Tweet and Delete

Israel has experienced very heavy rains recently. Several people were killed when they were swept away by floods. In a particularly gruesome case, a young couple died of exposure after being trapped in a water-filled elevator in a basement parking garage. The emergency telephone system was not able to handle the volume of calls generated by the massive storm, and rescuers weren’t alerted until it was too late.

Last Friday afternoon, Qais Abu Ramila, an 8-year old Arab boy from eastern Jerusalem went missing. First responders and hundreds of Arab and Jewish volunteers searched for him until the next morning, when he was found dead, drowned in a deep pool of rainwater near his home.

Another tragedy. Possibly, as his parents said, the Jerusalem municipality should have filled in the pit. Often things aren’t done that should be, and the results are heartbreaking. One hopes lessons are learned.

But there was another side to the case of Abu Ramila, where lessons need to be learned but probably won’t be. Shortly after he disappeared, rumors started that he had been kidnapped by a group of “settlers.” Someone produced a security video that showed a boy being pulled along by the hand by an older man; but the boy’s father said that the child in the video was not his son. Nevertheless, despite a complete lack of evidence, the rumors spread. Some Arabs even tried to enter a nearby Jewish neighborhood in search of the “kidnappers.”

And then social media amplified the blood libel into an international event. Former Palestinian Authority official Hanan Ashrawi retweeted a fanciful tweet by “@RealSeifBitar” – possibly a fake account, presently nonexistent – which accused “a herd of violent #Israeli settlers” of assaulting the boy and throwing him into a well to die. She was followed by others, including professional (since he no longer has a job in the British Parliament) Jew-hater George Galloway, and, shockingly, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, who retweeted Ashrawi.

When it became clear that the boy’s death was accidental, Ashrawi deleted her original tweet and tweeted a partial apology, saying “My apologies for retweeting something that’s not fully verified. It seems that the news of his being kidnapped is not certain.”

Not fully verified? Not certain?  How about, “a dangerous lie and murderous incitement?” But at least she went this far. Rashida Tlaib simply deleted her retweet. The shameless Galloway left it up and even pinned it to the top of his Twitter account.

Ashrawi and Tlaib are media veterans who fully understand how this plays. In case you don’t, let me lay it out:

First, someone tweets a false accusation. The tweet stays up for a day or so. Many people see it and believe it, especially if the author is a well-known personality like Ashrawi or Tlaib.

Next, the author deletes the tweet. Nobody can see it. The only ones who miss it are those who want to document after the fact that the author engaged in incitement to riot and perhaps terrorism to “revenge” the “crime” committed by Jews.

If the author wishes to prevent damage to their reputation, they may issue a retraction, as Ashrawi did. But of course the unemotional and tentative retraction has little impact compared to the original accusation.

Tweet and delete. If someone complains, shrug. Anyone can make a mistake.

There is no excuse for what they did. They know how the Palestinian rumor machine works. They know that @RealSeifBitar is not a real journalist, and that his vicious language is not that of a reliable source.

They should know that the blood libel that leads to the murder of Jews, sometimes to the destruction of whole Jewish communities, has a long history in both the Christian and the Muslim worlds.

But they don’t care, because it serves their purpose. Because it serves the Palestinian Cause. Because – maybe they would even admit this if you asked – truth for them is not independent of the observer. Truth for a Palestinian is identical with what helps the Cause. And that is defined as what hurts Jews and Israel.

So it is fine to make up massacres that didn’t happen (Jenin, 2002) as did pro-Palestinian journalist Phil Reeves, or to make movies about them like Mohammad Bakri. There’s no problem with accusing Israel of opening the dams to flood Gaza, even when there are no dams in the area. And if you get caught in a lie, no big deal. Just move on.

Tweet and delete. Because the Palestinian Theory of Truth says you can.

Posted in Information war, Israel and Palestinian Arabs | 1 Comment

A Nobel Prize for Donald Trump?

