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Iran: ready and willing to fill the "power vacuum" in Iraq
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Iranian President Mahmoud "wipe Israel off the map" Ahmadinejad is feeling froggy apparently:
"The political power of the occupiers is collapsing rapidly," Ahmadinejad said at a press conference in Tehran, referring to U.S. troops in Iraq. "Soon, we will see a huge power vacuum in the region. Of course, we are prepared to fill the gap, with the help of neighbors and regional friends like Saudi Arabia, and with the help of the Iraqi nation."
Of course it isn't like all is sunshine and roses within the theocracy. Sanctions over its nuclear ambitions are having an effect:
The decision to ration gasoline sparked riots in Tehran, resulting in the arrest of 80 individuals. According to reports, over 40 gasoline pumps were torched, public facilities were severely damaged, and shops were looted. The conservative new agency Fars posted a video showing a mob looting a supermarket following the authorities' announcement of the rationing program

There were also unconfirmed reports that a number of people had been killed during the riots.

By order of the authorities, the Iranian media is not permitted to cover the negative effects of the gasoline rationing, or to publish analyses or criticism on this issue.
The "temporary rationing measures" scheduled to last 4 months has now been extended to March of '08.

On top of that, France, who previously was a reluctant partner in turning up the heat on Iran, now seems to be willing to be much tougher on them since Sarkozy has taken the reigns of government there:
Nicolas Sarkozy gave warning yesterday that unless the West redoubled its efforts to curb Teheran's nuclear ambitions it could lead to "an Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran".

[...]

Speaking to 180 French ambassadors, Mr Sarkozy said a nuclear-armed Iran would be "unacceptable" and that the only response was to tighten sanctions while being open to talks if Iran suspended nuclear activities.

"This initiative is the only one that can enable us to escape an alternative that I say is catastrophic: the Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran," he said, adding that it was the worst crisis facing the world.
As an aside, this was encouraging as well:
From the Middle East to relations with Russia, the president promised a break with France's traditional Gaullist position of "splendid isolation", particularly towards the United States.
I'm growing to like this guy more and more.

Anyway, more gas on the Middle Eastern fire (no pun intended) as Iran's president again opens his mouth and ratchets up the tensions.

(HT: Stop the ACLU)
 
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"This initiative is the only one that can enable us to escape an alternative that I say is catastrophic: the Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran," he said, adding that it was the worst crisis facing the world.
When the hell did France grow a pair?
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Hey, who made that power vacuum in the first place I wonder?

Iran is actually the winner of the Iraq invasion, a regional rival was removed, opportunities to create a client state have arisen, the U.S. has been hamstrung etc.

I bet one day they put a statue of Bush up in Tehran, they must think he’s a gift from their god.
 
Written By: salvage
URL: http://http://www.hairyfishnuts.com/
Hey, who made that power vacuum in the first place I wonder?
There is no power vacuum right now, but there will be one if the "withdraw now!" left has it’s way.

But don’t let that stuff detract you from your talking points.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
There is no power vacuum right now, but there will be one if the "withdraw now!" left has it’s way.

But don’t let that stuff detract you from your talking points.
You dare dispute the wisdom of someone who’s website is named "hairyfishnuts.com"?
 
Written By: Jordan
URL: http://
Iran is actually the winner of the Iraq invasion, a regional rival was removed, opportunities to create a client state have arisen, the U.S. has been hamstrung etc.
Another defender of the Liberal Narrative.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
I bet one day they put a statue of Bush up in Tehran, they must think he’s a gift from their god
Yeah. No doubt the Iranians are overjoyed to have a large U.S. military presence next door for an indefinite time period.
 
Written By: DavidC
URL: http://
Well, the Iranians might be...

