February 9, 2006: The riots throughout the Moslem world
over Danish cartoons of the prophet Mohammed appear to have been
instigated by Iran, with the help of Syria. The cartoons first appeared
last fall, and were even published in an Egyptian newspaper last
October. There was no fuss then, until the Iranian government decided
there was an opportunity to enlist the media, and Islamic radicals,
into some violent, and well publicized street theater. Ten have died so
far, all Moslems, and the cartoons have been more widely published than
would have been the case otherwise. The clerics ruling Iran apparently
see themselves as retaking the leadership role in the "worldwide
Islamic revolution." Remember, there are two ongoing attempts to
convert the entire world to Islam. The Shia movement, which got
traction in the 1980s when radical clerics took control of Iran, have
been threatened by the Sunni movement al Qaeda, which rose to
prominence in the 1990s. Over 80 percent of the world's Moslems are
Sunni, and radical Sunnis (like the ones who run al Qaeda) believe the
Shia are heretics and must be killed if they do not accept Sunni
religious practices and beliefs. Thus, in the Arab world (which is
very, very Sunni), Iran getting nuclear weapons is seen as a religious,
as well as a military, threat.
8, 2006: Iran's strategy of engaging the UN in endless negotiations is
preventing any action that would stop Iran's nuclear weapons
development program. The UN is incapable of doing anything decisive
because key UN members, like China and Russia, have commercial ties
with Iran that they will not endanger by voting in the UN for actions
that would hurt Iran. Meanwhile, the Iranian leaders believe that they
can scare the major nations by making ominous noises about oil supplies
(which tend to drive up the price of oil.) Iran believes this will
prevent the U.S. from attacking it, and that the U.S. will restrain
Israel from launching an attack.
7, 2006: The government announced production of a new version of the
Misagh portable anti-aircraft missile. The Misagh 2 is, like the 1993
Misagh 1, apparently based on technology imported from China.
5, 2006: The portion of the Iranian Navy that is run by Islamic
militants (the Revolutionary Guard) is apparently back in the smuggling
business. Many believe they never stopped. The Islamic militants were
deep into the oil smuggling business with Iraq before 2003, and are
apparently assisting smugglers to move goods and people into Oman.
There have been some close calls recently, between Iranian gunboats and
ships of Arab coast guards in the Persian Gulf.
4, 2006: The Iranian ballistic missile program, which is run by a
special organization of Islamic radicals, apparently ran more flight
tests of the Shahab-3 missile last month. This missile can, if
development is successfully completed, hit targets up to 2,000
kilometers away. This would put Israel, and parts of Europe, within
range. Iran is apparently getting missile technology, and technical
advice from Russia, North Korea and Germany (where it is being
2006: Iran has bought three Russian Su-25 (similar to the American
A-10) warplanes. The Su-25s will be delivered this year.