Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Obama's Conundrum

“I wish I hadn’t said that.” How often have we all thought that? Certainly, some more than others but we’ve all said things that we wished we could have taken back. I would think our President is thinking along those lines as the chaotic climate in Iran continues to escalate. When the election results were announced and the protests began; Obama stated that there were no significant differences between the incumbent and alleged victor President Ahmadinejad and his opponent, Mir Hossein Mousavi. The President’s statement, in my opinion, was a safety net of sorts implemented to maintain the possibility of future negotiations with Iran.

In light of the continued violence and statements made by those who are truly in charge, the clerics; that difference appears to become more and more significant. Ayotollah Ahmed Khatami, a senior cleric, declared in a prayer sermon (yeah, a prayer sermon) “that the government should punish leaders of protests, who were supported by the united States and Israel, strongly and with cruelty so it will be a lesson for everyone.” How very holy of him!! I confess that I originally thought that the President’s olive branch extension was a wise move considering the previous administration’s position proved to be fruitless. Well, my new position is a simple one: Screw them!!

A recent article in Newsweek entitled Theocracy and Its Discontents by Fareed Zakaria outlines the power structure in Iran and the possibility of its complete collapse. While President Ahmadinejad can promise to be receptive to the West’s new approach (which is bullshit anyway); the fact remains that he does not set foreign policy. Foreign policy is set by those men of God, the Guardian Council and its Supreme Leader, Ayotollah Ali Khamenei. The persistence of the protestors is perceived by many to be a serious blow to the religious regime. These protests are akin to those in 1979 which enabled these hypocritical bastards to assume control. “Although Iran is Shia and most of the Islamic world is Sunni, Khomeni’s rise to power was a shock to every Muslim country, a sign that Islamic fundamentalism was a force to be reckoned with.” Now, the very tactics employed by the late Ayotollah Khomeni are being used to bite his successors right in their holy asses.

The point of this article (I admit to being derailed) is that though Obama may be right when he says he sees little difference; it has nothing to do with Ahmadinejad and Mousavi. It has to do with the fact that as long as the present regime, cloaked in religious dogma, has control; there is no chance of any reversal in Iran’s dealings with the U.S. They have long memories and vindictive tendencies. They will never forgive the U.S. for masterminding the coup of 1953 or its unholy alliance with the Shah preceding and following (not our finest hour) his removal from power.

Perhaps the President doesn’t need to retract his statement but clarify it. There is no difference, and there won’t be, until those men of God are removed from power. We have enough to deal with here at home with our own religious zealots who justify violence with religious rhetoric (abortion clinic bombings and murders). In regard to Iran; it may be prudent to step back and wait and see how effective these protests turn out to be.

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