Middle East Crisis Du Jour

Middle East Crisis Du Jour
Vol: 93 Issue: 15 Monday, June 15, 2009

In the hours immediately following the publication of the election results in Iran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameni officially “welcomed” the results that showed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sweeping the election by two-to-one over his nearest challenger.

By Saturday night, the streets were swollen with protesters. By Sunday, Western news organizations were reporting that protesters were being killed in the streets of Tehran.

This morning, there are two competing headlines concerning the Ayatollah and the election. The London Sunday Times’ headline reads:

“Iran’s Supreme Leader Orders Election Inquiry as Opposition Defies Rally Ban.”

CNN International’s headline (posted four hours ago, according to Google), reads: “Tehran Tense As Iran’s Supreme Leader Endorses Vote Outcome.”

CNN was quoting form the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), who, in this version of reality, called the election a “divine miracle”:

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the record voter turnout in Friday’s election showed Iranians value “resistance against oppressors,” the agency reported.

“Pointing to enemies’ massive propaganda campaign to discourage people from taking part in the elections, Ayatollah Khamenei also said there was really a divine miracle behind this elections, given its results that was 10 million higher than any of the previous ones in the 30-year history of elections in Iran,” IRNA reported.

Don’t believe everything you read. Believe the pictures.

The fact that the Ayatollah and Supreme Council ordered an “investigation” is essentially meaningless. Look at the photo — that’s a little old lady surrounded by Iranian security officers.

Four of them are carrying truncheons. The guy behind her has his raised as he takes aim for the back of her head. The guy in the green shirt beside her just knocked the guy under the motorcycle’s front wheel to the ground.

The guy on the bike is about to open-handed slap her. That picture would be the same if Mousavi had won and Ahmadinejad was the one crying about a stolen election.

The fact is, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the two candidates, so don’t get too caught up in feeling sorry for Mousavi.

Mousavi, like Ahmadinejad, was a hero of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. He was fully involved in the Embassy takeover and hostage crisis.

Mousavi was Prime Minister of Iran from 1981 to 1988 Mousavi fully supported the death fatwa proclaimed against Salman Rusdie for writing “The Satanic Verses”.

When he introduced his cabinet in 1985, he boasted that his interior minister, Ali Akbar Mohtashami, was a religious conservative who d built his reputation while building Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Mousavi opposed ending the eight-year Iran/Iraq War, despite the fact that by 1988, Iran was sending unarmed ten year olds out in the first wave of attacks to use up Iraqi ammunition before sending out what remained of its military-age forces.

The carnage of that war is the reason that 70% of Iran’s population is under 35 and 60% is under 28.

And Mousavi is just as opposed to suspending Iran’s nuclear program as is Ahmadinejad. So don’t buy into the hype that Mousavi is some kind of reformer or that the Iranian Supreme Council cares if the election was fair or not.

If anything, the Ayatollah and Supreme Council are considering how Ahmadinejad’s re-election and the public demonstrations are strengthening Israel’s position.

Assessment:

Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech over the weekend was widely anticipated to create a massive policy rift between Israel and the United States. It didn’t.

Consequently, the Iranian Supreme Council is taking a ‘time out’ to consider their options. Ordering an investigation is not the same thing as saying the election was actually rigged.

It could just as easily be the first step in whitewashing it. It all depends on what the Ayatollahs decide works best.

Until this weekend’s election, Iran had the US eating out of its hand, so to speak. Barack Hussein Obama is begging them to give America one more chance to be friends.

The US media had started doing all these complimentary pieces about Iranian culture, pandering to the Iranians as part of the whole courtship process. It served as a shield against a preemptive Israeli attack.

Barring some provocation, Israel would not dare attack Iran while the US was trying to rehabilitate its relationship. And keeping the world’s attention focused on the “Palestinian problem” kept Israel at bay.

On Sunday, Benjamin Netanyahu defused much of the tension between his country and Washington when he made a declaration of support for Palestinian statehood. It was a brilliant piece of statecraft.

In the speech, Netanyahu said Israel would agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state on the condition that it was demilitarized and that the Palestinians recognized Israel as a Jewish State.

Netanyahu’s codicils of demilitarization and recognition left the Arab side with no option but to reject it, strengthening Netanyahu’s argument that no matter what Israel does, it won’t bring peace.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that the speech “sabotages” regional peace efforts. “Netanyahu’s remarks have sabotaged all initiatives, paralyzed all efforts being made and challenges the Palestinian, Arab and American positions,” he said through spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeinah.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, one of only two Arab governments to make peace with Israel, said the speech “scuttles” any chance for a settlement.

“You won’t find anyone to answer that call in Egypt, or in any other place,” Mubarak was quoted as telling the troops.

Mubarak added that the problems in the Middle East would not be solved until the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was resolved. “The solution to the crises in the Arab and Muslim world lies in Jerusalem,” he said.

So, let’s go back and examine the two points that the Arabs categorically reject. First, the recognition of Israel as a “Jewish” State.

The Palestinians demand a “Palestinian” State. Not just a Palestinian state, but one with no Jews allowed. They also demand that the Jews accept Palestinian ‘refugees’ into Israel, instead of “Palestine”.

The Arab refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state lays bare its true goal to eliminate the Jewish state and replace it with a Palestinian one.

Even if the EU doesn’t really care, it does make it much harder to pretend it doesn’t know about the Arab “final solution” to the Jewish Question. (Even harder than it was when they pretended the same thing in 1945)

The ‘two-state solution” is simply the diplomatic flavor of the month. The Palestinians only support it because Israel rejects it. Now that Netanyahu has opened the door to the idea, its the Arab side backing off.

The second condition, that any new Palestinian state be demilitarized, is not something that Netanyahu invented. It is part and parcel of the Road Map for Peace outlined by the so-called “Quartet.”

The first condition imposed on the Palestinians by the Road Map is that they disarm. Five years later, the Gaza Strip is a huge ammo dump administered by Hamas, who is both the Strip’s legally-elected government and a proxy for Iran.

Even the most anti-Israeli Western government will have a hard time opposing Netanyahu’s conditions in light of the circumstances on the ground. (Like I said, it was a brilliant piece of statecraft.)

So, adding things up, here’s how things appear to be shaping up. The riots in Tehran have the Ayatollahs a bit shaken; they’re not entirely sure how to react, so they’ve ordered an ‘investigation’ to give themselves time.

The expected distraction from Israel didn’t materialize and so the world’s attention is focused on Tehran instead of Tel Aviv. Instead of Washington continuing to court Tehran at Tel Aviv’s expense, the worm may have turned.

Netanyahu met all the US conditions. The Palestinians rejected any conditions, including all of those previously imposed by the road map. The ball is now in Obama’s court.

Which reminds me. Where is Obama, anyway?

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