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Iran: the hidden power
April 14, 2007 7:35 PM   Subscribe

The war in Iran has already begun. "Iran's leadership proclaims its confidence and ambition but it draws power from a western threat that enables it to target and crush grassroots protest." Opinion and analysis from the authors of Iran on the Brink.
posted by Abiezer (26 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yeah, this dynamic has been obvious for a while. Back in 2003, I was telling friends that confrontation with Iran would just empower the hardliners and it did as was evident from the election of Mr. Ahamdinejad. I figured it was purposeful, in that the US wanted a pretext to go to war, and Iran hardliners are more likely to give such a pretext and more moderate leaders, thus the US behaved in such a fashion as to empower the hardliners.
posted by bhouston at 8:03 PM on April 14, 2007


You can call the above my own little conspiracy theory. I guess I should just assume the US is f-ing stupid, but I always though the "leader of the free world" was supposed to be smart. Thus I've been torn on this theory for a while.
posted by bhouston at 8:04 PM on April 14, 2007


I had heard this same thing from a friend of mine who had recently visited Iran.

The reactionary religious leaders use the constant threat from the West as a source of their political power. A lot of Iranians (not all) are modern, intellectual, and frankly tired of these leaders, but if Bush were to do something so stupid as attack Iran somehow, he would completely unite the nation.

It is almost as if these politicians of the West and the Middle East need each other (as enemies) in order to keep their power.
posted by eye of newt at 8:07 PM on April 14, 2007


eye of newt wrote: "It is almost as if these politicians of the West and the Middle East need each other (as enemies) in order to keep their power."

I think that was the thesis of a BBC show called "The Power of Nightmares" except it was referring to confrontation between the Sunni Al Qaeda and the Neoconservatives rather than between the Iran Shiite Mullahs and the Neoconservatives. It's a great program though, although a bit sensational in parts.
posted by bhouston at 8:11 PM on April 14, 2007


It is almost as if these politicians of the West and the Middle East need each other (as enemies) in order to keep their power.

"Almost"? I'd say absolutely. In one fashion or another, that's been the story of nation states since they started.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:13 PM on April 14, 2007


Pain
posted by wallstreet1929 at 8:29 PM on April 14, 2007


A powerful enemy is a great unifier of people and a great excuse to smash those who won't unify.
posted by SaintCynr at 8:33 PM on April 14, 2007


It's also worth pointing out that Iran's accusations that revolutionaries in their country are aiding the enemy could be literally and precisely true. We've been known to do similar things in the past. Fomenting revolution is considered more or less routine intervention. So that gives the government a good amount of credibility. They're PROBABLY nasty authoritarian assholes, but that's not entirely certain. They really could be reacting to nasty shit we're doing over there that our media conveniently forgets to tell us about.

We're still facing blowback from bad polciies 20 or 30 years ago.....we pay for mistakes for a long time.
posted by Malor at 8:34 PM on April 14, 2007


Pain? Try aspirin.

Farm out. Right arm on.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:36 PM on April 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


thus the US war profiteers behaved in such a fashion as to empower the hardliners.

Fixed that for you.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:00 PM on April 14, 2007


In 2002, if we had decided that Iran was the target we needed to go after instead of Iraq, and if we had the backing of the rest of the world the way we did with Afghanistan, we might have had a reasonable chance of beating them in a conventional war.

In 2007, with our exhausted forces spread thin over two hostile and active combat areas, were we to do something as phenomenally stupid as attack Iran, we would not just lose, we would lose in a way that would make Vietnam look like the 'Slam dunk' that pundits seem to love to talk about.

Let's look at the facts: Iran is not a fractured state in the same way that Iraq was; Where Iraq was the lands of three separate cultures redrawn as a country, Iran is a 6000 year old Persian stronghold with a very strong sense of identity.

This is not a culture that has been broken by a despot, this is a culture that has a huge young male population of fighting age, because a recent Shaw saw the writing on the wall and told his people to go forth and breed.

If we think the insurgency in Iraq is a problem, imagine the idea of 1,000,000 disaffected young men with a problem with America.

If we go into Iran, it will be a slaughter. And we will be the meat.

Sure, we could employ nuclear weapons, but after the Israeli attacks, they learned to move their weapons underground, so even that might not actually end anyone.

With close relatives in the military, I will make it my point to shout down anyone who beats the drum for a war with a group that we will lose against.

Iran might be a really bad state (maybe), but here and now, we won't beat them in a fair fight.
posted by quin at 10:06 PM on April 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


U.S. Decides Against Freeing 5 Iranian Agents
posted by homunculus at 10:12 PM on April 14, 2007


It's worked for Bush for years...
posted by Artw at 10:13 PM on April 14, 2007


A war against Iran would clearly be futile, whatever it’s goals. But we should understand that Iran is not an ethnically homogeneous nation (51% ethnic Persian).
posted by thrako at 10:49 PM on April 14, 2007


Iran might be a really bad state (maybe), but here and now, we won't beat them in a fair fight.

That is not a concern; the USA does not fight fairly. The Geneva Convention rules are off the table.

I'm sure Iran won't fight fairly either.

IIRC the USA has been at war with Persia since the founding of the nation. Iran has always been an important trading port, though moreso in the days of sail and steam.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:55 PM on April 14, 2007


"But we should understand that Iran is not an ethnically homogeneous nation (51% ethnic Persian)."

Ah, perfect! Then we can start a civil war there, too! And you just watch: the Bakhtiaris and Qashqai will welcome us as liberators! Huzzah!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:14 AM on April 15, 2007


The reactionary religious leaders use the constant threat from the West Terrorist as a source of their political power.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 1:11 AM on April 15, 2007


'Terrorists'. Plural, damn it, plural.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 1:13 AM on April 15, 2007


Jeez, it's almost like people want a war to happen.
posted by Deathalicious at 2:59 AM on April 15, 2007


Iraq pop: 26mil
Iran pop: 70mil

Iraq GDP: 89 billion (2005)
Iran GDP: 610 billion (2005)

The stats go on like that. Iran is not an Iraq or Afghanistan. Also, Russia.
posted by stbalbach at 6:52 AM on April 15, 2007


How did Iraq manage to have a GDP?
posted by five fresh fish at 8:45 AM on April 15, 2007


Well, I thought we'd have already started the airstrikes by now, given the three CVN groups either in range or very close.

I don't know what's holding Bush back. I'd say "rationality", but that's obviously not the case. Maybe it's the funding battle -- nothing like another war to solidify the opposition to the current one. Maybe he's just drunk.
posted by eriko at 11:19 AM on April 15, 2007


Crackdown on the Secret War Against Iran
posted by homunculus at 11:36 AM on April 15, 2007


Bonded at Birth: How a CIA Coup d'État in Iran and My Life Became One
posted by homunculus at 11:40 AM on April 15, 2007


‘Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran.’
posted by homunculus at 10:54 AM on April 19, 2007


Wow, McCain really is a fucking idiot, isn't he?
posted by Artw at 1:09 PM on April 19, 2007


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