Link to article: http://www.arabnews.com/?page=7§ion=0&article=68729&d=20&m=8&y=2005
KEEP IT A COLD LINK!
When he launched the invasion of Iraq in 2003 President George W. Bush promised to help the greater Middle East, the Muslim heartland from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, to bury a despotic past and build a democratic future.
As if on cue, political elites throughout the region began to use “democracy” as a catchword.
In Egypt President Hosni Mubarak declared the building democracy as the central aim of his next administration. The Lebanese launched their “Cedar Revolution” under the banner of democracy. The Saudi municipal elections were described as a move toward democratization. Military rulers in Libya, Tunisia, the Sudan, and Pakistan put on civilian clothes and talked of democracy. Afghanistan and Iraq held their first democratic elections.
The country generally regarded as most ripe for democracy was Iran. President Bush singled it out for praise as the nation that could lead the region in democratization. President Muhammad Khatami spoke of “religious democracy”, an oxymoron in which vice pays tribute to virtue.
For the past three years, tens of thousands of students have demonstrated throughout Iran demanding “Democracy, Now!”
Last week Iran’s newly elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave his reply: Democracy? Never!
The answer is spelled out in a 7000-word document that Ahmadinejad presented as his government’s “short- and long-term programs” to the Islamic Majlis (Parliament) on Tuesday.
In it he categorically states that Western “ideas and concepts of government” have no place in Islam. Without using the word democracy, the document states that the new administration “bravely rejects all alien political ideas” as incompatible with Islam.
The document says that in a Muslim country power belongs to God. The exercise of that power is the privilege of the Prophet and, after him the 12 imams of duodecimo Shiism. Since the 12th Imam is in “grand occultation”, thus not exercising power on a day-to-day basis, the task devolves to “chosen ones from the family of the Prophet”. In the case of Iran today it means Ayatollah Ali Khamenehi, the “Supreme Guide” who claims to be a descendant of Hussein, the third imam.
Ahmadinejad says that not only will he fight any form of democratization in Iran but would mobilize the nation’s resources to prevent the United States from imposing the Bush plan on the Middle East.
In practical terms it could mean a switch in Iranian policy in Afghanistan and Iraq. Under President Khatami Tehran’s policy was to make sure that the Americans were bled to the maximum while allowing them to establish friendly regimes in Kabul and Baghdad. Now, however, Iran may well want to bleed the Americans more but deny them even the merest crumb.
The document states that the region is heading for a “clash of civilizations” in which the Islamic Republic represents Islam while the United States carries the banner of a West that has forgotten God.
The document calls the US “the hegemon” and asserts that the Bush plan for the Greater Middle East is a device to slow down the decline of the United States as a superpower.
“Despite its pharaonic roars,” the document claims,” the hegemon is in its last throes.”
The US is a “sunset” (ofuli) power while the Islamic Republic is a “sunrise” (tolu’ee) one.
The US is going to crumble because it is based on a system that produces “endless material needs” which lead into “the desert of lust” where men are handed over to Satan.
The Islamic Republic is going to win because it has God on its side.
The Americans may “mock the divine system” in Iran. But Islamic Iran is the model for the future of mankind.
Ahmadinejad envisages a “multipolar” world in which the United States would have a place as long as its process of “fading away” is not completed. Other poles, according the documents, would include “sunrise” powers such as China and India, and “sunset” ones such as the European Union. But the most dynamic of the new poles would be the Islamic one with Iran as a “core power” around which all Muslim nations will coalesce.
The document flatly states: “Leadership is the indisputable right of the Iranian nation.”
The creation of an “Islamic pole” is the key objective of what the document refers to as “the 20-year strategy” of the Islamic Republic. It is not clear who developed that strategy and whether or not Ahmadinejad, who is elected for a four-year term, hopes to remain in power for two decades.
The goal of the “Islamic pole” would be to unite the world under the banner of Islam, as the “final Divine message” and “the only True Faith.” But it is not clear whether this is to be achieved during the 20-year period of the strategy or within a broader timeframe.
It is not only in foreign policy that Ahmadinejad opposes “American ideas”.
His economic, social, and cultural programs, too, are designed in defiance of Western capitalist models.
