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The Israeli Threat
by James Dunnigan
August 8, 2008

Discussion Board on this DLS topic

The government continues to fight on several fronts. At home, the secret police have managed to neutralize student reform organizations by jailing the leaders of any groups that show up. Adult reformers are easier to deal with. Threaten their livelihoods, and ability to support their families, and they are tamed. That leaves the Internet pests, who are particularly troublesome because they stay hidden and pass information to foreigners. Attempts to police the Internet have been stymied by exiled Iranians passing on technical tips on how to avoid such censorship. So while there are fewer political demonstrations, the population still seethes, and grows more unruly. Newspapers are now banned if they report economic problems. That sort of things is making people angrier than the loss of political freedom.

In Iraq, things are not going well at all. Last year's surge offensive destroyed al Qaeda, and this year rolled on to crush the pro-Iranian Mahdi Army. Meanwhile, the Iranian backed Badr Brigade (the military arm of the ISCI, or Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq) kept their heads down and played by the rules of electoral politics. While ISCI was kept alive for years inside Iran, they have not shown a lot of gratitude. Most ISCI members are not willing to turn Iraq into a junior partner in Iran's Islamic world empire. ISCI wants more power within Iraq, and doesn't want to share it with Iran.

The continuing government offensive in Iraq is piling up more evidence of Iranian backing of terrorist groups. Dozens of prisoners tell the same story of being trained in Iran. Documents and weapons manufactured in Iran are captured in larger quantities each week. It's not only embarrassing for Iran, but also represents destruction of their network within Iraq. The Iraqis are able to do most of the raiding and policing, leaving U.S. troops to go after the smuggling routes from Iran. The borders are harder for Iraqis to police, since the smugglers use bribes more than bullets to clear the way. The bribes won't work against the Americans, and it's now getting harder to move unwanted people and goods from Iran to Iraq.

Five years of sanctions and diplomacy have weakened Iran, but not stopped their nuclear program. Mismanagement by the clerics who rule Iran have done more damage to the economy (mainly because of corruption, nepotism and favoritism in general) than the sanctions. Having nuclear weapons is popular within Iran. While Iranians don't like their clerical government, they do like the idea of restoring Iran's past glories. Nukes will enable Iran to impose its will on its neighbors, or something like that. Iranians are a little vague on the details, and seem to forget that their Arab neighbors have nuclear armed allies (the U.S., Britain and France). The world is concerned that a more cocky Iran would interfere with oil exports. That would be a disaster for the Iranian clerics, who know that it's only the rising price of oil that is enabling them to buy internal peace (the clerics have the loyalty of about a third of the population, and many of them are on the state payroll). Don't make the payroll, and things could get real ugly real fast. So what do you do with nuclear weapons? Put them in a cargo ship and detonate the device off the coast of Israel? That sounds real enough for the Israelis, who are making really convincing noises about an air attack on the Iranian nuclear weapons program. While the world urges Israeli restraint, all the Israelis can hear are the constant threats from Iranian leaders to "destroy Israel." It was 75 years ago that the German NASDP (the National Socialist German Workers Party) called for the elimination of the Jews. The NASDP soon became the Nazis, took over Germany, went to war and killed over 12 million "enemies" in death camps, half of the victims being Jews. So an Israeli attack on Iran has some credibility, because all concerned can understand that the Israelis are more motivated to stay alive, than the Iranians are to try and kill them all.

In light of the Israeli threat, Iran is hustling to obtain and install Russian S-300 surface-to-air (SAM) missiles. This purchase has been in the works for over a year, and Russia is trying to make deliveries this year. U.S. intelligence believes the missiles won't arrive until early next year. Meanwhile, the Iranian crews and technicians are being trained by the Russians. Currently, Iran only has some short range modern SAMs, plus a lot of old stuff that the Israelis could easily blow past.

The Iranian government constantly demonstrates its willingness to use terror even against its own people. This week, 29 common criminals were hung at a rare mass execution. Most of these guys were involved with drugs. Still in the planning stages is another mass execution, where eight women and one man will be stoned to death for adultery.

Someone is using terror against the government. So far this year, several arms shipments to Hizbollah have met with unexpected disaster. A trainload of weapons derailed in Turkey. This week, a truck convoy carrying missiles and munitions blew up, killing fifteen people. Could be a coincidence, but the Iranians blame Israel and the United States for such things, as they have done for decades.

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