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Saturday, December 03, 2011

What we can learn from Isfahan

Caroline Glick views the bombing near Iran's Isfahan uranium facility this week as an attempt by the Green party to overthrow the government, and not as an attempt by outsiders to sabotage Iran's nuclear program. Still, there are some valuable lessons in it for the outsiders.
THIS ESCALATION in the war of sabotage against the Iranian regime provides two important lessons for Western policy-makers assessing Western options for preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

It tells us the popular Western belief that a US or Israeli or coalition strike on Iran’s nuclear installations would provoke the Iranian public to rally around the regime is utter nonsense. In the case of the Isfahan bombing, for instance, there are two possible scenarios for who is responsible.

First, it is possible, as Ledeen argues and Dyer infers, that the attack was the work of regime opponents acting on their own. Second, it is possible as Israeli officials quoted by the media have hinted that it was a collaborative effort between local regime opponents and foreign forces.

In either case, what is clear is that at least some Iranians are willing to target their country’s nuclear installations if doing so will harm the regime.

At the height of the 2009 Green Movement protests against the regime, US President Barack Obama justified his decision not to side with the anti-regime protesters by claiming that if the US were to support them, they would lose popular credibility. In his words, it would be counterproductive for the US “to be seen as meddling” in Iran’s domestic affairs, “given the history of US-Iranian relations.”

And yet, what we see is that no one is rallying around the regime. The attacks on Isfahan and Bidganeh, which the regime was quick to simultaneously deny and blame on foreign governments, did not cause the people to rally to the side of the mullahs. So, too, the repeated bombings of petroleum facilities are not fomenting an upsurge in public support for the regime. To the contrary; domestic disgruntlement with the regime continues to rise as the standard of living for the average Iranian plummets.

And this brings us to the “students” who raided the British Embassy on Tuesday. On Thursday the regime released from jail all the “students” arrested for raiding and torching the embassy and briefly holding British personnel hostage.

Their release is yet further proof that the embassy attackers were neither students nor angry at Britain. Rather, as British Foreign Minister William Hague and others have alleged, they were regime goons who belong to the same Basij force that massacred, tortured and raped the anti-regime protesters from the Green Movement in 2009.

According to the official Iranian press agencies, the “students” raided the British Embassy because they were furious that Britain announced it was cutting its ties with Iran’s Central Bank. If Obama were right, and Western anti-regime actions were counterproductive, then we could have expected real students, like the ones who called for the overthrow of the regime in 2009 to protest outside the British Embassy. But the fact that they stayed home while their attackers turned their truncheons on the British is clear proof that Obama simply didn’t know what he was talking about.
Read the whole thing.

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