“…the person who has done the most or best to advance fellowship among nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and the establishment and promotion of peace congresses.” – the will of Alfred Nobel

The Nobel Prize for Peace has been awarded several times for accomplishments in Middle East peacemaking. It’s been given to some truly deserving people, like Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin, to some undeserving ones, like Shimon Peres, and to some who – if there were such a thing – in truth deserved the Hitler/Stalin Prize for evil, like Yasser Arafat.

Because of its anti-nationalist and anti-Western bias, the chance that the Nobel Committee will award the prize to US President Trump is microscopically small. But I think that an dispassionate examination will show that they ought to think about it.

Before I explain what I suppose will be considered my contrarian position, I should note that Nobel said nothing about ethical business practices, avoidance of conflict of interest, or general likeability. He did not require monogamy, or insist that a Nobel Laureate refrain from vulgarity in expression, or other unsavory things that Trump could be credibly charged with. The prize is awarded to those who have “conferred the greatest benefit to humankind” by promoting peace; and as I will argue, nobody has done more in recent years to reduce Middle Eastern conflict than Donald Trump.

The biggest threat to peace in the Middle East today comes from the Iranian regime: its expansionism, support for terrorism, and of course its nuclear weapons program. Less serious, but still relevant, is the ever-ongoing Arab war against Israel. Trump has acted in a way that promotes peace in both of these areas.

The Obama Administration agreed to a deal (the JCPOA) which removed painful sanctions from Iran in return for an agreement which – in the best case – would have merely delayed Iran’s breakout as a nuclear weapons state for a decade. In fact, the agreement was full of holes relating to inspections and verification, so it is doubtful that even the hoped-for delay would have been realized.

The removal of sanctions mandated by the deal enabled Iran to invest its newly available funds in training and arming terrorist militias in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon, in missile development, in undercover terror cells around the world, and in its nuclear program, taking advantage of the various loopholes in the agreement.

Trump exited from the deal, re-imposed sanctions, and took other actions – for example, the targeted killing of Qassem Soleimani – which have greatly weakened the Iranian regime and thrown a monkey wrench into its plans, at least temporarily.

The Iranian regime wants a nuclear umbrella to protect it against the US and Israel, while it implements its plan to dominate the region and its oil resources, to push out all American influence, to destroy Israel, and to establish a Shiite caliphate that will replace Saudi Arabia as the center of the Islamic world.

Apparently, the Obama Administration believed that the interests of the US would be served by aligning itself with the Iranian regime against former American allies Israel and Saudi Arabia, even if this meant providing Iran a safe path to acquire nuclear arms. On the face of it, this seems absurd, but the administration’s actions throughout the eight years of its tenure can’t be interpreted in any other way. The deeper motivations of Obama and his people remain a matter of (dark) speculation. But Trump’s leaving the JCPOA and his killing of Soleimani unambiguously mark the repudiation of this policy.

The Iranian regime’s Hezbollah subsidiary has been exporting terrorism, particularly against Jewish targets on every continent except perhaps Antarctica. Arch-terrorist Soleimani was pulling the strings at the center of this web, and his elimination was a serious blow to it. He was in the process of setting up proxy militias similar to Hezbollah in Iraq and Syria when he received his 72-virgin salute.

Soleimani was in charge of foreign operations for the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), but was also considered one of the three most powerful men in the regime, who might even become the successor to Ali Khamenei. The IRGC is also responsible for suppressing dissent and protests within the country, and Iranian dissidents cheered the death of Soleimani, which they saw as greatly weakening the regime.

Trump’s tweets of support in Farsi to the Iranian people (as opposed to the lack of support shown to Iran’s Green Movement in 2009 by the Obama Administration) also bolstered popular opposition. Although the regime is highly oppressive and not loath to shoot protesters, the present unrest is its most serious challenge since the 1979 revolution.

