September 22nd, 2009

Is the Iranian regime toast?

It very well could be, if (and it’s a big “if”) Michael Ledeen is correct in his assessment of the situation there [emphasis mine]:

When a tyrannical regime dies, you can see the symptoms in the little things. Late Friday afternoon, after millions (yes, millions–this according to Le Monde, France 2, and L’Express, with the BBC saying that the demonstrations were bigger than those at the time of the Revolution) of Greens mobbed the streets and squares of more than thirty towns and cities to call for the end of the regime, there was a soccer game in Azadi Stadium in Tehran. It holds about a hundred thousand fans, and it was full of men wearing green and carrying green balloons. When state-run tv saw what was happening, the color was drained from the broadcast, and viewers saw the game in black and white. And when the fans began to chant “Death to the Dictator,” “Death to Russia,” and “Death to Putin, Chavez and Nasrallah, enemies of Iran,” the sound was shut off. So the game turned into a silent movie.

But the censors forgot about the radio, and the microphones stayed open, so that millions of listeners could hear the sounds of the revolution. And in Azadi Stadium, as in most parts of the country, the security officers either walked away or joined the party

Look at what didn’t happen in the streets last Friday. Not a shot was fired at the millions of demonstrators in Tehran. There are YouTubes of police fraternizing with the Greens. There are stories of Revolutionary Guardsmen helping the demonstrators, and even the Basij didn’t dare to attack or arrest, with a handful of exceptions (one of which is notable: in Tabriz, if I remember correctly, they started to round up some people, and the crowd turned on them, freed the would-be victims, and beat the Basijis to death).

One cannot overestimate the importance of the occurrences I’ve highlighted in bold, because they represent an absolute necessity if the Iranian people are ever to cause a change in government in their country. Last June, when the anti-regime demonstrations got going and were then suppressed, I wrote the following, and I see no reason to change my mind:

However, the real questions are (1) how far the demonstrators are willing to go, and how much violence against them are they willing to absorb; (2) how far the mullahs are willing to go, and how much violence they are willing to perpetrate; and (3) will the police, the Guards, and other forces called in by the mullahs to quell the crowds be willing to fire on them, or will they stay their hands?

That last question may be the most important of all. Like all tyrants, the mullahs can do little without the help of the vast numbers of henchmen they employ, and without the exercise of fear. Sometimes there is a great deal of opposition and unrest under the radar screen even within the groups assisting tyrants, and once dissatisfaction as a whole reaches a critical mass and events transpire to release it, there can be a sudden change and a refusal to defend the regime.

And then there’s this, from a post I wrote three years ago:

When hatred of a ruler or rulers is so widespread that it has become rampant among those who would protect those rulers or enforce their edicts, then those rulers may be in big trouble, no matter how repressive and brutal they are willing to be to suppress dissent. Because they cannot do it alone; they must have a cooperative armed apparatus in place to enforce their will.

Michael Ledeen has been focusing a great deal of his considerable energy on Iran for many years. He is the originator of the phrase “Faster, please!,” a sort of modern-day “Carthago delenda est” which Ledeen has featured in many of his articles on the subject, although he is also on record as having been against a US invasion or airstrikes against the country.

Instead, his approach to Iranian regime change has been to encourage the Iranian people to dissent against its own government, forcing more and more pressure until it collapses for want of popular support. The situation Ledeen describes in Iran right now would, if true, be the vindication of his campaign and the fulfillment of his long-held desires for that country. For these reasons, it’s possible Ledeen is just a victim of his own wishful thinking. I don’t pretend to know whether this is true or not.

But Ledeen has shown prescience and insight before on the topic of Iran; for example, in 1979, when most people failed to see what was brewing, he correctly predicted the direction the Khomeini revolution would take:

In 1979, Ledeen was one of the first Western writers to argue that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was a “clerical fascist”, and that while it was legitimate to criticize the Shah’s regime, if Khomeini seized power in Iran the Iranian people would suffer an even greater loss of freedom and women would be deprived of political and social rights.

Ledeen is virtually the only person reporting right now on the current Iranian demonstrations. That doesn’t make him wrong, but it certainly makes it hard to know much about what’s really happening and whether he’s right. The lack of coverage is partly because the Iranian regime has made it very difficult if not impossible for journalists to visit that country to report on events there. Ledeen seems to have Iranian informants, but are they telling him the truth, or are they telling him what they think he wants to hear?

If Ledeen is right, however, it could be one of the best pieces of news to come along in a long while. And if the regime does fall (and something better replaces it; be careful what you wish for), will President Obama put himself on the wrong side of history again?

