Even if you despise Iran's ruling clerics, you have to admire their survival skills, and sheer political brilliance.
It's been over 26 years since the Mullahs hijacked the revolution that was supposed to liberate Iranians from the Shah's dictatorship. Looking back, we should have realized even then that this gang was extremely competent politically. In the chaos and confusion in the aftermath of the revolution, much like Hitler, the Mullah's (Iran's Islamic fascists) outfoxed every other political group and seized full power and control inside Iran. These groups included seasoned and well financed groups like the Mojahedin (MEK), the Fadayeen, the Communists, the Shah's former supporters (and secret police).
The supreme leader (Khomeini) placed himself firmly in charge, and assumed greater rights and wealth than the Shah ever had. Isn't it amazing that one seventh of Iran's oil revenue has been going directly into the supreme leader's account for decades? And all his cohorts are operating large religious foundations that quickly took over and monopolized all of Iran's basic industries after the revolution. Like a Mafia gang – they have grabbed everything of any value in Iran.
The mullahs have survived and demonstrated incredible foresight – despite the odds and despite many attempts to destabilize and topple their regime.
First of all during the hostage crisis there was an attempted coup by Iran's western trained Air Force officers – named the “Nojeh” coup. Amazingly, the regime rounded up the officers before the coup even got under way.
And then, there was other more significant effort to destabilize the regime with Iraq's invasion of Iran. We now know that Saddam Hussein was pushed forward by the Nobel Peace prize winning President “Jimmy Carter” (as well as financial guarantees from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait). Incredibly, the Mullahs read the situation well and secretly negotiated with Reagan's camp to humiliate Jimmy Carter and obtain arms (during the presidential elections). They kept the hostages through November and handed Reagan the presidency. The war ended in a stalemate — with literally a million casualties on both sides. But the Mullahs did not lose.
When the White House finally switched back to the Democrats (Bill Clinton), the Mullahs put up a new front with President Khatami and pretended to press forward with a 'reform agenda.' Clinton had been convinced that Iran would undergo a soft and bloodless transition. This promise however, was a lie and turned out to simply buy time for the Mullahs. The reformers put up a false front for the Mullahs. Iran did not change. The Mullahs continued to shut down newspapers and fill their prisons with political prisoners.
This past year there was another attempt at wholesale change with a push to get a very large group of 'real reformers' elected into Iran's Majlis (Parliament). And this effort was quickly thwarted by a simple 'supreme leader's' disqualification of over 2000 candidates.
Now finally the Supreme leader's handpicked candidate has sidelined all the supposed 'reformers' in a presidential election … that was fraught with fraud and other hand picked candidates. Countless other candidates were disqualified.
Each time the government of the United States vacillated between promoting external and internal change in Iran, the Mullahs simply read the situation and adjusted their situation to thwart any impact. They have maintained their full stranglehold on Iran. They are stronger than ever. The CIA has failed miserably time after time to deliver any change in Iran. America's hand has been read every time by the mullahs! They have survived. They won the battle for power in Iran: Mullahs 1, USA 0
But to make matters worse, the Mullahs have not only forethought US policy on Iran, but have been able to influence US policy in the region with incredible skill. They have scored 2 more goals — winning power and influence in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iran is a clear winner – America has lost and lost very big way!
No matter how anyone looks at it — every one of Iran's strategic objectives have been duly executed for Iran, at the expense of the US taxpayer.
The Mullah's archenemy Saddam Hussein has been defeated. The Shia majority has taken over, led by a Shia leadership backed by Iran's mullahs. Important Shia shrines in Karbala and Najaf have been opened up to Iranians – and countless Iranian spies have crossed the border and set up shop in Iraq – influencing everything in Iraq. No, Arab nation has established an embassy in Baghdad, yet Iran now has a full diplomatic mission. There is rising evidence that insurgency in Iraq has been assisted by these hoards of Iranians in Iraq which have seriously thwarted US troops and left America in a quagmire. Also, Iran's most militant foreign opposition group (the MEK) that was based in Iraq has now been neutralized. The Mullahs no longer face any organized and militant opposition group anywhere!
