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Give Iran a taste of their own medicine
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Mark Steyn weighs in with his ideas on how to handle the Iran situation. He first reviews the "conventional" means and how they're both inadequate and work to the Iranian regime's advantage. A military solution would require a sustained effort which could backfire badly in Iraq and, of course, given the UN's Security Council structure Iran can count on at least two vetoes concerning any call for action by that body and the inevitable and expected inaction to result. For the most part I agree with his assessment. Then, however, he says the best way to handle Iran may be to treat them as they're treating other countries in their region:
But, granted the Iranian destabilisation of Iraq and their sponsorship of terror groups in Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority, surely it shouldn't be difficult to give them a taste of their own medicine. Who, after all, likes the Teheran regime? The Russian and Chinese and North Korean governments and the fulsome Mr Straw appear to, but there's less evidence that the Iranian people do.

The majority of Iran's population is younger than the revolution: whether or not they're as "pro-American" as is sometimes claimed, they have no memory of the Shah; all they've ever known is their ramshackle Islamic republic where the unemployment rate is currently 25 per cent. If war breaks out, those surplus young men will be in uniform and defending their homeland.

Why not tap into their excess energy right now? As the foreign terrorists have demonstrated in Iraq, you don't need a lot of local support to give the impression (at least to Tariq Ali and John Pilger) of a popular insurgency. Would it not be feasible to turn the tables and upgrade Iran's somewhat lethargic dissidents into something a little livelier? A Teheran preoccupied by internal suppression will find it harder to pull off its pretensions to regional superpower status.

Who else could we stir up? Well, did you see that story in the Sunday Telegraph? Eight of the regime's border guards have been kidnapped and threatened with decapitation by a fanatical Sunni group in Iranian Baluchistan. I'm of the view that the Shia are a much better long-term bet as reformable Muslims, but given that there are six million Sunni in Iran and that they're a majority in some provinces, would it not be possible to give the regime its own Sunni Triangle?
Now, whether you agree with the specifics, the concept has merit. Perhaps the best way to answer the Iranian problem is to do them precisely what they're working toward in Iraq, Lebanon and among the Palestinians. That is destabalize the regime from the inside, not the outside. That's not to say we shouldn't work toward bringing international pressure to bear on the Iranian regime, but we should be doing that in conjuction with an active program to bring it down from the inside.

Steyn makes a salient point about the younger generation and the fact they've never known anything but the oppression of the present regime. The shah is history, literally, and most of them have no real rememberance of him, only what they've been taught . Any revolutionary fervor in Iran, and reports are there is plenty, isn't directed at the Shah anymore, but at leaders in power right now.
No option is without risks, though some are overstated, including regional anger at any Western action: I doubt whether many Arab Sunni regimes really wish to live under the nuclear umbrella of a Persian Shia superpower. And, indeed, one further reason (as if you need one) to put the skids under Boy Assad in Damascus is to underline that there's a price to be paid for getting too cosy with Teheran.
Consider the realities of, as Steyn puts it, "a Shia superpower" (albeit a regional 'superpower') and the consequences not only for Israel but for all of the nations in the region. Saudi Arabia is already flatly stating it does not want an Iran with nuclear weapons.

Build on that. Sell the negative side of that scenario to the region, organize a coherent strategy to undermine the Iranian regime from without and within and go to work ... now. If successful, using the blunt instrument of foreign policy can be avoided, much to the whole world's relief (and certainly avoiding war with Iran is much more to our benefit that engaging in a war with them).

But sitting back, expressing disapproval and sending strong notes and passing condemnatory resolutions won't do what has to be done.
 
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Perhaps the best way to answer the Iranian problem is to do them precisely what they’re working toward in Iraq, Lebenon and among the Palestinians. That is destabalize the regime from the inside, not the outside.
That sounds like an excellent idea that might not be possible. Unfortunately, that probably makes it the best option we have.

Impotence sucks.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Well, you’re right, it might not work, but, as we agree, it’s a much better option than what it would require militarily to take out any Iranian nuclear capability. I hope we’re at least making some attempt (and progress) on that front.

