by Caroline B. Glick
Why the Jewish State must assert itself in
In refusing to stick their necks out — and so effectively siding with the mullahs against the pro-democracy activists in the streets — US President Barack Obama like Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Mossad chief Meir Dagan have all rightly pointed out the Mir-Hossein Mousavi, Iran's former prime minister and the titular head of the protest movement is just as radical and extreme as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad whom he seeks to unseat.
Moreover, Western officials and analysts point out that Mousavi's primary backers from within the regime — former presidents Muhammad Khatami and Rafsanjani — are themselves anything but anti-regime revolutionaries. What apparently motivates these men is the sense that through Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's heavy handed attacks against the revolution's "old guard," the presidential incumbent has shunted them aside. They feel slighted. And they are doubly humiliated by the fact that Ahmadinejad has acted with the open support of
It is these twin assessments of Mousavi and his backers that stand at the center of Western leaders' decision to give a wide berth both to the presidential race and the protests that have arisen in its aftermath.
Beyond that, there is the fact that
Finally, there is the distinct possibility, indeed the likelihood that these protests will go nowhere. They will be brutally repressed or fizzle out of their own accord. So would
While reasonable on their face, these arguments for doing nothing all ignore the significance of recent developments. Consequently they fail to grasp the new opportunities that have arisen — opportunities which left untouched will likely disappear in short order.
The fact of the matter is that with each passing day, Mousavi's personal views and interests are becoming increasingly irrelevant. Whether he realized it or not, Mousavi was transformed last Friday night. When Khamenei embraced the obviously falsified official election results as a "divine victory" for Ahmadinejad, Mousavi was widely expected by Western observers to accept the dictator's verdict. When instead Mousavi sided with his own supporters who took to the streets to oppose their disenfranchisement, Mousavi became a revolutionary. Whether he had planned to do so or not, a week ago Mousavi became an enemy of the regime.
The significance of Mousavi's decision could not be more profound. As Michael Ledeen from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies wrote, last Friday night Mousavi tied his personal survival to the success of the protesters — and pitted his life against Khamenei's. In Ledeen's words, "Both Khamenei and Mousavi — the two opposed icons of the moment, at least — know that they will either win or die."
For their part, by the end of this week, the protesters themselves had been transformed. If last week they were simply angry that they had been ignored, by Thursday they had become a revolutionary force apparently dedicated to the overthrow of the regime. This was made clear by a list of demands circulating among the protesters on Wednesday. As Pepe Escobar reported in Thursday's Asia Times, the protesters demands include Khamenei's removal from power, the dissolution of the secret police, the reform of the constitution under anti-regime Ayatollah Hossein Montazeri who has been living under house arrest for the past twelve years, and the installation of Mousavi as president. These demands make clear where the protesters are leading. They are leading to the overthrow of one of the most heinous regimes on the face of the earth and its replacement by a liberal democracy.
As far as
Were Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to publicly announce
Moreover, by acting as the loudest and first democratic champion of the protesters,
Were Netanyahu to explain that the same mullahs who seek to disenfranchise and repress the Iranian people seek to destroy Israel with nuclear bombs; were he to call for Iran to stop financing Hamas and Hizbullah terrorists who are reportedly now deployed in Iran to brutalize the protesters, and instead invest in the Iranian economy for the benefit of Iran's people, he would be giving a message that already resonates with the people of Iran.
Finally, Israeli outreach to the Iranian people now struggling to overthrow the regime would expose the Obama administration's effective support for the mullahs against their people in all its absurdity and moral blindness. What's more, the administration would be unable to launch a counterattack. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Obama would be in no position to attack
Again, it is more than possible that Khamenei will move to crush the dissidents or successfully buy enough of them off to subvert them. But in the meantime,
In an interview this week with National Review Online, Iranian expatriate Amir Taheri explained that
On the other hand, the vast majority of
As Taheri put it, "When we consider
Indeed, if they fail to overthrow the regime, and
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East Fellow at the Center for Security Policy in
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