Wednesday, February 23, 2005

How the mullahs won

I've been thinking for a while that the biggest international winners over the last four years have been the conservative Iranian mullahs. Look at what they got:
-Their biggest regional adversary, whom they fought a bloody war against in the 1980s, was eliminated and replaced by a pro-Iranian government.
-The Taliban regime that even they had trouble relating to was replaced with a decentralized government, run by warlords who will be easy to influence with gifts of arms and money.
-They got very far along on building a nuclear weapon.
-The Western coalition that was united against them for many years is fractured, with plenty of ill feelings between Europeans and Americans.
-Their pro-human-rights domestic opposition has lost a lot of power.

And now I read this from Iraqi blogger Riverbend:

I nodded and handed over the bags to be weighed. “Well… they’re going to turn us into another Iran. You know list 169 means we might turn into Iran.” Abu Ammar pondered this a moment as he put the bags on the old brass scale and adjusted the weights.

“And is Iran so bad?” He finally asked. Well no, Abu Ammar, I wanted to answer, it’s not bad for *you* - you’re a man… if anything your right to several temporary marriages, a few permanent ones and the right to subdue females will increase. Why should it be so bad? Instead I was silent. It’s not a good thing to criticize Iran these days. I numbly reached for the bags he handed me, trying to rise out of that sinking feeling that overwhelmed me when the results were first made public...

Then there’s Abdul Aziz Al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). He got to be puppet president for the month of December and what was the first thing he did? He decided overburdened, indebted Iraq owed Iran 100 billion dollars. What was the second thing he did? He tried to have the “personal status” laws that protect individuals (and especially women) eradicated.

1 comment:

Rousseau said...

Except they also have a large US military presence next door that many feel is looking for a reason to pull the trigger. It may be crazy for usto do so, but that doesn't mean the moolahs aren't negatively influenced by this. I still think they are ahead, but perhaps not so universally so.

In contrast, I think China is everyday getting a better deal out of this. Almost all concerns about their persecutions of minorities have gone out the window with terrorism being an excuse, we're relying on them more and more as a partner in that region, economically they're continuing fine, their metropoli like HK and Shangai are booming, and US willingness to defend Taiwan is clearly decreasing the more we get caught up in Mideast. Contrast this to pre-911, when the biggest foreign policy story was the US spy plane that got caught in China and we angrily demanded back, or how they treated Falun Gong.