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High Stakes in Iran for Ahmadinejad

Ahmadinejad keeps standing up to America and America keeps doing nothing to stop him.
Iran elections Ahmedinejad

In Iran almost nothing is what it seems to be. Iranian culture is formal; it places a premium on politeness and manners. By violating both principles, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been mesmerizing Iranians, to the delight of the masses and the embarrassment of the few. When Iranian reporters in New York, for instance, told him that the Iranian parliamentarians had criticized him, he shot back “Goh khordand” (“They can go eat [explitive]”).

Referring to the U.S.-Iranian relationship, Ahmadinejad refers to breast-feeding babies and uses profanity, and his audience loves him! The first reference comes from a Persian expression: Mamaro looloo bord [“The ogre has taken away the mother’s breastfeeding”], meaning: From now on, the rules have been changed and you had better listen to me.

Ahmadinejad constantly belittles the regime’s enemies — and is the most successful leader to do so since the death of Khomeini. Khomeini prophetically proclaimed, “America cannot do a damn thing,” and history seems to have proven him right — both throughout the presidency of Jimmy Carter, the pullback of the Marines from Beirut by President Reagan, through the present failure of the U.S. to halt Iran’s nuclear program.

Ahmadinejad keeps standing up to America and America keeps doing nothing to stop him. It was America alone, by doing nothing, that enabled Khomeini to achieve greatness and maintain his grip on power.

Ahmadinejad follows in Khomeini’s footsteps. He proclaims the holocaust is a myth; he constantly belittles America, and the U.S. still does nothing. When Ahmadinejad is interviewed by the American media, the interviewers are ill-prepared: they never ask follow-up questions, challenge his lies, or call his bluff.

Iranian society, like most of us, likes winners, and if winning comes through the principle of zerangi [winning at the expense of others], and you come out on top, all the better.

Ahmadinejad is, moreover, known as a big teller of tall tales and white lies: a chakhan. Telling tall tales and white lies is embedded within the Islamic culture of Iran: in the religious writings, telling white lies to your enemies is encouraged. As a devout Shi’ite Muslim, Ahmadinejad is practicing taqiya [dissimulation] — completely acceptable if used to advance the goals of the Islamic Republic — and also possibly your rule — whenever and wherever necessary.

During Ahmadinejad’s latest trip to Isfahan province, the Fars News Agency, which is friendly towards him, carried multiple pictures of him and his choice for the next president, Esfandyar Mashai; it went on to show single photographs of Mashai. It just so happens that Mashai is also related to Ahmadinejad by marriage: his son married Mashai’s daughter. Blood alliances are a big factor in Iranian politics.

If we are to understand the fierce battles now raging among Iran’s rulers, we need to find answers to the following questions: What has emboldened Ahmadinejad to use such foul language in public when addressing his adversaries?

  • Who and what is emboldening him openly to support, as his successor, Mashai, a man singled out by other forces in the regime for criticism?
  • Are these signs of a major power shift in the Islamic Republic?

We can draw two conclusions from the above:

  • Ahmadinejad dares not give the impression that he is weak;
  • He is certain that his opponents — three Larijani brothers and Khamene’i — are weak.
  • As an activist, however, within the ranks of the veterans of the Revolutionary Guards, he must feel that they cover his back. This is a game of high-stakes poker, following in the footsteps of large sums that have been transferred out of Iran by the cronies of the regime.

The stakes are so high, in fact, that Ahmadinejad is providing videos of another Larijani brother, Fazael Larijani, demanding bribes. This video was screened in parliament to the shame and amazement of the speaker of parliament, Ali Larijani.

For Ahmadinejad, this is a win-win gamble. He can either succeed by blackmailing his opposition within the ruling Islamic regime not to harm him, or, should he be harmed, he will be granted martyrdom — a lofty and much sought-after status in the current messianic Shi’ite regime.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

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3 Responses to “High Stakes in Iran for Ahmadinejad”

  1. Shi Yuehan says:

    Maybe Israel can do the job Carter was incapable of doing in 79.

  2. Bob Brown says:

    Israel has made clear a number of times that it would act militarily under either of two conditions.

    The first red line occurs if Israel detects that Jihadist rebel forces (at this point they are in the vanguard of the Sunni revolution and probably represent a majority of the foot soldiers) are closing in on a chemical weapons facility.

