The folks who brought you the American hostage ordeal are now plotting worldwide jihad, as witness the recent Hamas uprising in Palestine. That’s reason enough, insists Ledeen (Tocqueville on American Character, 2000, etc.), to go toe-to-toe with Tehran.
The fundamentalist Iranian theocracy’s revolutionary vision “has not changed in the twenty-eight years since the overthrow of the shah,” writes Ledeen. That vision sees the West—and more particularly, the U.S. and Israel, its putative client state—as enemies that can only be pacified through annihilation. Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, may be a nutty Hitler worshiper, but, even though he’s a member of a sect that Khomeini once outlawed, he’s also sitting at the head of a government run by clerics who, it appears, are happy to precipitate a nuclear war in the interest of hastening Islam’s answer to Armageddon and the end of the world. By Ledeen’s account—and here rigorous documentation would have been welcome—the Iranian government is responsible for al-Qaeda, inasmuch as it trained al-Qaeda operatives, funded the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa, sheltered terrorists after the invasion of Afghanistan and is now busily inserting al-Qaeda operatives into Iraq. What is more, he holds that Osama bin Laden died—yes, died—in Tehran, or else why would Ayman al-Zawahiri have been acting for the last year as if he were in charge? Zawahiri is, of course, in Iran, but al-Qaeda “no longer exists as a separate entity,” but is instead, like Hamas and Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, a subsidiary of the Shi’ite mullahs. What is to be done? Thankfully, Ledeen holds that bombing the faithful may not have the desired effect; instead, he urges that the Iranian people be funded and supported in whatever way they wish toward the end of overthrowing the Islamic Republic, which has plenty of domestic opponents.
Debatable, to be sure—but an urgent, interesting take on current geopolitics.