Trump hasn’t limited his activism to the problem of Iran. It used to be fashionable to claim that the “plight of the Palestinians” was the primary source of instability in the Middle East, and that when it was “solved” (always at Israel’s expense), all of the various players in the region would lie down together in peace. And while this theory ignored things like the Sunni/Shiite conflict, Iranian expansionism, and radical Sunni groups like ISIS, it is nevertheless true that the Palestinian Arabs created chaos for decades, leveraging the Cold War, and now the Iranian-American conflict, to keep their anti-Israel war going.

In 1970, the PLO fought a mini-war against Jordan. Then it moved to Lebanon, where it started a vicious civil war whose embers still smolder and threaten to flare up. In 1982, it provoked Israel into a destructive war in Lebanon. During the 1980s, Palestinian terrorists brought their murderous activity to Europe as well as the Middle East, hijacking planes and even a cruise ship, and murdering Jewish athletes.

Part of the Obama/Ben Rhodes plan mentioned above to realign US interests included “solving” the Palestinian problem by weakening Israel and creating a Palestinian state. The idea was originally enunciated in the Iraq Study Report that Rhodes contributed to in 2006. Forcing Israel back to pre-1967 lines was part of the plan.

Obama and his people ignored the fact that Palestinian objectives didn’t stop at the Green Line (maybe they were aware of this and thought that the original creation of a Jewish state was a mistake anyway). They ignored the Iranian regime’s oft-stated intent to “wipe Israel off the map.” They followed a course that would reinforce the belief of both the ayatollahs and the PLO/Hamas that they would be given Israel on a platter, a dangerous tactic that could bring about a regional war that might dwarf the “big wars” of 1967 and 1973.

Trump short-circuited all of this. He cut funding to UNRWA, the UN agency dedicated to building an army of stateless “Palestinian refugees” to use as both a diplomatic and military weapon against Israel. He rectified the embarrassing failure of the US to admit reality, recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and move the US Embassy there. He signed the Taylor Force Act to keep American taxpayers from subsidizing Palestinian terrorism. He recognized Israel’s possession of the Golan Heights, essential for her security. His State Department rejected the idea that Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria were automatically illegal. In short, he took steps to put an end to the decades-long policy of encouraging the PLO and Hamas in their belief that a combination of terrorism and diplomacy would ultimately evict the Jews from the land of Israel.

Trump may have cut the Gordian Knot in the Middle East. If the American voters give him time to follow through, he may be able to prevent Iran from going nuclear, and perhaps help the Iranian people throw off the oppressive revolutionary Islamic regime. He might even end the Arab war against Israel, after some 100-odd years.

And if he succeeds, nothing could be more fitting than Donald Trump becoming the fifth American president to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Posted in American politics, Iran, Israel and Palestinian Arabs, Middle East politics | 1 Comment

Some Optimism, for a Change

In the last few days a fleet of explosive and incendiary balloons and kites have floated over our border fence with Gaza to land in Sderot, Ashdod, and other spots. Nobody has been hurt yet, but these devices are attractive to children. It’s only a matter of time before they claim their first human victims (over the summer, incendiary devices burned fields all over southern Israel, destroying crops and killing countless animals). The IDF bombed a Hamas installation in retaliation. They made sure nobody was there to be hurt.

The new laser weapon – the “ray gun” I’ve been waiting for since the days of Flash Gordon movies – apparently isn’t operational yet. A version of it is expected to be able to burn the balloons and kites out of the air before they cross our border. It will also be usable against rockets and mortar shells, so it will be an adjunct to the Iron Dome system, our insanely expensive defense against cheap rockets. The laser is affected by weather conditions and has other limitations, so it can’t entirely replace Iron Dome.

Israel has a layered anti-missile defense system which includes Iron Dome, the Patriot missile, the Arrow and Arrow III, David’s Sling, and soon the newly developed laser devices. Iron Dome has recently been improved, and is even more effective than its previous 90% success rate.

