Iran: Life Is Good


April 8,2008: 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.

Support 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."

The 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.

Iran 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 comfortable.

Iranian 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.


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