The latest news from Iran: sanctions are really starting to bite. The government has suspended subsidies for food and fuel—which will not please the masses used to the largesse of bread and circuses (stoning women for adultery). People may put up with bad justice systems—but do not take kindly to losing subsidies considered entitlements.
In addition, the internal stresses in Iran’s government are difficult to confirm. Iran has such a long history of governmental lying that few Iranians ever believe official pronouncements, depending instead on an active rumor mill. This caveat notwithstanding, it is increasingly apparent that President Ahmadinejad is detested by the parliament, whose members are accusing him of “dictatorial aspirations.” The ruling clerics have always had divisions. However, upon seizing power, the clerics—under Ayatollah Khomeini—brooked no differences of opinion. He locked up dissident clerics. The present Supreme Leader is doing the same, but the dissidence is growing nevertheless.
A couple of munitions explosions in Revolutionary Guard military facilities have been reported as “accidental fires.” No one is saying how these fires began, nor saying why so many guards died in these accidents.
Russians Fleeing Iran.
The Russians have been “helping” Iran with its nuclear program for many years now. They take Iranian money—but so far, no project is finished (or working). Now a particularly nasty computer worm has infected the Iranian nuclear computers and centrifuges—and the Iranian government is looking hard at their Russian buddies. The Russian technologists are leaving Iran fast—hoping to get out before Iran starts to jail them and hold them hostage. Maybe the Israelis won’t have to bomb their facilities after all. And think about the amount of money (and chest-thumping) Iran has done about their nuclear program. What must the hard-pressed public think?
Israel and the Saudis.
Although these two countries have had long and poisonous relations, sometimes the old Middle East practice of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” (albeit temporarily) warms up the relationship. The Saudis have permitted the Israeli Air Force to construct a secret base, five miles outside of Tabuk, Saudi Arabia. The two countries pretend not to know each other—but they are working together on this one. Why? The enemy of both is Iran, and the issue that unites them is Iran’s nuclear aspirations.
There have been rumors (not confirmed) that the Saudis have opened a corridor for free passage of Israei combat planes en route to Iran—which reduces the distance between Israel and Iran—and reduces the refueling need.
In addition, the US has several naval carrier strike forces in the Gulf with a multinational group of marines and sailors, American, German, Israeli, and Canadian at Camp Pendleton, being trained and at the ready.
Raping “Friends of Palestine”.
Young western women (including Israeli peaceniks) who get suckered into the support of Palestinians against Israelis are literally putting their bodies on the line—and the danger is not from Israel.
Two former activists say it is an open secret within the “Peace Camp” that foreign female activists are routinely harassed and raped by the Arabs of the “Occupied Territories.” Even more shocking is that left-wing support for the Palestinians—including western feminists—should cover up this horror because for them politics trumps feminism. Shame on them. (www.IsraelNationalNews.com.)
Open Letter to Al Qaeda.
A former member of Al Qaeda, Libyan Islamist Noman Benotman, says that Osama bin Laden’s notions of Islamic principles are not only wrong, but damage Islam. Benotman has sterling credentials as a Mujahid dating back to the Afghan war against the Soviets, but he was staunchly opposed to Bin Laden wanting to take the Jihad to America. Even Afghanistan’s Mullah Omar was against attacking America—but bin Laden went ahead anyway. In an open letter to bin Laden, Benotman says al Qaeda does not represent Muslims in the West, nor even Muslims in the Arab world. “Armed violence has reached its end,” he says. (See Camille Tawin, London, for Al-Shorfa.com.)
Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman is a historian, lecturer, and writer. You may contact her at Lfarhat102@aol.com or www.globalthink