Iran: Looking For Plan B

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March 21,2008: The recent national elections were largely ignored by most Iranians. The Islamic conservative dictatorship did not allow most reformist candidates to even run. The clerics know that they only have the support of about a third of the population, and have no realistic long range plan to maintain their power. What the clerics are doing is trying to apply more pressure, largely via the lifestyle police [VIDEO], to stamp out "un-Islamic" dress and behavior. In other words, the lifestyle police go to middle and upper-class neighborhoods, where Western clothing is openly sold in stores. The clerics are reluctant to forbid the sale of this clothing, although they do go after the sale of foreign (largely Western) DVDs and music. The Islamic conservatives have a problem in that their own children, and often some of their own number, who are partaking in this forbidden foreign culture. It is common for Islamic conservative politicians and officials being forced to rescue their wayward kids from the lifestyle police. This attempt to change the attitudes of young Iranians is not working, but the Islamic conservatives have no Plan B.

In Gaza, Palestinian Islamic radical organization, openly boasts of sending hundreds of members to Iran for military training. Iranian cash and weapons are being smuggled into Gaza. In Iraq, Iranian radical organizations, especially the Quds Force, continue to provide weapons, money, training and advisors. Iran denies it, but plenty of material, documents and people have been captured that say otherwise.

Meanwhile, Iran continues to lean on its client state, Syria, to allow foreign volunteers, for Islamic terrorists organizations, to cross into Iraq. The U.S. and Iraq have pressured Syria to tighten border controls, and there has been some of that. But Syria is more dependent on Iran than it is on Iraq or the United States.

March 20, 2008: The war along the northern Iraq border continues. Iraqi officials complain of Iranian artillery firing on Iraqi villages along the border. These villages apparently shelter Iranian Kurdish separatist rebels (the PKK). Turkey and Iran have been trying to destroy the PKK for decades.

March 15, 2008: The U.S. is increasing to use restrictions to the international bank system, to hobble Iranian efforts to get around sanctions. This is having an impact, but the net effect is to make it more expensive for Iran to get what it wants.

March 12, 2008: Typical of the confused sense of right and wrong, not to mention reality and fantasy, in Iran, the head of Tehran's police force was recently caught during a raid on a brothel. The top cop was found naked, by lifestyle police , along with six naked women, and was arrested. The lifestyle police are not as corrupt as the regular police, and delight in situations like this where they can assert their moral superiority over the regular police.

March 11, 2008: In the U.S., an Iranian-American was convicted of trying to buy and ship to Iran automatic weapons and night vision goggles. What was interesting was that the equipment was to be shipped to a political opponent (another Islamic conservative) of Iranian president Ahmadinejad. There have always been factions within the Islamic conservatives that control the Iranian government, and hear is an example of how they raise and equip their own private militias.

The many UN sanctions placed on Iran are, according to a recent survey, ignored by 55 percent of UN members. This aids the extensive, and long running, Iranian smuggling operations, which gets whatever items are needed for the military. The smuggling does have limitations. You can't bring in large items, like tanks, warships or aircraft, without getting caught. In these cases, the seller can be identified, and be in trouble with the UN and major nations opposed to improving Iran's military capabilities. But the decrepit state of the Iranian military is also a major incentive to develop nuclear weapons. With nukes, you don't need a lot of conventional forces, at least if you are willing to use nukes, and make threats to that effect. This is what scares Iran's neighbors, and many of the nations dependent on Persian Gulf oil.

 

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