25 Responses to “Is the Iranian regime toast?”

  1. F Says:

    Two thoughts:

    Good for the Iranian people! and
    How long before the American people do the same to their government? F

  2. Tom Says:

    I agree with the F:
    We are also, I hope, “seeing the symptoms in the little things” in the USA. An apt analogy is the 9/12 Wahington demonstration, with over 1 million attendees, ignored or downplayed by the
    statist media, but well reported via the Internet.

    Let us Hope for Change! But work for it too. Thanks for your good work, Neo.

  3. Tim P Says:

    Hmm. Let’s see. A tyrannical regime is threatened by a spontaneous and genuine uprising of its citizens! Quick! Someone call Obama, Hillary and the rest of the democrats! It’s time to apply some ‘smart diplomacy’ to this situation. Perhaps there’s still time to nip this in the bud.
    After all, Freedom could be contagious.

  4. Trimegistus Says:

    I hope the people of Iran succeed in regaining their freedom. As some of the others have noted, the flame of liberty seems to be guttering here, and it’s nice to know someone is keeping it burning abroad.

  5. Terrye Says:

    I hope Ledeen is right.

  6. I R A Darth Aggie Says:

    Something similar happened nearly 20 years ago in Romania.

  7. Vieux Charles Says:

    Yet another reason Irael won’t attack Iran.

    What better way for the Iranian regime to solidify its support than to declare any malcontents as traitors, who are giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

    Better to let this regime crumble on its own.

  8. Artfldgr Says:

    Russia will not let it fall without help

  9. Occam's Beard Says:

    What better way for the Iranian regime to solidify its support than to declare any malcontents as traitors

    How do you say “racist” and “teabagger” in Farsi?

  10. Sgt. Mom Says:

    “Better to let this regime crumble on its own.”
    And I am a Tea Partier, and have been out on demonstrations – and better yet – have been in on the planning sessions that organized demonstrations. And am in on planning sessions which work out our next moves, some of them with local mainstream media. A lot of interesting stuff is going on, in this grassroots-building-movement effort.
    Look to Texas – I would say. There is a lot of stuff going on there, if you have interest enough to drill down and look for it.

  11. camojack Says:

    “If Ledeen is right, however, it could be one of the best pieces of news to come along in a long while.”

    I have been hoping for some time that the Iranian people would revolt. It would help to simplify a very complex region, and every little bit will be helpful there…

  12. Doom Says:

    What is sad is that an oppressed people know evil dictators and name them while the “leader(s)” of the supposed freest people on earth… enjoins those same dictators. If this does not shame Democrats, what would?

    No shame.

    Shame on Americans!

  13. Scottie Says:

    Noticed an interview with an Israeli politician earlier this week – even he was noting the protest movement that is growing inside of Iran at the moment.

    Since Israel is aware of the growing antagonism of the Iranian population towards the ruling regime, my guess is they are going to put off military action unless it’s absolutely necessary and no other options are left.

    They know that the best way for the mullahs to retain control of Iran would be to give them an outside enemy to point to and blame – and Israel attacking the nuke facilities would be tailor made for that kind of propaganda.

    Another thing to remember – even South Africa managed to develop nukes, but never used them, and eventually these weapons were relinquished in exchange for better relations with the world.

    It’s possible that in some strange future scenario the mullahs are toppled (probably in a bloody fashion – they’ve apparently made a lot of enemies among the subject population) and anyone that replaces them decides that nukes are the ideal bargaining chip to *give up*, and can use this appearance of reasonableness and good faith effort to re-establish relations with the rest of the world – much as South Africa did.

  14. Adagny Says:

    Agree that “the best way for the mullahs to retain control of Iran would be to give them an outside enemy to point to and blame”
    Be it Israel or the U.S. In the case of Iran I believe Obama did the right thing back in June by taking a low key approach.
    A strong, perhaps even physical response like so many on the right wanted at the time would have given them the straw man, outside influence the mullahs needed.
    He may have swerved into it by not having any kee-honehs but let’s give him a little credit.

  15. Scottie Says:


    Nah – not gonna give Obama any credit.

    I would mark it down as Obama benefiting from good timing in that he’s president at the tail end of several years of effort undertaken by others.

    If I were to give credit at all, I’d give it to both Bush the Younger as well as Israel.

    They both showed incredible restraint over the past several years as the Iranian regime has done everything short of issue a full and open declaration of war against both nations.

