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“All hangs in the balance”

Every once in awhile I risk incurring Robert Tracinski's wrath by running his whole column from TIA Daily (which is worth the price of subscription). Today is such a day, because it is so fundamentally important that everyone should read it and send it to their email lists. What is happening in Iran is historic. What started out as an election fracas is obviously so much more. The pity is that we have a pantywaist in the White House, eager to subjugate the US to Islamic interests. Pity that Bush isn't in the White House. This is what he hoped would happen. It did, five minutes too late.

Let me add Caroline Glick's analysis to the mix as well. Glick calls this "Israel's Rare Opportunity".

Israel would be building an important alliance
with the Iranian people themselves. Contrary to what the mullahs would
have us believe, Iranians by and large do not share the widespread
hatred of Israel and the Jews that their regime promotes and the Arab
world embraces. Over the years, Iranian regime opponents – from the
students to the trade unionists to women's rights activists to minority
Kurds, Azeris, Ahwaz Arabs and Baluchis – have all appealed to Israel
for support. Israel Radio in Farsi, which broadcasts into Iran daily,
has more than a million regular listeners.

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 sending 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 Israel for supporting
Iranian dissidents demanding freedom. And their stammering reaction
would make their attacks against Jewish building in Jerusalem, Judea
and Samaria look ever more ridiculous.

And here is Robert Tracinski over at TIA daily:

TIA Daily is devoted to another
round-up of news from Iran.

Charles Krauthammer has the best
explanation
I have seen so far of why this story is so supremely important
to America's interests. Krauthammer asks us to imagine the impact if the Iranian
regime is overthrown.

Imagine the repercussions. It would mark a decisive blow to Islamist
radicalism, of which Iran today is not just standard-bearer and model, but
financier and arms supplier. It would do to Islamism what the collapse of the
Soviet Union did to communism—leave it forever spent and discredited.

In the region, it would launch a second Arab spring. The first in 2005—the
expulsion of Syria from Lebanon, first elections in Iraq and early
liberalization in the Gulf states and Egypt—was aborted by a fierce
counterattack from the forces of repression and reaction, led and funded by
Iran.

Now, with Hezbollah having lost elections in Lebanon and Iraq establishing
institutions of a young democracy, the fall of the Islamist dictatorship in Iran
would have an electric and contagious effect.

The exception—Iraq and Lebanon—becomes the rule. Democracy becomes the wave.
Syria becomes isolated; Hezbollah and Hamas, patronless. The entire trajectory
of the region is reversed.

All hangs in the balance.

This makes the reaction of President Obama totally inexcusable. As
Krauthammer puts it, "And what side is the Obama administration taking? None."

Ralph Peters describes the administration's reaction as a "Green
Light for a Crackdown
." And the crackdown is coming. The Guardian
provides an overview:

Iran's government sought today to decapitate the opposition movement
by rounding up ­hundreds of activists, journalists and intellectuals.

A total of 500 were reported to have been detained across the country,
including well-known political figures from the 1979 Islamic revolution. The
mass detentions combined with paramilitary raids on university campuses appeared
to be part of a determined and sustained backlash on the part of a government
that initially appeared to have been taken by surprise by the scale of the
protests after the declaration that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won
Friday's presidential poll.

The authorities also launched what appeared to be a concerted campaign to
link the protests with foreign intervention, calling in the US and British
ambassadors to complain about what Tehran called "intolerable" meddling in
Iran's internal affairs.

So much for Obama not wanting America "to be seen to be meddling." We're
going to be accused of meddling no matter what we do.

Meanwhile, the New York Times has a pretty good report
on the role of the Shiite clergy, a significant number of whom might come out on
the side of the protesters.

"If the clergy become Khamenei's enemy, just think about it," Mr.
Kholdi said. "The shah made Qum [the main center of the Shiite clergy] his
enemy, and they did not cease to plot against him until he was overthrown."…

The risk for the supreme leader and Mr. Ahmadinejad if the mullahs shift away
from them is that the idea that the government carries an Islamic stamp of
approval will be undermined.

The ranks of the government supporters will dwindle and the government claim
that endorsing the results is a religious duty will collapse," said Abbas
Milani, author of the book "Eminent Persians" and chairman of Stanford
University's Iranian studies program.

It's hard to have a theocracy when it's opposed by the leading religious
authorities.

It will be very difficult to tell what is happening in Iran, but not as
difficult as it used to be. The New York Times describes
how, with foreign journalists being ejected from Iran, YouTube and Twitter have
become highly effective windows that shows the world what is going on. This may
or may not be the "Twitter Revolution," as some are calling it; I doubt more
than a small percentage of Iranians are actually using Twitter to communicate
with each another. But those who can do so are using these communications
services to communicate with the outside world. So this definitely is the
Twitter Revolution from our perspective.

What we do know is that there was another round of huge
protests
on Thursday:

Starting about 4 pm, thousands of people began gathering in Imam
Khomeini Square in Tehran. The crowd quickly grew to hundreds of thousands,
stretching beyond the borders of the square, one of the city's largest, and
filling the surrounding streets, witnesses said.

The protest seemed to grow larger than demonstrations on previous days. But
it was not as big as Monday's rally; that outpouring involved three million
people, Tehran's mayor said Thursday, making it the largest protest since the
Islamic Revolution in 1979…. [An earlier version of this story indicated that
Thursday's rally was bigger than Monday's.—RWT]

As on previous days, the police kept to the sidelines. Although vigilante
forces appeared, there were no immediate reports of clashes.

This same New York Times report indicates how high the stakes are
getting. The only way out for the mullahs now is to launch a bloody
Tiananmen-style massacre—but they are afraid of the consequences of such an open
and bloody repression.