And in Afghanistan, it's almost the same story. In fact, Iranian backed “Northern Alliance” opposition group turned out very ably to assist US forces in their invasion. And have now taken a very large stake in Afghanistan's political landscape.
Over three hundred Billion American dollars and over two thousand American lives later; and Iran's mullahs have become the clear winner in the great political game for power and influence being played out in the region.
No one in their wildest dreams can fathom the magnitude and significance of this win. One almost has to believe that either the Mullahs have been working hand in hand (in secret) with the US government or could it be that they have moles in the CIA or the Pentagon? It has already been established that “Chalabi” (Iraq's opposition leader in exile before the invasion) turned out to be a double agent on Iran's payroll!
Could the Mullahs have worked with the Brits and/or the Israeli's too? The Brits after all fed false intelligence to the US about dangerous material shipments to Iraq from Niger! And now after the invasion they sit tight on over half of Iraq's oil in the South while having contributed fewer than 10% of the invasion force!
And Saddam after all was inspiring Palestinian suicide bombers with financial awards. So Israel wanted him out, and everyone knows that the Israeli lobby in the US basically dictates US foreign policy decisions.
But, yes, the big winners are unquestionably the Mullahs in Iran. And the big loser is clearly the United States. The Mullahs have taken 3 countries and the United States is at a big 0.
Consider this: If the Invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq after 9/11 was designed to eliminate terrorism, well by every measure there has been more terrorist activity since 9/11 than for the same period before. Consider bombings in Madrid, London, … and more American troops killed after the invasion by terrorist activity than during the Invasion. The world is not safer. As long as the Mullahs remain in power in Iran, every cleric from Morocco to Malaysia is dreaming of similar wealth and power and secretly plotting a version of Iran's Islamic revolution.
Or consider, that perhaps the war had nothing to do with eliminating terrorism, but more to do with controlling the worlds second largest reserves or oil; and keeping French and Russian hands off those resources (for both American energy security as well as American economic interests). But lets do the math: the US has spent over $300 Billion dollars. And Iraq will be lucky to produce 2 Million barrels of oil a day (that's about $35 Billion dollars a year). Now remember that Iraq has substantial national debts, the US has at least one invasion partner that wants a cut of the action (Britain), and Iraq has to spend at least some of the oil revenue on rebuilding their country… So the pay back (if any) for the United States could be beyond 20 years!
And consider that if the US government had spent the same $300 Billion dollars inside the US on for example helping Detroit convert more quickly to Hybrid car technology; or even alternative propulsion technology Fuel Cell vehicles using renewable fuels (like Methanol or Hydrogen) — then the US could have captured global energy technology leadership; and more significantly reduce its dependence on imported fossil fuels. Meanwhile this year Toyota is importing 300,000 hybrid cars into the US this year (more than Ford's Mustang division), and is raced ahead along with Honda.
And if the war was designed to promote democracy in the region — via setting examples in Afghanistan and Iraq – well the results are patently poor. The Saudis, Egyptians, and Jordanians have not really done anything of substance … any change has been cosmetic. And Iran's mullahs are firmly in control in Iran. Bush now has as much credibility in promoting democracy as he had after telling the world that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. Bush would have been just as happy to oust Saddam with a military coup, and in fact the CIA had tried that approach several times during his father's presidency.
Bush has however been partially truthful about one thing “the world is better off without Saddam Hussein.” Well, yes, especially Iran. And frankly the jury is out on whether the US itself will be better off because of this war.
Without dealing Iran's mullahs, US foreign policy in the region is hopelessly flawed and impotent. Much like Vietnam, the US is now stuck in a quagmire — largely engineered by Iran's mullahs. There has been continuing evidence that Iran is actively aiding the insurgents. And the US will have to eventually pack its bags and leave in shame. And Iran's mullahs will rightfully claim regional hegemony!
As an Iranian patriot, and as someone that has pushed for democracy in Iran… I am now wondering which one is more important: Regional Hegemony or Liberty? I have always hated the Islamic fascism of the Mullahs, and I have long hoped for new regime (by either internal or external pressure) … but these Mullahs are winners. Are real Iranians (the public) losing?
I don't know any more (for sure).