    Iran took coalition forces prisoner, crossed over into Iraqi territory repeatedly in blatant border violations, provided IED’s/weapons/ammunition/training/safe havens/etc. during the Iraq War for the insurgents, provided the imprimatur of legitimacy to Al Sadr, possibly provided safe haven for Osama Bin Laden and other Al Quaeda terrorists at some point in time since 9-11, definitely provided rockets to Palestinian terrorists who promptly launched them at Israeli schools and residences, and developed terrorist networks that further destabilized Lebanon – just to name a few examples.

    Had there been no nascent resistance developing for several years now within Iranian society, I feel either or both the US and Israel would probably have acted militarily already regarding the Iranian nuclear program.

    Not saying they won’t still take that option – but it looks like they were staring down the mullahs and waiting for things to come to a boil in Iran itself, at which point the issue resolves itself without outside intervention.

    The next problem, of course, is if Iranian society degenerates into chaos, who exactly will be making sure the nuclear material they have already generated doesn’t fall into terrorist hands and end up as a dirty bomb in NYC Central Park?

  16. Rich Vail Says:

    Linked to your story.

    I can only hope that Mr. Ledeen is correct in his observations that the Islamic Republic of Iran is coming apart at the seams…this would be a tremendous boon to the advance of world-wide peace. I can only hope that the “Greens” would end the government support of Hizb’Allah and Hamas.

  17. Artfldgr Says:

    Russia completed delivery and sales of some interesting things…

    while obama unilaterally gives up on poland and slovakia… he and us ignore what iran IS getting

    S-300 anti-aircraft system – the system was first devised for the purpose of destroying, with a nuclear warhead, American ballistic missiles, such as the Pershing II. According to the report, the Antey-2500 version of the S-300 interceptor has a range of 2,500km. Russia maintains that the American Patriot air and missile defense system has still not achieved comparable capability.

    so while our missile defense cant stop theirs and we stopped putting it in, they just shipped a bunch of nuclear capable missles to iran who has enough for a nuclear bomb. these missiles can also carry biological materials as well.

    if russia needs the corridor from her land through the caucuses into iran in order to ship tons of weapons and materials to be rebranded and handed off to their ‘friends’ in islam and communism.

    the system was first devised for the purpose of destroying, with a nuclear warhead, American ballistic missiles, such as the Pershing II. According to the report, the Antey-2500 version of the S-300 interceptor has a range of 2,500km. Russia maintains that the American Patriot air and missile defense system has still not achieved comparable capability.

    do most americans know this?

    are they aware of chinas recent announcment that they have armoured up and their weaponry are on par with US weapns since they modernized using our technology…

    The spectrum of targets that the S-300V is designed to be able to strike at includes ballistic missiles, aeroballistic missiles [Russian: aeroballisticheskiye rakety], aircraft, cruise missiles – that is to say, this system can strike at the full spectrum of aerial offensive weapons, any targets flying at altitudes from 25 m. to 30-35 km. Another thing that distinguishes ballistic targets from aircraft is very small radar echoing area. Take a plane, say a MiG-21. Its radar echoing area is two [square] metres. For the MiG-29, it’s 5 sq. m. The radar echoing area of a ballistic target is five-hundredths of a metre, that is, the radar echoing area of a plane is hundreds of times that of a ballistic target. Even so, we must provide a good impact zone and large protected areas [Russian: oboronyayemyye ploshchadi]. After all, weapons protecting against ballistic missile strikes are defined by the area they protect.

    which one are they did they deliver? the 300 or 300V? guess ya wont know till israel tries to bomb something.

    i would pay attention to the assumptoin that everyone touts that these regimes just dont have the technology that we have and that makes it ok.

    guess waht? they do have better tech than we think… they just dont know how to use it well enough without being enthralled to their keepers.

    anyone knowing anything about electronics could show how very backwards they are on such things. yet in other areas they are nuclear capable.

    when you read this area of history and such (to get a REAL idea of whats going on in other areas), you get the distinct idea that everone is stocking up and getting into position for the 2012 war…

    2012 keeps coming up EVERYWHERE… from obamas second potential term. putin taking up command of russia. mayan calander… the cable companies running 2012 doomesday scenarios. and on and on…

    The Toophan missile is an Iranian reverse engineered version of the US BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missile.

    they are producing rpg7 level munitions…

    These include an 80mm HEAT rocket with a tandem warhead called the Saghegh, a 40mm HE anti-personnel round (similar to the Russian OG-7 series) called the Saegaeh, and a standard single warhead HEAT rocket called the Nafez.

    china is even more interesting…

    hj series is now up to 73… and iran shares this tech… its a wire controlled anti tank guided missile.

    and i would suggest reading about their 152mm MBT Project…

    they have about 63 submarines…
    27 destroyers
    47 frigates
    111 guided missile ships
    235 patrol boats
    92 mine warfare boats
    39 amphibious warfare ships

    they have almost 3 million in their current military with a 30 million pool of young men thanks to asymetric abortions…

  18. steve Says:

    The Russians are selling this technology to Iran to stop Israel from striking it’s nuclear installations.

