by Caroline Glick
We are entering troubling times. The conviction that war is upon us grows with each passing day. What remains to be determined is who will dictate the terms of that war -
Last Tuesday the merchants at the all-important Teheran bazaar closed their shops to protest the government's plan to raise their taxes by 70 percent. Merchants in
According to The Los Angeles Times, to hide the fact that the merchants remain on strike, on Sunday the regime announced that the bazaar was officially closed due to the excessive heat. The Times also reported that the head of the fabric traders union in the Teheran bazaar was arrested for organizing an anti-regime protest. The protest was joined by students. Regime goons attacked the protesters with tear gas and arrested and beat a student caught recording the event.
Crucially, the Times reported that by last Thursday the bazaar strike had in many cases become openly revolutionary. Citing an opposition activist, it claimed, "By Thursday, hundreds of students and merchants had gathered in the shoemakers' quarter of the old bazaar, chanting slogans [such] as, "Death to Ahmadinejad," "Victory is God's," "Victory is near" and "Death to this deceptive government."
The merchants' strike is just one indication of the regime's economic woes. According to AP, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is under pressure to carry out his pledge to cut government subsidies for food and fuel. Although he supports the move, he fears the mass protests that would certainly follow its implementation.
FrontPage Magazine's Ryan Mauro noted earlier this week that there is growing disaffection with the regime in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps itself. A recent documentary produced by the Guardian featured four IRGC defectors speaking of the discord in the ranks. The regime is so frightened of defection among the IRGC that it has removed many older members and replaced them with poor young men from the countryside.
The regime's fear of its opposition has caused it to crack down on domestic liberties. Last week the regime issued hairstyle guidelines for men. Spiked hair and ponytails are officially banned as decadent.
On Sunday Mohammed Boniadi, the deputy head of Teheran's school system, announced that starting in the fall, a thousand clerics will descend on the schools to purge Western influence from the halls of learning. As he put it, the clerics' job will be to make students aware of "opposition plots and arrogance."
These moves to weaken Western influence on Iranian society are of a piece with the regime's new boycott against "Zionist" products. Late last month Ahmadinejad signed a law outlawing the use of products from such Zionist companies as Intel, Coca Cola, Nestle and IBM.
ALL OF these moves expose a hysterical fear of the Iranian people on the part of their unelected leaders. Regime strongmen themselves acknowledge that they have never faced a greater threat. For instance, the Guardian quoted IRGC commander Maj.-Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari saying recently, "Although last year's sedition did not last more than around eight months, it was much more dangerous than the [Iran-Iraq] war."
As is its wont, the regime has chosen to defend itself against this threat by repressing its internal enemies and attacking its external enemies. In an article last month in Forbes, Reza Kahlili, a former CIA spy in the IRGC who maintains connections inside the regime, claimed that the IRGC has set up concentration camps throughout the country in anticipation of mass arrests in any future opposition campaign against the regime.
As for the outside world,
Otaiba said that the Arab states of the Persian Gulf cannot live with a nuclear Iran, that he supports military strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities and that if the US fails to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power, the Arab states of the Gulf will abandon their alliances with the US in order to appease Iran. Otaiba rejected the notion that a nuclear-armed
Otaiba's concerns were echoed last Friday by Kahlili in a public lecture at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He asserted that if
IRAN IS seeking to divert international attention away from its internal troubles and limit the possibility of a strike against its nuclear installations by inciting war with
As the IDF announced in a press briefing last Wednesday,
As for Hizbullah, it is poised to launch a witch-hunt against its domestic opponents.
Hizbullah MP Muhammad Ra'ad said earlier this month that the proxy army will "hunt down," collaborators. As MP Sami Gemayel noted in an interview with LBC translated by MEMRI, this that means is that Hizbullah is poised to conduct mass extrajudicial arrests and wholesale terrorization of Lebanese civilians.
Likewise, Hizbullah-allied former Lebanese minister Wiam Wahhab effectively called for armed attacks against UNIFIL forces in south
And of course, all of these provocations are being carried out as Hizbullah deploys its forces south of the
According to the IDF briefing last week, those forces have some 40,000 short- and medium-range missiles at their disposal.
Those missiles have been augmented by hundreds of guided long-range missiles north of the Litani with warheads capable of bringing down skyscrapers in Tel Aviv.
Moreover, they are further augmented by
For its part, the IDF is seeking to deter such an attack. Wednesday's briefing, in which the IDF made clear that it knows where Hizbullah has hidden its missiles, was aimed at deterring war.
Unfortunately, the IDF's warnings will likely have no effect on Hizbullah. If Hizbullah goes to war, it will do so not to advance its own interests, but to protect
Four years ago this week Hizbullah launched its war against
Hizbullah launched its war against
Four years ago,
Defense Minister Ehud Barak has given
Four years ago,
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu just returned from yet another visit with US President Barack Obama. Although the background music was cheerful, from statements by both men it is clear that Obama is not a credible ally. He does not understand or accept the strategic logic behind the
Indeed, in the face of the growing Iranian menace, Obama insists on limiting his interests to the irrelevant faux peace process with Fatah while allowing
What this means is that for better or for worse, under Obama the
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