Pepe Escobar writes: The supreme war-or-peace question regarding the Iran psychodrama has got to be: What game is Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei really playing?
Sharp wits among the lively Iranian global diaspora maintain that the Supreme Leader is the perfect US/Israel asset – as he incarnates Iran as “the enemy” (although in most cases in a much less strident way than Ahmadinejad).
In parallel, the military dictatorship of the mullahtariat in Tehran also needs “the enemy” – as in “the Great Satan” and assorted Zionists – to justify its monopoly of power.
The ultimate loser, voices of the diaspora sustain, is true Iranian democracy – as in the foundation for the country’s ability to resist empire. Especially now, after the immensely dodgy 2009 presidential election and the repression of the Green movement. Even former supporters swear the Islamic Republic is now neither a “republic” – nor “Islamic”.
For their part, another current of informed Iranian – and Western – critics of empire swear that the belligerent Likud-majority government of Israel is in fact the perfect Iranian asset. After all, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and former Moldova bouncer turned Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s non-stop warmongering tends to rally Iranians of all persuasions – always proudly nationalistic – behind the flag.
The absolute majority of Iranians knows and feels they are targeted by a heavily weaponised foreign power – US/Israel. The leadership in Tehran has been wily enough to instrumentalise this foreign threat, and at the same time further smash the Green movement.
Parliamentary elections in Iran are only a few days away, on March 3. These are the first elections after the 2009 drama. In The Ayatollahs’ Democracy: An Iranian Challenge (Penguin Books), Hooman Majd makes a very strong case to detail how the election was “stolen”. And that’s the heart of the matter; millions of Iranians don’t believe in their Islamic democracy anymore.