Iran’s Birthday Bash


by Ralph Peters [author, novelist]

Yesterday, the Islamist dictatorship in Tehran celebrated its 31st birthday with nuclear candles, crushing Iranian dreams of freedom and Western hopes of appeasement.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that his scientists have already enriched uranium to the crucial 20 percent hurdle, threatening to go all the way to nuke capability.

In the streets, thugs smashed scattered freedom rallies — clubbing, gassing and firing on demonstrators — while hundreds of thousands of organized regime supporters rallied in Tehran’s main square.

And the world turned away. Except China: Beijing gave a silent cheer.

What happens next? Having threatened “consequences” yet again in his State of the Union message, President Obama will play at picayune sanctions, achieving nothing. He won’t even take a convincing rhetorical stand in support of the freedom marchers.

Europe will do even less. Russia will flash us some thigh, only to cover up again and return to embracing Iran.

But what’s coming up in Iran will really test us.

Despite widespread disenchantment with Iran’s religious dictatorship, the regime has resisted even minor concessions to the freedom protesters. The most defiant are being driven underground by arrests, beatings, rapes, murders and kangaroo-court hangings.

Soon, once-peaceful demonstrators will feel they have no choice but to turn to violence. In the coming months, a campaign of terror against the state will begin. It may prove inept, or it may become destabilizing. Either way, the Obama administration will be challenged.

Will we condemn violent resistance against the Iranian regime as terrorism? Will we consign freedom fighters denied all peaceful means to change the system to the same category as fanatical Islamists out to impose religious dictatorships by slaughtering the innocent?

Is terrorism always the same? Should we always condemn it?

One fears that an Obama administration unwilling to offer much rhetorical support to peaceful demonstrators won’t feel any sympathy with freedom fighters who actually fight. At most, we’ll have a bit of presidential finger-wagging and hear the platitude that “violence solves nothing.”

Do acts of terror against a rogue regime bent on acquiring and using nuclear weapons deserve American condemnation? In our national mania for simplification, we toss together all unconventional fighters wielding violence against authority — when there are plentiful gray areas as well as some white patches to set against the Islamist black.

We need to think about this now, because the issue’s coming down the tracks toward us. If any one thing is predictable in Iran, it’s that violent acts of protest are on the way. They may already be occurring, while the regime hushes them up. Because of Tehran’s restrictions on the flow of information, we might only learn of specific acts months later. But word of some deeds will leak out.

Will we then acknowledge that it’s just to fight terror with terror?

Meanwhile, the Iranian regime continues to dance diplomatic circles around us, feigning a willingness to com- promise, then reverting to spiteful defiance. And the quest for nuclear weapons marches on.

You can find no end of “authorities” claiming either that Iran’s nuke program is a hopeless mess we needn’t fear for years or that the Shia bomb’s just months away. The truth is that we don’t know. The Iranians are brilliant deceivers. We, on the other hand, are best at deceiving ourselves.

And there’s one other thing about which we’ve been indulging in candy-store fantasies — our hope that the protests in Iran’s cities would topple the regime. To do so, they’d have to be far larger and fiercer, allied with disaffected security forces. For now, those conditions simply don’t exist.

As I’ve stressed in the past, Iran’s oppressors-for-Allah learned one crucial lesson from the shah’s fall: Don’t fold in the clinch. The Pahlavi dynasty toppled when the military and police reached a threshold of violence against their own kind that they and the government were reluctant to cross.

The current regime in Tehran will go down killing. ExileStreet

NY Post / copyright 2010 NY Post

Ralph Peters’ new book, “Endless War,” goes on sale next month. Ralph Peters new novel, “The War After Armageddon,” is on the street. His most most recent non-fiction book is “Looking For Trouble: Adventures in a Broken World.” He is Fox News’ strategic analyst.

Peters is a retired Army officer and the author of 19 books, as well as of hundreds of essays and articles, written both under his own name and as Owen Parry. He is a frequent columnist for the New York Post and other publications.

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