Nikki Haley, America’s formidable ambassador to the United Nations, has done it again. The Iranian uprising has been hard to “see.” Cell phone videos, photos, Facebook posts and Twitter allow us only sporadic peeks, and even those are being shut down in places, as the Islamic regime works to close Iranian access to the wider world. Ambassador Haley used her microphone to spread the slogans of the protesters:
“Let go of Palestine”
“Not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life (only) for Iran”
“Leave Syria. Think about us.”
“Don’t be afraid; don’t be afraid, we’re all together.”
“Feel some shame (Khameini). Let go of the country.”
“All these brigades have come out to the street; they’ve come out against the leader.”
“Political prisoners must be freed.”
“Independence, freedom, Iranian Republic.”
For all that the mainstream media, and erstwhile members of the Obama “echo chamber” would have us believe this is an economic uprising, it is inextricably tied to the political desire of the Iranian people for freedom and a government that responds to their needs and aspirations. It is inextricably tied to Iranian nationalism – and tied to the choices of their government to spend the national treasury on war. Yes, the Iranian economy is terrible – even after the easing of trade sanctions and the delivery of pallets of cash by the Obama administration. But the Mullahs running the Islamic Republic are not interested in the economy, the people, or nationalism. Months ago, I wrote in a different context:
The mullahs in Iran are not Iranian or Persian nationalists, they are Shiite supremacists. When the Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Tehran in 1979 after fourteen years of exile, he condemned all nationalism as “sherk,” which means associating other beings or things with God. He said what mattered was Islam, not Iran or any other country, according to the Iranian journalist Amir Taheri, Chairman. Khomeini declared war on the United States, on Israel, and on the West. The declaration was real and has military as well as political implications, but it was also a way of deflecting attention from Iran’s declaration of war on Sunni Islam.
IRGC Deputy Commander Hossein Salami backed me up in late November:
- "Today, the mighty Basij has crossed the boundaries of this land. Our destiny has become linked to the destiny of Iraq, of Syria, of Lebanon, of Bahrain, of Yemen, of Pakistan, of Afghanistan, and of everywhere throughout the Islamic world. We knew that we were all in the same boat,and that therefore, we had to unite and fight on the same front. This was Allah’s promise."
No matter how many pallets of cash arrive in Tehran, if the government sees its existential duty as war abroad, expanding the boundaries of Shiite empire, there will never be enough money to create a healthy economy within the borders of a single country.
With this in mind, the failure of the mainstream media to support the demonstrators becomes clearer, and a path for the United States becomes clearer as well.
The Washington Post believes “moderates” in the government can work to restore calm. John Kerry was overwhelmed with “humility” about “how little we know about what’s happening inside Iran,” although he had precious little humility when he assured Americans that the Iran deal would moderate the Mullahs. Catherine Ray, EU spokesperson was five days late, tweeting Tuesday, “The #EU is following the demonstrations in #Iran. We have been in touch with the Iranian authorities.” To give them a chance to make their case, no doubt. Most revealingly, The New York Times published former Obama administration official Philip Gordon, who demanded “quiet” from the Trump administration, lest the Mullahs blame us for their troubles. Susan Rice, spinner of the tale of Benghazi, retweeted his plea.
News flash #1: “They” don’t blame America for actual things the U.S. has done. Dictatorial governments need a perpetual enemy – Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, the USSR and now Russia, Iran, and China have royally ruined their own countries and harmed their own people, and they perfectly well know that they can’t fix it and mostly they don’t want to. (The Palestinians are a step ahead, having pre-ruined any possible State of Palestine.) American attempts to curry favor with dictators in the hope that it will a) make them nice, or b) keep them from blaming us for their mess will fail. Always.
That means news flash #2: The United States has little incentive to be tiptoe around the Mullahs. We therefore have two jobs: to amplify the voice of the Iranian uprising; and to make it as hard as possible for Iran to operate in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq, squeezing the Mullahs between their internal and external foes.
The course of the uprising is not yet clear, but its success would be the harbinger of a Middle East free of a malign influence. We can’t abandon the people of Iran.
Shoshana Bryen is a geopolitical analyst who writes for the Jewish Policy Center and various publications, including The Daily Caller.