Sunday, December 13, 2009

Nobel speech: Was Obama sending a message to Ahmadinejad?

Several developments over the last few days seem to suggest that something is about to happen in Iran.  President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in Oslo, Norway, suggested a marked shift in his heretofore conciliatory foreign policy tone.  This particularly caught my attention:
We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth that we will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations -- acting individually or in concert -- will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified.
And this:
I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world. A nonviolent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism -- it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.
And this:
But it is also incumbent upon all of us to insist that nations like Iran and North Korea do not game the system. Those who claim to respect international law cannot avert their eyes when those laws are flouted. Those who care for their own security cannot ignore the danger of an arms race in the Middle East or East Asia. Those who seek peace cannot stand idly by as nations arm themselves for nuclear war.

On Fox News Sunday, Juan Williams seemed to agree with me, and wasn't at all happy about the shift.  Real Clear Politics has the video clip here.  Juan's meltdown occurs around the 5:00 mark.

Pajamas Media has an interesting article today written by Leiden University professor Afshin Ellian which reveals a mutinous statement released in Iran:
A statement in support of the Iranian people and signed by a number of officers and commanders of the Iranian army was released on December 10. [snip]

In summary, they wrote: Together we fought in the war with our brothers in the Revolutionary Guards in order to defend the country, the people, and the honor of the nation. They also emphasize that “the value of the land means the value of the Iranian nation.” This is very interesting. 

Value of the nation.

Not abstract concepts such as Iran or Islam, but the value of the nation determines the value of the land. Therefore, the weapons of the army and RG are to be used to protect the nation: “When we fought together, we could never suspect that parts of the RG would ever use its weapons against the people.”

The last section of this brief but powerful statement will surely immortalize these brave officers: “The army is a haven for the nation and will never want to suppress the people at the request of politicians. We shall remain true to our promise not to intervene in politics. But we cannot remain silent when our fellow citizens are oppressed by tyranny.”

They go on: “Therefore, we warn the Guards who have betrayed the martyrs (from the war between Iran and Iraq) and who decided to attack the lives, the property and the honor of the citizens. We seriously warn them that if they do not leave their chosen path, they will be confronted with our tough response. The military is a haven for the nation. And we will defend the peace-loving Iranian nation against any aggression.”

Very clear language. This declaration was distributed by several human rights sites such as Iran Press News and Amir Kabir and Gooya.

I have spoken with several sources inside and outside of Iran. The statement is real. If Khamenei orders the arrest of the officers, resistance will spread like wildfire in all barracks of the regular army.

It is ironic that once again the officers of the regular air force join the people against the regime. Thirty years ago the officers of the regular air force also joined the people. After a few weeks the regime of the Shah was overthrown. The American and European diplomats need to warn Khamenei in a louder and clearer way about the consequences of his way of governing the nation. Especially now that Khamenei’s power also further erodes in the regular army.
Tens of thousands of Iranians took to the streets and rooftops last week shouting "Death to the dictator."

The Times (UK) today has this headline: "Binyamin Netanyahu must decide whether to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities."  From the article:
The moment is fast approaching when Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, may have to make the most difficult decision of his career — whether to launch a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities and risk triggering a conflagration that could spread across the Middle East.

Israeli experts believe the point of no return may be only six months away when Iran’s nuclear programme will have — if it has not already — metastasised into a multitude of smaller, difficult-to-trace facilities in deserts and mountains, while its main reactor at Bushehr will have come online and bombing it would send a radioactive cloud over the Gulf nations.
U.S. Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates warns of impending sanctions against Iran.  But John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during the Bush administration, said he doubts Iran's momentum toward a nuclear weapon can be halted, even if there's a new round of sanctions, and today questioned whether China and Russia can be counted on to enforce any such sanctions.  Meanwhile, Iran President Ahmadinejad defiantly says that any "sanctions will not work."

It seems that everyone is talking about Iran this week except Israel.

1 comment:

  1. I suppose it took Obama 11 months to realize that some dictators never 'unclench their fist' and three months to provide additional troops in Afghanistan. THE LAST HORSE HAS CROSSED THE FINISH LINE...