach his ends. To view Khamenei as anything other than an incredibly ruthless sociopath would be a mistake of the highest order. And to see him as non-threatening when he will soon have the opportunity to be a nuclear armed ruthless sociopath is potentially suicidal. But, with the incredibly flawed NIE, the door has been kicked open for the ghosts of William Borah and Neville Chamberlin, the forerunners to Professor Nasr and his ilk, to emerge. And to borrow from Churchill, if they have their way, we shall be feeding the Iranian alligator in the hopes that it eats us last.

1 comment:

Alex said...

And what do you think of Obadiah Shoher's arguments against the peace process ( )?