Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Ledeen's Thoughts on the "Power Struggle in Iran"

I have been publishing an increasing number of reports of a power struggle inside of Iran. Most of these reports come from "reformist" journalists who have an incrementalist approach to seeking greater freedoms inside of Iran.

I was please to see Michael Ledeen weigh in on the issue today. He was commenting on Dan Darling's blog, Regnum Crucis. Dan had published a valuable report for the Weekly Standard, entitled General Panic which exposed Iran's support for the Iraqi insurgency through the work of Brigadier General Qassem Suleimani, the commander of Iran's anti-American Qods Force. Some have tried to argue that General Suleimani's support of the Iraqi insugency can be explained by his being a rogue element of the regime. This prompted further discussion on his blog.

Michael responded with the following:
The whole theory of multiple centers of power is enormously overstated. There are certainly clashes, and sometimes even coups of an odd sort (the latest 'elections,' for example, which strengthened the pasdaran as against the more purely political crowd), but there is no way that Khatami could have stopped an operation. He never had that kind of power.

In the IRI, power over that sort of thing is firmly in the hands of the Supreme Leader. The office of president is mostly ceremonial, he is hedged in by the S.L. and the various 'councils' (Expediency, etc.), all of whose members are appointed by the S.L.

It's a theocratic dictatorship.

By the same token, it is a mistake, I think, to take seriously the notion that a military commander, even someone who runs al Quds, could have real individual freedom of action. Khamenei can have him killed at any time, so freedom of action is preposterous.
Thanks for the reminder, Michael.