The path to resolution is so cloudy because Iran's political system
is not based on coalitions or compromise. It has evolved into a winner-take-all
contest, with each side holding competing views of what kind of country Iran
should be: one in continuing opposition to the West, where individual freedoms
are tightly restricted, or one more open to engagement with the world and
greater civil liberties.

The Guardian also
reports
that the protest movement is not limited to Tehran: "Pro-Mousavi
protests have also been reported in the cities of Isfahan, Rasht, Orumiyeh,
Zanjan and Zahedan."

The real "must read," however, is a series of statements from protesters sent
to a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. Definitely read the whole
thing
, but here are a few highlights.

"Alireza"—last names have been withheld for obvious reasons—says:

At Ahmadinejad's "victory" ceremony, government buses transported
all his supporters from nearby cities. There was full TV coverage of that
ceremony, where fruit juice and cake were plentiful. At most, 100,000 gathered
to hear his speech, including all the militiamen and soldiers.

We reformists have no radio, no newspaper, and no television. All our
Internet sites are filtered, as well as social networks such as Facebook. Text
messaging and mobile communication were also cut off during the demonstrations.
And yet we had hundreds of thousands, if not millions….

Democracy is a long way ahead. I may not be alive to see that day. With eyes
full of tears in these early hours of June 16, I glorify the courage of those
who have already been killed. I hope that the blood of these martyrs will make
every one of us more committed to freedom, to democracy and to human rights.

Negin" specifically addresses what the Iranians want from the rest of the
world:

People want to be heard and supported by the rest of the world. They
were sending messages to the West with their cameras. They were calling on Obama
and Sarkozy to demand that the Free World not recognize this government. I saw a
few women shouting: "Now it's your turn to support democracy and human rights."

"The fear is gone. Nothing seems to be an obstacle anymore. They can filter
all the Web sites and shut down the Internet, SMS [text messaging] service, and
mobile phones, but they cannot shut our mouths." This is what I hear all the
time.

Note also in photos of the protest how many of the signs are in English, not
Persian. This is an indication of how important the support of the
English-speaking West is.

All of this is creating increased pressure on Obama to back the protesters
more forcefully. The New York Times reports
that Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton are urging a stronger stance. The story also
contains this gem:

Mr. Obama also drew criticism from politically neutral observers
when he said in an interview on Tuesday with The New York Times and CNBC
that from an American national security perspective, there was not much
difference between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Mir Hussein Moussavi, his
closest competitor in the election.

Either way," Mr. Obama said, the United States is "going to be dealing with
an Iranian regime that has historically been hostile to the United States, that
has caused some problems in the neighborhood and is pursuing nuclear weapons."

So in contrast to Obama, what should we be doing?

President Obama has less backbone than the French, for crying out loud:
Nicolas Sarkozy has said, "These
elections are an atrocity." Aside from general statements of moral support,
there is a lot we can do specifically. We can highlight the fates of specific
people who have been targeted and imprisoned by the regime, as we did with
Soviet dissidents like Andrei Sakharov and Nathan Scharansky during the 1970s
and 1980s. And we can help the protesters materially, providing them with
communications technology that will help them circumvent the restrictions
imposed by the regime.

This is one of the suggestions Caroline Glick makes for Israel, describing
this event as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Israel to forge an alliance
with the people of a country that has been its worst enemy for decades. If this
sounds far-fetched, consider this passage from a report
in the Jerusalem Post, beginning with a quote from one of the Iranian
protesters:

"The most important thing that I believe people outside of Iran
should be aware of," the young man went on, "is the participation of Palestinian
forces in these riots."

Another protester, who spoke as he carried a kitchen knife in one hand and a
stone in the other, also cited the presence of Hamas in Teheran.

On Monday, he said, "my brother had his ribs beaten in by those Palestinian
animals. Taking our people's money is not enough, they are thirsty for our blood
too." It was ironic, this man said, that the victorious Ahmadinejad "tells us to
pray for the young Palestinians, suffering at the hands of Israel." His hope, he
added, was that Israel would "come to its senses" and ruthlessly deal with the
Palestinians.

This reminds me of similar things I heard in Iraq, where Saddam Hussein also
used the Palestinians as imported mercenaries in his war against his own people.

More will be happening in the next few days. Supreme Leader and chief
theocrat Ali Khamenei is giving the main sermon at Friday prayers in Tehran,
where he is expected to unveil a threat against the protesters. He is also
claiming that the attendance at his sermon will show the Iranian people's
support—so the opposition is, of course, calling for a boycott. By contrast, on
Saturday, a rally has been called by a group of reformist, relatively
pro-liberty clerics. Wait and see the contrasting responses to these two
events.

As Krauthammer reminds us, "all hangs in the balance."—RWT

UPDATE: House condemns Tehran crackdown on protesters

Rep. Mike Pence, who co-sponsored the resolution, said he disagrees with the administration that it must not meddle in Iran's affairs.

"When Ronald Reagan went before the Brandenburg Gate, he did not say Mr. (Mikhail) Gorbachev, that wall is none of our business," said Pence, R-Ind., of President Reagan's famous exhortation to the Soviet leader to "tear down that wall."

The House does what the White House should have. Shame on Obama. AP reports:

In the strongest message yet from the U.S. government, the House voted 405-1 Friday to condemn Tehran's crackdown on demonstrators and the government's interference with Internet and cell phone communications.

Ron Paul was the lone asshat.

The resolution was initiated by Republicans as a veiled criticism of President Barack Obama, who has been reluctant to criticize Tehran's handling of disputed elections that left hard-liner President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in power.

UPDATE: OBAMA CONTINUES TO AID AND ABET THE JIHAD BLOODBATH. He says the US will stay out of the Iran election. Now if only President Pantywaist would stay out of Israel.

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