Saturday, November 12, 2011

Iran explosion at Revolutionary Guards military base

The photo above is not photo-shopped, that is a Grumman F-14 Tomcat painted with Iranian paint scheme. Once upon a time, Iran and the US were allies. Shah Pahlavi came to power after WWII and in partnership with the British created the Anglo-Persian Petroleum Oil Company (better known as BP today, minus the Persian part). The Shah was secular Muslim meaning he was very pro-West. The Muslim clerics was none too happy and opposed the Shah. The Shah maintained his power in no small part through his secret police (SAVAK). In keeping with other secret police agencies, SAVAK kidnapped, tortured and murdered any and all opponents to the Shah. The Iranian people grew tired of this crap and staged a revolution most notably by seizing the American embassy in Tehran. Fifty-two Americans were held hostage for 444 days. The Shah fled into exile and Ayatollah Khomeini came to power re-establishing Iran as a theocracy.

The US and Iran relations have never been the same. The failed rescue attempt (Operation Eagle Claw) was a complete humiliation for US special operations (especially Delta Force) leaving a bad taste in President Reagan's mouth for Iran. He abandoned the former US ally in favor of one Saddam Hussein during the 8 year Iran-Iraq war. Iraq invaded Iran in September 1980 (much as Hussein would almost a decade later with Kuwait). Iran regained much of the territory and for much of the war, Iran was on the offense. Hussein responded by using chemical weapons. Yes, dear children your read that correctly. The US was an ally of Saddam Hussein who used chemical weapons. Now do you see why George W. thought in 2003 he would find weapons of mass destruction?

Meanwhile, Iranians were not that impressed with a theocratical form of government. The ayatollahs allowed the election of a secular president (who would take orders from them). The sixth and current president of Iran is of course Ahmadinejad. He is the least cooperative with the ayatollahs and is the most hellbent on creating a nuclear weapons capability for Iran. He idolizes the rich history of the Persian Empire and seeks to regain it through the acquisition of nuclear weapons. It is important to understand that the Iranians are Persians, not Arabs. Therefore they are much more inclined to move unilaterally compared to an Arabian country.

Secretary Clinton recognizes this proclivity and has stated outright that the acquisition of nuclear weapons technology by Iran is unacceptable. Ahmadinejad counters by stating Iranian nuclear reactors are strictly for peaceful purposes. Israel is not buying it and has threatened a unilateral (read, non-US) airstrike to take the reactors out. Many (including myself) felt the air campaign against Libya was more of a cautionary tale for Iran than actually supporting Libyan rebels.

A few weeks ago, the US media was not buying a supposed plot uncovered by the Department of Homeland Security staring Iran (surprise!) sponsoring Mexican drug lords (another surprise!) to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the US (who?). The plot was such a stretch that none of the cable news networks bought the story. It was quickly overcome by other stories and dropped.

Now the BBC is reporting this explosion at a Revolutionary Guards base. Perhaps I'm just jaded but I suspect we may find out US or Israeli special forces are responsible. Even if they are not, we may see Ahmadinejad claiming they were. May we live in interesting times.

BBC News

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