A Neo-Wolf in Green’s Clothing

Nothing has united the Iranian people more than the violence, evil and brutality used by Ahmadinejad and Khamenei in the past months. The regime has revealed its true face – there is not one thread of humanity in it. And despite the brutality of the crackdown,Ashura showed that the green movement is well and alive. There isn’t a metro ride from Mirrdamad to Shahr-e-Rey where the slogans of Moussavi wouldn’t be heard.

But the green movement’s enemies are not just the murderers around Ahmadinejad and the Sepah. The brutality of the regime has enabled the neo-cons to find a way out of the hall of shame and overtake the American media airwaves. They have found their moment to pretend to be defenders of the Iranian people, even though they only months ago joked about “bomb, bomb. bomb Iran.”

Two of the favorite sons of the neo-con movement are Abbas Milani, of the conservative Hoover Institute (which also produced Condoleezza Rice) and Karim Sadjadpour, a protégé of Fuad Ajami, a key proponent of the invasion of Iraq.

By pretending to be supporters of the green movement, these neo-wolfs in green clothing have used the recent uprisings in Iran to plant the seeds of a confrontation between the US and Iran that will destroy the green movement and benefit hawks in Israel and the US.

Case in point is a House Foreign Relations Committee hearing in July in which both Milani and Sadjadpour came out in support of crippling sanctions on Iran. Sadjadpour, who argued in favor of convincing Saudi Arabia to dump oil prices to destroy Iran’s economy, even claimed that leaders of the Iranian opposition as well as the Iranian people support crippling sanctions – a statement refuted by both Moussavi and Karroubi. “This is not sanctions against a government,” Mr. Moussavi wrote in his 13th statement. “This would impose further pain on a nation that has already suffered a great deal by its schizophrenic rulers. We are against any kind of sanctions on people.”

It is clear by now that if there are any sanctions the greens would favor, it would be targeted sanctions – not the broad indiscriminate sanctions Sadjadopour and Milani called for. Even the hot-headed Makhmalbaf have come out against broad sanctions.  

Earlier in the summer, Sadjadpur spoke at a neo-con conference and told the audience – off the record – that the Iranian opposition is quietly seeking to coordinate sanctions with the US government. John Hanna, Dick Cheney’s old Chief of Staff and one of the strongest proponents for bombing Iran, then quoted Sadjadpour in an LA Times oped called Cripple Iran to Save it. This was tremendously embarrassing for the Green movement – not because it was patently false,  but because it would only take minutes before the Iranian hardliners would take advantage of that quote to vindicate their accusations that the uprising is not home-grown. 

Sure enough, two days later Kayhan quoted Sadjadpour in a harsh column and hundreds more were arrested in Iran as a result. 

(To Sadjadpour’s defense, his statement may not have been malicious, since he has a long track record of misreading Iran. He famously stated on TV that the British sailors arrested by the IRGC two years ago were in international waters because the Iranians can’t be trusted. Turned out later that a British investigation confirmed that the Brits weren’t in Iraqi waters as the Brits had first claimed. How embarrassing for Sadjadpour who always sides with Britain, the US and Israel against the people of Iran.) 

To be frank, both Milani and Sadjadpour have had a few too many mistakes to be considered innocent. Their neo-con credentials are solid, but unlike other neo-cons, they travel easily between the Obama camp and the Cheney clique. Their true loyalty, however, lies with the latter.

Milani’s case is well known. Hamid Dabashi has exposed this neo-con and showed his intellectual journey from being a communist in the 1970’s to a warmongering neo-con in the 1990s. (Most neo-cons began as militant leftist before they turned into even more militant right-wingers).. 

Sadjadpour’s journey is more straight-forward. He started as a neo-con during the Iraq war with ultra-neo-con Fuad Ajami at Johns Hopkins University and has remained loyal to the movement ever since, even though he has been portraying himself as a progressive ever since Obama took over the White House.(Ajami famously refers to the Iraq war as the “foreigner’s gift” to the Iraqis!)

In 2004, right after the invasion of Iraq, Sadjadpour wrote an article praising US intervention in Iran and calling for Bush to attack Iran. Sadjadpour brought up the example of American troops entering Iran after WWII, and how his father thought of the American soldiers as heroes from another world.

“The Americans’ supply train would regularly pass through my father’s ancestral village, Arak, then a scenic oasis of green gardens and fruit orchards. ‘Whenever we heard the train coming,’ my father once told me, ‘all the young boys in the village would run as fast as we could through the apple orchard to greet the passing Americans. They would smile and wave and throw us whatever gifts they happened to have – playing cards, chewing gum, Life Saver candies. For us they were like heroes from another world.”

Sadjadpour’s mentor, Ajami, had written and said similar things about Iraq – coining the idea that the greatest problem US soldiers would face in Iraq would be the amount of rice Iraqis would throw at the Americans as they welcomed the GIs..

The creation of a false narrative of the yearning of American liberation was critical to sell the war in Iraq, and Sadjadpour was on the forefront of the creation of that same false narrative for Iran.

Together with Milani, Sadjadpour toured neo-con clubs and helped brainstorm how to advance the neo-con agenda on Iran.

In June 2007, the two spoke at a neo-con organized by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. The meeting was titled “Confronting The Iranian Threat: The Way Forward” and the attendance list was nothing short of who’s who in the Bush administration’s effort to bomb Iran: Ladan Archin, an assistant to Paul Wolfowitz, Zalmay Khalilzad, Bernard Lewis, the neo-con intellectual who argued for splitting Iran into seven different countries, Uri Lubrani, from the Israeli Ministry of Defense, Michael Makovsky, who authored the calling for war with Iran, and Rob Sobhani, the disgraced Iranian-American Monarchist who rose as a star under Bush through his calls for confrontation with Iran.     

The green movement and its supporters should keep their guard up. Now more than ever, the message to US politicians must be clear and synchronized with the message of its leaders from the inside. Those seeking to usurp the movement for their own purposes should be exposed. Particularly those who seek to turn the Iranian people’s quest for freedom into a cause for war and indiscriminate destruction. 

Beware of neo-wolfs in green clothing.

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