Not so sure the people in power in Iran are all that thrilled though...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Just remember Shia Iraqis are Arabs and the Iranians are Persians. Beyond sharing a religion they don’t that have that much love for each other. Aiding and supplying a smallish militia in Iraq is one thing. Actually subsidizing an Iraqi government during a civil war is another. I would also imagine once the US leaves Iraq (regardless of how we do so) the Iranian people would be less willing to pump tons of cash into Iraq, as the threat has left. Remember, Iran actually had riots AGAINST a minimum wage law - a sign that the economy is so weak, even workers understand the economics of the law will work against them.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
What? The common folk of Iran have a better understanding of economics that more than half of our politicians and almost all of our journalist, surely you jest!
 
Written By: tonto
URL: http://
On the point of Iran being the winner: at this point, it’s not just Iran who has benefited the most, but Iran’s conservatives who used the post-invasion rise in anti-Americanism to, for the first time since the revolution, win Presidential and Majles elections. Almost all American policy since the mid-Eighties has actually helped the Iranian religious right solidify its grip on power and achieve its aspirations to become a regional power. Saddam had balanced that (which is why we were supporting Saddam during the Reagan administration), but Saddam’s effective counter to Iran’s ambitions pretty much ended in 1991. Saddam bluffed about WMD and the like in large part to try to deter Iran (he feared them more than he feared us, I believe), but ultimately we came and: a) removed Saddam completely; and b) empowered the Iraqi Shi’ite majority, whose political leaders have close ties to Iran’s leaders, and a large number of whom lived in exile in Iran out of fear of Saddam’s secret police.

And, while one can criticize Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric, his is no worse than Bush’s: axis of evil, Iran will cause a holocaust, and many threats and attacks on Iran in the past few years. It never ceases to amaze me how we can be so sensitive to what someone else says, and ignore how our words are often just as aggressive. In fact, many people who report on his "Israel should be wiped off the map" comment ignore that: a) that is the position of most governments in the Mideast — look at a map in Saudi Arabia and you won’t see Israel; b) he explicitly claimed that Iran would not use force to do it; and c) Israel’s nuclear arsenal, which Secretary Gates admitted they had during his hearings, can easily deter any kind of Iranian attack. The Iranians know that, they know their regime is over if they attack Israel. So the harsh rhetoric on both sides is misplaced.

Moreover, an attack on Iran is far more dangerous than attacking Iraq. One hopes that the military can keep the politicians with fantasies of conquest and power from following through on their wildest dreams.

Harun is right about the Arab-Persian split — but as long as there is the bigger issue of the Sunnis and Americans, that split is likely to be put on a second or third tier.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Check out today’s news, Erb, what do we see but Shia groups fighting each other and blame placed on "pro-Iranian" groups.

"whose political leaders have close ties to Iran’s leaders, and a large number of whom lived in exile in Iran out of fear of Saddam’s secret police."

The exact same thing can be said of the Kurdish leadership.

Oh, and you can try to pin the rise of conservative religious groups in Iran on our policies in the 80’s but I recall a big revolution in 1979 that seemed to dislike Carter and America in general and that group did certain actions that angered the "United States Street" until this day. Perhaps Iranians would be wise to apologize for their actions and learn more about our culture?
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Internal Shi’ite fighting is a good thing? Face it, Iranian influence among many Shi’ite groups, and probably the government at many levels, is high. Our policies of the eighties that helped Iran included the infamous Iran-Contra affair, before we helped eliminate the military threat posed by Saddam Hussein in the early nineties (gaining Iran key concessions and numerous aircraft).

The conservatives who won elections in 2004 and 2005 had lost every election before then, and there had been a relaxation in laws and enforcement of Islamic custom. Iran was, very slowly, liberalizing. Our invasion helped the conservatives lash back, though I doubt they can sustain it (unless we do something insane like attack Iran). I suspect the Iranians are feeling a bit too cocky now, and could overstretch like the US did in 2003, though the costs of that for both the US and Iran — not to mention the region — could be immense. Cheney was right in 1994: removing Saddam has led to a quagmire.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
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