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15 April 2006

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jonst

PL,

In your opinion is Ahmadinejad the head of some new movement that, however much allied with, nonetheless, seeks to move beyond the Mullahs. Or is he simply the latest stalking horse of the Mullahs?

W. Patrick Lang

jonst

In my view, he is the true fruit of the revolution. pl

zanzibar

It would be useful to get more information/opinions on contemporary domestic politics in Iran.

I am under the impression that real power is held by the clerics and specifically Khamanei. And that the President is just the nominal chief executive. It seems that when Khatami was president he could not get much done although he did have a popular mandate as the clerical organs of power thwarted any impingement of their prerogatives. So even though Ahmadinejad has the support of the Basijs and other sons of the revolution he may not be able to affect much change without the concurrence of Khamanei.

I believe that all of Ahmadinejad's public rhetoric that sounds crazy is really for domestic consumption to rally support for a weak government. Not very different from what other politcians have done through history - aim rhetoric at an enemy.

W. Patrick Lang

Zanzibar

Your name contains the arabic word "Zanj" and of course refers to the island off east Africa. Any significance to that?

"It seems that when Khatami was president he could not get much done.."

Any comparison of Khatami's situation and that of A------d is probably defective in conception. Khatami sought to limit the power of the mullagopoly. A-------d is in love with the idea of "wilayat al-faqih." He is the faithful servant of the most extreme of the "clerical" party. pl

jonst

Zansibar,
Yes, as long as we are employing history as a guide, the domestic message sent will end up being misread by the relevant foreign power.

I certainly defer to PL and others on Iran. But my general impression is something about the 'Mullagopoly' has changed. And changed for the worst. And A.....D represents this change. Perhaps the change is in response to both the internal, and external threats, real and imagined, the regime percieves.

I would love to be able to ascertain if there is any daylight between the Clergy and Pres A....D.

On the other hand, none of my musings make much sense, to the extent it makes sense at all, given who is in the White House. What good is it to have accurate intel presented to the White House et al if said intel runs counter to himself's desires.

Babak Makkinejad

Mr. Ahmadinejad's statements regarding Israel and the Holocaust are not for domestic consumption.

His comments reflects, in my opinion, the sentiments hundreds of millions of Muslims and probably two thirds of the Muslim States.

On Israel and the Holocaust, the West and Israel have clearly "lost" Muslims.

In regards to the Iranian President’s demons; his anger against foreign powers that countenanced the use of chemical weapons against Iranian troops is widely shared inside of Iran. (The international negative security and political consequence of the use of chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq War is going to take decades to overcome.)

Mr. Ahmadinejad is very very popular in Iran and is trusted by a decisive majority of the Iranian people. He is respected for his administrative records and for his ideas regarding how to improve the economy of Iran. He has, in his speeches, suggested shrinking the consumption of the State and investing those resources in the private sector.

It is probable that the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran concluded some time in 2003 that US was pursuing a policy of regime change (per the reports of Mr. Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who said that an Iranian offer of talks to address all U.S. concerns was rebuffed in 2003 at the behest of the regime-change faction of the Bush administration. Former Bush National Security Council official Flynt Leverett has confirmed this account.) Thus there is the possibility that the Iranian leadership concluded that some kind of military confrontation with US was inevitable and they have acted accordingly to help support a candidate that can be a leader in the coming war with US.

Neither the Basiji nor the Mr. Ahmadinejad care about what the West or any other foreigner or foreign government thinks about them. They went through the searing experience of the war with Iraq and are not beholden to any one except perhaps their comrades.

I recall a US general in the Vietnam War who observed that men cannot be reasoned to their deaths, they must be inspired so. The Basiji are certainly inspired.

zanzibar

PL, Many years ago while on a safari vacation to E.Africa, I got to visit Zanzibar. Its one of the most magical places I have been to with an incredible cultural milieu and long history in the spice trade. Of course the diving and cuisine were spectacular too! As a result I have become fascinated by the history of the period of the spice trade. Although I have never traveled to the ME, I hope some day I'll be able to and learn more about the culture and history first hand. The poetry of Gibran, Khayyam and Rumi have a special place for me.

W. Patrick Lang

Babak

"On Israel and the Holocaust, the West and Israel have clearly "lost" Muslims."

I have been around in this business a long time and I would say that there was never any possibility that "Muslims" would accept Israel on the basis of anything except a truce (hudna).

I don't remember the name of the man who said it but what was said was that men could not be MANAGED to their deaths. What he meant was that the application of business methods of management to war is inappropriate. pl

W. Patrick Lang

Zanzibar

The island was a possession of the sultan of Oman. From there he ran his slave trading empire in east Africa as well as the spice trade which extended all the way to the Phillipines. That's why we have Moros in Mindanao. I suppose that three were other Arabs involved but most of both trades were centered in Muscat and Zanzibar.

"Zanj" refers to the Blacks. pl

Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

My impression has been that the Maghreb states, the Turkish Republic, and the Jordanian State were an exception to this.

