As a companion piece to the Dick Perle piece
in Sunday's WaPo, there was a brief, but thorough overview
of all of the factions angling for power in Iran. While good reading for anybody wanting a brief guide to Iranian political factions, there was a startling parallel to the GOoPers...
Abbas Milani and Michael McFaul do a great job of highlighting the divergent parties in Iran, but it is in their description of the Revolutionary Guard and the Basij - the thuggish elements currently sharing in the Iranian power structure - that I found head-smacking similarities to BushCo.
Since the regime is deeply isolated from -- if not despised by -- the people of Iran, the Revolutionary Guard and the Basij, a paramilitary force within the Guard corps, are key, along with the intelligence agencies, to its survival. Recently, these groups -- the regime's "muscle" -- have attempted to expand their power. They achieved this in the parliamentary elections of 2005, when more than 100 officers found their way to seats in the Majlis.
These folks have got to have poll numbers at least as low as Bush's and the GOoPer congress. Despite, or likely becasue of, their power grab. Sure is a lot easier to make that power grab when you control more seats in the legislative bodies, ain't it? Not to mention having people to look the otherway whilst you pull off the following...
But their most crucial power grab was the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president later that year. As one Guard commander, now an influential member of the cabinet, said, the Ahmadinejad presidency was not an accident, but the result of two years of multilayered, sophisticated strategy. The predominance of the Revolutionary Guard in the new administration -- among governors, ministers and undersecretaries of the cabinet and in the diplomatic corps -- is a clear indication of the Guard's newfound power.
No shit? A savvy campaign geared not towards national interests, but rather achieving a stranglehold on control of the country? My only problem is I can't decide if this describes Rove's campaign strategy or the K Street project. WTF, maybe one begot the other.
The Guard is now a veritable state within the state; it has its own intelligence agency and prisons, three universities where it dispenses doctoral degrees in "strategic studies" and its own think tanks. It even has its own ports of entry to bring in commodities without paying any tariffs.
No... no similarites there. This is AMERICA, dammit! We'd never tolerate intel agencies running clandestine operations against our own polulation. We'd never send people to secret prisons operating outside our criminal justice system. We just ain't that way!
Recently, Tehran newspapers announced that a no-bid contract for more than $1 billion for the construction of gas and oil pipelines would go to a company operated by the Guard. The same company had won a multibillion-dollar contract to expand Tehran's subway system. Around the same time, another paper reported that $6 billion in oil revenue had disappeared from accounts controlled by the Guard.
Holy freakin' shit! These bastards even got the no-bids for buddies and vanishing billions trick down!
The only thing missing is the religious zealotry.
Oops, my bad.
You know, if imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, I expect the upcoming negotiations between Tehran and Washington to be a nonstop suckfest. I am only left to wonder which came first, the chickenhawk or the egg.