Effective anti-missile systems are a part of our deterrent strategy. The theory says that if the enemy knows that their attack won’t achieve much, they won’t try to attack us – at least today. Of course, it’s well known that improvements in offensive and defensive weapons and tactics follow upon one another. The longbow, machine gun, tank, and aircraft all changed the face of warfare, as well as giving birth to technologies to counter them.

It seems as though nobody is as good at creating defensive systems as Israel. And of course they are important. It doesn’t matter that we have the capability of turning southern Lebanon into  a wasteland if Hezbollah can destroy our major cities and infrastructure while we are doing it. Defensive systems keep us alive while the offensive ones defeat the enemy and win the war.

But there needs to be a balance, both technologically and strategically. Do we have the offensive capabilities to defeat our enemies? And will we use them?

Today those enemies are Iran and her proxies. Our nuclear deterrent, assuming that there is such a thing, would not be employed except in the worst possible situation, when our country is in danger of being overrun or being attacked with weapons of mass destruction. So I will leave this out of the discussion.

Our ground forces are small compared to the number of fighters that Hamas and the PA (I am assuming they will act on behalf of Iran in the event of war), Lebanese Hezbollah, Shiite militias in Syria and Iraq, and possibly others (e.g., the ISIS militia in the Sinai) can deploy against us. In a multi-front war our forces would be spread thinly. Our experience in the 2006 Lebanon War showed that we can’t discount Hezbollah’s ability to fight and even to surprise us with effective tactics. Many of their fighters have been seasoned by fighting in Syria. We can assume that Iran will do its best to supply them with effective weapons.

Our air force is probably the best in the world (or almost – the only competition is the USAF), but it will be up against sophisticated Russian antiaircraft systems like the S-300 and possibly the S-400, which will limit its ability to fly everywhere, at least until we can destroy the batteries. Even when we have command of the air, it will not be easy to find and destroy all the rocket launchers that will be pummeling our home front, as we discovered in 2006. We will need to operate over Lebanon, Gaza, Syria, and possibly Iraq and Iran (which is near the limit of the range of our manned aircraft).

Of course, nothing I said above is unknown to our military planners. They will have developed or are developing answers to the S-300 and S-400. Manned aircraft and pilots are a scarce resource, and Israel is coming to rely more and more on drones, which have long ranges and are much cheaper – Israel builds them herself – than manned aircraft. I suspect that in the next war, drones will become even more important, and Israel’s superiority in this area will be decisive in the future.

One area in which we are deficient compared to our enemies is rockets and missiles. Israel has chosen to invest more heavily in manned aircraft and drones, which offer greater precision in targeting – and also allow missions to be cancelled at the last moment to reduce collateral damage. Most of the rockets in the hands of Hezbollah and Hamas are so inaccurate that they are only useful as terror weapons against civilian populations.

Israel has also invested in naval systems, mostly in a defensive role. Now that we have offshore gas platforms, resources must also be allocated to protect them, which include ships and anti-missile systems.

Our enemies can be expected to attack us at what they believe to be our weakest points. That means to attack our home front and to try to create casualties among our ground forces, since they believe that they can win by destroying our will to fight. We can expect ground incursions into our territory. One important tactic for us will be to integrate smaller armed drones with ground forces, so that they can provide their own pinpoint air support.

Thinking more strategically: today we are in a defensive mode. We are trying to avoid civilian and military casualties, while developing our capabilities – defensive and offensive – and finishing infrastructure projects, like the tunnel barrier on the border with Gaza. We are not interested in hot war at this point, because there are weapons to develop and deploy, infrastructure to build, even flooded aircraft to repair. The generals always want a little more time.

On the other hand, our enemies aren’t standing still. And here comes the optimism: they weren’t, until recently. With the death of Soleimani, the pressure of sanctions, the revolt of the masses who are sick of the corrupt, oppressive, and – what else can I say, stupid – regime, the Iranian programs to project power in Iraq and Syria, to introduce precision-guided missiles into Lebanon, and to develop nuclear weapons, are stalled.

