From the June 16, 2009 New York Times
June 16, 2009
by Meyrav Wurmser
Ahmadinejad’s recent election “victory” completes a process begun in June 2005, with his first election as president of the Islamic Republic of Iran. After that, Iran went through a quiet revolution consuming the theocracy, which is anchored in the clerics of Qom.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), particularly the veterans of the Iran-Iraq war, had seized ownership of Iranian revolution from the clerics, whom they accused of being weak-willed opportunists who retreated at the first sign of trouble.
As they have said clearly in their statements, these veterans of that war believe they are the true defenders and vanguards of the revolution, and they have come back to “save” it. For want of better terminology, this can best be described as a theo-fascist coup against a theocracy.
The June 12 elections had come to represent the last desperate attempt by the clerics of Qom to reassert their legitimacy against a crowd that had already essentially wired all power. Knowing that they lacked the repressive powers of the IRGC-run state, they hoped for an “Orange” revolution and sought support from abroad. This took place while we in the West spent immense energy searching to no avail for moderates and moderation, thus ignoring the nature of the regime that we were confronting.
Our ill focus originated in the second Bush administration and culminated in the Obama administration’s heightened attempts to engage the Iranian regime. A string of failed policies and efforts has created dynamics in Tehran that bolstered the most extreme elements and brought about the current crisis. Israel failed to deliver a withering blow against Iran’s proxies in Lebanon and Gaza in the war of 2006. Then the 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate validated Ahmadinejad by claiming, despite evidence to the contrary, that Iran had stopped working on its nuclear program in 2003. The West engaged — and thus legitimized — the Iranian regime over the last few years.
Even when Iran defied the West and developed a nuclear program, intimidated our allies in the Middle East, and made direct threats against Israel, Washington kept on its course of engagement. Our policies encouraged the Iranian radicals and indulged their schemes, thus enabling a fascist revolution.
But now the façade has been removed; the Iranian regime is a thug-run theo-fascist state without internal Iranian support. We could persist in our attempts at engagement, but that would further legitimize the regime which has proved it means what it says, and it says that it is unwilling to slow its amassing the power to destroy Israel and the West. Or we could turn to a deterrent posture, but this regime seems to hold an apocalyptic mindset shaped in the bloody trenches of the Iran-Iraq war.
Meyrav Wurmser was formerly a Senior Fellow with Hudson Institute.
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