Tag: Ayatollah Khomeini

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Andrew McCarthy is wrong this time. He calls not only for a policy of regime change but also for President Trump to call for “regime change” in Iran. McCarthy should pay closer attention to the history of American presidents talking up “liberation” or regime change. Consider both President Eisenhower and President George H.W. Bush, and […]

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Trumping Middle East Hands: Iran [Updated]

 

Start from the position that the Iranian people are hostages in their own country to a regime based on an idea, perhaps an ideology, concocted in the 1970s and propounded clearly only after Khomeini’s faction had control in the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Consider that there has been popular unrest against the regime. Factor in that the rulers are savvy and ruthless, with an elite military force keeping the regular military and the populace in check, while extending regime influence regionally and globally. The Khomeinists seem to have a strong hand, with some high cards, so how do we set about trumping their hand? Moving towards answers that are feasible takes more than hand-waving and posturing.

The U.S. military has long recognized that it was only one instrument in Uncle Sam’s tool belt, and that military strategy needed to be integrated with plans and actions by the rest of the government. This became called a “whole of government” approach. For many years, military officers, in their advanced schooling, were instructed in consideration of four “instruments of national power:” Diplomacy, Information, Military, and Economy (DIME).

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Middle East Players: Iran

 

The latest news about “Iran” comes across as more irritation from a region that seems to always be in conflict. Moreover, the news and commentary tend to be divorced from actual history, allowing vague hand-waving, finger-pointing, and shoulder-shrugging. What follows is an attempt at a bit more definite hand-waving over the map, placing Iran briefly in their own historic context, touching on Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey as the other centers of power over the centuries.

It is not “those people.” It is not “that place.” It is not even “Islam.” Don’t take my word for it:

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The Hand of the Media in the Fall of the Shah

 
Ayatollah Khomeini at a press conference in France (photo: Getty Images/AFP)

Ruhollah Moosavi Khomeini was the pivotal figure in the demise of the Iranian government in 1979. Yet much of the story of Khomeini, like that of Iran in general, is shrouded in a fine mixture of myth, truth, and legend.

In the course of my research into the history of Iran, I had the pleasure of combing through thousands of pages of formerly classified US, British, and Soviet intelligence files. One thing that is clear: No one truly understood Khomeini. Until the ascent of Khomeini, the KGB was fully convinced that he was a stooge of the US and British intelligence agencies, created to take over Iran and save it from communists. How else to explain the way American and European journalists openly fawned over Khomeini, despite their governments’ public support for the Shah? They noted that quite a number of the Iranian dissidents who camped out at Khomeini’s residence in France were people with US and British accents.

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