Ahmadinejad Derangement Syndrome? Posted by: McQ
on Friday, February 09, 2007
Also known as ADS.
Yup, apparently the approval ratings in Iran aren't so great right now for our boy Ahmadinejad. OK, just kidding, but there is a bit of unrest in Iran and Ahmadinejad appears to be the reason:
Iran's leadership is facing mounting public unease and the seeds of mutiny in parliament over the combative nature of its nuclear diplomacy.
For the first time since Iran resumed its uranium enrichment program, there is broad, open criticism of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's defiance of the Bush administration and United Nations Security Council, and warnings have emerged that the public may not be prepared to support the Islamic regime through a war.
The criticism and public wariness come at a time when the Bush administration has moved additional ships to the Persian Gulf and Washington and Israel have refused to rule out a preemptive strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.
Or said another way, "why does everyone hate us?"
"If [Ahmadinejad] wants to start a new war, from where does he think he's going to produce the army?" asked Mohammed Atrianfar, a well-known political commentator allied with former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani, who has been working behind the scenes in recent weeks to ease the tension.
"We are not agreeing with his radical, extreme policies," Atrianfar said. "It is because of the propagandist speech of Ahmadinejad all over the world that we're in the situation we're in."
In all seriousness, these are interesting developments. One of the things which increased pressure on Ahmadinejad was the UNSC resolution. Iran didn't think it would happen and it came as a complete surprise when it passed with Russian and Chinese support:
"They were counting on it not getting that far or that it wouldn't be unanimous," said a Western diplomat based in Tehran. "Many advisors weren't telling [supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei] it would get this far. The fact that it was unanimous and they couldn't count on Russia and China was a bit of a shock. Hence this debate on where they're going to go next."
Suddenly a re-evaluation is in order and, reading between the lines, Ahmadinejad's status is less stable than it once was:
Ahmadinejad is "making some adventures in foreign relationships that don't benefit our country," Akbar Alami, a reformist lawmaker who led the charge in parliament, said in an interview. "The nuclear issue and the right of Iran to have nuclear power is a matter of national pride. But we cannot limit this issue to one person like Mr. Ahmadinejad."
Although Ahmadinejad attracts attention in the West, his power as Iran's president has limits. The ultimate authority is held by the top Islamic clerics, led by Khamenei, who control the armed forces.
Analysts here say it is significant that Khamenei, who has been a strong supporter of the nuclear program, has not silenced Ahmadinejad's critics.
While it is true Ahmadinejad doesn't have ultimate power, it is also true that since he's been in power he has managed to become an actual pariah in the world (despite John Kerrys best attempt to pin that label on the US). Belligerent, defiant, confrontational and unreasonable, Ahmadinejad has soured world opinion with holocaust denial claims and anti-semetic and anti-Israeli rhetoric. Hardly what one expects from the leader of any country, and behavior which will certainly put a country in the pariah category.
It appears, if the article is correct, that perhaps the people of Iran are growing tired of pariah status. And they certainly don't want war:
Many in Iran are aghast at the idea that a nation that spent eight years at war with neighboring Iraq could be in for another conflict.
"I'm 100% worried that there will be another war," said Zari, a 26-year-old theater director who declined to give her last name. "But it's not in our control. Both Bush and Ahmadinejad are powerful enough to do something, and we can't do anything to stop them."
Abbas Maleki, a political analyst who recently returned from Harvard University, said many Iranians feared speaking out.
"People cannot show their concern because of the need for solidarity. But they really are concerned now, and this is the discussion deep in all of the families," Maleki said.
"Iranians want to have a better situation. They are working and they are trying to have better education for their sons and daughters, and all of these issues will be destroyed with one strike."
But do keep one thing in mind when considering all of this:
The dissent does not mean Iranians are entirely rejecting the country's nuclear program.
They just want a different approach that is less confrontational and belligerent. Can't say as I blame them.
I liked this quote, towards the bottom of the article:
In the debate over how fast and how far to push the nuclear program, Ahmadinejad and his allies are convinced, analysts say, that the United States has been weakened by the war in Iraq, economic constraints at home and a population wary of more global conflicts.
"The first approach taken by some here in Iran is that the United States is commencing its disintegration as an imperialist state and will be defeated in one or two years," Maleki said. "Therefore Iran can enjoy the fruits of this confrontation: The United States will collapse and Iran will be in power."
He said Ahmadinejad and his allies appeared certain that this would be the case.
"The second approach says, ’Yes, there are several signals and signs that the United States is becoming weakened. But it is not 100% sure that this year or next year it will be collapse. Maybe it needs 100 years.’ And this approach says that the best way for Iran is to refrain from any issues with the United States, to avoid any confrontation on any level. Experience shows that the second approach now is dominant in Iran."