Iran's foreign minister's leaked revelations are eye-opening
On Sunday, news broke that a private interview that Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had with an economist had been leaked to a London-based Persian news service, which then shared it with the New York Times. There are several interesting points to the conversation, with two of the most striking being (a) Javad's acknowledging that Trump's decision to assassinate Qassem Soleimani was a powerful strike against Iran and (b) a reminder of why the Biden administration is making a terrible mistake when it politicizes the American military.
Regarding General Soleimani, Zarif effectively says Trump could scarcely have come up with a better way to damage Iran:
In the portions that were leaked, Mr. Zarif does praise the general and says they worked productively together in the prelude to the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. He also says that by assassinating him in Iraq, the United States delivered a major blow to Iran, more damaging than if it had wiped out an entire city in an attack.
Nevertheless, Zarif wasn't that sad to see General Soleimani go:
In one extraordinary moment on the tape that surfaced Sunday, Mr. Zarif departed from the reverential official line on Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the commander of the Guards' elite Quds Force, the foreign-facing arm of Iran's security apparatus, who was killed by the United States in January 2020.
The general, Mr. Zarif said, undermined him at many steps, working with Russia to sabotage the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and adopting policies toward Syria's long war that damaged Iran's interests.
The reason that Soleimani was such a problem for Zarif touches upon the second point that the foreign minister made during the conversation, which is that the government doesn't control Iran; the military does:
"In the Islamic Republic the military field rules," Mr. Zarif said in a three-hour taped conversation that was a part of an oral history project documenting the work of the current administration. "I have sacrificed diplomacy for the military field rather than the field servicing diplomacy."
On it, Mr. Zarif confirms what many have long suspected: that his role as the representative of the Islamic Republic on the world stage is severely constricted. Decisions, he said, are dictated by the supreme leader or, frequently, the Revolutionary Guards Corps.
Mr. Zarif acknowledged on the tape that when it comes to negotiations, he is bound not just by the directions of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but by the demands of the Guards.
Mr. Zarif said he was kept in the dark on government actions — sometimes to his embarrassment.
In Iran, there is a complete fusion between the military and the government. Moreover, because the military has weapons, the government is subordinate to it in many ways. What we see as a theocracy is, in fact, a theocratic military dictatorship with civilian puppets fronting for the military.
Since its inception, America has been blessed with a nonpartisan military that answers to a civilian commander whom the American people elect. The military has stayed in its lane, focused on keeping its strength up to defend America should there be a shooting war.
Obama, though, began to turn the military into a partisan institution. He purged conservative, or non-Democrat, Pentagon officials. By the time Trump came to the White House, while the troops supported Trump, the top brass did not, and many were actively hostile.
By January, the Joint Chiefs of Staff were siding completely with the Democrats and seem to have willingly turned D.C. into a military zone. At the same time, Chairman Mark Milley groveled for taking a stand in D.C. against the incredible violence BLM activists were engaging in during the BLM protests in June.
The Biden administration has accelerated the effort to turn the American military into a partisan institution. It proudly says it's rooting out "extremism" — yet extremism doesn't look like the Fort Hood shooter. Instead, it looks remarkably like people who Trump, vote Republican, or hold values that were normative just 20 years ago. The Pentagon is also indoctrinating the military in Critical Race Theory and other "woke" ideologies. And, as noted, the military brass seems comfortable with turning D.C. into a military zone.
Currently, the Democrats think they're riding the military tiger. As Zarif discovered, though, once you let the military into the government, at best you have the tiger by the tail. The political group that's closest to the guns invariably ends up being the group in charge — and by imposing partisan values on the U.S. military, the Democrats are turning it into that dangerous armed political group.
I don't know about you, but that thought scares the living daylights out of me.
Image: National Guard Troops in D.C. YouTube screen grab.
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