June 28, 2010 | Faster, Please!

Seeing Iran Plain

The apologists for the Iranian regime generate so much nonsense that a whole crew of fact checkers could be gainfully employed simply exposing them. Let’s take two: “the Islamic Republic has never invaded anybody,” and, “the regime is in control, the opposition is dead.”  The first is invoked to silence anyone who wants to take action, even limited political action, against the Islamic Republic. The second is used to discredit those of us who have been calling for our governments to help the Iranian people in their urgent efforts to gain freedom.

In fact, Iran is one of the world’s principal aggressors. On the one hand, the regime has unleashed its proxy forces — most significantly, the revolutionary guards, but also Hamas, Hezbollah, and Al Qaeda — throughout the Middle East, East Africa, and South America.  Americans have been the primary victims of this proxy war, from the Marine barracks bombing in Lebanon in 1983 to the current campaign against our soldiers and diplomats in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Saudis can testify to attacks by Iranian proxies on numerous occasions, as can the Argentines, who have indicted several Iranian leaders for mass murder in Buenos Aires.

But Iran does not limit its aggression to the use of proxies. Virtually unnoticed by the chattering classes, Tehran is waging open war against Iraq.  More precisely, against the Kurds in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Iranian campaign involves both ground troops and air assaults, and seems to be carried out in tandem with their new Turkish allies.  Here’s the beginning of the UPI  report:

    SULEIOMANIYAH, Iraq, June 24 (UPI) — The Turkish military has mounted several attacks on Kurdish separatist bases in northern Iraq in recent days as Ankara’s 26-year war with its troublesome minority, one of the world’s longest-running guerrilla conflicts, swells yet again.

    At the same time, Iran has intensified its operations against its own Kurdish separatists holed up in the Qandil mountains of northern Iraq, including incursions across the rugged border.

    This two-pronged assault on the groups sheltering in Iraqi Kurdistan has put Baghdad in the middle of a fight involving two of its neighbors, both of whom seek to influence events in the oil-rich country as U.S. forces withdraw.

And here’s Le Monde:

    Iranian troops, like the Turkish ones, do not hesitate to enter Iraqi territory to track down the (Kurdish) rebels and to conduct cross-border operations, either alone or with Ankara…

    Since early June, Iranian soldiers have multiplied their incursions beyond their borders. Already in May a helicopter crossed the line to attack a village. In December, 2009, Tehran had partially occupied the Fakka oil field inside Iraq…

Back in the Clinton years, I  remarked that it seems to be a fixed principal of American foreign policy to betray the Kurds at least once every 10 years, and we have certainly respected the rules. But this is considerably worse, for not only do we leave the Kurds at the mercy of the two big Islamist countries;  we have failed to guarantee the territorial integrity of Iraq, which is a much more serious matter.

So I think it’s fair to say that anyone who claims that Iran has not launched military attacks outside its territory is either misinformed or dissembling. Quite the contrary;  the Islamic Republic has conducted lethal military operations all over the world for decades.

And as for the presumed strengths of the regime and the death of the opposition, here too reality is quite different from the conventional wisdom. Anyone looking at the behavior of the Iranian regime today has to be astonished at the deep cracks among the leadership, and the increasingly explicit condemnation of the regime from all sectors of the opposition.

Hardly a day goes by without open conflict among the leading darknesses of the regime. Take for example the counterintuitive debate over women’s clothes.  You might have thought there was no room for disagreement on this subject, as any woman showing too much hair or skin has been rounded up and turned over to the sadistic beasts in the prison system.  But you’d be wrong;  of late, one of the top leaders — President Ahmadinezad himself — has been calling for easing the dress code.  Imagine!  And he’s been savaged by the hard-liners, his own people.  Why is he doing it?  I wouldn’t venture a guess.  The important thing is that there are now angry debates within a regime that clearly does not know what to do.

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