Friday, May 29, 2009

Horrendous Megalomania

Iran goes to the polls. The voting public can make a choice; whether to retain its current president, that flamed-out symbol of anti-Semitism flaunting his hatred of Israel and speaking for the ruling council of ayatollahs of their bitter disgust at the presence of a Jewish state blemishing the holiness of Islamic geography, or to vote in an alternative.

Of course, Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has already made it known that the incumbent is his personal choice, to ensure that the legacy of the Iranian Revolution and the mission of Ayatollah Khomeini is not forgotten or set aside. And although it is President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad whose bellicose pronouncements are blared on the world stage, it is the sentiments of the ruling ayatollahs that he pronounces.

Illustrating, graphically, the conscience and preoccupation of the Islamic Republic of Iran. A blend of megalomania and religious fanaticism, bolstered with more than a shade of fascism. It's questionable what might change if Ahmadinejad is not returned to office. The four challengers for his office will in all likelihood be prepared to mute the anti-American rhetoric, but unlikely to do likewise in that targeting Israel.

With Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in fervid collusion with the ayatollahs, close attention is being paid to the world's reaction to North Korea's lunatic assaults on the world's nuclear sensibilities. Lobbing missiles is particularly favoured by Iran. Whatever North Korea can get away with, so can Iran. The bluster of the West, if not accompanied by meaningful and practical sanctions will serve to encourage Iran.

Like North Korea, albeit not quite as dire, the Iranian population is suffering hard times. State coffers that could be subsidizing food and energy for those facing hard times have gone instead to building up armaments. North Korea has been subsisting on the avails of blackmail and the foreign cash received from selling technical expertise, while Iran still has substantial oil revenues.

Insisting that it needs to invest in nuclear energy, to advantage its national industries; diverting its treasury to that end. Whereas the country could be aiding its poor and disadvantaged with that same funding, and at the same time establishing and building national refineries instead of exporting crude oil and then having to import the refined product, but that's too sensible.

The rigid theocracy of Iran prefers to govern as a fanatical autocracy, and to threaten the balance in the Middle East, and by extension the world at large. Encouraged by the success of other rogue states; North Korea and Pakistan, the original fount of the nuclear Pandora's box now bedevilling the world community.

The country's oil wealth has met a rigid wall of declining revenues as a result of the global financial collapse, but this has not stopped the country from continuing to invest billions in nuclear availment, strictly for civic, peaceful purposes. President Ahmadinejad was elected on the promise of sharing those oil revenues more equitably, supporting the country's vast indigent population.

Unemployment is rampant, inflation spiralling, and people are being bribed by handouts of free potatoes in rural areas, with the expectation that this will help the current government in re-election. The constant boasts of thousands of centrifuges spinning away to enrich uranium for the peaceful nuclear program is a source of pride for Iranians. It's a reprise of Pakistan.

Ahmadinejad's spiritual rantings of the imminent appearance of the Hidden Imam heralding the end of days is met with approval by the devout. His promises to the poor, although never kept, still resonate, and rural residents, still living in poverty, still support this political charlatan. The country's senior clerics have no intention of permitting a rival to head the country, if they can help it.

Ahmadinejad's closest rival in the election advocates economic liberalization and greater social freedoms, but then so did Ahmadinejad. Mir Hossein Mousavi, however, has demonstrated that tradition is not written in stone for him, with his wife out in full view, campaigning alongside him. Of the 70 million people in the country, three-quarters are under 30 years of age.

That kind of refreshing change might appeal to them. They could, conceivably, out-vote the millions of security forces and morality police who will vote for Ahmadinejad. There is always hope.

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