With all the world watching the collapse of the Middle East, the union protests in Wisconsin and crushing debt of the industrialized world, very little attention is being given toward what is happening in Iran. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday called on Muslims to “remove” the US from the Islamic world. Furthermore, in a reference to the USA’s military, Khamenei ridiculed the USA’s power, saying the country’s arch-foe was currently weak.
We are accustomed to Iran’s belligerence toward the United States within the safe confines of its own national boundaries or at the United Nations General Assembly, and Iran has also been openly provocative in its hatred toward Israel. But the disturbance in the Middle East has shocked the world and suddenly Iran is right in the middle of the fray. On the one hand, it praised the Egyptian protesters, but what goes around comes around. When the protests erupted into the streets of Tehran, the Iranian regime launched a brutal and bloody crackdown in much the same way that Gaddafi has left the streets of Tripoli “littered with bodies.”
The USA received a blunt notice from the Iranian leader Sunday: stay out of our neighborhood. Not since the days when Jimmy Carter was president has our nation been so publicly threatened and targeted for removal from the entire Middle East by a foreign power.
During the Egyptian revolution I wrote an article titled Egypt’s Grand Opportunity for Change. Like many others around the world, I prayed that the Egyptian people would win their freedom.
But the Iranian leader, Khamenei, has a different idea. On Sunday he announced to the world that the revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia and nations in the Middle East are not the actions of the people seeking freedom from religious tyranny, but are Islamic and must be consolidated.
This is perhaps the first clue we have received which may explain Iran’s ambitious move. Iran has vowed to wipe Israel off the map, and sending the war ships through the Suez Canal is a symbolic act that projects Iran’s military power toward that stated goal . It also distracts the Iranian population, which no doubt takes great pride in its war ships advancing toward Israel through the Suez Canal. It arouses the Iranian people’s pride in their country and puts forward the image of a rising Persian empire. It is a calculated effort to assert Iran’s power and take advantage of the meltdown in the Middle East, while simultaneously distracting the Iranian people from continuing with their own revolution.
When the supreme Iranian leader calls for all Arabs to unite as Islamic nations, he presumes to speak for the Arab world as its leader, and when he demands that the USA must be removed from the Middle East, he is calling upon Arab nations to take united action. And when he sends those war ships through the Suez Canal, he takes on the Arab world’s arch enemy, Israel. It could also be construed as a direct appeal to the Muslim Brotherhood, which has great influence in Egypt. This is a bold move on behalf of Iran to hijack the legitimate revolution of people hungry for freedom. In the same way that the mullahs took over Iran’s revolution, Iran is attempting to unite the Arab world to a common cause, the destruction of Israel. The image of Iranian war ships moving through the Suez Canal is an in-your-face move against both the USA and Israel. Let’s be honest about it, Iran’s bold move to take advantage of the current unrest in the Middle East has the potential to set the entire Middle East on fire, and that is a frightening thought .
As a nation, there is a lesson to be learned from Iran’s continuous threats against Israel and now the USA: the enemy of my enemy is my friend. President Jimmy Carter was humiliated by the Iranians, in part because he failed to heed the warnings from intelligence sources, including Israel. If President Obama does not have influence over the events unfolding in the Middle East, he may very well fall into the same Iranian trap as Jimmy Carter did.
We may be a poorer nation than we were a few years ago because of our national debt, but we still have the strongest military in the world and much of our military assets are located on or near the borders of Iran. It is time for the USA and the rest of the world to wake up and realize that Iran is not bluffing; they are playing for keeps, and if we are to take them at their word, it is a war that they want.