Friday, January 12, 2007

The Irbil Five, Etc.

RFE-RL has lots of interesting Iran information today. According to its daily news round-up, the Iranian facility in Irbil was not technically a consulate, though it had been performing consular functions and negotiations were underway to make it one. The Kurdish Democratic Party has taken credit for stopping the transfer of the Iranian prisoners and is working for their release - this may relate to rumors of some sort of conflict between Americans and Kurdish fighters I saw yesterday.

Meanwhile, Iranian leaders led by Ayatollah Khamene'i himself are blaming the United States and Britain for the rise of sectarian tensions in the Middle East and calling for unity among Muslims. President Ahmadinejad is also hitting back at his critics, trying to portray them as weak in the face of international criticism, and blaming Iran's economic woes on Rafsanjani's privatization policies which furthered the rise of the country's ruling kleptocracy. This is the populist/nationalist line that won Ahmadinejad the election.

Finally, if you want an original theory, a seller in Tel Aviv's Carmel Market told a couple of friends and me some time back that the real architect of the current Middle East imbroglio was Britain, which controls the United States and is itself controlled by a clique of Muslims who are using it to further policies that will lead to the rise of militant Islam throughout the region, and eventually move to destroy Israel. This guy had grown up in Iran, where for a long time Britain was seen as the dominant imperial power. I guess old habits die hard.

(Crossposted to American Footprints)


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