1. Amazing Video – Iranian protesters save men from hanging, then get shot
2. The 3 most important events in 2009
3. For the first time, NYT prints op-ed calling for U.S. bombing of Iran’s nuclear program
[All notes below by Tom Gross]
AMAZING VIDEO – IRANIAN PROTESTERS SAVE MEN FROM HANGING, THEN GET SHOT
Western media coverage of the ongoing events in Iran continues to be very disappointing, and the virtual silence by most Western government spokesmen is truly disheartening. The increasing unrest there has potentially enormous consequences far beyond Iran’s borders. There now seems to be a distinct possibility that the Islamic Republic itself could be overthrown in 2010, just as President Obama is in the process of trying to engage it and grant it a measure of legitimacy.
Following up on videos from Iran I have included in previous dispatches, here is another video I haven’t seen on any of the main international TV news networks (a video the veracity of which I have authenticated with my Iranian contacts).
Iranian protesters in Sirjan dramatically rescue two prisoners as they are being hanged on December 22. Guards then call in assistance and later in the video we see them shooting dead a number of the protesters and wounding many more.
Here is a photo of a young man who has been shot in the groin during the Sirjan clashes and is bleeding badly.
Meanwhile President Barack Obama continues to say he wants to engage (and thereby legitimize) the regime. His lack of clear support for Iran’s pro-democracy activists has led some Iranians to chant “Obama, Obama, you’re worse than Carter”. (Former President Jimmy Carter remains a hated figure in Iran. Many there believe his misguided policies helped to usher in the Khomeinist regime in the late 70s.)
This is a moment in the history of the advance of freedom, and by his tepid statements and lackluster support for the brave people on the streets of cities all over Iran, fighting against a tyrannical and terroristic regime, Obama is missing it.
THE 3 MOST IMPORTANT EVENTS IN 2009
I was asked by Iran’s main opposition, pro-democracy website, Radio Farda, to outline in short form the three most important global political events of 2009. (I joined journalists from The Guardian, Huffington Post, France24 and The Christian Science Monitor in doing so.)
These were my choices, in their original English. They appear on the website and were read out on air on Radio Farda in Persian.
(1) The unrest in Iran. The widespread protests that have continued unabated since June’s rigged presidential elections, now increasingly look like the beginnings of what could turn into a full-fledged movement to overthrow the entire Islamic Republic. Were Iranians to do this and bring in a government that respected human rights, suspended its nuclear program, and extended a hand of friendship to the West, to the Arab world, and even to Israel, it would have enormous repercussions far beyond the Middle East.
(2) The inauguration of Barack Obama: Not for the reason others may give (i.e. that he is the first African-American president), but because he is the most inexperienced president America has had for a long while – and it shows, especially in foreign policy. Obama has already mishandled Russia, Eastern Europe, China, the Arab world, Israel and Japan to name only some. I am a believer in a strong America that supports democracies and doesn’t coddle up to dictators, so let us hope Obama changes course in 2010.
(3) The increased destabilization in Pakistan. Although Pakistan’s army and secular elite are still firmly in control, the increasing insurgency and terror attacks by al-Qaeda-inspired Islamic radicals trying to take over a country which has a large nuclear arsenal, is a cause for deep concern globally.
FOR THE FIRST TIME, NYT PRINTS OP-ED CALLING FOR U.S. BOMBING OF IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM
I originally published the following on the websites of The National Review (in America) and The National Post (in Canada) on Thursday, December 24, 2009.
This morning, for the first time to my knowledge, The New York Times – which as everyone knows is, alas, America’s most influential newspaper – has agreed to run an article explicitly calling for the American bombing of Iran’s nuclear program (and the “sooner the better” it says).
The article is somewhat dry and academic and long (it runs to two pages online) and there are much better arguments to be made for such a move, but it is significant nonetheless as it might finally open up liberal public opinion in America to this possibility.
The last paragraph of the article reads:
“Negotiation to prevent nuclear proliferation is always preferable to military action. But in the face of failed diplomacy, eschewing force is tantamount to appeasement. We have reached the point where air strikes are the only plausible option with any prospect of preventing Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. Postponing military action merely provides Iran a window to expand, disperse and harden its nuclear facilities against attack. The sooner the United States takes action, the better.”
(On a previous occasion when I advocated the possibility of such an airstrike, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann named me the “world’s worst person,” although Olbermann misunderstood and misrepresented my argument.)
For a more substantive case on why military action to prevent Iran going nuclear is (at least in my opinion) more preferable by far than allowing Iran to go nuclear, please see: “Obama, and the world, in 2012, after he fails to deal with Iran”.)
Of course the best scenario is that there is a change of government in Teheran and Iran voluntary suspends or abandons its quest for nuclear weapons.