Saturday, May 06, 2006

Dumping the ayatollahs

I posted earlier this week about Reza Pahlavi's plans to head a movement to overthrow Iran's mullahocracy from within. Jerusalem Post editor David Horovitz today posts an interview with an American-based Iranian dissident with the National Union for Democracy in Iran who lays out what he thinks it will take to make such a movement a reality. The leader is not identified, but his comments show the complexity involved in overthrowing a regime with sophisticated methods of breaking dissent.

He dismisses widespread popular support for controversial President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:

They did not choose Ahmadinejad. The election was a total fraud. The turnout was far, far lower than claimed. Some of those from poor neighborhoods, south of Teheran, did vote for Ahmadinejad - but not in nearly as high numbers as the regime claimed. Ahmadinejad was also supported by the Revolutionary Guards. These are the same thugs who fought to keep the regime in power.

He also paints a picture reminiscent of Cuba when it comes to many Iranians wanting to get out of the country:

You also see the hatred of the regime in the number of people who have run away from the country. I know many, many people who have risked their lives to flee Iran. Some are living illegally in Turkey, Bulgaria. They drown in major rivers trying to cross to Europe. In the first Turkish cities across the Iranian border, there are huge populations of Iranian refugees, who are prepared to live in horrible conditions, just to flee Iran.

On how the West should react to a nuclear Iran:

They should not be sleeping at night. If they are sleeping at night they are fools. They should take Ahmadinejad at face value. This is no rhetoric for political consumption, or domestic consumption, or international consumption. He means what he says and says what he means. And when I say "he" I mean "they" - the regime.

There's a great deal more interesting observations contained in the interview. Whatever happens in Iran, it will be messy and difficult. It would be tempting to punt. However, the mess will go nowhere and who knows how much more troublesome and deadly it may become if we let this situation brew for several years. I don't see a cold war with the mullahs as an acceptable position. An internal dissolution would be great, but viability of this happening is uncertain at best.


Blogger PotatoStew said...

"An internal dissolution would be great, but viability of this happening is uncertain at best."

On the other hand, what is the likelihood that major military action on our part will increase support for Ahmadinejad?

Blogger Glenn said...

A military attack may in fact increase support for the Iranian regime. Personally, I'd love to see an internal dissolution. However, I don't think the mullahs will go without a fight. Any option we choose on Iran will be a gamble.


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