    Which is competely legal and completely fair.

    Israel is the problem – the world know this too well. And many, many more Americans are waking up to the Zionist manipulation of the political process and the traitors that occupy both parties – and yes they are Jewish.

    Even if Iranian’s change their leader – though I know they won’t because we was freely elected with the majority of the vote – there is absolutely NO EVIDENCE of election tampering despite what the LIARS like Ledeen(who helped sink the U.S into the Iraq war – another traitor involved it the PNAC that needs to hanged until he’s dead).

    And Iranians of all stripes know that Israel is a deadly threat to the entire region and needs to be wiped off the map – even it Amadinejad didn’t actually threaten to do it – another Zionist lie.

    So Neo – was Israel just defending itself when in murdered over 300 children in Gaza? Oh right – they were ‘human shields’ put their by Hamas, right?

    You people are such pathetic liars – keep it up and America will be jew-free sooner than you think…

  19. Scottie Says:


    May I suggest you begin a *Hall of Shame* for trolls such as “steve”?

    Such eloquent insight as he has provided should be preserved for posterity….at the very least it will let everyone know just what an asshat he is.

  20. Artfldgr Says:

    steve is an interesting study. given that other trolls come here and think we are on the right and thats where hitler was, etc, yada yada. and here comes this other from the same side of the fence as those, and what does he basically spit out? the angle from the children of arafat… (who was the puppet of ceaucescu).

    steve, given that the country that your (?) country is dealing with, i would point out that they killed 100 million of their own. they starved 8-10 million in one winter. killing 300 of your people to get them fired up at isreal is a nice way to get poor, stupid, uneducated, people to do your work and pay the price.

    killing 300 children would serve no isreali purpose. to what end? only a backwards thinking person who listens to others tell them that there is some end would think so. on the world stage it dont work. on the local stage, it emboldens not makes afraid. it solves no tactical issue, and certainly will not make a dent in the population going into the future. so to what end?

    cui buono steve?

  21. neo-neocon Says:

    Yes indeed, anti-Semitic, apparently-Canadian troll “steve” is an old visitor here. He goes by many names and many manifestations, but all of them are rageful, offensive, and an excellent example of the caliber of thinking we so often get from the Left.

  22. Scottie Says:


    I’d absolutely love to read your thoughts (or anyone else’s, for that matter) some day on why individuals such as “steve”, while professing repulsion at some particular group – in this case Jews – cannot seem to keep themselves from continuously seeking interaction with those they profess such hatred for.

    I’m not sure simply describing them as *stupid* would be adequate……

  23. Tom Says:

    Steve’s “America will be Jew-free sooner than you think” is so touching, so heartfelt, so sincere that surely there is a bullet out there with his names on it. Hunker down, Steve, and don’t stop checking behind you. The Vigilantes of the Right are everywhere.

  24. sergey Says:

    No, Art, S-300 don’t have nuclear warheads and never had for obvious reason: they are intended to intercept low-altitude targets at small distance from protected area, and nuclear blast would devastate this area. You seem confused S-300 with anti-missile system deployed near Moscow and protecting Moscow region. It is nuclear, but intended to intercept re-entry vechicles at altitude 40 km. This system is unique, exists in only one exemplar, is not produced anymore and could not be transfered anywhere. As a former air-defense officer, I know something about such systems, and parameters you cited are simply unbelievable.
    Iran never got S-300, while asked about it many times, and as matters stand now, will never get it. To-day Russian newspapers inform that Iran lost Russian diplomatic protection and military aid, it seems, as a part of deal about refusal to deploy radar and interceptors in Czech and Poland.

  25. Hong Says:

    Will this new Iran be any safer to Israel and the United States than the old one? Muslims being Moooslims will their anti-semitism be much different? Mousavi doesn’t sound that much better than the others. I’m not too sure we ought to be too excited.

    But we can safely say Obama did nothing to help the Iranian protesters but he’ll take credit for it anyway. Or at least try to with help from the state media.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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