The Islamic conservative minority that runs Iran have good reason to be
optimistic. Despite being hated by the majority of the population, the economy
is getting better (while inflation is still up, unemployment is going down) and
the religious police are not encountering any resistance (street brawls, during
arrests) that they can't handle. The crackdown on un-Islamic lifestyle keeps
anti-government elements on the run. Most Iranians are not willing to risk
their lives to overthrow the religious dictatorship. The recent elections were
basically between the pro-terrorism Islamic conservatives, and those that want
to clean up the corruption and inefficiency in the Iranian government. The "reformers"
won, but the pro-terror crowd ignored that and just keep up with their
promotion of terror at home and abroad. Having it both ways is one reason why
life is good in Iran, if you're on the side of God.
Meanwhile, the many foreign attempts at
spreading the Islamic revolution continue to prosper. In Lebanon, Hizbollah
remains strong, and has corrupted the UN peacekeepers. Plans for another rocket
attack on Israel proceed. Further south, in Gaza, weapons, and Palestinians
trained in Iran, pour into Gaza. While Hizbollah can hide behind the UN
peacekeepers, or even find refuge in Syria, Hamas has to be careful. If the
Israelis reoccupy Gaza, Hamas will be crushed. The Israelis don't mess around,
and the Palestinians have plenty of recent experience with Israeli street
fighting prowess. But the Iranians believe that, long term, Hamas can continue
to torment Israel without triggering an Israeli invasion.
for pro-Iranian factions in Iraq hit a bump in the past two weeks. The Iraqi
government sought to disarm the pro-Iran Mahdi Army in Baghdad, Basra and other
southern towns. This was almost entirely an Iraqi operation, with few U.S. forces
involved. The Iraqi forces did well, and Mahdi Army leader Muqtada al Sadr
asked for a ceasefire. The Mahdi Army was bought and paid for by Iran (which
supplies the cash to meet the payroll for thousands of full time gunmen). The
Mahdi Army pays better than the police and army. But despite the best efforts
of Iranian trainers and technical advisers, the Madhi Army has been unable to
get trained and disciplined. So the Iraqi security forces rolled over the
pro-Iranian troops in most neighborhoods. This led to the embarrassing capture
of many Iranian weapons, and documents. The latter showed that, while the
Iranian government has been promising to cut off support for outfits like the
Mahdi Army, other radical factions in the Iranian government have ignored this,
and continued to support Iraqi militias. This sort of thing has been going on
for decades, and the Iranian government will not openly admit that some radical
Iranian factions practice their own foreign and military policy. Then again, if
these independent minded factions get nailed outside Iran, the Iranian government
does not try too hard to bail out their "brothers."
Iranian nuclear weapons program continues to expand, despite UN threats to send
lawyers after foreign firms that help the Iranians. The Iranians responded by
threatening to launch their own lawsuits against "illegal sanctions." Nothing
like a little lawfare to muddy the water and disorient the infidels.
continues its military operations against PKK Kurdish separatists in the north.
Emulating the Turks, artillery is fired at any village believed to be harboring
the PKK, and infantry patrols cross the border to keep the PKK from getting to
intelligence troops have also set up electronic listening posts in Syria, to eavesdrop
on Israeli and Lebanese government communications. Iran is also concerned about
growing opposition to the pro-Iranian minority that has been running Syria
since the 1960s. The majority of Syrians are Sunni Arabs, and they have become
inflamed by growing anti-Iranian propaganda throughout the Sunni Arab world
(over 80 percent of Moslems are Sunni). This growing Sunni Arab unity is
troublesome. Shia Iran has long dominated its neighborhood (that's one reason
the Persian Gulf is named after them), and is a bit put off by all these uppity
Arabs. It's all a bit unseemly.