He wants the state to play a central role in all aspects of a people’s life and emphasizes the importance of central planning. The state would follow the citizens from birth to death, ensuring their health, education, well-being and leisure. It will guide them as to what to read and write and what “cultural products” to consume so as not to be contaminated by Western ideas. In fact, the Islamic Republic intends to compete with the US on the global stage as a producer of culture. Ahmadinejad promises to help Iranian music drive American music out of the world markets, starting with Muslim countries. In hyperbolic tones he claims that Persian music exports could earn Iran more than oil.
The new government will even help arrange marriages for young men who might find it difficulty to do so on their own. (No such assistance is offered to young women.) The Islamic Republic rejects what the West calls “alternative lifestyles” as “abominations” and would not tolerate any form of sexual deviation or immorality.
Ahmadinejad’s economic policy is aimed at self-sufficiency so that the Islamic Republic would not become dependent on the global system dominated by the United States. Iran will develop its nuclear program the way it sees fit, regardless of whatever the outside world might say.
The program does not shy away from big social engineering ideas.
For example, it promises to reduce the number of villages in Iran from 66,000 to just 10,000. This would enable the central government to concentrate on the rural population and provide it with better and cheaper public services.
But it would also mean relocating almost 30 million people.
To carry out his ambitious program Ahmadinejad has created a strong and unusually united Cabinet. He also starts work at a time that, thanks to spiraling oil prices, his government has almost $200 million a day to play with.
At the United Nations General Assembly in New York next month, Ahmadinejad is expected to fire the first shot in what he sees as a duel between the Islamic Republic and the United States over who sets the future agenda of mankind.
It should be fun to watch.
You have to remember that these crack pots dont speak for the Iranian people... the people of Iran want their govt gone even more than we do.
after winning the Iranian election, at a press conference, Ahmadinejad said,
"We didnt start an Islamic Republic in order to have democracy."
I see a fiery 10,000 degree fahrenheit death in the Iranian president's future.
But how does this type of Government sustain a political embrace for so long?
I have had the opportunity to discuss this with others from Iran and they have expressed in no uncertain terms that this type of Government is here to stay due to geopolitical polarization in the Middle East, needless to say that they embrace the American way of life and have no desire to return to Iran.
Allow me to state in no uncertain terms: I WILL NEVER adopt islam! NEVER! Iran, are you listening?
I'll say it again...
We shoulda nuked'em back in '81'
One day we'll be able to name the enemy in this war, and take all of it on.
Its not going to be over anytime soon.
The Iranian government has been able to survive as long as it has because, after such a long and bloody war with Iraq, where Iran took nearly 1 million casualties, they have no taste for another bloody revolution. They have been trying for peaceful change through a process of protest and working within the current system.
This has failed horribly because the Iranian opposition is very divided, fractured, and lacks a coherent leadership. Furthermore, the Iranian government has cracked down on political dissidents and journalists, closing down newspapers, jailing people, and has even carried out political assassinations.
Anytime there are political protests, such as in 1999 over the closure of newspapers, the Iranian regime uses thugs know as basjis to beat protesters to a pulp.
President Khatami was elected by the Iranian people due to his promise to change the system from within, to grant greater political freedoms and open up the country to the outside world.
His failure to deliver on his political agenda has led the majority of Iranians to political apathy. They take no interest in politics anymore because they see no one capable of changing the status quo.
Ahmadinejad was elected because he ran on a populous platform, criticizing the corruption that is rampid in the iranian government.
He portrayed himself as a man of the people, who wanted to improve the lives of the poor. There is currently a huge gap in wealth between the Iranian haves and have nots... and he promised to close this gap and make the distribution of wealth more equitable in the country.
Because the majority of Iranians no longer feel anyone is truly capable of delivering on political change in the country, they felt it was better to elect Ahmadinejad, for at least he might improve their economic status.
Btw, the Iranian people dont get to participate in truly fair elections.
More than 1000 people applied to run in the presidental elections, and the regime disqualified all but 6. The Iranian people get to vote in elections, but they only get to vote for the people the regime is willing to put on the ballot. I'm sure Ahmadinejad wouldnt have been their first choice.