On Point:

Obama Discovers Iran's Preconditions

by Austin Bay
February 23, 2010

Iran's wicked conditions prior toBarack Obama's fanciful "no preconditions" now present themselves --with the mullahs' rogue nuclear program 13 months closer to producing a bomb.

Last week, Secretary of StateHillary Clinton focused attention on the Iranian regime's powerful and tentacle radical militia, the IranianRevolutionary Guards (IRG)."Iran is moving toward a militarydictatorship," Clinton said."The trend with this greater and greatermilitary lock on leadership decisions should be disturbing to Iranians as wellas those of us on the outside."

Trend?  IRGpower is old news, and one of a multitudeof wicked conditions candidate Barack Obama rhetorically obscured amidst hispromises of hope, change, "smart" diplomacy and decisive negotiationswith the robed dictators sans preconditions.

For three decades, the Iran'sKhomeinist clerics and their "armed wing" (theIRG) have entwined sotightly it's tough to separate the snakes. In themid-1990s, the IRG, having supplantedthe Iranian Army as the regime's primary military force, became demonstrablyinfluential in foreign affairs. As the ire of the Iranian people rose, spurredby corruption and a failing economy, theIRG's domestic clout increased.

When public anger with the regimespilled into Tehran's streets last year, IRG commanders monitored local policeto ensure "reliability" and prepared to crackdown. The Khomeiniststreet militias that continue to attack pro-democracy demonstrators have IRGties.

The regime that dubbed Israel a"one bomb state" seeks nuclear weapons. The IRG, via its spies andspecial forces, links to Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Iran alsowages war on Iraq's emerging democracy.

For these and other loathsomeprior conditions, differentiating between the IRG and theregime of PresidentMahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is difficult.

Yet Obama extolledpresident-level negotiations with this Siamese-twin thugocracy. Obama'sless-fossilized apologists may now defend his initiative as naive, but when hemade it many of us called it what it was: stupid because it gave a brittle andbrutal regime a political success without a price. It also played into theregime's game of strategic delay. The regime gives a little when sanctions loom,slides when Europeans fret, hugs Chinese oil brokers when America rattlessabers but always keeps the uranium centrifuges spinning.

Obama's "nopreconditions" pitch was part of a cynical campaign ploy a fawning presscorps trumpeted. Recall Obama promised "smart diplomacy" and accusedthe Bush administration of failing to use diplomatic means.

What blarney. Ambassador RyanCrocker's congressional testimony in September 2007addressed Iran's diplomaticintransigence. After Gen. David Petraeus told Congress that "militiaextremists" in Iraq were directed "by the Iranian Republican GuardCorps' Quds Force," Crocker provided his insight.

When Rep. Tom Lantos, in adismissive and arrogant tone, asked Crocker if the U.S. would pursue diplomacywith Iran, Crocker replied that he had talked with the Iranians, and "theconclusion I came away with after a couple of rounds was that the Iranians wereonly interested in the appearance of discussion, of being seen at the tablewith the U.S. instead of actually doing serious business."

Crocker provided Obama and hismedia entourage with a teaching moment -- but it was ignored, or worse,castigated as propaganda, to the detriment of Iran's own oppressed people andeveryone seeking to avoid a nuclear war in the Middle East.

Is Obama finally educable? Doeshe understand the threat presented by Khomeinists with nuclear arms? Does heunderstand a summit with an American president is apolitical coup fordictators, and granting one should require concessions from noxious regimes?Until the thugs make them, keep direct discussions at low or unofficial levels-- like George W. Bush did.

Clinton's hype of old news doesprovide cover for a policy shift by the administration.

Let's hope that change is coming.Petraeus, following Clinton's statement, said the U.S. has put Iran on a"pressure track." Good. The Green Movement opposition needs support.Sanctions that truly sanction are difficult without Russian and Chineseblessings. That means Obama must prepare for military strikes on nuclearsites. 


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To find out more about Austin Bay and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.


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