politics, history and the war on terror
Saturday, April 17, 2004
Iranian Involvement 

The establishment of democracy in Iraq threatens the viability of the dictatorships, kingdoms and theocracies in the Middle East. Iran in particular has a vested interest in preventing a democratic Iraq. Iran is a nation that has endured 25 years of a corrupt and oppressive government after the establishment of the Islamic Republic. There is widespread dislike of the Islamic government and a popular and active reform movement that advocates democracy. Because of these circumstances, a successful democratic state on its border is a direct threat to Iran's theocratic rulers. Michael Ledeen states that Iran has a large role in advocating, supporting and financing violence against the coalition by both Sadr's Mahdi Army and Ba'athists:

The Italians knew that these actions were not just part of an Iraqi civil war, nor a response to recent actions taken by the Coalition Provisional Authority against the forces of Sadr. According to Italian intelligence, the actions were used as a pretext by local leaders of the factions tied to an Iran-based ayatollah, Kazem al-Haeri, who was "guided in his political and strategic choices by ultraconservative Iranian ayatollahs in order to unleash a long planned general revolt." The strategic goal of this revolt, says Sismi, was "the establishment of an Islamic government of Khomeinist inspiration." The Italian intelligence agency noted that "the presence of Iranian agents of influence and military instructors has been reported for some time." Our own government will not say as much publicly, but Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. John Abizaid, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, have recently spoken of "unhelpful actions" by Iran (and Syria).

Mr. Ledeen advocates regime change in Iran, however he does not wish to accomplish this with military force, but by supporting Iranian inside and outside the country who oppose the Iranian governemnt:

We have an excellent opportunity to achieve this objective, without the direct use of military power against Iran. There is a critical mass of pro-democracy citizens there, who would like nothing more than to rid themselves of their oppressors. They need help, but they neither need nor desire to be liberated by force of arms.

[T]hey want to hear our leaders state clearly and repeatedly--as Ronald Reagan did with the "Evil Empire"--that regime change in Iran is the goal of American policy.

[W]e can reach the Iranian people by providing support to the several Farsi-language radio and TV stations in this country, all currently scrambling for funds to broadcast a couple of hours a day. We can encourage private foundations and individuals to support the Iranian democracy movement. The current leadership of the AFL-CIO has regrettably abandoned that organization's traditional role of supporting free trade unions inside tyrannical countries, but there are some individual unions that could do it.

A similar strategy was employed during the Cold War, and led to the successful liberation of Eastern Europe. As the Iranians are already opposing us in Iraq, it is worth the effort to work for non-military regime change in Iran as Mr. Ledeen advocates. Iran's unique nature as a manufacturer of WMD, state sponsor of Hezbollah and terror sanctuary designates it as a problem that must be dealt with.

Posted by bill roggio @ 12:57 AM