Saturday, June 20, 2009

Israel's rare opportunity.

From Middle East and Terrorism Blog, Friday, June 19, 2009, by Caroline B. Glick, senior Middle East Fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, DC and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post:

Why the Jewish State must assert itself in Iran's affairs

...The revolutionary atmosphere building in Iran presents Israel with a prospect it has rarely confronted...

...There is no reason for Israel to believe that a Mousavi government will be more inclined to end Iran's race to the bomb or diminish its support for terror groups like Hizbullah and Hamas than Ahmadinejad's government is. As Iranian prime minister in the 1980s, Mousavi was a major instigator of Iran's nuclear program and he oversaw the establishment of Hizbullah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

...When Khamenei embraced the obviously falsified official election results as a "divine victory" for Ahmadinejad, Mousavi was widely expected by Western observers to accept the dictator's verdict. When instead Mousavi sided with his own supporters who took to the streets to oppose their disenfranchisement, Mousavi became a revolutionary. Whether he had planned to do so or not, a week ago Mousavi became an enemy of the regime.

The significance of Mousavi's decision could not be more profound. As Michael Ledeen from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies wrote, last Friday night Mousavi tied his personal survival to the success of the protesters — and pitted his life against Khamenei's. In Ledeen's words, "Both Khamenei and Mousavi — the two opposed icons of the moment, at least — know that they will either win or die."

For their part, by the end of this week, the protesters themselves had been transformed. If last week they were simply angry that they had been ignored, by Thursday they had become a revolutionary force apparently dedicated to the overthrow of the regime. This was made clear by a list of demands circulating among the protesters on Wednesday. As Pepe Escobar reported in Thursday's Asia Times, the protesters demands include Khamenei's removal from power, the dissolution of the secret police, the reform of the constitution under anti-regime Ayatollah Hossein Montazeri who has been living under house arrest for the past twelve years, and the installation of Mousavi as president. These demands make clear where the protesters are leading. They are leading to the overthrow of one of the most heinous regimes on the face of the earth and its replacement by a liberal democracy.

As far as Israel is concerned, this is a win-win situation. If the protesters successfully overthrow the regime, they will have neutralized the greatest security threat facing the Jewish state. And if they fail, Israel will still probably be better off than it is today. For if the mullahs violently repress the pro-democracy dissidents, the Obama administration will be hard-pressed to legitimize their blood bath by embracing them as negotiating partners.

Were Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to publicly announce Israel's support for the protesters, Israel would stand to gain politically in a number of ways. First and foremost, it would be doing the right thing morally and so would earn the respect of millions of people throughout the world who are dismayed at their own governments' silence in the face of the brave Iranian protesters risking their lives for freedom.

Moreover, by acting as the loudest and first democratic champion of the protesters, Israel would catapult itself to the forefront of the campaign for democracy in the Muslim world. Doing so would make it far easier for Israel's representatives throughout the world to defend against false accusations by self-described human rights organizations that Israel is a human rights abuser.

Beyond that, Israel would be building an important alliance with the Iranian people themselves. Contrary to what the mullahs would have us believe, Iranians by and large do not share the widespread hatred of Israel and the Jews that their regime promotes and the Arab world embraces. Over the years, Iranian regime opponents — from the students to the trade unionists to women's rights activists to minority Kurds, Azeris, Ahwaz Arabs and Baluchis — have all appealed to Israel for support. Israel Radio in Farsi, which broadcasts into Iran daily, has more than a million regular listeners.

Were Netanyahu to explain that the same mullahs who seek to disenfranchise and repress the Iranian people seek to destroy Israel with nuclear bombs; were he to call for Iran to stop financing Hamas and Hizbullah terrorists who are reportedly now deployed in Iran to brutalize the protesters, and instead invest in the Iranian economy for the benefit of Iran's people, he would be giving a message that already resonates with the people of Iran.

Finally, Israeli outreach to the Iranian people now struggling to overthrow the regime would expose the Obama administration's effective support for the mullahs against their people in all its absurdity and moral blindness. ...Clinton and Obama would be in no position to attack Israel for supporting Iranian dissidents demanding freedom. And their stammering reaction would make their attacks against Jewish building in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria look ever more ridiculous.

Although Israel is far away from Iran, it has significant capacity to help the demonstrators. It could use its communication satellites to break through the communications blackout the regime has attempted to enforce. Its internet capabilities can be offered to the protesters to reopen closed networks. Israel could temporarily expand its radio broadcasts into the country and allow its airwaves to be used to broadcast events on the ground in real time so that protesters won't have to rely on word of mouth to know what is happening or where things are leading.

...The mullahs can only concentrate on so much at once. If they are preoccupied with domestic dissent, they will have less time to devote to Hamas and Hizbullah. If they are busy quelling armed insurrections by Kurds or Azeris or Baluchis, they will have less time to devote to negotiating the purchase of the S-300 anti-aircraft system with Russia, or keeping tabs on their nuclear scientists. Strategically, Israel stands only to gain — either marginally or massively - from the ayatollahs' discomfort...
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