At the same time, the friendly administration in the US has taken some of the pressure off of us. During the previous one, I would get up every day and ask “how are they going to try to hurt us and help our enemies today?” That is no longer true.

The killing of Soleimani was a psychological watershed for me. For the first time, I think I can say that time is on our side. I even sometimes allow myself to entertain the thought that the Iranian people will succeed in throwing off their chains and we will not need to fight that next war after all.

Sometimes. But we live in interesting times. The next administration in Washington could make Barack Obama look like Theodor Herzl. War could start by accident. A revolution in Egypt could change all our equations. We don’t know, so we must be prepared for anything. At some point we will have to go over from defense to offense. I’m sure our generals understand this. I hope they do. Defense is important, but doesn’t win wars.

At a time like this, wouldn’t it be nice to have an actual government?

Posted in Iran, Terrorism, War | 1 Comment

Will the Iranian Regime’s Obsessive Jew-Hatred be its Undoing?

Qassem Soleimani was a terrorist’s terrorist, a single man who was directly responsible for numerous acts of terrorism against the West and Israel, but – more importantly – who had the resources of a state at his disposal in his project to develop asymmetric warfare assets in other Middle Eastern countries. He was quite successful in building up Hezbollah in Lebanon into what is arguably the first truly existential threat to the Jewish state since 1973. He was in the process of doing the same for Shiite militias in Iraq and Syria, when Trump wisely put an end to his mischief.

But he had another goal, apart from weakening Iran’s rivals Saudi Arabia and Israel, getting control of Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, and forcing the US out of the region. That was to target the Jewish people worldwide. In addition to attacking Israeli diplomats in several locations, Soleimani’s terrorists murdered Jews in Argentina, Bulgaria, Panama, and Lebanon. Of course his prime Jewish target was Israel, and although his support for Hezbollah plus various Palestinian factions could be seen as part of Iran’s struggle to dominate the region, it could also be understood as part of an overall anti-Jewish project.

Israel, as the Ayatollah Khameini well understands, is the locus of Jewish power in the world. Expressing this idea in 2018 with typical antisemitic imagery, he tweeted that

Our stance against Israel is the same stance we have always taken. #Israel is a malignant cancerous tumor in the West Asian region that has to be removed and eradicated: it is possible and it will happen. …

The supposedly moderate Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, has also used this metaphor, as did his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Iranian officials have likened Israel to a dog, and their expressions of hostility toward Israel are far more vicious and “personal” than those directed at their other regional adversaries. The regime regularly holds Holocaust cartoon contests despite the fact that Western countries, even those relatively hostile to Israel, find this kind of antisemitism offensive, and damage the image Iran wishes to project as a modern, progressive nation.

This is an antisemitic regime, and inviting and subsidizing visits from members of the Neturi Karta faction – representatives of which attended Soleimani’s funeral – can’t wash it away.

Lucy S. Dawidowicz wrote a book called “The War Against the Jews 1933-1945,” one of whose theses is that Hitler’s ravings against the Jews were more than, in Irving Howe’s words, “mere bait for the masses,” but rather, “the Nazis’ deepest, most ‘authentic’ persuasion.” The murder of millions of Jews was not an epiphenomenon of Hitler’s expansionist aggression, but rather one of his main war objectives.

It seems to me that the hostile expression of the Iranian revolutionary regime toward Israel is like that. In this case it draws its hatred from the well of Islamic doctrine rather than the combination of crackpot economic and racial theories that fueled Hitler’s enthusiasm, but it is still significantly more than just propaganda to support practical geopolitical ambitions. Like Hitler’s, the Jew-hatred of the Iranian regime is not an epiphenomenon; it is the “authentic persuasion” of Khameini (and was of Soleimani, too, until Trump’s Hellfire missiles came along).

It’s instructive to note that the “Quds Force” that was commanded by Soleimani and which is responsible for covert operations and unconventional warfare (read: terrorism) throughout the world is named after al quds, Jerusalem. It’s an obsession with them.

