Michael Ledeen is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center and Freedom Scholar at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Kredo says American officials, by which I presume he refers to the Intelligence Community and the deep thinkers at State and the NSC, believe that the Iranian regime is planning a “massive regional war.” This comes in the wake of the Israeli attack against Hezbollah tunnels into Israel from Lebanese areas under its (which means Iranian) control, and emergency meetings in Europe between US Secretary of State Pompeo and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
We have often misread Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s real intentions, so it’s best to be skeptical of this dramatic claim, but there’s certainly some reason to take it seriously. The Iranian/Hezbollah tunnel operation has been under way for years, and the mullahs and their favorite terrorists have long told themselves that Hezbollah “defeate4” Israel in their last battle. Hence, they might believe they could win the next one. There is no doubt at all that they want to destroy Israel, and if they still had a compliant American president in the White House—read “Obama”—they might try it. But they’ve got Trump to deal with. And the “mad dog” in the Pentagon. They do not believe they can defeat us on the battlefield. We say we will stand with Israel, and we have just moved a carrier group into the Iranians’ neighborhood. So?
I don’t think the Iranian leader and his henchmen want to mess with us. So the question is, do they really believe we will go after them if they unleash the massive regional war?
It’s not just a foreign policy matter, as we all know. There are massive demonstrations all over the country, including areas long considered loyal to the regime. The anti-regime demonstrations now embrace all levels of society, from the steelworkers to the Bazaaris, and they are expanding. The mullahs fear these people, and dread a “white revolution” of the sort that brought down the shah forty years ago. On the one hand, they might hope for “patriotic” support for a war against Israel and the United States. On the other hand, they might fear that the Iranian people would support the other side, spelling curtains for the Islamic Republic.
Iran’s big allies, Russia, Turkey and China, along with lesser powers like North Korea and Cuba, do not seem to me to crave a big war with us and the Israelis. They do help on the sly. As Legal Insurrection tells us, the narcotics Mafiosi also have a role:
An unnamed security official told i24NEWS that the man who appeared on the video from the tunnel was Dr. Imad “Azaladin” Fahs, a commander of the Hezbollah observation unit on the border with Israel, as well as a commander in the On Thursday, i24NEWS revealed the identity of an Hezbollah operative caught on camera by Israel’s tunnel unit.
“Azaladin” who is in his 30’s, has a PhD in mechanical engineering from Tehran’s University of Technology and is married with two children.According to the security official, “Azaladin” trained with Mexican drug cartels near the United States border.
Presumably, the narcoterrorists and Hezbollah are active along our borders as well, but it’s unlikely they can win an all-out confrontation. But they could do a lot of damage.
This reinforces the message I have been trying, without success, to send our policy makers for years: we are in a global war (never mind “a massive regional war”), and that is the war we must win. To win it, we must threaten the leaders of the enemy coalition with real defeat. They must see prospects of losing power. Can we do that?
We can, and should. We should be actively supporting the “white revolution” in Iran, which, with out help, has excellent prospects. We don’t need massive military might to bring down Khamenei and Rouhani. Instead, we need a more forceful political campaign against the Islamic Republic, including a more dynamic Farsi-language broadcasting operation. Alas, to date there is no sign this is in the works, although it is not difficult, not costly, and quite in keeping with our revolutionary tradition. Just ask Gorbachev; he’ll tell you all about it. That’s how we toppled him and Soviet Communism. Iranian radical Islam today is weaker than Gorbachev & company were when the Soviet Empire imploded.
Don’t risk American lives on a big regional war in the Middle East. The mullahs may be crazy enough to try it. We should be smarter. They dread a “white revolution.” They are right. We should give it to them.