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March 26, 2007

Time Magazine Strongly Pushing "Rogue Elements" Theory of Iranian Hostage-Taking

Pajamas Media has the round-up.

Let's get to the media bias. Irene F'ing Irene asked if anyone agreed that this story is being reported in a rather disinterested, reluctant, desultory way by the MSM. Well, I don't watch the nightly newscasts, so I can't say much about them, but the fact that you can very easily avoid this story on the Internet if that's your druthers tells me the MSM isn't giving it "flood the zone" coverage, or even "trickle into the zone" coverage. You can barely escape the absurdist Gonzalez/Fired 8 story, but you have to do a bit of hunting to find out that Iran kidnapped eight British sailors, shortly after intelligence indicated they'd start kidnapping Western soldiers. The MSM definitely isn't signalling to the world that this is an Important Story you should Read Up On, as it does with, say, Al Gore's messianic appearance before the Senate.

But to the extent it is a story, the MSM must be vigilant to insure that no one mistakes this act of war for a, well, act of war, and no one gets the idea that Iran might just be an aggressive, dangerous, and psychopathic regime which will have to be dealt with in some serious fashion at some approaching date certain.

Enter Time Magazine, previously quite invested in the proposition that the Palestinian government had no control over its terrorists, so it would be meanspirited and counterproductive to punish the government for its terrorists, and now selling us the same soft soap about Iran:

The most ominous detail about Iran's seizure of 15 British Royal Marines in the Shatt-al-Arab waterway on Friday morning is that the servicemen were reportedly taken into custody by the navy of the Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The IRGC is a powerful, separate branch of the Iranian armed forces. Soaked with nationalist ideology, it has grown into a state within a state in Iran, with its own naval, air and ground forces, parallel to official government institutions. The IRGC is directly controlled by Supreme Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei, the ultimate font of religious and political power in Iran. The IRGC also has its own intelligence arm and commands irregular forces such as the basij — a voluntary paramilitary group affiliated with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — and the Quds force, which has been accused by the U.S. of supplying material to Iraqi insurgents bent on killing American soldiers. The IRGC is also known for its clandestine activities including logistical support for militant organizations like Lebanon's Hizballah, which it helped to set up in the 1980s, and several Shi'a militia groups in Iraq. The IRGC's activities are often a thorn in the side of Iran's Foreign Ministry, which is forced to repair the ruptures in Tehran's diplomatic relations with countries the Guard has inflamed with its self-directed adventures. Nevertheless, it has been one of Iran's main instruments in projecting power and influence over the last few decades.

Because the IRGC's actions are always interwoven with the religious-nationalist ideology of Iran's hardliners, extricating the British may be complicated.

I feel so bad for the Iranian Minister of State and all those other moderates in the government working so hard to achieve peace and stability! If only it weren't for these few bad apples, the world would be right as rain!

Michael Ledeen doesn't quite buy this claim of Iran, effectively, itself held hostage by its rogue hardliners:

Time would have us believe that the IRGC are something other than the regime—look at all the heartburn they create for those poor diplomats at the Foreign Ministry. And unlike the rest of the government, the Revolutionary Guards are tied in to the wackos, the “religious-nationalist…hardliners.”

One should ask Time’s journalists just what exactly they believe this regime is, if not a bunch of religious fanatics. Religious fanaticism is what the Islamic Republic of Iran is all about, and has been since its creation by that great Islamic Fascist, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The IRGC was created in order to protect the regime from anyone who might prefer freedom to Islamic Fascism, and to extend the domain of the Islamic Republic outside Iran’s borders.

The IRGC IS the regime, not some aberration.

No government is ever to be blamed for its actions, except if the government in question is that of the United States or Israel. All other governments, especially those which are declared enemies of the United States or Israel, always mean well but are either "misunderstood" by clueless warmongers in the US or Israel, or have their good intentions undermined by A Few Rogue Trouble-Makers Who Are In No Way Representative Of The Goverment As A Whole So Don't You Get Any Crazy Ideas About Military Responses, Buster.

If the Iranian government was as, um, "surprised" and "blindsided" by all this as Time Magazine contends -- well, it's been four or five days now. Isn't the time for "shock" passed, and can they now not order the Revotionary Guards to release the soldiers?


Then they either support the Guards or the Guards are the government of Iran. Either/or.

Sorry, MSM, you'll have to do a little bit better than this.

Bonus! Rosie O'Donnell posits that the crafty British (Jewish?) sailors tricked the Iranians into taking them hostage and beating "confessions" out of them.

It's pathetic when the stupid and ignorant mistake themselves for perceptive and well-informed.

Also Via PJM: The Madness Behind The Mullah's Methods? Opinion Journal:

Given the Iranian regime's past success with hostage-taking--whether with U.S. diplomats in Tehran in 1979 or Westerners in Beirut in the 1980s--they may also figure that Prime Minister Tony Blair is willing to pay a steep price to secure release of the sailors before he leaves office later this year. Or perhaps the Iranians want to bargain with Mr. Blair's successor, presumably Chancellor Gordon Brown, whom they might suspect would take a softer line at the U.N. They may also be trying to create a rift between the U.S. and U.K. by offering to trade the British troops for Iranians the U.S. has recently detained inside Iraq.

It's also possible, as Walid Phares of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies points out, that the Iranian leadership may be seeking to draw Britain (and the U.S.) into limited military skirmishes that they think could shore up domestic support against widening popular discontent.

Another possibility: sufficiently bloodying Coalition forces in Iraq to hasten their withdrawal. The mullahs might even hope any fighting would embolden Democrats to do Tehran's bidding by passing legislation that forbids the Administration from attacking Iran without prior Congressional permission. Such a plank was contained in the supplemental war spending bill that passed the House last week until cooler heads removed it.

This gambit has a possible downside, however:

It is worth recalling, however, that Iran was at its most diplomatically pliant after the United States sank much of Tehran's navy after Iran tried to disrupt oil traffic in the Persian Gulf in the late 1980s. Regimes that resort to force the way Iran does tend to be respecters of it. It is also far from certain that Western military strikes against Revolutionary Guards would move the Iranian people to rally to their side: Iranians know only too well what their self-anointed leaders are capable of.

Going after the Revolutionary Guards directly is a major escalation, one that I'm not in a hurry to get towards, but if push comes to shove -- destroy the entire apparatus of state control and coercion and let a thousand insurrections bloom.

Why, we might even get to see lots of footage of rioters stealing urns from Iranian museums of antiquities. And that would be pretty cool.

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posted by Ace at 04:27 PM

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