March 31, 2006

Iranian Policy- Understanding Their Thought Process

If you are even remotely informed about current events it is no secret that the Iranian government has their own ideas about how the Middle East should look and their own role in the world. Their position is diametrically opposed to many in the West and they show little to no signs of changing their path.

Not suprisingly this has created tension as the West tries to formulate a response to their posturing. Amir Taheri has an interesting commentary about the Iranian mindset that is well worth reading. Take a look at this excerpt:

"Hassan Abbasi has a dream -- a helicopter doing an arabesque in cloudy skies to avoid being shot at from the ground. On board are the last of the "fleeing Americans," forced out of the Dar al-Islam (The Abode of Islam) by "the Army of Muhammad." Presented by his friends as "The Dr. Kissinger of Islam," Mr. Abbasi is "professor of strategy" at the Islamic Republic's Revolutionary Guard Corps University and, according to Tehran sources, the principal foreign policy voice in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's new radical administration.

For the past several weeks Mr. Abbasi has been addressing crowds of Guard and Baseej Mustadafin (Mobilization of the Dispossessed) officers in Tehran with a simple theme: The U.S. does not have the stomach for a long conflict and will soon revert to its traditional policy of "running away," leaving Afghanistan and Iraq, indeed the whole of the Middle East, to be reshaped by Iran and its regional allies.

To hear Mr. Abbasi tell it the entire recent history of the U.S. could be narrated with the help of the image of "the last helicopter." It was that image in Saigon that concluded the Vietnam War under Gerald Ford. Jimmy Carter had five helicopters fleeing from the Iranian desert, leaving behind the charred corpses of eight American soldiers. Under Ronald Reagan the helicopters carried the bodies of 241 Marines murdered in their sleep in a Hezbollah suicide attack. Under the first President Bush, the helicopter flew from Safwan, in southern Iraq, with Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf aboard, leaving behind Saddam Hussein's generals, who could not believe why they had been allowed live to fight their domestic foes, and America, another day. Bill Clinton's helicopter was a Black Hawk, downed in Mogadishu and delivering 16 American soldiers into the hands of a murderous crowd.

According to this theory, President George W. Bush is an "aberration," a leader out of sync with his nation's character and no more than a brief nightmare for those who oppose the creation of an "American Middle East." Messrs. Abbasi and Ahmadinejad have concluded that there will be no helicopter as long as George W. Bush is in the White House. But they believe that whoever succeeds him, Democrat or Republican, will revive the helicopter image to extricate the U.S. from a complex situation that few Americans appear to understand.

Mr. Ahmadinejad's defiant rhetoric is based on a strategy known in Middle Eastern capitals as "waiting Bush out." "We are sure the U.S. will return to saner policies," says Manuchehr Motakki, Iran's new Foreign Minister.

Mr. Ahmadinejad believes that the world is heading for a clash of civilizations with the Middle East as the main battlefield. In that clash Iran will lead the Muslim world against the "Crusader-Zionist camp" led by America. Mr. Bush might have led the U.S. into "a brief moment of triumph." But the U.S. is a "sunset" (ofuli) power while Iran is a sunrise (tolu'ee) one and, once Mr. Bush is gone, a future president would admit defeat and order a retreat as all of Mr. Bush's predecessors have done since Jimmy Carter.

Mr. Ahmadinejad also notes that Iran has just "reached the Mediterranean" thanks to its strong presence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. He used that message to convince Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to adopt a defiant position vis-à-vis the U.N. investigation of the murder of Rafiq Hariri, a former prime minister of Lebanon. His argument was that once Mr. Bush is gone, the U.N., too, will revert to its traditional lethargy. "They can pass resolutions until they are blue in the face," Mr. Ahmadinejad told a gathering of Hezbollah, Hamas and other radical Arab leaders in Tehran last month."

Whom ever follows Bush is going to be very important. They will help to prove or disprove this theory that they are floating. For all of our sakes I hope that we hold our ground.

7 comments:

The Misanthrope said...

Maybe I read it wrong, but that sounds like something the neo-conservative right would write to keep us in the Middle East, when all others before us have failed. Certainly we could have succeeded had we instituted a proper and legitimate plan. Instead we went into Iraq under such flimsy reasons and thus tainted the entire operation and whatever good we might have done.

