According to MEMRI. Click the image to watch.
This is just a coming attraction, mind you. The transcript says a full program, called “The Illusion of Power,” will air on Iranian TV soon. (Update: I’m pretty sure at least some of the footage comes from this incident dating to June 2004. That involved three British patrol boats, but MEMRI says some of the men in the video are American soldiers. I don’t remember any cases of Iran capturing U.S. troops; does anyone else? In any case, the fact that they’re running this stuff on TV now certainly lends credence to Captain Ed’s theory.)
Meanwhile, the NY Times has a blockbuster this morning about Ahmadinejad consolidating power in Iran — apparently, and oddly, with the approval of Khamenei. Why the supreme leader would want himself and his mullahs usurped is unclear to me: the Times says it’s because the clerics are unpopular and they need a “secular” populist demagogue to prop them up. Maybe, but what happens when Ahmadinejad threatens their hold on power? An Iranian version of the Night of the Long Knives? Surely that wouldn’t do wonders for the mullahs’ popularity.
Regardless, commentators as astute as Christopher Hitchens have been operating on the assumption that Ahmadinejad is an impotent figurehead. Perhaps it’s time to revisit that assumption. Meanwhile, there’s a question of just how popular Ahmadinejad really is. The Independent has an excerpt from the new book by Mark Bowden, author of “Black Hawk Down,” describing his encounters with the ringleaders of the 1979 hostage crisis in Iran. Ahmadinejad is mentioned. Read it; it’s long but vivid, and it certainly does lend proof to the theory that the regime is weak internally.
Mark my words. The momentum for U.S.-Iran negotiations has only begun. The focus of the entire Iranian crisis will begin to shift from the question of whether Tehran will stop its nuclear program to whether Washington will sit down alone at the table with Tehran…
[The mullahs] know, and fear, that if the West persists on its present and agreed course, they face sanctions so serious that their rule, already unpopular, might be in jeopardy. The very fact that Iran is desperately trying to change the subject, change the venue and shift the burden onto the United States shows how close the mullahs believe we are to achieving major international pressure on them.
Caroline Glick also has a new column on Iran which makes clear that she’d find my night-of-the-long-knives analogy counterproductive:
Since the Vietnam War era, a disturbing notion has been accepted by wide swathes of the peoples of the Western world and has become a writ of faith among Western academic and governing elites. That notion is that the last just war was the Second World War and that the last enemy that deserved to be defeated utterly was Nazi Germany. Only Hitler constituted an implacable foe. This conclusion, which was seamlessly grafted onto the pacifist worldview of the radical Left in Europe and the US in the 1960s, and of the Israeli Left in the 1990s, holds that still today, the only enemy that the West can conscionably fight is Adolf Hitler…
The thing of it is that the question of whether or not Iran is the new Nazi Germany is wholly irrelevant. Iran today is the engine of the global jihad war machine and it is on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons which it has already pledged to use in order to commit genocide. With or without jackboots, Iran is a clear and present danger to the Western world. Yet rather than acknowledge this reality, the leaders of the Western world are allowing and indeed insisting that since Ahmadinejad isn’t Hitler, his venality is besides the point, with the point being that he must be appeased.