November 4, 2010

More Obama appeasement of Iran?

The sign in this AP photo is not translated accurately. Both the Farsi above the English "Down with America" and the Arabic below it are more correctly translated as "Death to America," which has a slightly different connotation.

In another step in the Obama Administration's policy to "engage" Iran, the U.S. State Department designated the Jundallah ("soldiers of God") group as a terrorist organization. This may or may not be the case - as political scientists are wont to say, "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter." During the Clinton Administration's attempts to overthrow the regime of Saddam Husayn (an effort in which I was a participant), the United States worked with groups whose tactics were similar to those of the Jundallah. It was acceptable then, but not now?

The Iranian government has demanded that the United States name Jundallah as a terrorist organization. It appears that the American government acquiesced to the Iranian demand, despite the fact that Iran refuses to abide by numerous United Nations resolutions over its nuclear program, despite the fact that Iran is has been holding young American hikers for over a year and intends to try them as spies, despite the fact that Iran continues to threaten American ally Israel with destruction - the list goes on and on.

Just what behavior is the Obama Administration seeking to reward? Perhaps it is Iran's blatant attempts to appear cooperative by suggesting the resumption of negotiations over the Iranian nuclear issue. This is merely another iteration of the tactic of delaying the West from taking any real action while Iran continues to enrich uranium. At some point, Iran will no longer have to delay, they will announce that they are in possession of a nuclear weapon. I wonder how State Department spokesman P.J. "Spinner" Crowley will then characterize yet another foreign policy failure.

Crowley's statement over the Jundallah was interesting. "This move was not made to curry favor with the Iranian government.... This group is engaged in terrorism and it's trying to destabilize a sensitive region of the world."

This "sensitive region of the world" - most of us call it Iran - is the problem. Perhaps we should be supporting these groups to force regime change to Iran, rather than legitimizing an autocratic dictatorship by sitting at a negotiating table with them.

How did the Iranians react to this spineless gesture on the part of the American administration? Thousands of Iranians mounted a mass demonstration with chants of "Death to America" marking the 31st anniversary of the capture of the American embassy in 1979.

So I ask the Administration again, "How's that engagement policy working out?" Please point to one, just one, any, positive outcome that your Iran policies have caused. I know the answer, but do you?