Wretchard has an interesting piece on the consequences of what seems inevitable now, Iran w/nukes. He cites an Army War College paper and makes this statement:
Since the US Army War College paper cannot envision that happening in the short term, what we are left with then, is a new Cold War with an ideology as strong — and probably much stronger than — Marxism in its prime.
Given the religious component and, in the case of Iran, the belief in being in the "end days", we may pine for the days of the Cold War should this all come to pass.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
I’ll check the Wretchard piece shortly. In the meantime "good idea that probably won’t work" is a lot better than "bad idea that probably won’t work and might blow up in our face" and that’s what our other options are.

I am not, you might notice, very optimistic about the whole thing. The one andvantage this conflict has over the cold war is that the problem states are far more contained. Give it a few decades and that might not be the case, but right now it doesn’t look like those states have the wherewithal to spread their ideology to every continent. On the downside, they have oil and religion, which should sustain them in ways that 5 Year Plans and Marxism did not sustain the Soviets.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
I am not, you might notice, very optimistic about the whole thing.

Actually, I’m not either. And while I agree with your point about containment vs. the Cold War (at least right now), Islam is spreading through another mechanism ... immigration. How, for instance, the non-muslim states in Europe handle that over the next few decades (as well as handling the radical aspects of the religion) will give us more of an idea of whether it can really be contained or not.

And yes, we could all wish Iran was a poor country which would have to face the economic truth of its ideology instead of being bailed out oil wealth, but then there’s NoKo who has sucessfully pursued nukes and is an economic basket case. Economic sanctions haven’t worked with NoKo and most likely won’t work with Iran, unfortunately.

No, I think we’re pretty much left with working inside to overthrow the regime as the best of some pretty bad options.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
It should be noted that this kind of interference with the internal affairs of Iran is precisely the type of behavior that gave us the Mullahs and the current theocracy.

Sure, it might work. When these types of things fail, though, they tend to fail very badly.
 
Written By: Rosensteel
URL: http://
McQ,
"I think we’re pretty much left with working inside to overthrow the regime as the best of some pretty bad options. "

Do you guys remember the dire warnings by folks like Zbigniew Brzezinski about what failure to sign this or that disarmament-provision would yield? If it wasn’t an ICBM treaty with the Soviet Union his type was pushing, then it was a unilateral disarmament provision governing land mines, or [insert favored progressive foreign-policy initiative here].

Today, we live in a world without an NPT. All the pro-NPT posturing and bloviating of the 50’s onward are lost on the winds of time, and today, despite the fact that our nation heeded our progressives’ policy prescriptions, we are faced with the same horrorific lack of "good options" that our progressives’ counsel pretended to prevent.

If the "soft-warriors" from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s ever had any use for NPT other than as a bat to hit "militant" Republicans over the head with, it is time for them to stand up and demand the NPT’s enforcement.

Wouldn’t the obvious option be to rally all these aging progressives to reinvigorate the NPT’s enforcement protocols? A barrage of pro-NPT editorials from Democratic party leaders on the NYT’s editorial pages would put enforcement of NPT back at the top of their priority list. But the fact that they choose instead to rally against Al-Qaida wiretaps, and "water-boarding", indicates the frivolity with which they’ve approach the dangers of our time.
-Steve





 
Written By: Steve
URL: http://
Just out of curiosity, because this is something that I am genuinely not familar with: What sort of enforcability mechanisms actually exist for the NPT? That is to say, what is to prevent a nation from simply unilaterally pulling themselves from the treaty, in the same way as we have done with NMD related treaties?

... I should probably do a little more reading on that topic.
 
Written By: Rosensteel
URL: http://
I’d say that such interference will not hinder the process of making the bomb (if it is on thje go). The sunni uprising would unite shias and would be put down quickly and cruelly, given the overwhelming majority of the latters. If somehow the regime is toppled the new Iranian government and all the countries in the world will receive message that nuclear bomb is indeed the only defence from USA’s aggression.
 
