Riots In Iran: Obama Administration Gets A Second Chance
What do I mean by that? Well, the first time this happened when the elections were disputed during the summer, the administration was anything but supportive of the dissenters. In fact, while it engaged in a full-up diplomatic attack on Honduras for doing what its Constitution demands, the administration all but ignored the turmoil in Iran.
Of course the excuse given by apologists for the administration claim that the administration felt there was more to be gained by “engaging” the rogue regime vs. backing a movement that may actually see that regime toppled. Obviously, given what has happened this week in Iran, those dissenting there haven’t been waiting on Obama’s blessing or support. The movement has been simmering since the election and again violence against the regime has broken out in the streets of the country in a battle against the oppressive mullocracy.
At least eight anti-government protesters, including a nephew of Mir Hossein Mousavi, Iran’s opposition leader, were shot dead yesterday as the smouldering confrontation between the regime and the so-called Green Movement finally erupted.
Early reports put the number of dead at five, but as clashes continued late into the night, Iranian state television reported that the number of dead had risen. A report on the website of state television put the number of dead as high as 15 and quoted the Ministry of Intelligence that more than 10 were members of “anti-revolutionary terrorist” groups.
The other five who reportedly died during the bitter clashes in the Iranian capital were killed by “terrorist groups,” Iranian TV claimed.
Analysts heralded the start of what could be a bloody endgame as hundreds of thousands of opposition supporters poured on to the streets of Tehran and other cities and fought running battles with the security forces. Opposition websites claimed that some policemen had refused to fire on demonstrators.
This isn’t something which is happening in some isolated city in Iran, or just Tehran for that matter – this is a movement that has gone national and is gaining support.
Question: Wouldn’t it be in our best interest and the best interest of the region and world if the current regime fell? Obviously there’s some “what if” to be done here, like “what if the replacement regime is worse”? Hard to imagine given the supposed agenda of those now rioting in the street, but it is certainly remotely possible. But it would seem to me to be a risk well worth taking given the present regime.
So, of all people, that brings us to Hillary Clinton, a speech she recently gave in Georgetown and a “put your money where your mouth is” moment.
Ms. Clinton said that the administration, “like others before us, will promote, support and defend democracy.” She pledged that it would publicly denounce abuses by other governments and support dissidents and civil society groups.
Really? Well, here’s your chance, Ms. Clinton. Here’s a chance to positively effect the lives of an oppressed people. Here’s a chance to help bring down an oppressive regime and actually “promote, support and defend democracy”. Here’s a chance to “publicly denounce” the abuses of the Iranian regime.
Imagine if you will, the effect of that regime actually falling. It would immediately have an effect in both Iraq and Afghanistan where our soldiers battle insurgents backed by the country. It would also have an effect on the greater middle east, removing one of the mainstays of support for both Hamas and Hezbollah. And it would kick one of the supports out from under other dictators, such as Hugo Chavez, who continues to make noises about acquiring “nuclear capabilities”.
In fact, enabling and supporting the dissident movement in Iran would be one of the smartest things we could do right now. Any distraction that puts Iran off its gain is a good distraction in terms of the rest of the world and specifically the US. Shouldn’t that be the overriding reason for our foreign policy – what is good for us? Isn’t it the job of our government to pursue that aim?
So what are these words from Clinton and the Obama administration? Empty platitudes or policy?
Over the next few weeks we should be able to make that determination as they react (or don’t) to the situation in Iran.