October 02, 2006

Not All Quiet on Iran's Western Front

Iran Focus has a short post up this morning claiming that a network of "separatists:"

...was being supported and strengthened by the intelligence apparatuses of certain neighboring states and a European country which it did not identify.

The insurgent network was spread throughout two cities, including the Iranian capital of Tehran. You won't see this as a featured story by the Associated Press or Reuters, or mention on CNN or CBS News. Commenting upon the Iranian insurgency would be… problematic. It interferes with how the western news media often presents Iranian thought as a near monolith rallying behind President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, even as this is far from the case.

I suspect international news organizations purposefully under-report the long-running dissention and insurgency in the Iranian population—and propagate the Iranian government's views internally and as they apply to foreign policy (think CNN in Baghdad)—so that they are not frozen out completely of the news trickle (calling what the Iranian government censors allow a news cycle would be too generous) within the country by Ahmadinejad's government.

The fact remains that there have been several attempts on Ahmadinejad's life within Iran during the past year that have received relatively little media attention. Iran has been fighting its own long-term, low intensity insurgencies, with both Sunni Baluchis and Kurds rebelling against the central Shiite government.

In addition, Iran's government does not represent the views of all Iranian Shiites. Many Shiites believe that Iran has a legitimate right to nuclear power, but they are increasingly worried that the thinly-veiled drive towards nuclear weaponry by Ahmadinejad's apocalyptic Hojjatieh sect is pushing the country towards a conflict that they cannot win.

Iran has blamed Great Britain for supporting the elements of the Iranian insurgency, but has not yet been able to present any solid proof of those claims, as opposed to the solid physical evidence against Iran in providing material support for Hezbollah in Lebanon, Palestinian factions in the West Bank and Gaza, and the sectarian Shia violence in Iraq, in the form of captured Iranian weaponry. It would be logical, of course, for Western powers to support the various low-level insurgencies in Iran. Attacks in Iran's oil and gas producing regions can pose a threat to the stability of the central government. Hopefully Iranians can accomplish regime change without need for direct military intervention by Western armies, saving many lives on both sides.

Iran is fighting—and taking hits—from its own insurgencies, and yet mainstream media organizations seem to purposefully limit reporting on them.

One might wonder if their coverage is purposefully Jordanesque.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at October 2, 2006 10:27 AM | TrackBack

OTOH, to keep oil prices down they probably want to avoid civil unrest in a major OPEC country.

That's called "realism," but it's really moral cowardice. Cheap gas is merely convenient, esp. politically.

Posted by: TallDave at October 2, 2006 11:17 AM

Amen, TallDave.

Posted by: Buddy Larsen at October 2, 2006 11:41 AM

On the other other hand, a period of declining oil prices might be the best time to take some action that might raise oil prices....

Posted by: PapayaSF at October 2, 2006 11:54 AM

There is logic, however, in the US buying the time needed to strengthen Iraqi security forces before really dropping the hammer on Iran.

Posted by: edh at October 2, 2006 12:07 PM

I think that Iran is HIGHLY vulnurable to many things that we could do to undercut the mad mullahs regime. Iran has no refinery capacity, so a sea embargo on imports of gasoline would bring their economy to a grinding halt in a matter of days. Most of Iran's oil fields are offshore oil rigs that could be seized and denied to the government while we pump away. These are, of course, acts of war, but so what? Better to take a proactive strategy than to wait around passively while Iran wrecks the democratic government in Iraq.

Posted by: Immanual Goldstein at October 2, 2006 12:36 PM

Why not spell out exactly what kind of financial/economic pain could be put on Iran and make it very public and repeat it often?

Posted by: Mark at October 2, 2006 01:53 PM

I had been wondering for a while if Iran had been over-reaching - unlike the press that only speculates (or asserts) that the US is stretched too far.

Posted by: Major John at October 2, 2006 02:22 PM

Iran will crumble to the waves of democracy as the megatrends of Democracy catch up with it. It is inevitable.

Just sit back and watch the events unfold.

Posted by: Tudalu at October 2, 2006 02:28 PM


The area just accross the river from Basra is primarily Arab. If that province were to seceed from Iran, we could recognize it as a legitimate democratic state. It would be aproximately the same size and posess similar oil wealth as Kuwait.

If Iran keeps trying to cause Iraq to break up into ethnic enclaves, the problem will be to get Turkey to agree to an independant Kurdish state. My modest proposal would be for Turkey to deport its Kurds into the new Kurdistan and to guarantee the right of Kurdistan to expand all the way to the Caspian. After all, those Kurds will need Lebensraum.

Posted by: Mark in Texas at October 2, 2006 10:21 PM

Boy, I wish I could have read your whole post underneath that Comcast ad.

Posted by: Not Tony at October 3, 2006 02:50 PM