Written By: Alex Ostrovski
URL: http://
I’d agree Alex, and I think you can see by what Jon and I have said preceding your comment we all but think the bomb is fait acompli. What we’re talking about is, while conceding that Iran will have the bomb, we’d like to see it in more rational hands within Iran than in the less than rational hands now in control of the country.

We’d also like to see that happen without US (or anyone else) having to intervene militarily. We suspect the best effort might be to support dissident groups within Iran and help indirectly in any effot at internal regime change.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Rosensteel,
I have a lot of reading to do on the issue, too. Please pass on anything you find.

I understand that the enforcement provisions of the NPT were supposed to deter NPT violations. And that once a violation is proven, the violator is supposed to be referred to the UNSC. So far, despite international agreement that Iran is in violation, the nation has not been referred to the UNSC. So today, on Tuesday, January 17, 2006, no credible deterrent to NPT violations exists and the treaty is technically extinct.

Bush’s withdrawal from the Salt-treaty provisions was based on the fact that the alter-signatory to the treaty, the Soviet Union, no longer existed. But partisans will cite Bush’s reasonable withdrawal in this case as an example for the signatories of other binding, disarmament treaties to follow.

This is a dangerous, anti-intellectual equivocation. And it is an encouragement to global scofflaws to go ahead and break their binding international treaties. Without this "Bush-did-it-frst" excuse - provided perversely by the same progressives that support U.N.-mediated disarmament protocols - Iran’s government might have feared some consequences for its violations.
-Steve
 
Written By: Steve
URL: http://
The Shah wasn’t just importing decadent Western values from his American and British friends.
decadent values? like what?
importing Western values such as profit-sharing and women’s suffrage
Oh the decadent west with our decadent values such as tolerance, free speech, and universal suffrage.
 
Written By: Chris
URL: http://
I dont see how thats quoting out of context. It was the next line of the paragraph.
First sentence: The shah imported Western values such as profit-sharing and women’s suffrage.
Third sentence: The Shah wasn’t just importing decadent Western values...



And whats more, I dont believe you can "import decadent values" in the sense you are refering to. Values can only be imported if people want them. If people dont want swingers clubs then why would there be one (or not be one). If the people of Russia dont want McDonalds then why do they do so much business there? You can’t force culture on someone. Anyone angry about foreign culture and values being "imported" is just pissed off that some other person has choosen different values than what the pissed off person wanted.
 
Written By: Chris
URL: http://
Bush’s withdrawal from the Salt-treaty provisions was based on the fact that the alter-signatory to the treaty, the Soviet Union, no longer existed. But partisans will cite Bush’s reasonable withdrawal in this case as an example for the signatories of other binding, disarmament treaties to follow.

This is a dangerous, anti-intellectual equivocation. And it is an encouragement to global scofflaws to go ahead and break their binding international treaties. Without this "Bush-did-it-frst" excuse - provided perversely by the same progressives that support U.N.-mediated disarmament protocols - Iran’s government might have feared some consequences for its violations.
I wasnt aware that this was the rationale used for US withdrawl from the Salt-treaty. Thanks for that information.

International law is a bit of a murky domain, and given my lack of experience in the matter is made all the more perplexing to me. I dont entirely understand when and why a country may choose to abandon a particular treaty, which is I imagine largely governed by the terms of the treaty.

I wasnt using the SALT withdrawal as an excuse for Iranian non-compliance, but merely as an example of a country abandoning a treaty. It would appear that the situations are entirely different. It is all moot anyways, because as far as I know Iran has made no claims that it will be formally abandoning the treaty.

A bit of cursory research seems to suggest that a country must have extraordinary circumstances, and 3 months notice, in order to abandon the treaty. This is according to tehe Wikipedia entry, so take that with a grain of salt. As I have said earlier, to my knowledge, Iran has given no indication that it intends to formally abandon the agreement.

Presuming that signatory members are required to comply with the IAEA inspections, it would appear that Iran could be referred to the UNSC, presuming the political will exists to do so.

