As the centre of gravity of this mini-cold war shifted to the Persian Gulf and focuses on
And those are the troubles we hear about in the
In Soviet times, the failure of Gorbatchev’s perestroika only revealed the unreformable nature of the system. Similarly, in
However, oil prices are higher now. So, while the Russian were defeated by cheaper Saudi oil, the Mullah’s are propped up by high oil prices. Their regime is able to buy itself some time, but this is a dynamic resource that is slowing running out; with Iranian production in decline, the regime desperately needs to invest, but the know-how and funds are only found in the hands of those imperialist infidels. In the immediate, at least USD 30 Billion worth of investments are needed for upgrades in Khuzistan and developments such as the Golshan and Ferdows fields.
This is where
Back in the 1970’s, the Shah appeared able to square that circle for a time, by providing financial support for French Nuclear mining in
Things changed after 1979, when Khomeini came back. In order to take over Iran, him and the Mullah’s needed to destabilize more secular minded Iranians, so they decided to exorcize the Western Demons (who else). Those Western Demons had little choice but to cut off funds and technical know-how, as well as support for
The Mullahs could have decided not to pursue Nuclear Ambitions, and they did for a while. However, their opposition to the West earned them few friends, and their traditional rivals remained. With Sunni Pakistan and Arab Iraq (until 1981) on their way to get the bomb, the Russians in
"Boulangisme" in Tehran
Since a complete reform of
Ahmadinejad is not such a nut job as much as a logical result of the Islamic revolution (and a fine product of its education system, with a PhD in Engineering). In the Iranian system, the president is nothing more than a glorified Prime Minister, with real power in the hands of the Supreme Guide, Khamenei. With his margin of manoeuvre limited on the inside by the Wali Faqih, his only option is to circumvent the Mullahs, and increase tensions on the outside.
He is not really creating a new Iranian policy as much as implementing it in a “purer” form.
This meant vociferous support for Hezb in
With this in mind, the Iranians were bound to respond to their latest intelligence setbacks with some sort escalation. In
On the downside, the Iranians are stuck with a plethora of new ennemies, and remain prisoners of their own policies.
Rest assured, the Mullahs generally understand the limits of this aggressive stance and try to build regional alliances. The latest Security Council resolution drove it home to even the thicker heads, as evidenced by the growing internal opposition to Ahmadinejad.
However, there is little the Mullahs can do to change things on the long run; they are now wed to a maximalist position, and prisoners of their own internal political infighting. They can only make a bad situation worse, as any attempts at “negotiation” will only be viewed as weakness by one side, and exploited by rallying the braying masses.
The side-effect is the multiplication of "own-goals". This should remind us that, for all its faults, Bourgeois Democracies provide better government than Dictatorships, and that Populism is a poor substitute for either.