    The second red line concerns missiles and rockets* destined for Lebanon's Hezbollah which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Iran. The Iranians supply their proxy with weaponry which transits through Syria because Iran and Lebanon do not share a border. The Israelis have stated many times that if they identify the proscribed missiles and rockets, they will intervene militarily and destroy the shipment. There are exactly two takeaways from the recent Israeli attacks on missile shipments in Syria.

    The first and most important concerns Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He is well known for tough talk and threatening words. His statements that Israel must be wiped off the map,* that Israel is a cancerous tumor that must be removed from the body and his denial of the Holocaust are well known. He also deploys his Hezbollah surrogates to other countries to commit terrorist attacks against Israeli tourists and diplomatic personnel. He has given the Assad regime billions of dollars in munitions and lately has ordered thousands of Hezbollah militia members as well as elements of Iran's al Quds force into Syria to bolster Assad's chances of defeating the Sunni revolution.

    We all reach moments of truth in our lives where the stuff we are made of manifests itself. Iran's greatest ally in the world, Syria, has been attacked by Iran's greatest enemy in the world, Israel. Yet Ahmadinejad has been downright silent, as meek as a lamb. He has made no public appearances since the first Israeli bombing mission two days ago. His stock at home, particularly among the Islamists is plummeting, as he appears weak and impotent – unable or unwilling to back up his tough talk and threats when given the perfect opportunity and the perfect pretext to prove his mettle. The latest joke on the streets of Tehran is, "Our president talks tough, but Netanyahu acts tough."

    After all of the incessant threats and bellicose talk directed toward Israel, he has shown himself to be a paper tiger, after all. Indeed, if we are defined in this world at all, it is by our deeds, not our words. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is cowering from and frightened of confronting "the Zionist entity."

    The second take-away is that there is at least one world leader who when he issues red lines actually means it.

    * Missiles have guidance systems built in; rockets do not. You simply point them in the desired direction and hope for good results.

    * The precise translation is: "Israel must be wiped off the page of time." Its etymology stems from an ancient Persian quote. Nevertheless, it is a distinction without a difference 123.

  3. Bob Brown says:

    Israel has made clear a number of times that it would act militarily under either of two conditions.

    The first red line occurs if Israel detects that Jihadist rebel forces (at this point they are in the vanguard of the Sunni revolution and probably represent a majority of the foot soldiers) are closing in on a chemical weapons facility.

    The second red line concerns missiles and rockets* destined for Lebanon's Hezbollah which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Iran. The Iranians supply their proxy with weaponry which transits through Syria because Iran and Lebanon do not share a border. The Israelis have stated many times that if they identify the proscribed missiles and rockets, they will intervene militarily and destroy the shipment. There are exactly two takeaways from the recent Israeli attacks on missile shipments in Syria.

    The first and most important concerns Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He is well known for tough talk and threatening words. His statements that Israel must be wiped off the map,* that Israel is a cancerous tumor that must be removed from the body and his denial of the Holocaust are well known. He also deploys his Hezbollah surrogates to other countries to commit terrorist attacks against Israeli tourists and diplomatic personnel. He has given the Assad regime billions of dollars in munitions and lately has ordered thousands of Hezbollah militia members as well as elements of Iran's al Quds force into Syria to bolster Assad's chances of defeating the Sunni revolution.

    We all reach moments of truth in our lives where the stuff we are made of manifests itself. Iran's greatest ally in the world, Syria, has been attacked by Iran's greatest enemy in the world, Israel. Yet Ahmadinejad has been downright silent, as meek as a lamb. He has made no public appearances since the first Israeli bombing mission two days ago. His stock at home, particularly among the Islamists is plummeting, as he appears weak and impotent – unable or unwilling to back up his tough talk and threats when given the perfect opportunity and the perfect pretext to prove his mettle. The latest joke on the streets of Tehran is, "Our president talks tough, but Netanyahu acts tough."

    After all of the incessant threats and bellicose talk directed toward Israel, he has shown himself to be a paper tiger, after all. Indeed, if we are defined in this world at all, it is by our deeds, not our words. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is cowering from and frightened of confronting "the Zionist entity."

    The second take-away is that there is at least one world leader who when he issues red lines actually means it.

    * Missiles have guidance systems built in; rockets do not. You simply point them in the desired direction and hope for good results.

    * The precise translation is: "Israel must be wiped off the page of time." Its etymology stems from an ancient Persian quote. Nevertheless, it is a distinction without a difference 123.

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