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MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

Malcom Lagauche

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June 14, 2009

The Iranian election results are in. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won. Those two sentences are about all the publicity that the election warranted.

Until about a month ago, his re-election seemed assured. Then, outside forces intervened and used creative fantasies to portray this as a great historical event. The Western press began to push his closest rival, Mir Hossein Mousavi, as a reformist capable of changing Iran into a fair and just nation that would make friends with the world. Mousavi, a distant second in the polls at the time, was himself surprised at his designation as Iran’s possible savior. His views were similar to those of Ahmadinejad, and, with the subject of Iran’s nuclear program, were identical. The only difference appeared to be Mousavi’s declaration of toning down rhetoric and attempting to gain better relations with the West.

Then, the propaganda machines went into full gear. According to many media pundits, Mousavi’s victory would reverse all the negative aspects of Iran. They began affixing names and colors to the revolution. These were identical to the Western depictions of elections in Czechoslovakia, Ukraine, and other former Soviet republics that the U.S. was courting. Even the bogus Iraqi "elections" of 2005 were designated the "purple" revolution.

With Iran, the same script writers emerged. They tried to affix a name to the occurrences in Iraq, such as the "velvet" revolution. But, I think that name had already been used.

A few days before the election, young Iranians took to the street to show their support of a new Iran. Few, however, realized that Mousavi did not include a revolution in his agenda.

In 1978 and 1979, millions of people took over the streets of Iran in an attempt to force the Shah from the country and change the government. It worked. There was jubilance, but it soon ceased for many Iranians who thought they were getting a new country based on democracy and justice. The movement included people of all political persuasions, especially those of the Iranian left. But, when the smoke cleared, Ataytollah Khomeini sat in the driver’s seat as the head of an Islamic republic. Many political activists who created the revolution were now left out in the cold. A program was quickly instituted in which thousands of pro-revolution activists, who were against the formation of a sectarian state, disappeared. Those who participated in recent street demonstrations seemed to forget the events of 30 years ago.

Now, there are theories about who would have been the better leader in terms of relations with the U.S. and Israel. This speculation is quite absurd. Ahmadinejad is the best choice for furthering the current agendas of both nations.

If Mousavi won and he toned down the language of the regime, Israel would have lost a major target to demonize. Because of this, Israel may have been forced to approach the Palestinian issue in a less harsh manner. But, with a dim-witted president who makes the occasional ridiculous public statement, Israel still has an excuse for its belligerence. "See, he’s threatening to blow up Israel" will still be used by Israelis to continue the nation’s despicable treatment of Palestinians. Plus, no one will question Israel’s nuclear arsenal because the West will infer that Iran is so erratic that it is a threat to Israel’s existence. I would assume that Netanyahu breathed a sigh of relief when the news of Ahmadinejad’s victory reached the media headlines.

Despite all the bluster from the U.S. administration about human rights in Iran, there is no doubt that they are comfortable with Ahmadinejad. Iran has assisted the U.S. many times over the years, all the time being cast as a rogue state by the U.S. Iran gladly accepts this designation in return for all the assistance the U.S. has given the nation.

In 1991, Iranian fighters crossed the border of Iraq and helped begin the Shi’ite insurrection in the south of the country. The U.S. knew this and kept silent. The Iraqi military finally quelled the Iranian-backed coup attempt; an operation that the U.S. thought would work and get rid of Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath Party.

Iran’s presence in Iraq in 2003, after the U.S. invasion, was much more successful and deadly. Iranian-backed militias murdered thousands of people: scholars, doctors, professors, etc. in an attempt to get rid of the intelligentia in Iraq and make it easier for sectarian Shi’ites to come to the forefront. Hundreds of Iraqi pilots who flew for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War were hunted down and assassinated by Iranian agents and Iranian-backed militias. The U.S. had a convenient ally in taking care of dirty business without having to do the work themselves.

Iran has gained a foothold in Iraq that will be hard to reverse. Economically, Iran has benefited greatly from the venture. In the south of Iraq, many signs are in the Farsi language, not Arabic.

