Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Michael Ledeen - 2

Jihad Khazen Al-Hayat - 11/07/06

Iran has always been the focus of Michael Ledeen’s work. He told the electronic magazine Raw Story that Iraq was “wrong war, wrong time, wrong way, wrong place, as I said at the time.”

He added: “The key to the terror structure was and is Iran, and we should have started by supporting democratic revolution in Iran, not invading any place. And even if you decided to ‘do’ Iraq first, it should have been political first and military second – if necessary. I proposed declaring the ‘no fly’ zones to be ‘free Iraq’ and then dropping leaflets on the country urging Iraqis to go govern themselves, preparing for the fall of the regime.”

When asked why the US has failed in democratic endeavours with regard to Iran, Ledeen said: “I think the CIA is both incompetent and unwilling to find and report the truth about Iran. They are afraid some president will tell them to get active in Iraq, and they don’t know where to start. To get the top Al Qaeda people you would have to go into Iran where most of them spend most of their time and the CIA isn’t up to that.”

Ledeen said: “We still have no Iran policy and we are trying to win a regional war while playing defense in one country alone. That is a sucker’s game.”

Ledeen said: “The world’s leading supporter of terrorism, the Iranian regime is still in power and racing towards nuclear capacity, Ditto for the terror masters in Damascus. And it’s obvious that our security systems are not as good as they should be. Have you been through an airport recently?

On the subject of Iraq, Ledeen denied that there is a civil war there. He said the main failure was “to have misconceived the nature of the war and to have chosen the wrong target to begin with and to have refused to launch a political challenge to the other terror masters. Most of the violence in Iraq would end if there were political freedom in Iran and Syria.”

The above means that this extremist exclaims better knowledge than the CIA. His repeated references to Iran and Syria are Israeli policy no matter how much he denies it.

A thorough exposition of Ledeen’s thinking on Iran came in his prepared testimony to the House Committee on International Relations, on March 8 2006. The hearing to which Ledeen had been invited to give evidence was entitled “United States Policy Towards Iran – Next Steps.”

Ledeen said: “From the first hours of the fanatical regime of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979, Iran declared war on us in language it seems impossible to misunderstand. We are the great Satan, while they are the representatives of the one true faith, sworn to combat satanic influence on earth.”

Iran has “waged unholy war on us ever since. They created Hizbollah and Islamic Jihad, and they support most of all the others, from Hamas and al-Qaeda to the Popular Front. Iran’s proxies range from Suiites to Sunnis to Marxists, all cannon fodder for the overriding objective to dominate or destroy us.”

In his testimony to the House Committee, Ledeen condemned those who think difference with Iran can be reconciled and that it is possible to reach a modus vivendi with the Islamic Republic. “Religious fanatics of the sort that rule Iran do not want a deal with the devil. They want us dominated or dead. There is no escape from their hatred, or from the war they have waged against us. We can either win or lose, but no combination of diplomatic demarches, economic sanctions, and earnest negotiations can change that.”

Ledeen also alleged that the Iranians have long worked on nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction and “they doubtless have moved plenty of terrorists all over the Western world.” Ledeen said “ I am afraid that the obsession with the nuclear question often obscures the central policy issue: that the Islamic Republic has waged war against us for many years andis killing Americans every week..” They would do this even if they had no chance of developing nuclear bombs. “The mullahs will do that because it is in their essence.”

In his statement to the House Committee hearing, Ledeen said the first step towards crafting a suitable policy toward Iran is “to abandon the pretence that we can arrive at a negotiated settlement. It can’t be done.”

There are then three courses of action, none of which is automatically exclusive of the others: sanctions, military strikes and support for democratic revolution.

Ledeen told the House Committee on International Relations that he is generally opposed to military strikes, and that “I fully endorse support for revolution.”

On the question of sanctions, Ledeen said he did not know of a case in which sanctions have produced a change in behaviour by a regime that “considered us its enemy”. Enemy regimes do not respond to sanctions. However, he was in favour of seizing the assets of Iranian leaders, “because while the mullahs have ruined the lives of most Iranians, they have greatly enriched themselves at the people’s expense, and a good deal of that money has been squirreled away in foreign bank accounts.” He added “my favourite example of the greed of the Iranian ruling class is a transaction tax, roughly worth 5 per cent of the purchase price, all of which goes into the personal fund of the Supreme Leader, Ali Khameini.

Ledeen warned that military action would carry enormous risks, because of the many unforeseeable consequences. Some Iranians would rally to national defence, even if they hat the regime. And there would inevitably be innocents, “and our strategy should aim at saving innocents, not killing them”.

Ledeen also pointed out that it is virtually certain that Iran would respond to military action with “a wave of terrorism, from Iraq to Europe to the homeland.”

In his testimony to the House Committee, Ledeen was optimistic about the prospects for a ‘democratic revolution’ in Iran. “We empowered a successful revolution in the Soviet Empire with the active support of a very small percentage of the population. How hard can it be for a revolution to succeed in Iran, where more than 70 per cent of the people want it?” Ledeen is daydreaming; he is measuring Iran by his own yardstick. There is opposition, but it is certainly not 70 percent, and describing one Iranian leader as “moderate” and the other as “extremist” is misleading. Most of the Iranian nuclear program was finished before Mahmoud Ahmadi Nejad was elected about a year ago.

Ledeen told the House Committee that while there is much that is praiseworthy in the Iran Freedom Support Act, “I think it can be improved by more openly embracing a policy of regime change in Iran, and allocating an adequate budget to demonstrate our seriousness in this endeavour.

“I heartily endorse the suggestion that the President appoint someone responsible for our Iran policy, and who will advise the president and report to Congress. The Choice of that person is important, because the Iranians will be encourage by someone who they believe to be firmly on their side, while they will be discouraged by someone who has participated in the failed efforts to formulate a serious Iran policy.”

Is Ledeen making a job application? If he gets such an appointment he would be serving Israel just like John Bolton at the United Nations.


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