Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Mad Mel Advocates Invasion of Iran

Under the frankly bizarre headline of 'He Gets It', Phillips clearly proves that she does not. From her website:


Mmmm, I think someone has an incurable case of blood lust. Clearly, Phillips is as clueless as many on the right about the dynamic in the Middle East. Thankfully, not everyone is as clueless as Phillips. Writing in today's Guardian, Ali Ansari gets it pretty much spot on. He writes (under the headline 'Only the US hawks can save the Iranian president now'):

Ironically, it is this very international crisis that may serve to save Ahmadinejad's presidency, a reality that the president undoubtedly understood all too well. As domestic difficulties mount, the emerging international crisis could at best serve as a rallying point, or at worst persuade Iran's elite that a change of guard would convey weakness to the outside world.

There can be little doubt that US hawks will interpret recent events as proof that pressure works, and that any more pressure will encourage the hawks further. Yet the reality is that while Ahmadinejad has been his own worst enemy, the US hawks are his best friends. Ahmadinejad's demise, if it comes, will have less to do with the international environment and more with his own political incompetence. There is little doubt that it will take more than a cosmetic change to get Washington to listen to Iran. But the real question mark, as the Baker-Hamilton commission found to its cost, is whether Washington is inclined to listen at all.

Clearly it is Ansari who 'gets it'. Ahmadinejad is in a pretty weak position in Iran at the moment. Even the conservatives are concerned by recent developments. The paradox is that, in fact, Iran currently holds more influence in the region than ever before. It is paramount, therefore, that they do not lose this influence. The Iranian elites recognise this all too well, and Ahmadinejad's posturing is in danger of costing them this influence. However, any attempt to increase the pressure on Iran would only lead to Ahmadinejad gaining popularity and uniting the Iranian people (nothing unites a country more than external threat). Phillips and others, such as Bolton, either fail to understand the situation or are deliberately mis-representing it to feed their blood lust. Either way, they certainly do not 'get it'.