The U.S.-Iran tag-team is a balanced alliance, although publicly not admitted. Iran has a strong hold on Iraq and the U.S. has gained much information from Iran about Afghanistan and Iraq. Since Bush’s announcement of the "war on terror," Iran has been a willing partner.

The talk of the U.S. going to war with Iran is absurd. Both have, and continue to, help each other immensely. We can see from Obama’s actions that the public denigration, yet private collaboration with Iran has not changed since the Bush administration and shows no sign of being altered in the near future.

The people who recently took to the streets in Iran were pawns. Their making a hero out of Mousavi did nothing to help their cause. In the long run, Iranian officials may take punitive measures against the duped citizens.

The actions of the young people in Iran and those of the anti-war, progressive left in the U.S. are identical. The U.S. left took a mediocre mainstream U.S. senator and created a mystique about him. Obama became the greatest thing since Jesus roamed the Earth (if he ever existed). After his inauguration, Obama has proven millions of his supporters to be wrong. Some have openly criticized his right-of-center actions, while others, even though they know they were wrong in building up Obama, fail to admit their errors. In both cases, press hoopla began an illogical program of creating images that did not exist for Obama and Mousavi.

What if Mousavi had won? Most thinking journalists have stated that there would be little or no difference. Their reasoning is that no matter who is the president of Iran, the final say in matters comes from the nation’s clerics.

On June 13, 2009, the Associated Press ran an article that delved into the various options that would occur with a victory of either of the candidates. According to the article, "With Nuclear Dispute at Stake, World Reacts Cautiously to Iranian Hard-liner’s Re-election:

Privately, many diplomats at the International Atomic Energy Agency — the Vienna-based U.N. nuclear watchdog — said they expected little change regardless of who wound up in charge of Iran's government.

That's because Iran's main policies and any major decisions, such as possible talks with Washington or nuclear policies, rest with the ruling clerics headed by Iran's unelected supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

"On the nuclear question, it's very clear that the ultimate decision maker is Ayatollah Khamenei," said Mohsen Milani, an expert on Iran at the University of South Florida. At best, he said, Ahmadinejad plays a subtle and nuanced role.

"The central question of security or war and peace is not in his domain. It's unambiguously in the domain of the supreme leader," Milani said.

The reality of Iran’s nuclear program is that if it did have a few nuclear weapons, they would be useless. A pre-emptive nuclear strike against Israel with one nuke would invite a response in minutes of dozens of nukes against Iran. As feeble-minded as Ahmadinejad is, he realizes this fact. Plus, the real powers in Iran would not be stupid enough to unleash an out-dated nuclear weapon against Israel, who possesses limitless stocks of modern devastating weapons in addition to its several hundred nukes.

Many people spoke gleefully of a change of administration in Iran. But, as we see, the administration can only go so far and the clerics would cease any proposed actions that they did not agree with. In all the media frenzy, a report from Al-Jazeera News last week seems to have gone un-noticed. It spoke of the reality of a "revolution" in Iran and who really holds the power in Iran. The piece was called "Iran Guard Warns Reformist Groups:"

The political chief of Iran's Revolutionary Guard has warned reformists in the country against seeking what he called a "velvet revolution", vowing that it would be "nipped in the bud".

Yadollah Javani's comments appeared aimed at Mir Hossein Mousavi, a reformist candidate in the country's presidential elections and followed another day of bitter exchanges between Mousavi and his rival and current president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The Revolutionary Guard is one of the pillars of the Iranian establishment and controls large military forces as well as a nationwide network of militia.

In a statement on its website, Javani drew parallels between Mousavi's campaign and the "velvet revolution'' that led to the 1989 overthrow of the communist government in then Czechoslovakia.

"There are many indications that some extremist [reformist] groups, have designed a colourful revolution ... using a specific colour for the first time in an election," the statement said.

Calling that a "sign of kicking off a velvet revolution project in the presidential elections", Javani vowed that any "attempt for velvet revolution will be nipped in the bud".


Javani also accused the reformists of planning to claim vote rigging and provoke street violence if Mousavi loses

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