Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Climactic Moment for Iran

 

Isolated Iran leader lashes out at Europe as nations join US in ramping up pressure

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Friday lashed out at Germany, the U.K. and France, calling them the “footmen of the U.S.,” days after the European countries moved to sanction the Islamic Republic for violating the controversial 2015 nuclear deal.

“The threat of the French & German govts & the vicious British govt to send Iran’s case to the Security Council proved once again that they are the footmen of the US,” Khamenei said on Twitter. “These 3 countries are the ones who helped [former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein] as much as they could in his war against us.”

…He appeared to mock Trump and others who had backed the protesters marching in the streets against Khamenei, dismissing “these American clowns who falsely and despicably say that they are standing with the Iranian people.”

“You are lying,” he said. “If you do stand with the Iranian people it is because you want to stick your poisoned dagger into the back of the Iranian nation. Of course you haven’t been able to do that so far, and you won’t be able to do a damn thing.”

In the last decade, three times the Iranian people have gone to the streets in mass. Multiple millions of protesters risking their lives against a tyrannical regime. The Iranian population is much more educated than many other Muslim-majority countries. The people are well aware of the world situation. They obviously desire a democratic government that intends to economically advance Iran improving the quality of their lives.

They know that the Mullahs will never allow this but continue to foment dangerous conflicts that disrupt Iran’s future. Of course, between the Mullahs and the people is the military establishment. They have so far gambled that the far superior military forces aligned against Iran will not be used. They participate in the repression of their own people and a foreign policy of aggression through both proxies and open attacks such as on the Saudi oil fields and in the Strait of Hormuz.

Meanwhile, Trump has been playing a slow game of increasing pressure. Instead of overreacting to their provocations he ratchets up the pressure through increasingly tight financial sanctions and additional military allies and assets available. The killing of Soleimani is a symbolic move that will make it clear to the Iranian military that anything is now possible in terms of military force brought against them. Khamenei’s saber-rattling and insults sound increasingly hollow. At some point, this regime will crack. We may not be there yet but we are getting very close.

.

Published in Foreign Policy, Islamist Terrorism
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 13 comments.

  1. Susan Quinn Contributor

    I hope you’re right, Jim. It’s time for the regime to go–it should have happened a long time ago.

    • #1
    • January 17, 2020, at 10:04 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  2. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I hope you’re right, Jim. It’s time for the regime to go–it should have happened a long time ago.

    Suzy,

    I hope I’m right too. It will be interesting to see how the impeachment plays into it. Khamenei may assume that the pressure is off because Trump is on the ropes. However, if (and when) the impeachment fizzles the snapback on Iran may hit them even harder.

    Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #2
    • January 17, 2020, at 10:24 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  3. ctlaw Coolidge

    Imagine if Obama had not given them the $150b. Trump could have walked into office and tweeted that there was $10k per Iranian family waiting for the overthrow of the theocracy.

    • #3
    • January 17, 2020, at 1:20 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  4. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    ctlaw (View Comment):

    Imagine if Obama had not given them the $150b. Trump could have walked into office and tweeted that there was $10k per Iranian family waiting for the overthrow of the theocracy.

    ct,

    Obama’s guilt goes much farther than just the money. He turned his back on the first mass demonstration of the people’s desire for freedom. For an American president to have done such a thing was sick. The Iran Deal was Obama’s twisted substitute for simply supporting the Iranian people in their desire to be done with the Mullahs.

    The lies of the Obama years were perverse and relentless. However, the truth will finally out and justice will be served. I’m not sure exactly when but I am sure it’s coming soon.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #4
    • January 17, 2020, at 1:41 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  5. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    James Gawron: In the last decade, three times the Iranian people have gone to the streets in mass. Multiple millions of protesters risking their lives against a tyrannical regime. The Iranian population is much more educated than many other Muslim majority countries. The people are well aware of the world situation. They obviously desire a democratic government that intends to economically advance Iran improving the quality of their lives.

    I don’t know, Jim.

    It is very hard to get accurate information about what goes on in Iran. Reporting about 10 days ago (Fox here, France24 here) indicates that huge crowds turned out after Soleimani’s death, in pro-regime demonstrations. According to the AP (here): “Police said the throng numbered into the millions. Although there was no independent estimate, aerial footage and Associated Press journalists suggested a turnout of at least a million.”

    So, perhaps a million, perhaps more, Iranians have gone into the streets in mass — in the last 2 weeks — to support the Iranian regime and its terrorist mastermind.