I understand why Iran should be discouraged from having nuclear weapons, as such is a no brainer, I am simply attempting to get a better grasp of the legal foundation for what is occuring.. Something that, as I have noted, I am not particularly well versed in.
 
Written By: Rosensteel
URL: http://
I understand why Iran should be discouraged from having nuclear weapons, as such is a no brainer, I am simply attempting to get a better grasp of the legal foundation for what is occuring.. Something that, as I have noted, I am not particularly well versed in.

In reality all international treaties require the willingness of the signatories to live up to the expectations, obligations and demands of a treaty. If a nation abandons a treaty, then others, who are a part of the treaty, must collectively or individually, do what is necessary to enforce the treaty’s obligations. The problem, however, is that if the other signatories lack the will to do so (or the mechanism) it’s all moot.

My cursory reading of the NPT leaves a lot to be desired in terms of a mechanism for enforcement. It’s more of a "scout’s honor" sort of arrangement and the belief that international attention and pressure will somehow be enough to change the minds of violators.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Rosensteel,
I’m google-challenged today and I should sit down with the NPT’s enforcement section to get better-educated (I’m too busy with a client’s garden-design instead), and I appreciated your Wikipedia link. I do take Wiki with a grain of salt (Great pun, dude!).

The issue of NPT enforcement reminds me of something we are wrestling with in our rural property owners’ association. Some want to post speed limits in our remote, rural development without creating an enforcement regime. I say "Get Real!" "Laws" and "rules" simply cannot exist without enforcement.

I call this the Berkeley parenting model: it’s the idealistic notion that laws can rest on "goodwill" alone that seems to underpin the chic "multilateralism" of our time. This notion never allows for the realistic outcome we find ourselves in - an unchecked NPT-violator deaf to entreaties based on "honor," humanitarianism or "global citizenship."

Sometimes another ’time-out’ with the TV-channel set to the Telly-Tubbies and a promise of Eggo waffles for dinner just won’t do the job. Sometimes a naughty child needs a spankin’.
-Steve
 
Written By: Steve
URL: http://
Sorry, guys. My bad.

It was the ABM treaty that Bush took the U.S. out of in his first term.

The rationale was that the Soviet Union no longer existed, and that the treaty constrained our nation’s development of national missile-defense.
-Steve
 
Written By: Steve
URL: http://
Perhaps the best way to answer the Iranian problem is to do them precisely what they’re working toward in Iraq, Lebenon and among the Palestinians. That is destabalize the regime from the inside, not the outside.
In the 70s the Soviets were supporting a communist Iran and this eventually led to the successful revolution (which just goes to show destabilisation can work).
 
Written By: Unaha-closp
URL: http://
The rationale was that the Soviet Union no longer existed, and that the treaty constrained our nation’s development of national missile-defense.

And frankly, that makes perfect sense. Who is beholding to a treaty when the entity with which you treated (is that a word?) no longer exists?

My question is, given the premise of the NPT (we’ll share nuclear technology for peaceful applications if you promise not to develop them for a weapon), is whether perhaps we ought to be pressuring nations like Russia to back off from helping the Iranians develop their peaceful application until the rest of the world (through the IAEA I assume) is satisfied that’s all they are developing.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
McQ, you’re right to put the focus on Russia. I’m just not sure that Putin’s Kremlin is any more susceptible to international pressure than Iran’s mullahcracy is - its recent back-down in the energy dispute with the Ukraine not withstanding.

And Americans should not be surprised to learn that our cold-war enemy might be using proxy antagonists to impact today’s global balance-of-power (another of my favorite blogs, chicagoboyz, has a writer, Micheal Hiteshaw, who has explored the rash of "proxy-actions" we saw in the build-up to OIF).

I think the case can be made that following Clinton’s second election, Russian hardliners decided to turn defeat in the nuclear cold-war into a victory via a nuclear proxy-campaign. The case can be made that Iran, and Saddam’s Iraq for that matter, were all proxy antagonists for a cornered Russian bear.