The statements of the Jew-haters in Iran are more honest and straightforward than those from the Palestinian Authority or the still more disingenuous BDS Movement. Ahmadinejad famously threatened that Israel “would be erased from the map,” not that Israel would be forced to “end the occupation.” It’s often said that one of the most important lessons of the Holocaust was that when Jew-haters make threats, it’s foolhardy to ignore them. Therefore we must not ignore the nuclear threats of the Iranian regime.

You may notice that I say “the regime” and not “Iran.” This is because while the regime in Teheran pumps out anti-Jewish propaganda every day, the Iranian people are arguably the least antisemitic in the Middle East! So says the ADL’s Global 100 poll, which found that “only” 60% of Iranians showed attitudes or beliefs that they considered antisemitic. This compares to 93% for our Palestinian peace partners, 74% for the Middle East and North Africa as a whole, 19% for countries in the Americas, and a worldwide average of 26%. Iranians are far less antisemitic than Jordanians (81%) and Egyptians (75%), with whom we are supposedly at peace. Yes, 60% is a high number, but given the conflict and the regime’s propaganda, it is surprisingly low.

Iran was a highly developed country before the 1979 popular revolution, with a relatively well-educated and liberal population. The government of the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, was an absolute monarchy (“shah” means “emperor”) in which dissent was harshly suppressed; but when it was overthrown by a popular revolution, many commentators – and probably many Iranians – were surprised to see it replaced by an Islamic regime that was no less harsh. The Shah had been a relatively enlightened king, a modernizer who improved the economy and introduced women’s suffrage. The new regime quickly established clerical rule and decreed mandatory hijab for women.

Today the Islamic regime is in trouble, its economy devastated by sanctions, and popular anger has risen against the choice of the regime to spend large amounts of money to develop militias in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen; to fight a hot proxy war against Saudi Arabia and a warm one against Israel; and to develop ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. Although the regime has been successful in getting Lebanese, Syrians, Iraqis, and others (Palestinians, too) to die for it in its military adventures, it has to arm and pay them.

Probably a majority of the money it is spending on military programs goes for its strategic encirclement of Israel and the provision of arms with which to try to neutralize Israel’s great military advantage. It’s probably reasonable to count a large part of the expensive nuclear and missile programs as Israel-related as well. So if it should happen that the Iranian people overthrow the Islamic regime, it will be in part because of the regime’s irrational anti-Jewish obsession (and in part because of the actions of Donald Trump).

And this brings up an interesting parallel. Some historians think that Hitler’s obsessive desire to kill all the Jews led to his irrational and disastrous decision to invade the Soviet Union in 1941. Others point out that the diversion of resources to murdering Jews greatly damaged his war effort and even led to his defeat on the critical Eastern Front.

It would be particularly ironic if the most dangerous and destabilizing force in the world today, the primary source of the unending misery of the Middle East, were to founder, like Hitler, because of its obsessive Jew-hatred.

Posted in Iran, Jew Hatred, Terrorism | 2 Comments

Regime Change in Iran Must Become an International Objective

The shooting down of a Ukrainian commercial airliner immediately after takeoff from the Teheran international airport is still shrouded in mystery. 176 passengers and crew died in the ensuing crash after one or two missiles from a sophisticated Russian Tor-M1 antiaircraft battery exploded near the plane. The Iranian regime initially denied any connection to the incident, but in the face of overwhelming evidence was forced to admit that their air defense system had downed the plane.

The Iranians said that it was a human error in which a “junior officer” mistook the plane for an American cruise missile. According to Brigadier-General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force, “The operator identified the plane as a cruise missile but was unable to contact the central air defense command to confirm it. So he had to choose between shooting it down or not, and he choose [sic] to do it, Hajizadeh said. The operator had 10 seconds to make a decision.”