We evicted one leader and left a vacuum, what a mistake.

BW said...

'The U.S. does not have the stomach for a long conflict and will soon revert to its traditional policy of "running away,"'

Unfortunately, there is an increasing pacifistic attitude in this country and western societies in general to stand up against those who have openly and clearly stated in no uncertain terms, a desire to do harm to the US and Israel. Added to that is the propensity of this countries historical predominance for taking a short-term view to foreign policy, not lasting much beyond any single administration, wish feeds into the view that the US is running away. To this further add in a lack of real depth in understanding, or appreciating adequately, middle eastern history and the reasons underlying ME extremism and especially the political Islamic mindset, together with a mentality of often going for the quick fix and further a great deal of inconsistency in dealing with ME issues, all added together with many other items, the above may be an accurate statement.

Jack's Shack said...

Misanthrope,

You may be right in that it does sound like something that coud have been written by the right. But at the same time it doesn't mean that the information/analysis is incorrect.

As you have probably read our so called allies Russia and France didn't help to prevent our going in, they just muddied the waters and added to the chaos.

It made it all worse.

BW,

THe US tends to operate with a very short memory.

Zeruel said...

A nuclear equipped Iran is just something the world will need to live with. With U.S. aggression in the region, rightly so Iran feels threatened. Those crazy neocon ideologues are more dangerous to peace and stability in the region and the world than Iran's nuclear program. Deception and lies brought war to Iraq, but with it also the collapse of the strategic value of their ideology. Iraq now is more dangerous than it was before the invasion. And to think so many have lost life and limb for it just underlines the moral bankruptcy of the neocon agenda.

And the U.S. is very selective when it concerns nuclear capabilities. Intransigence towards India and Pakistan, hardline towards Iran. I don't think with previous hostilities between India and Pakistan over Kashmir and the brooding militancy in Pakistan that these regions are any more stable for nuclear weapons than Iran. Yet, not a word from Bush.

All muscle showing is directed towards the middle-east. First Iraq, now Iran. The rapid militarization and economic expansion of Asia(primarily China) is a daunter challenge for the U.S. than the everlasting disputes in the middle-east. Yet the U.S. seems to be only concentrated on this. Something to do with Israel?

Jack's Shack said...

A nuclear equipped Iran is just something the world will need to live with. With U.S. aggression in the region, rightly so Iran feels threatened.

I absolutely disagree with you. Ahmadinejad has said that he wants to wipe Israel off of the map, repeatedly. He has made many threats and we learned not to ignore this kind of stuff.

I haven't any problem with doing what it takes to take him out and or remove his ability to be a threat.

The issue is not the US. The US is not the threat that Iran. There is an ideology out there that is unacceptable.

I believe that this quote is very true.is true:

"In a more culturally confident age, the British in India were faced with the practice of "suttee" - the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. Gen. Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural:

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks, and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."

Stephen (aka Q) said...

Interesting post, Jack. Each piece of information leads me to the same two conclusions.

(1) It was a mistake to go into Iraq. The USA has its hands full, but the Iraq diversion did nothing to further the "war on terror". Now Iran is taking advantage of the situation, knowing that the USA lacks the military resources, the financial resources, and public support to go aggressively into Iran. So they can make outrageous statements and openly develop new weapons with impunity.

(2) Now that the USA is in Iraq, they have to see it through — mistake or not. To withdraw before the job is finished would be akin to rewarding terrorism. Radical Muslims would conclude that you just have to make things ugly enough, long enough, and the West will always flee with its tail between its legs. We can't afford to let our enemies (and make no mistake, they are mortal enemies) come to that conclusion.

It stinks: disagreeing with the war but thinking that we have to see it through now that it's begun. The West will pay for Bush's decision to go into Iraq for a long, long time.

Jack's Shack said...

Now Iran is taking advantage of the situation, knowing that the USA lacks the military resources, the financial resources, and public support to go aggressively into Iran.

Q,

I don't know that I agree with this. We still have enough troops and resources to go after Iran. It is not all that hard to take the country, it is much harder to hold onto it.

As for public support, well that is a different animal altogether. The threats and postures from Iran are not all that much of a deterrent.

I am not convinced that we won't see movement against Iran.