Jan 11, 2006

"The Mad Mahdi of Fire" versus "The Paper Tigers"

Just recently 5 kilos of hot dogs and 2 kilos of Danny's chili con carne departed Kuala Lumpur for Tehran leaving on the Iranian Airlines midnight flight. It was raining heavy that night as Sina came by to pick everything up on his way to the airport. The next day the children of two Iranian government officials, their friends and parents will be eating their favourite chili dogs for lunch. Sina conveys the message to me that the offer still sits on the table, to open a "Danny's Hot Dogs" in Tehran just down the road from "Super Star", a luxurious apartment and US10,000 a month. I smile and tell Sina I will consider the offer.

As the countdown quickens, places like Kuala Lumpur and Dubai have in recent months seen what can only be described a flood of Iranian "students" leaving Iran, being sent overseas by their parents (government officals and businessmen) who in many cases are accompanied themselves by Iranian government "handlers". It is no longer a question for Iranians of "if the war will come" but rather "when".

Of the Iranians who who stop in for chili dogs, there are several who clearly do oppose the Iranian government - many of whom stop by for a taste of real "Americana" and an opportunity perhaps to speak English. That being said, there are also a number of Iranians who stop in as well, and when they do, all the heartrending chit-chat over chili dogs quickly comes to an end and the subject changes.

Ask any of these Iranians why they don't do something and whether or not they are willing to die for their freedom back home and you are met with momentary silence. Not satisfied with the ballot box, many of these Iranians fully expect the United Nations, Europe or the United States to resolve their problems (as long as Israel is not involved). The reality is that like it or not, Iran is a democracy albeit an authoritarian one, who's citizens that oppose the current government are not willing to accept the responsibilty for the actions of their own democratic government. Outside of the major cities, many of the citizens of Iran are in fact fully supportive of the Iranian government. And while many affluent globe-trotting Iranians might feel free outside of Iran to criticize their government back home and call for it's overthrow, the reality is that many of their compatriots back home at the very least, suffer from Stockholm Syndrome.

What might awaken all these millions of complacent slumbering Iranians supposedly opposed to their government and quicken an overthrow of the Iranian government, if it is even in the "coffee grounds", is when we stop treating them as victims, mollycoddling them and hold them equally to task, the same as we hold Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his administration to task. The Iranian citizens are not victims, they are voters.

Some might see it as a painful paradox, but what seems to have emboldened the Iranian government is that they see the Europe and the United States as corrupt and immoral adversaries completely downtrodden, who have become fragmented, impotent and paralyzed by their own domestic opposition. Fearful of a backlash from their own populace, Iran genuinely feels that the West simply does not have the will nor resolve to stop them believing that any preemptive attack on Iran will be seen by much of the world as the epitome of Western imperialist aggression. It is a nuclear highstakes game of poker that Iran is playing, but one that they are confident of winning.

Iranians genuinely feel that they are entitled to nuclear weapons and are quite confident that what they see as an arrogant condescending tone from the West will change once they become a nuclear superpower. Two Iranian officials remind me over a late supper one night that Israel has had nuclear weapons for sometime now and continues to refuse to disarm attempting to hint that this might be the only possible thing that could have Iran reconsider. They then say it does not matter anyway because by June Israel will either have the option to disarm and move or perish. The choice will be theirs.

Our sources tell us that if all proceeds according to schedule, by this June, Iran will have assembled five nuclear warheads at five separate locations along with their delivery systems and that a nuclear test will then be conducted shortly thereafter this to demonstrate Iran's achievment.

The Iranian government believes that any possible military strike against them will come prior to 30 April 2006 before the weather starts to change in May. The Iranians are prepared though and are confident that any military strike against them will fail with it's objectives.

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