    I do not think that the Iranian people desire a democratic government. I strongly suspect that, like everyone else in the Middle East (as far as I can tell), the Iranian people are a hodge-podge of brutal, violent factions, devoted to a violent religion, angling for power. I strongly suspect that the choice is between one violent Muslim strongman, or another, or another — and who knows how many factions there may be.

    If you disagree, name me one single Middle Eastern Muslim country that has ever had a stable, decent, representative government. It seems to me that the range of options is bad to worse.

    I really wish that I could believe that there were a bunch of Iranians just aching for Tocquevillian democracy, or even a decent British-style parliamentary system. I don’t think that they exist. At best, you might have five guys in the Iranian People’s Front (or wait, was it the Popular Front?).

    • #5
    • January 17, 2020, at 3:01 PM PST
    • Like
  6. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    James Gawron: In the last decade, three times the Iranian people have gone to the streets in mass. Multiple millions of protesters risking their lives against a tyrannical regime. The Iranian population is much more educated than many other Muslim majority countries. The people are well aware of the world situation. They obviously desire a democratic government that intends to economically advance Iran improving the quality of their lives.

    I don’t know, Jim.

    It is very hard to get accurate information about what goes on in Iran. Reporting about 10 days ago (Fox here, France24 here) indicates that huge crowds turned out after Soleimani’s death, in pro-regime demonstrations. According to the AP (here): “Police said the throng numbered into the millions. Although there was no independent estimate, aerial footage and Associated Press journalists suggested a turnout of at least a million.”

    So, perhaps a million, perhaps more, Iranians have gone into the streets in mass — in the last 2 weeks — to support the Iranian regime and its terrorist mastermind.

    I do not think that the Iranian people desire a democratic government. I strongly suspect that, like everyone else in the Middle East (as far as I can tell), the Iranian people are a hodge-podge of brutal, violent factions, devoted to a violent religion, angling for power. I strongly suspect that the choice is between one violent Muslim strongman, or another, or another — and who knows how many factions there may be.

    If you disagree, name me one single Middle Eastern Muslim country that has ever had a stable, decent, representative government. It seems to me that the range of options is bad to worse.

    I really wish that I could believe that there were a bunch of Iranians just aching for Tocquevillian democracy, or even a decent British-style parliamentary system. I don’t think that they exist. At best, you might have five guys in the Iranian People’s Front (or wait, was it the Popular Front?).

    Jerry,

    I think you are comparing apples and oranges. The people who turned out for Soleimani were directed by the government with government money paying for their participation.

    Soleimani: Why huge crowds turned out for Iran commander’s funeral

    For years, whenever they were short of answers to big problems facing the country, Iranian leaders have relied on mass shows of popular support. Historically, rallies have been to intimidate and silence opposition.

    The organisers are now expert in their work. From declaring national holidays to rallying university students or demanding that military personnel and government employees come out with their families, every method of gathering crowds has been used.

    Buses, trains and trucks are provided to transport people from villages and towns across Iran to rallies that are relentless advertised by state TV.

     

    The spontaneous demonstrations against the regime were at the risk of the lives and livelihoods of the citizens who participated. I can’t imagine a greater demonstration for political regime change. It is the equivalent of Hong Kong’s defiance of Bejing.

    The Anger and Anguish Fuelling Iran’s Protests

    The pace of protests is now more frequent, the tone more anti-establishment, and the government’s reaction more violent, Vaez told me. “The leadership’s abject failure to allow any serious reforms has brought the system to a dead-end. It is unlikely to regain the trust and support of the middle class and is increasingly losing the support of its own more pious/poorer constituents.”

    Protests alone will not end the regime, especially if the military continues to support the regime. However, at some point, even the military may come to see the regime as a lost cause. That hasn’t happened yet but if there should be an opportunity I think a state with some real democratic institutions will be possible. Tocquevillian democracy or a decent British-style parliamentary system are both unnecessary stereotypes that aren’t relevant in this situation. Breaking free of the Mullah based theocracy will already be a major step in the right direction. Remember this is a theocracy that openly preaches Jihad on a regular basis. Jihad is a megalomaniacal paranoid ideology that is poison to anything remotely like a liberal society. The fact of the Iranian educational level has nothing to do with their yearning for democracy but rather their ability to understand that the theocracy holds them back from both a free and an economically successful future.