So, while an impressionable Bill Clinton pocketed "Victory in the Cold War," gave nuclear reactors to Kim Jong-Il, and set about spending the "peace dividend," Putin was plotting Yeltsin’s dethroning, the nationalization of Russia’s oil industry, and the Cold War’s second nuclear-proxy phase.

And the rest, as they say, is history.
-Steve
 
Written By: Steve
URL: http://
CIA sex clubs and wife-swapping in Tehran? Hilarious.
Ummm, why are the CIA importing Canadian swinger clubs to Tehran? Oh yeah, you’re clueless. Got it -
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
"Perhaps the best way to answer the Iranian problem is to do them precisely what they’re working toward in Iraq, Lebenon and among the Palestinians. That is destabalize the regime from the inside, not the outside."

I don’t think that is actually feasible from what I’ve read.

I read a book by H. John Poole (Tactics of the crescent moon) that had some interesting things on Islamic fighters and the regional history of the past 20 30 years. It was a good read and I would recommend it.

Any way, what was said about Iran, Lebanon and Hezbollah is very relevant to this discussion. The Iranian organization (a secret police and militia rolled into one) that spawned Hezbollah had four purposes; defense/military operations, Intel, recruitment, and getting rid of political dissidents. So the very fact that they were good at using these tactics in against Iraq (Iran Iraq war) and then Israel (Lebanon) meant they had a very good built in defense against them as well. The reason a beach assault is bloody is the enemy was there first and they are dug in. It seems, to me, getting an insurgency established in Iran might be a similar uphill fight. Otherwise, it would be happening already I would think.

If you can check out the book please do so. And If you think I’m full of crap please tell me why. (Probably a rhetorical request on a blog.)
 
Written By: Richard
URL: http://
How about we tell them if they go along with their nuclear ambitoins we will give nukes to Iraq and Afgahnistan?
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
Richard,

You have a point, but in order for something like an internal rebellion to take place there usually has to be a big event or a series of small events leading to a big event which pushes the population over the edge. A spark if you will. The point when it becomes a snowball rolling down hill getting bigger by the minute and eventually unstoppable.

Not an easy thing to foment, but certainly doable with a good plan and the right conditions. And those are all we can bring to the party, the rest is up to the Iranians.

I was watching "24" the other night and it had a hostage sequence. I always wonder why a group of 60 hostages doesn’t collectively rush a group of 5 or so gunman. You know some in the 60 will probably die, but the can’t kill you all (ok, I know in that particular scenario they also had explosive vests, but humor me and pretend they didn’t). The reason that doesn’t happen is the hostages are usually not given the opportunity to talk and plan. When they are things like what happened on 9/11 with the aircraft that went down in PA happen.

My point is the mullahs and their henchmen are going to find it ever harder to keep those sorts of groups from communicating and, if we can figure out a way to ’foment’, perhaps we can help stike the spark (or push the snowball down hill to completely mix my metaphors)that begins the regime change in Iran. I think that has a much better chance of success than anything else. And I think we ought to be actively pursuing such a strategy now.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
This was my take on another forum. (edited some grammactical errors)

Our enemies already say we are terrorists and torturers and our allies pray we take action and so the answer is to fight fire with fire and terrorize a small minority of special targets connected to the progression of the Iranian nuclear program. This will serve the goals of the major powers as it will at least severely retard Iranian nuclear progress while avoiding major war and gives plausible deniability to the Americans that the attacks where actually that of domestic revolutionaries fighting to join the modern world tearing off the shackles of the mad mullahs who look to dominate all Muslims with their nuclear arsenal.

To avoid a potential large-scale military bombing that would undoubtedly kill a high number of civilians, the American and Israeli governments should conduct small-scale terrorist operations that target politicians and scientists most valuable to Iran’s nuclear program. But instead of the traditional methods used, the methods of the Islamic fanatic will be utilized up to and including beheadings as dictated by the Koran. A concurrent operation would be in the large scale propaganda war to appropriately attribute these judicious killings under Islamic teachings. We will mimic the enemy and use all his justifications. A nuclear Iran is a threat to ALL decent Muslims. That is our cry.
 
