The Walking Dead (UPDATE)

Why is this guy still around? He and his neocons are truly the walking dead in regards to Middle East foreing policy. I mean he is embarrassing. AEI, I shake my fist at you…

Apparently the NY Times felt they needed an “expert” to play the opposition to the discourse on the Iranian elections, so they had Elliot Abrams perform this task.

Unfortunately it is just an agenda piece. As we all know Abrams is more interested in Israeli interests than US. In fact he wishes to bomb Iran asap to shut down their nuclear program (even though nothing points to them wanting to have a nuclear weapon besides the fact that they’re “Islamofascists”).

In this piece titled “Lebanon’s Triumph, Iran’s Travesty” he cautiously lauds Lebanese democracy in contrast to the sinister Islamic Republic. While we all know that the Islamic Republic really isn’t a real democracy, we do know that the electorate does have opportunity to play a part in how they’re governed.

So Abrams says things like “There is no chance for voters to register their opposition to the theocratic system or tell the ayatollahs to go back to the mosques”. But really a vote for Mousavi is exactly that. IF Mousavi wins it is in effect a vote against the system. It is a baby-step method to tell the “theocratic” system that they are disillusioned. Yes, the electorate can’t vote for someone who is against the system, but they can sure vote for progressives. No, the disillusioned aren’t gonna’ revolt, but they’ve realized that boycotting only hurts more, they can affect the outcome with activism.

Then he makes claims to understand how the Guardian Council works saying “And if all else fails, the 12-man Guardian Council has the power to throw out the results in districts where there were “problems” — problems like a reformist victory”. Well here’s the thing, whether Mousavi wins or not, there will be a lot of reformist victories in districts. As I’ve mentioned before the GC doesn’t think it can manipulate all votes, but approximately 5 million.

This sounds like a lot, but if voter turnout is as high as expected it will not affect the turnout. It is undemocratic like Abrams says, but it certainly is no absolute like he implies.

Also, as I mentioned yesterday, it seems Rafsanjani, who wants an Ahmadinejad loss, has convinced the leader to appoint Nateq-Nouri to supervise the GC to make sure all is fair. Nateq-Nouri is not an Ahmadinejad fan and he may be Khamenei’s man to make sure the elections are legitimate.

Lastly, Abrams’ conclusion really got me. It’s sooo, um, neocon:

“Elections matter, but how much they matter depends entirely on how free, open and fair they are. The Lebanese had a chance to vote against Hezbollah, and took the opportunity. Iranians, unfortunately, are being given no similar chance to decide who they really want to govern them”.

You see Abrams, while most Iranians probably don’t want Khamenei to “govern” them, the president actually matters in Iran too. While Khamenei has the absolute say on the biggest matters that us Americans care more about in regards to Iran, nuclear issue, foreign policy, etc., the elected government actually “governs” the country on the day to day, which happens to be the things most Iranians care about. He is a very important person in the Islamic Republic, not just a puppet, and is truly the face of Iran, as Ahmadinejad has shown us as he sullied the already rough reputation of Iran. So the prez deals with the economy, civil rights, the press, visas, civil society, etc.

Yes, Khamenei and his cadre, IRGC for instance, will put down any extreme sense of the concept of “openness”, but he does have to worry about the public and the stability of the regime, which he is OBSESSED with. He is not Khomeini and does not rule with an iron fist. He certainly has liberties, but the elected must govern well and must have the confidence of the people or Khamenei’s regime is shakier and shakier.

I know an NY Times Op-Ed is supposed to be kept ‘short’, but why not try ‘sweet’ too. A big Common Era ‘WTF?’ to Abrams and his intellectual dishonesty…

UPDATE: I didn’t even think of this late last night, but it’s hilarious that the same people who have been claiming that Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric is proof to bomb Iran are now saying, with the prospect of a change in leadership, that the president doesn’t really matter anyway! This is how Abrams, Dana Goldstein, and I’m sure later Michael Rubin and the bunch. Look what Matt Duss of Wonk Room has to say about Israel suck-up Daniel Pipes:

For example, check Daniel Pipes’s new line. Back in 2006, Pipes ominously warned of “The Mystical Menace of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad“:

[T]he most dangerous leaders in modern history are those (such as Hitler) equipped with a totalitarian ideology and a mystical belief in their own mission. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fulfills both these criteria.

Last week, however, speaking at a Heritage Foundation event, Pipes stated that “the president of Iran, despite his title, is not the final arbiter in [national security] matters.”

The president tends to have power in the areas — in the soft areas — having to do with culture and religion and education. And it is the Rahbare, the Supreme Guide of Iran, Khomeini at first and now Khamenei who has control of the military, the law enforcement, the judiciary system, the intelligence agencies. So its not clear that the president matters that much.

As Daniel Luban reported, Pipes was at least forthright enough to admit that, were he a registered voter in Iran, he would “vote for Ahmadinejad…I would prefer to have an enemy who is forthright and blatant and obvious.”

[….]

Pipes also flatly insisted that “when it comes to building a nuclear weapon…there is a wide consensus in the Iranian leadership that building these weapons is something that is desirableand there is no known dissent from that viewpoint .”

Unbelievable…

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~ by The Common Man on June 11, 2009.

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