Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Various Problems Plaguing Iranian Regime -- And How Obama Will Save It

When it became clear that the "Arab Spring" was leading not only to the fall of Muslim dictators but also to opportunities for Islamist extremists, it was thought that Iran would become strengthened in its move for leadership and control in the Middle East

At least Iran seemed to think so.
But now things are falling apart for the Iranian regime.

Amir Taheri writes that Iran’s panic = Obama’s opportunity:
Observers agree that the Tehran rulers haven’t manifested such panic since 2003, when they believed that the American “Great Satan,” having deposed the despot Saddam Hussein, would turn on them next. 
A number of factors contribute to the panic of the Iranian regime:

  • Iranian presidential elections in June 2013 will not include Ahmadinejad because of term limits -- however he is expected to try to retain power by arranging for a victory for Esfandiar Rahim Masha'i.

  • The continued drop in the value of the rial has fed the continued economic crisis in Iran, leading to mass unemployment as well as the unprecedented flight of capital from the country.

  • Iran is edging closer to losing its main Arab ally -- Syria's Bashar al-Assad. That could cost Iran its Lebanese branch of Hezbollah, a key weapon against both the US and Israel.

  • In Venezuela, another major Iran ally, President Hugo Chavez, is having another round of cancer treatments. Taheri notes that the rest of the Chavez's circle do not share his enthusiasm for his alliance with Iran.

  • Iran is losing some influence with Hamas. Recently the terrorists were promised $400 million by Qatar at a time when the Iranian economy is tanking. As it is, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been trying to persuade Hamas to distance itself from Iran.
Read the whole thing.

But never fear, Obama himself may be ready to help Iran out of this mess. With hints of "direct and unconditional talks" with Iran, Iran could drag the talks out while its economy benefits from the perceived easing of tensions.

Obama could use the offer of talks as carrot to get concessions out of Iran -- but don't expect that.

Instead, it is more likely that Obama will take the sort of actions that will allow Iran to find its perception of Obama as a weak leader confirmed.

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