As for hudna, the Cold War was a form of Hudna and so is the 38-th Parallel. Hudna could be a workable condition.

rpe

Colonel Lang,

I agree emphatically with your analysis; there is no way that any believing Muslim could ever grant legitimacy to an infidel state on stolen Muslim lands. The Muslim governments that have recognized Israel have done so out of weakness {Egypt} or out of fear {Jordan}. The very act of recognizing Israel robs them of legitimacy. There is nothing to stop a Muslim state from having a truce, even an extended truce; 30 years or so is sometimes heard from Hamas. But it is just a truce, when it expires, if the correlation of forces was favorable, the Muslim states would be duty bound to wage war. There is no reason for this to change in the Muslim mind.
The Iranian leaders just announced that they see America as a waning power while the see themselves and the rest of the Muslim states waxing in power. They see themselves, or in conjunction with some other Muslim powers, eventually driving America out of the Near East and bringing Israel to book for its crimes against the Muslims. Mr. Ahmadinejad is a devout Muslim and, perhaps, he thinks that an American initiated attack on Iran would lead to the correlation of forces necessary to bring about our defeat. He certainly doesn’t seem to fear us at all.

rpe

Colonel Lang,

What happened to the Shah's senior officers? Were they all shot by the mullahs? Who commanded the Iranian Army in the Iran Iraq war ?

Babak Makkinejad

rpe:

Some were shot.

Many were cashiered.

Some fought.

W. Patrick Lang

Babak

I think a "hudna" is the only practicable vehicle for use in the Arab-Israeli dispute and I have some hope that Olmert may accept the idea.

What would Iran do then? pl

W. Patrick Lang

rpe

Nevertheless, I think a series of truces (hudna)is a possibility, pl

W. Patrick Lang

RPE

Babak has it exactly right. those who were allowed to do so fought for Iran, and rather well.

A number of officers of the Imperial Navy had been educated at the British Naval Academy, the Citadel and VMI. Most of these went into the Imperial Iranian Marines (or landing force, I know not which they were named). A lot of these men were killed in the fighting at Khorramshar in the first year of the war. It was, as was said of Hue in '68, Stalingrad with palm trees. pl

rpe

Colonel Lang,

Well it sure is a comfort to know that these people will surrender as soon as we drop a few bombs on them. I wonder why the Iraqis never thought to to that.

rpe

COl. Lang & Babak,

I wonder if Mr. Ahmadinejad perhaps believes that an attack from America is inevitable sooner or later and that -- with America in a very vulnerable position in Iraq now -- sooner is better than later. If the Iranian forces succeed in inflicting very heavy casualties on us, Mr. Ahmadinejad could correctly, I believe, think that we would be averse to any further neocon adventuring in the Near East for several decades to come. This would give Iran the time to more fully develop its economy and industrial infrastructure for what he would see as the inevitable battle against Israel. His remarks about Israel, his taunting of America as a declining power, and his unhidden contempt for the West in general could be meant to provoke a military reaction from us. While Rumsfeld and company scare the hell out of me, their abysmal performance in Iraq probably doesn't scare the generation of Iranian men who survived the Iran-Iraq war.
Ahmadinejad's generation is coming of age and coming to power in Iran. They were deeply scarred by the war which they saw as the rest of the world conspiring with Saddam Hussein to deny Iran its rightful place in the world. These are not men who can be intimidated. Any war with them will be long, bloody, and bitter.
While much is being made of all the former Revolutionary Guards that Mr. Ahmadinejad has elevated to positions of power in the various Iranian bureaucracies, I've read nothing about the officers of the regular army. From Colonel Lang's description, they were a formidable group of men and I wonder what part they are playing in all this?

RJJ

Sow the wind. What will be the response of the Absolute Executive to the blowback from this. Is the Enabling Act on file somewhere?

Babak Makkinejad

rpe:

I do not know any thing about the military capabilities of the regular Iranian armed forces beyond what I have learnt form open sources.

What I can conlude is that the Iranian armed forces, regular or irregular, have been trained together in irregular warfare tactics as their primary manner of war fighting.

Against US, Iran does not have to win. It just needs not to loose to be considered victor.

Beyond US and Iran, all these only serves to make the world more dangeors.

The use of chemical weapons in Iran-Iraq War, the War of Kosovo, and the War against Iraq have sent a loud and clear signal to any state that aspires to chart and independent policy course to arm itself with WMD since the Western Alliance is behaving essentially cpariciously.

Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

If the hudna includes East Jerusalem in the Palestinian hands, then it has a chance to be durable.

I suspect that Iran will go along with whatever Hamas accepts.

On the subject of Israel's acceptance or rejection by the wider Arab and Muslim World :

If Israel becomes a vassal state of a Mulsim power then it could be acceptd. Essentially that means that Israel has to become something like Armenia or Georgia.

Since the current President and Defence Minister of Israel are both Iranians, it follows that Israel could be easily made into a satrapi of the reconstituted Persian Empire; a.k.a. United Islamic Republic.

W. Patrick Lang

Babak

Don't get too wrapped up in someone's propaganda.

It is true that Iraq used chemical weapons in the Iran War.

It is not true that the US used chemical weapons in either of the situations you mention. White Phosphorus, depleted uranium tank ammunition and riot control agents like CS are not "chemical weapons" under the terms of any convention. pl

Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

I did not mean to imply that US used chemical weapons in Kosvo War or the recent war in Iraq.

Rather this:

Yuoslavia was an unoffical NATO member. Their military was built around fighting an invading Red Army. The Kosovo War, with all pretexts and excuses, was a war of choice by the Western Alliance against a state that was not a threat to them and was not seeking a war with them. Nevertheless, a war was initiated in pursuit of humantiarian fantasies.

In Iraq, likewise, US started a war against a state that was not a threat againt US and was not seeking a war with US.

ali

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-2136638,00.html has tens of thousands of Iranian martyrdom bombers poised to dash to Basra and deal with the "wily" English. That's an awful lot of human ordinance to face. Those useless SA80's will melt.

Are these people really nuts or do they just sign up to get a party card?

RJJ

Our crazies are inciting their crazies. This provides cover for our crazies. But we are in more immediate danger from our crazies than from theirs.

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