March 29, 2007


The Revolutionary Guards are the Real Power in Iran (David Ignatius, 3/30/07, Real Clear Politics)

The Revolutionary Guards seized the hostages, if that's the right word, at a time when they are under intense and growing pressure. U.S. troops captured five of their intelligence operatives last January in the Iraqi city of Irbil. Perhaps the Revolutionary Guards commanders wanted some bargaining chips to get their people back.

There are larger forces at play, too. The Revolutionary Guards were targeted in the new U.N. sanctions enacted last weekend against Iran's nuclear program -- which, as it happens, is run by the Revolutionary Guards. The elite military group may have wanted to retaliate by imposing its own brute sanctions against Britain, one of the five permanent members of the Security Council.

European officials note that the provocative move comes at a time of growing speculation about new discussions between the United States and Iran -- a dialogue the Revolutionary Guards may oppose. The two nations met in Baghdad this month as part of a regional conference on Iraqi security, and it was expected that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would meet her Iranian counterpart at a follow-up meeting in Istanbul in April. That meeting may be in jeopardy if the British sailors aren't returned soon.

The Revolutionary Guards may also have hoped to sabotage diplomatic negotiations over the nuclear issue. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said several weeks ago that the United States was getting "pinged all over the world'' by Iranian intermediaries who wanted a resumption of negotiations. Iran's chief negotiator, Ali Larijani, hinted that message in his recent contacts with the European Union's top diplomat, Javier Solana. But the prospect of nuclear talks may have been blown out of the water, as it were, until the British issue is resolved.

One of the useful things they teach you at AA is that families tend to adjust their behavior to fit the alcoholic, thereby giving the most dysfunctional member of the group the most power. The usual suspects want to play into the Guards' hands just at the moment they're in maximum peril thereby empowering the dysfunctional.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 29, 2007 9:56 PM

"maximum peril"?

From whom? The Supreme Grand Ayatollah (their patron)? Their former member (Ahmadinejad)? The ghost of Ronald Reagan? The ghost of Saddam?

Their position may be tenuous, but who will 'put them in peril'? And who will finish them off?

Posted by: ratbert at March 29, 2007 11:59 PM

Iran's "elite" Revolutionary Guards are about as formitable as Hussein's elite crackerjacks were.

The left is petrified of Iran. They're starting to believe all the bs they've written about them.

Militarily Iran would capitulate in a matter of days.

Posted by: Tom Wall at March 30, 2007 12:48 AM

They must read the neocons.

Posted by: oj at March 30, 2007 6:49 AM

Them. Ahmedinejad's fall is their fall. When Khamenei's candidates lost the last election it created an implicit coalition between the conservatives and the Reformists against the radicals.

Posted by: oj at March 30, 2007 6:57 AM

Yes, no need to do anything, just sit back and wait for them to implode. Any day now. Any day now. Any day now.

Posted by: AWW at March 30, 2007 7:00 AM

They won't implode while Howard Dean, John Kerry and now Pelosi and friends are running around the Middle East telling everyone to hold on until they return to the White House in '08.

Posted by: erp at March 30, 2007 2:50 PM