The complications of Iran

The complications of Iran
: Via Glenn Reynolds, here’s a good roadmap of Iran’s factions, written by an Iranian, echoing the cautions I have been reading in other Iranian weblogs for a few months now. This post warns: Do no support or get anywhere near the MKO (see more posts on this yesterday). Do not support the monarchists (haven’t we been there already?). And take with a grain of salt NITV’s credit-taking for the popular movement now rising up in Iran:

Iran doesn’t need external opposition groups. There are good and brave people aplenty in Iran. There are the ones you can see, in the streets. And there are the ones you can’t see, who have been fighting the mullahs while the rest of us were going about our business. They are in the jails and this is their revolution.

That is the theme of every Iranian weblog I have read and it can all be summarized in three little words: Do not invade.

Which got me to wondering this morning whether we meant it when we said we wanted a popular uprising to topple Saddam. I’ll bet we did, but a cynic would say that we didn’t want that because (1) we would not have had control of next steps in Iraq, (2) Iraq would have been out of control and could have quickly come under the sway of religious fanatics and even civil war, (3) we pushed Iraqis to revolt before, didn’t support them, and didn’t want to find ourselves making that mistake again, and (4) the people were not capable of toppling Saddam without help.

That was Iraq. This is Iran. The situation is different. Our history is different. In Iran, we are clearly better off if democracy is a domestic product and if we are able to provide appropriate support.

  • Well said. I’ve gotten that impression, too–thanks for your support, but let us do it our own way.
    At least we can link, visit, and comment on their sites.

  • Joshua Chamberlain

    Nobody is talking about invading. What the “hawks” are talking about are two very different (but not mutually exclusive) things:
    (1) a raid or series of raids on Iranian nuclear facilities if it appears Iran is about to deploy an A-bomb
    (2) moral, political and financial support to the various opposition groups.
    Michael Ledeen is constantly vilified for advocating invasion, when what he’s advocating is option (2). When people recognize this, they still seem to get in a twist because some of this support would go the Iranian ex-pat community in L.A. which includes (shudders) monarchists. So we get into this battle where the Iran bloggers seem to think its better that we do nothing than do something.
    I don’t know. Look, you can’t make people take help they don’t want, but generally revolutionary movements want aid from foreign powers that share their values. Given the positive view of America Iranians purportedly have, you’d think that general rule would apply here.
    Seems like a number of bloggers have expressed the opinion that overt U.S. aid will only strengthened the regime’s argument that the pro-democracy movement is a U.S. front. Well, it looks like Khamenei and Rafsanjani are making those arguments anyway. If the basiji and Hizb

  • Lola

    umm . . . you might want to read up on Mossadegh – you’ll understand then why the Iranians would like to do it on their own terms.

  • Joshua Cha,berlain

    Mossadeqh was a communist. I’m not going to start apologizing for every regime the U.S. undermined during the Cold War. We needed to win without destroying the world and often supported anti-Communists nobody was real happy with. The Iranians can get in line behind the Chileans and the Vietnamese if they want to pursue that grievance. The Chileans ended up being better off without Allende, the Vietnamese worse off without Diem. Would Iran have been better off as a Soviet satellite? I don’t know, but you might ask the Afghans what they think.

  • button

    Why are these ayatollahs playing around with nukes to begin with? Surely they must realize that the nukes will be their nemesis. I think that any halfway intelligent person considers it a given that we’re not going to let them have a nuclear bomb and, therefore, if they persist, they are DOOMED. Maybe they are just another suicidal cult like Heaven’s Gate et al. You know, we don’t really have a great success record at “interventions” with these suicidal cults.

  • Joshua,
    The issue isn’t really US support. If America wanted to give money and support to some of the well-known and truly heroic journalists in Iran, no one would care what Khamenei could or would say; those people’s credibility is unimpeachable. (And also note that you’ll hear young people in Iran asking for an invasion; they love the US.)
    What Iranians don’t want are groups that they mistrust and see as illegitimate, like the MKO and Monarchists, to use American aid to grab power that they could never get on their own.
    It’s not “let’s do this alone” so much as “if you’re going to help, don’t screw us.”

  • Theodopoulos Pherecydes

    I don’t know much about NITV’s influence but I notice they have a comedian who plays a “mad mullah”. I often believe one of the great weapons against tyrants is ridicule.

  • The woman who wrote that is an idiot as many of the Iranian bloggers are and it’s too bad. I hope the leadership of the people seeking democracy in that country are a far cut above her. She’s like the abortion crazies here or the Left or Nazis.
    I’m reading some of the blogs and I am not encouraged by the level of the thinking.

  • The “Howard Veit” post directly above is spam. Don’t click the link to his site (note that the URL is NOT blogspot.)