Sunday, January 21, 2007

Iran Planning To Flex It's Military Muscle, But At Further Political Cost To Ahmadinejad's Hold On Power In Iran

Iran is planning three days of a military show of force, as tensions continue to escalate between the government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Washington. Yet Ahmadinejad continues to ignore core isues in Iran such as improving the economy and other key issues that he was originally elected on. At some point his continued militarism, along with the ignoring of important domestic issues will likely spell his eventual political downfall.

One important area where Ahmadinejad continues to see his support erode, is among the ruling clerics of Iran. The high tensions between Ahmadinejad and Washington actually make these clerics fearful. They are of course decidedly antiAmerican in many circumstances, although some do want better relations with Washington, but few support what appears to be Ahmadinejad on a clear path to eventual war with the U.S.

It is actually highly doubtful that the U.S. really wants overt war with Ahmadinejad's government as well, but simply regime change. And recent U.S. activity such as placing a second U.S. aircraft carier in the Gulf area near Iran and placing new Patriot missile batteries in some key ally states is meant to psychologically influence the clerics and voters of Iran to dump Ahmadinejad at the earliest possible time and to seek more constructive relations with the U.S. This pressure will likely avoid a real war with Iran for at least sometime, unless the erratic Ahmadinejad chooses to actually do something foolish down the line, which is always a concern with such an unpredictable leader. But likely, Ahmadinejah will soon back down to avoid more political deterioration at home.

Although the Bush Administration's political instincts regarding MidEast issues have been terrible so far, this is one time that they may actually have it right in their assumption that the erratic Ahmadinejad is highly politically vulnerable, and all he needs is a little push in order to politically collapse. Washington may well score a rare win in this high stakes game of political "chicken" this time around after all.


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