Funding internal Iranian opposition will only make the mullahs mad?
This is the assertion made by 'sources' in several media reports on supporting internal Iranian opposition groups as we should have for the past 20+ years. Austin Bay notes part of a Los Angeles Times article on President Bush's supplemental request for $75 million in additional aid to Iranian opposition groups and their efforts in Taking Down Tehran’s Mullahs: Help the Iranians Do It
But Iranian officials, who are highly sensitive to signs of foreign influence, are likely to point to the effort as another example of U.S. meddling and try to use it to foster anti-Americanism and build support for the regime, analysts said.
Says Austin Bay:
Foster anti-Americanism? Pish. Yes, anti-Americanism is the mullahs agit-prop counter; what this does is scare the heck out of the thugs-in-robes.
Having noticed this in other reports as well, but failing to speak to them, allow me to carry Bay's observation a few steps further.
Iran is 'likely to point to the effort as another example of U.S. meddling'? You don't say. The US Secretary of State is publicly before the US Senate asking for $75 million to affect an internal regime change. You bet the mullahs are 'highly sensitive' to this. We are looking to end their regime.
What is additionally frustrating about the tone of the paraphrasing of the analysts' words is that it asserts that funding internal opposition will only make the mullahs mad and will fail. Imagine these same analysts' reactions to striking Iran's nuclear facilities or actually invading Iran.
Perhaps we should just close up shop and wait to see what the Iranians squeeze out of Natanz, Arak and Isfahan. If we just don't make them mad, we'll have nothing to worry about. Perhaps.