Iran: Rumors of War, And Other Useful Stuff

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February 2, 2006: There appears to be a serious rift in the cabinet of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Some of his supporters are urging a hard-line against the US and adventurism abroad, while others believes that war with the US is not inevitable and that Iran can benefit from maintaining a low profile. Ahmadinejad has apparently let all the international media attention go to his head. Ahmadinejad always was a news hound, and enjoyed getting recognized for accomplishing things while mayor of Tehran. But now many Iranians are getting nervous, because Ahmadinejad is talking war and not getting anything done for the poor and oppressed (by the corrupt clergy who control the government and much of the mismanaged economy). Iranian Internet chatter is full of such misgivings. But Ahmadinejad's playing of the nationalism card makes open demonstrations of opposition dangerous.

January 31, 2006: After years of looking the other way, the U.S. is now enforcing sanctions against companies that do business in Iran. This is causing many financial and energy companies to halt their operations with Iran. This is making the Iranians angry, and costing them money.

January 30, 2006: Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr announced that he would come to the defense of Iran if Iran were attacked. This makes it pretty clear that Sadr is Iran's creation, and the recipient of much financial and other aid. As a Shia Arab, Sadr's attitude is quite different from that of Iranian Shia Arabs, who see Iran as an oppressive place to live. To emphasize that, another bomb went off in southwestern Iran, where the oil is, and the Arabs comprise the majority of the population.

January 29, 2006: Seven soldiers, held captive by pro-Taliban Baluchi tribesmen near the Pakistani border, were released. The government said it did not give into the kidnappers demands (the release of 16 Baluchis), or pay a ransom. An eighth soldier was believed to have been killed during the kidnapping.

January 28, 2006: For the last two weeks, Iran has apparently been moving its Shihab-3 intermediate-range missiles every day or so. The Iranians apparently fear that American or Israeli air or missile strikes will destroy their missiles.

 

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