“I take full responsibility and I will obey whatever decision is taken,” Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said in remarks broadcast on state television. “When I found out what had happened, I wanted to die. I said, I would rather die rather than be a witness to such an incident.”

Nevertheless, there are considerations that make it hard to understand how such a “mistake” could have been made. A cruise missile flies much faster than a commercial aircraft, and would have been at a lower altitude. Several other commercial flights had taken off from the airport that day, and surely operators would have been familiar with the profile. The plane had a functioning transponder which “squawks” its identification, which would be available to military radars as well as the airport tower (which had just communicated with the pilots). The Tor-M1 battery near the airport would be integrated with other radar equipment in the local air defense system, and the blip would have been marked for the operator as a commercial airliner. According to a source familiar with the system, it would have required the operator to make a “command override choice” to override the identification in order to select it as a target.

Perhaps an poorly-trained operator panicked? Hard to believe. Or for some reason someone wanted to destroy a commercial flight? We don’t know, and we may never find out.

Protests in Iran have broken out from anger about the government’s lying and responsibility for the crash in which 82 of the 176 people killed were Iranians. This is after protests against high gas prices led to the deaths of 1,500 Iranians at the hands of security forces. Iranians, especially educated ones and students, are showing their frustration with a regime that has expended resources on expansionist wars while oppressing the population at home.

The regime’s expansionism threatens the peace of the region as well as the world. It is engaged in terrorist mischief-making around the world, and the regime has forced one of the greatest nations in the world to become a captive of a medieval Islamist ideology that should not exist in the 21st century. It is the epicenter of world antisemitism. And it is pursuing nuclear weapons to make it even more dangerous. Iran’s aggression is precisely the kind of behavior that the UN was created to combat. And yet, more often than not, the UN’s mechanisms work to abet rather than to hamper it.

The most desirable outcome would be for the Iranian people to overthrow the regime of the ayatollahs and establish an enlightened, democratic government in its place. Failing that, almost any government that would be concerned with the welfare of its people rather than exporting its revolutionary Islamism, dominating the region, destroying Israel, and threatening the rest of the world, would be an improvement.

Rather than seeking to expand trade with Iran, as the European countries have done, the civilized nations of the world should cooperate to isolate and pressure the Iranian regime economically. Dissident forces in the country should receive support and encouragement to overthrow it. It may also be necessary to use limited force in order to prevent the regime from producing nuclear weapons. It seems clear that nothing short of that will stop them, since they see nuclear weapons as an impenetrable umbrella for their overall design, and they may be right. Therefore, they are willing to make almost any sacrifice – that is, to force their population to sacrifice – in order to achieve this goal. Time is short.

Although the general principle that nations should not interfere with the internal affairs of other nations is a worthy one, Iran under the revolutionary regime pursues policies that make it an existential danger to other nations. Ignoring its behavior and allowing it to continue, especially along with the development of nuclear weapons and the ballistic missiles to deliver them all over the world, is foolhardy.

As far as I can tell, the main obstacle to a concerted international effort is the financial benefit that some countries and influential individuals derive from their relationship to the regime. But nations that see themselves as the responsible adults of the world must put aside the short term gains that come from cooperation with the regime and instead work together with the Iranian people to remove it. Regime change could be accomplished without invading Iran, and without destroying the country’s infrastructure and killing millions, because a significant proportion of the population would be on board.

The US is the most powerful and important country in the world, and has the power and influence needed to lead a campaign against the Ayatollahs. President Trump appears to understand the need to take action, but unfortunately his political opponents are automatically against anything that he’s for, regardless of the intrinsic merit of his policy. In the case of Iran, the antagonism is particularly strong because the Obama administration chose to appease rather than confront the regime. The same “echo chamber” that gave us the JCPOA (the nuclear “deal”) is back and is working overtime.

I am certain that my argument will fall on deaf ears in the case of those who see Trump as the Devil. This is particularly unfortunate, because the situation will change drastically for the worse once Iran goes nuclear.

Posted in Iran | 3 Comments