For those who actually read my blog…,meaning mostly my family and extended family I screwed up the this post so bad I deleted it and started over. I did so many revisions to it that I got confused as to which one was the correct one…a common ailment among senior citizens.
Anyway on this Iranian election, predictably many in the media and foreign service establishment are enthusiastic over the election seeing it as justifying the Obama policies toward the Middle East…or as some would say…non-policies. I call it, using Obama’s campaign slogan….the “audacity of hope.” In foreign policy that means…do nothing and hope for the best. Across the Middle East it seems the Obama supporters always find gold nuggets beneath the manure pile. In Egypt, Morsi will be ok, even if he continues to impose more and more Muslim Brotherhood governing structure and gradually strip the secular opposition of their place in the society. Obama’s poster boy for “Islamic democracy”, Erdogan of Turkey, after years of gradually imposing islamic rule and replacing the Ataturk secularism with a sort of Islamic neo – Ottomanism, and all the while drawing gushy approval from the Western pundits, has finally shown his true nature. Libya is a mess with no real government, Tunisia, the “Arab Spring” model, is in danger of being thrown into chaos by radical Islamist groups. Syria…well as Ralph Peters puts it, Bush may have brought us the Arab spring but Obama brought us the Arab winter. Obama has resisted any involvement, which after Afghanistan and Iraq fits nicely with the domestic political currents. No matter who wins, the U.S. will have the enmity of winner and loser alike. It is one thing to be wrong in the Middle East, it is quite another to be seen as weak.
So now we have another “moderate” win in Iran! It seems that despite all the evidence to the contrary, the winner Rouhani, is seen as the great hope for U.S.- Iranian relations.
Perhaps I’m too cynical. Too many years working. living, and studying in the Middle East has that effect.
But after reading many op-eds, analyses, and commentaries on the election there were several that stand out.
Shoshana Bryen of the Gatestone Institute wrote;
Nevertheless, the Iranian people used their franchise to vote for the man on the ballot most opposed by the Mullahs. They made their statement in overwhelming numbers, proving the existence of the much-sought-after “Iranian moderates.” That is the good news. The other good news is that they learned from Egyptian moderates, who lost by splitting votes among a selection of secular candidates. Anti-clerical Iranians coalesced around a single candidate, Hassan Rouhani, and Mohammad Reza Aref bowed out to enhance Rouhani’s chances. The bad news is that the Iranian people have little influence, and neither will Rouhani, on the three major power centers in Iran:
- The Supreme Leader’s religious leadership base
- The Basij paramilitary militia established by the Ayatollah Khomeini
- Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (the IRGC or Pasdaran)
Lee Smith of the Weekly standard wrote;
It’s not clear why much of the Western media continues to describe Iran’s newly elected president as a “moderate.” After all, Hassan Rouhani is a regime pillar: As an early follower of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Rouhani joined him in exile in Paris, and over the last 34 years, the 64-year-old Qom-educated cleric has held key positions in the regime’s political echelons, and served in top military jobs during Iran’s decade-long war with Iraq. As Iran’s chief interlocutor with the West on the regime’s nuclear portfolio, Rouhani boasted of deceiving his negotiating partners. Domestically, he has threatened to crush protestors “mercilessly and monumentally,” and likely participated in the campaign of assassinations of the regime’s Iranian enemies at home and abroad, especially in Europe. Currently, Rouhani serves as Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s representative on the supreme national security council.
So essentially what we have is a much smoother and suave Iranian president, who unlike the petulant gnome Ahmadinejad will not go about forecasting the end of the world and sticking his finger in Obama ‘s eye. Meanwhile the nuclear march to weaponry will continue and the essential Persian imperial pretensions will advance unabated.