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Why Obama's strategy with Iran is doomed to failure.





ocalhoun
Wall Street Journal
August 12, 2009
Pg. 15

How does the regime in charge of Iran right now keep popular with the people of Iran?
Quote:

Certainly religious support cannot be enough anymore. Too many high-ranking clerics, including Grand Ayatollahs Hosssein Ali Montazeri and Yusef Saanei, now publicly oppose the regime. Nor can Persian nationalism serve as the prop: Its chief target is the despised Arabs, which is problematic, as the regime keeps trying to be more Arab than the Arabs in its hostility to Israel. Yet this hostility is itself a problem internally because the regime’s generous funding of Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad is extremely unpopular in Iran. Only anti-Americanism is left, and Mr. Khamenei will not let Mr. Obama take it away.

That means, if Iran decides to play nice and open serious talks with the US, the current regime looses the one strong unifying factor it still has... They can't afford to have a good relationship with the US.
Quote:

Unless Iran’s politics change, Mr. Obama’s policy will fail. At that point, he will need a new, new policy of increasingly severe sanctions under the looming threat of bombardment—exactly Mr. Bush’s old policy. But as Iran’s nuclear program advances, time is running out for this policy to work.
deanhills
Obama's "play nice" won't work. I believe the anti-american theme got a great boost with the invasion of Iraq. Also, Iran may be identifying with North Korea as well, with not accepting prescriptions from outside of what it is allowed to do or not do. After all, Americans are perceived as "infidels", so it has to be an easy sell in Iran, and as you pointed out, it must be an important point of keeping it together by having a "common enemy".
liljp617
Is there not a pretty substantial amount of Iranians who DO want better relations with the US (the West in general)?
ocalhoun
liljp617 wrote:
Is there not a pretty substantial amount of Iranians who DO want better relations with the US (the West in general)?

There probably is. They'll be a minority, though, especially when the US and the West is blamed for most of Iran's problems.
The problem is, the ruling regime is running out of reasons to claim why it should still be in power.
Making an 'enemy' of the US, and then using that common enemy to unite the country is pretty much the only strategy they still have.
deanhills
liljp617 wrote:
Is there not a pretty substantial amount of Iranians who DO want better relations with the US (the West in general)?
Definitely. I think there is a little of Israel equivalent in this in that quite large numbers of Iranians, especially wealthy Iranians, and engineers, physicists, scientists, statisticians, etc. have emigrated to the United States and have lived there for more than one generation, but still maintaining their links with their home country. So one could say Iran, similar to Israel, has many voices in the United States.
hunnyhiteshseth
ocalhoun wrote:
Wall Street Journal
August 12, 2009
Pg. 15

How does the regime in charge of Iran right now keep popular with the people of Iran?
Quote:

Certainly religious support cannot be enough anymore. Too many high-ranking clerics, including Grand Ayatollahs Hosssein Ali Montazeri and Yusef Saanei, now publicly oppose the regime. Nor can Persian nationalism serve as the prop: Its chief target is the despised Arabs, which is problematic, as the regime keeps trying to be more Arab than the Arabs in its hostility to Israel. Yet this hostility is itself a problem internally because the regime’s generous funding of Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad is extremely unpopular in Iran. Only anti-Americanism is left, and Mr. Khamenei will not let Mr. Obama take it away.

That means, if Iran decides to play nice and open serious talks with the US, the current regime looses the one strong unifying factor it still has... They can't afford to have a good relationship with the US.
Quote:

Unless Iran’s politics change, Mr. Obama’s policy will fail. At that point, he will need a new, new policy of increasingly severe sanctions under the looming threat of bombardment—exactly Mr. Bush’s old policy. But as Iran’s nuclear program advances, time is running out for this policy to work.


This particular part of Iran-US relations appears exactly similar to Pakistan-India relations.
The general public in Pakistan wants normal relations with India but government generally don't want that becuase only thing keeping Pakistan as one is anti-India feeling. If it brokers peace with India, the Pakistan's military looses its relevance, which justifies its high budget by threat from India and mass support. Civilian government can't go much against military as it faces threat of a coup.
So, it pretty much leaves Pakistan to just 'appear' to be making peace, but never resolve its differences with India permanently because thats the only point on which Pakistan's leaders run the country.
deanhills
hunnyhiteshseth wrote:
So, it pretty much leaves Pakistan to just 'appear' to be making peace, but never resolve its differences with India permanently because thats the only point on which Pakistan's leaders run the country.
Wonder whether there is an analogy of a kind here as well with Iraq and Iran? I'm almost certain that if the US should leave Iraq, that Iran would invade it. It would make some or other boundary dispute, or accuse Iraq of religious attrocities, etc. I'm sure Iran has many scores to settle and has been looking forward to this moment for years now. Also, it would help its current leaders to create a different enemy to unite everyone in Iran. Create a war to divert the attention and stay in power? it will also give it an opportunity to test its skills and military equipment.
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