View Full Version : Tehran and Obama’s Reelection

12-22-2011, 01:01 PM
The formal end of the U.S. war in Iraq on December 15 enhances neighboring Iran as a major, unpredictable factor in the U.S. presidential election of 2012.

First, a look back: Iran’s mullahs already had one opportunity to affect American politics, in 1980. Their seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran for 444 days haunted Pres. Jimmy Carter’s reelection campaign and — thanks to such developments as yellow ribbons, a “Rose Garden” strategy, a failed rescue operation, and ABC’s America Held Hostage program — contributed to his defeat. Ayatollah Khomeini rebuffed Carter’s hopes for an “October surprise” release of the hostages and twisted the knife one final time by freeing them exactly as Ronald Reagan took the presidential oath.

Today, Iran has two potential roles in Obama’s reelection campaign: as disrupter in Iraq, or as the target of U.S. attacks. Let’s look at each of them:

Who lost Iraq? Although George W. Bush’s administration signed the status-of-forces agreement with the Iraqi government, stipulating that “all the United States Forces shall withdraw from all Iraqi territory no later than December 31, 2011,” Obama’s decision against keeping a residual force in Iraq made the troop withdrawal his choice and his burden. This puts him at risk: Should things go badly in Iraq in 2012, he, not Bush, will take the blame. In other words, Iran’s supreme guide, Ali Khamenei, can make Obama’s life miserable.

Khamenei has many options. He can exert more control over those many Iraqi leaders who are Shiite Islamists with a pro-Iranian outlook, some of whom even lived in exile in Iran — the prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, for example. The Iranians can also influence Iraqi politics via the country’s intelligence services, which they have already substantially penetrated. Or they can move Iranian troops at will into Iraq, as tens of thousands of U.S. troops are now gone from Iraq’s eastern border, and engage in mischief of their choosing. Finally, they can support proxies such as Moqtada al-Sadr or dispatch terrorist agents.

In 1980, the Iranians manipulated the American political process with hostages. In 2012, Iraq is their plaything. Should Iran’s rulers decide to make trouble before November 6, the Republican candidate will blame Obama for “losing Iraq.” Given Obama’s long opposition to the war, that will sting.

(Alternatively, the Iranians can shift gears and make good on their threat to close the Straits of Hormuz to imperil the 17 percent of world oil that goes through that waterway, thereby creating global economic instability.)


01-03-2012, 10:49 AM
I don't think the fanatics running Iran really care who wins the 2012 US elections. All they really care about is how much damage they can do to western and Israeli interests to please Allah.

01-03-2012, 12:51 PM
I don't think the fanatics running Iran really care who wins the 2012 US elections. All they really care about is how much damage they can do to western and Israeli interests to please Allah.
I think they do care who wins the election. Logic would dictate that they would want the apolgist in chief to win, so they can have their way in the Middle East. I doubt that they'd be doing that saber rattling about blocking the flow of oil if Bush were still in office. With Obummer, they can pretty much do as they will.

A lot of it probably hinges on Ron Paul's performance in the primaries. God forbid he gets elected, they'd probably prefer him, because then they wouldn't even have to worry about the drones.

Unless they want a challenge, they probably don't want a hard-nosed conservative Republican in office. But it's tough to understand their twisted psyche.

01-03-2012, 01:33 PM
The sanctions that we've imposed are actually hurting them, believe it or not, and they blame Obama for that, although it's the Saudis who are pushing that. The problem with rattling their sabers is that the same thing that would make Obama look ridiculous also makes Ron Paul less attractive as a candidate: the primacy of a foreign policy threat. OTOH, they don't dare ratchet down their activities because the threat of foreign attack is one of the few things that the mullahs can use to suppress the opposition, which would splinter if Iran were attacked, with nationalists supporting the regime and the rest of the opposition marginalized and violently suppressed due to the state of emergency. An ongoing economic war, combined with STUXNET-style sabotage, will accomplish more if they are accelerated. We ought to be pushing the Saudis to increase oil production and drop the price, which would really hurt the Iranian regime.