    As I said in the post, we aren’t there yet but I think we are getting close.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #6
    • January 18, 2020, at 6:59 PM PST
    • 1 like
  7. Steve C. Member

    James Gawron:

    They obviously desire a democratic government that intends to economically advance Iran improving the quality of their lives.

     

    Maybe that’s what we think they want. But it ain’t necessarily so.

    I think it’s safe to assume they want “better than what we have now” or “a government that works for the many, not just the few”. They would be satisfied with a simulacrum of democracy and a growing economy.

    • #7
    • January 19, 2020, at 1:44 PM PST
    • 1 like
  8. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    James Gawron:

    They obviously desire a democratic government that intends to economically advance Iran improving the quality of their lives.

     

    Maybe that’s what we think they want. But it ain’t necessarily so.

    I think it’s safe to assume they want “better than what we have now” or “a government that works for the many, not just the few”. They would be satisfied with a simulacrum of democracy and a growing economy.

    Steve,

    I think you are underestimating the Iranian people. It isn’t their willingness to be bought off easily that defeated them. It is the brutality and tyrannical single-mindedness of the regime itself. The first time the regime managed to undermine the opposition by framing them as just an elite in Tehran. Obama let it happen without any endorsement of the opposition killing the momentum of the movement. However, these more current rebellions are throughout the country and coming from the poorest people as well.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #8
    • January 19, 2020, at 5:50 PM PST
    • 1 like
  9. Manny Member

    What a difference an administration makes. Trump has been brilliant in his Iranian policies. 180 degrees from Obama. There is truly a chance the Mullahs collapse. I’m not sure I would bet on it, but it certainly is better than $1.5B and the means to getting a nuclear weapon.

    • #9
    • January 19, 2020, at 7:29 PM PST
    • Like
  10. Steve C. Member

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    James Gawron:

    They obviously desire a democratic government that intends to economically advance Iran improving the quality of their lives.

     

    Maybe that’s what we think they want. But it ain’t necessarily so.

    I think it’s safe to assume they want “better than what we have now” or “a government that works for the many, not just the few”. They would be satisfied with a simulacrum of democracy and a growing economy.

    Steve,

    I think you are underestimating the Iranian people. It isn’t their willingness to be bought off easily that defeated them. It is the brutality and tyrannical single-mindedness of the regime itself. The first time the regime managed to undermine the opposition by framing them as just an elite in Tehran. Obama let it happen without any endorsement of the opposition killing the momentum of the movement. However, these more current rebellions are throughout the country and coming from the poorest people as well.

    Regards,

    Jim

    Not at all. The regime might very well fall. Then what? Whoever takes over will face hard choices and hard times. 

    • #10
    • January 20, 2020, at 6:28 AM PST
    • Like
  11. Gary Robbins Reagan

    Despite his many failings, Trump has done a very good job on Iran in the last month.

    Good on Trump on Iran.

    • #11
    • January 20, 2020, at 2:48 PM PST
    • 1 like
  12. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Steve C. (View Comment):
    Whoever takes over will face hard choices and hard times. 

    Steve,

    A semi-democratic peaceful non-Jihadist Iran will have the backing of most of Western Civilization and most of the Islamic world. All economic sanctions will be gone. They will make trade deals every which way. They will immediately have their oil revenue to sustain them at a minimum. Without the Mullahs and the paramilitary breathing down their necks, life in Iran will be a paradise of freedom in comparison to what it is now.

    No, it won’t be easy but it will be instantly better for the people and is very likely to be very successful in short order. Every neighbor who is now threatened will breathe a sigh of relief and will help the new regime.

    Sometimes it really is time to make the move.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #12
    • January 20, 2020, at 5:36 PM PST
    • 1 like
  13. Steve C. Member

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Steve C. (View Comment):
    Whoever takes over will face hard choices and hard times.

    Steve,

    A semi-democratic peaceful non-Jihadist Iran will have the backing of most of Western Civilization and most of the Islamic world. All economic sanctions will be gone. They will make trade deals every which way. They will immediately have their oil revenue to sustain them at a minimum. Without the Mullahs and the paramilitary breathing down their necks, life in Iran will be a paradise of freedom in comparison to what it is now.

    No, it won’t be easy but it will be instantly better for the people and is very likely to be very successful in short order. Every neighbor who is now threatened will breathe a sigh of relief and will help the new regime.

    Sometimes it really is time to make the move.

    Regards,

    Jim

    I hope that’s what happens. 

    • #13
    • January 20, 2020, at 7:48 PM PST
    • Like