Leadership: Seeking A Suitable Invader


June 30, 2008: The Iranian leadership is desperate to have someone invade their country, or make some kind of spectacular attack. The reason is simple, years of stealing oil revenue is catching up with the larcenous clerics who have been running the country since the 1980s. It was the Iraqi invasion of 1980 that enabled the clerics to seize power, and enact a constitution that made the clergy the final word on what was legal, and what was not, forever. In effect, this created a religious dictatorship. People being what they are, it wasn't long before the clerics began helping themselves to the oil money. It wasn't just the clerics, there were plenty of the faithful with useful skills that had to be paid off as well. The problem was, this was not a secret. Give a guy a pile of cash and one of the first things he does is build a big house. It soon became apparent that most of the big houses were for clerics and their minions.

In the last few years, the theft has grown, and so have the number of luxury homes in the outskirts of Iran's major cities. But so much money was being diverted (we're talking billions of dollars a month, tens of billions in some months), that there wasn't much left to build homes for anyone else, or invest in businesses that would provide jobs for young Iranians. Except, of course, for the children of the clerics. You can always tell who they are, riding around in late model cars, often accompanied by an SUV full of bodyguards. There has been some violence against these spoiled "princes", and measures have been taken to prevent the angry poor from getting out of hand.

The bodyguards are often poor, but pious, kids from the country. Lots of villages out are still out there where everything, including religious beliefs, are old school. Iran's rulers have recruited the most religious Iranians to staff the secret police and the Revolutionary Guards (which mainly guards against any disloyalty in the armed forces, or any other dangerous group of Iranians.) About twenty percent of the population is still pretty religious, and willing to look the other way (when it comes to corruption) in return for a good paycheck and some slick sermons. Everyone else can rely on stealing, begging and prostitution.

But the clerical dictatorship realizes the clock is ticking. With so many of the people against them, and evidence of the corruption so obvious, something else is needed. Something like an American invasion, which would instantly tap into latent nationalism and rally the people behind the dictators. But the U.S. isn't cooperating. A poor second would be an attack by Israel. That would be embarrassing, given all the negative propaganda Iran generates against Israel (and how it will be destroyed and so on.) Of course, an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear weapons facilities can be blamed on the Americans, but that doesn't really have the same impact as U.S. tanks crossing the Iranian border and moving towards the capital.

So, for the moment, the corrupt clergy can only steal, and hope.




Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close