Saturday, April 23, 2005

Comedy Club

Life is funny. What else can one conclude about this report about unrest in Iran's Khuzestan province and Tehran's decision to suspend al Jazeera activities in Iran:

"The situation is under control in Khuzistan province right now," Interior Ministry Jahanbakhsh Khanjani said Monday. "The province is calm in general but unfortunately two people were killed during last night's violence in Mahshahr."

Violent demonstrations erupted Friday and Saturday in the oil-rich city of Ahvaz after rumors spread of an alleged government plan to move non-Arabs into the city.

Al-Jazeera, which is popular among Iran's Arab-speaking minority, is believed to have been the first news outlet to broadcast news of the unrest. The station's commentators discussed the clashes on talk shows as well.

Tehran on Monday ordered the station to cease operations until the network explained the motives behind its coverage, which Tehran believes inflamed the violence.

"If it is proved that Al-Jazeera committed a crime, it will be prosecuted," an official at Iran's Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry, Mohammad Hossein Khoshvaght, told state-run TV on Monday.

"We suspended its activity in Iran to investigate the network's role in unrest in Ahvaz. We expect the network to respect Iran's national integrity and security."

Iran tried to foment unrest in Iraq to drive us out and defeat a free Iraq; and now ethnic Arabs in Iran are creating unrest themselves. In a multi-ethnic empire such as Iran, this can't be a happy development for the mullahs.

In addition, having exploited al Jazeera to foment unrest inside Iraq, the mullahs find that the cameras are pointing at Iran now. And the mullahs don't like that.

Life is funny. And sometimes we get to chuckle a bit.

I believe we have room to operate to support such unrest and fan the flames of dissent that want the mullahs gone. As much as I am amused by this turn of events, this is deadly serious. Those idiotic Europeans think they can strike a meaningful deal with the mullahs to end their nuclear threat but the only question is whether the Iranians can lie convincingly enough and whether the Europeans are able to feign belief in those lies when they talk to us.

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is near capacity. By the fall it will be full. We'd better be planning action. Will al Jazeera help us here? Will the Iranian people? They just might. These could be two clubs with which to bash the mullahs out of power. I won't ask about Europe--they won't help. As I said, life is funny.