Written By: thordaddy
URL: http://
thordaddy - the disadvantage of America getting down and dirty with the Iranians is that it degrades a lot of Americas advantages. Operating in small teams means no advantage to being as big as you are. Operating up close and personal means putting your soldiers within the capabilities of their weapons. To fight down and dirty will require that America adopts a terrorists approach to taking casualties as well as all the other terrorists tactics - small squads going up against large organised defences are going to lose much more than they’ll win, casualties will be high and team members will be captured.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
McQ,

I get what you’re saying and I would like to see it happen, I just want to bring realism to the table for what we are up against. I definitely agree that Iran could be moving to an event (spark as you said). In the tradition of Sun Tzu, the tools are often there you just have to see them and use them correctly. I just am unable to see those things right now for how to work it. I see an important obstacle but not the solution to it.

These reasons are exactly why I think we need MANY good spies still in foreign countries for intel and sometimes "problem solving". It might be "sneaky" but it’s better than being nuked. That’s the main failure of the intelligence community I think. we need to grow the CIA for intel but develop appropriate oversight to ensure that we are maintaining our ethics.
 
Written By: Richard
URL: http://
Any country can leave the NPT by declaring its intention. Then they would be free to develop nuclear weapons. But then other NPT countries probably shouldn’t help them since you’re only supposed to assist with peaceful nuclear power programs.

However, state sovereignty means that people do as they please.

BTW, Syria has never signed the NPT or the chemical weapons treaty, and thus they are allowed to have chemical weapons. (and do so.) Same with Israel and NPT.

Now, for all of your folks wanting to stir up Iranian dissent, you might want to recall we had captured a bunch of Iranian rebels that Saddam had supported. Since even we said they were terrorists I don’t know what happened to them.

http://www.cfr.org/publication/9158/mujahadeenekhalq_iranian_rebels.html

As for Sunnis in Baluchistan, they might be more on the side of the Taliban, no?
Better choice would be the Arab minorities in Iran. (Which was the rationale behind Saddam’s invasion of Iran in 1980 ala German sudetenland.)

http://hrw.org/english/docs/2005/05/10/iran10602.htm

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Book,

It’s not the CIA and Mossad conducting these operations, but a new revolutionary jihadist force within Iran that recognizes the suicidal tendencies of the mad mullahs. The use of jihadist tactics only lend further credibility to the legitimacy of the attacks. Are the Iranian people that thirsty for a nuke that they will go down in flames with the regime? This revolutionary force seeks to bring Islam into the modern war and live up to its creed as the "religion of peace."
 
Written By: thordaddy
URL: http://
What clause in NPT does Iran not complying?.
The answer is none. Iran complies all. If so what the issue? Nothing but the West errogant, colonial mentality, thenological apathide and double standard. For the West, it is a taboo if other then the west try to muster the Nuke technnology. Iran is now trying to break the Taboo.
 
Written By: ABI
URL: http://
Seems like I wasn’t to far of in my thinking on another thread...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060119/wl_nm/nuclear_arms_france_dc_2
France said on Thursday it would be ready to use nuclear weapons against any state that carried out a terrorist attack against it, reaffirming the need for its nuclear deterrent.

Deflecting criticism of France’s costly nuclear arms program, President Jacques Chirac said security came at a price and France must be able to hit back hard at a hostile state’s centers of power and its "capacity to act."

He said there was no change in France’s overall policy, which rules out the use of nuclear weapons in a military conflict. But his speech pointed to a change of emphasis to underline the growing threat France perceives from terrorism.

"The leaders of states who would use terrorist means against us, as well as those who would consider using in one way or another weapons of mass destruction, must understand that they would lay themselves open to a firm and adapted response on our part," Chirac said during a visit to a nuclear submarine base in northwestern France.

"This response could be a conventional one. It could also be of a different kind."
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://

 
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