Sunday, December 18, 2005

Did Neo-Cons Set Up Iran President Election Victory?

In Iran, the neo-cons got what they hoped for. Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and his rhetoric about Israel being moved to Europe and the Holocaust never occurring is made to order for the neo-cons who want the United States and Israel to attack Iran's nuclear sites. Ahmedinejad, the arch conservative mayor of Tehran, was elected in a surprise victory last June replacing moderate President Mohamed Khatami. The neo-cons and their allies -- the terrorist Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) based in Iraq and the pro-Shah exiles -- called for a boycott of the election in radio and TV satellite broadcasts to the country. That and Iran's stagnant economy and high unemployment had the desired effects for the neo-cons who want a war with the Iranian regime: Ahmedinejad coasted to victory beating the favorite of the old Reagan-Bush guard who helped facilitate the Iran-contra deal from the Iranian side -- former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, a multi-millionaire pragmatist.
The neo-cons wasted no time in attacking Ahmedinejad. They falsely said that he was one of the U.S. embassy hostage takers and that he was an international assassin who traveled to Austria to murder a dissident. Ahmedinejad, whose Muslim conservative base is similar to George W. Bush's base of a conservative group of fanatic fundamentalist Christians and some Jews who favor an expansionist Israel, ratcheted things up by playing the Israel and Holocaust denial cards.
Iran's pragmatists, who now include the Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamanei, slowly began to see the trap the neo-cons laid for Iran by helping to engineer Ahmedinejad's victory. Khamanei has promoted Rafsanjani to head the Expediency Council, a sort of referee arbitration council that settles policy and legislative differences between the Parliament (Majles) and the mullahs. Khamanei has also positioned Rafsanjani close to him at public appearances -- a sign that Rafsanjani may be the next Ayatollah after Khamanei's death and is increasingly calling the shots. Essentially, Ahmedinejad, who wants to pack the government with Revolutionary Guard elements, has seen his power checkmated.
The neo-cons would have us believe that Ahmedinejad is the new Saddam. However, Saddam never had religious leaders who checked his power. Iran is not Iraq and the neo-cons cannot sell us a new (and costlier) war based on the same old tired rhetoric and myopic viewpoints.

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