BBC Newsnight carried a story about a renewed student uprising in Iran. The president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has gained attention by denying the Jewish Holocaust in Nazi Germany while convincing western powers he is developing a nuclear weapon, appointed a cleric, who has no university degree, as chancellor of Tehran University, and called for the purging of “secular and liberal” thinking from universities. A number of professors were purged including the head of the Political Science Department at Tehran University. A number of students with “three stars”–marks for political activism–are being banned from universities.
The students claim that by drawing world attention to the nuclear controversy, Ahmadinejad diverts attention from the human rights situation. Of course, this isn’t all that Iran has been up to. I’m hearing from many sources–from various points on the political spectrum–that the sectarian violence in Iraq is a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. After tilting in favor of the majority Shi’ites (backed by Iran), the U.S. now seems to be tilting towards the Sunnis (backed by Saudi Arabia). A civil war that serves foreign interests, be they of the United States or anyone else, is, of course, the most cynical human rights violation of all, and while the U.S. might have difficulty raising additional troops to mount an attack on Iran, everything I’ve seen since Israel’s incursion against Lebanon (primarily against the Iranian-backed Hezbollah) has led me to believe that the neoconservatives want just this.
Three civil wars in the Middle East–within the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, and Iraq–all bear the mark of U.S.-Israeli involvement with a purpose of justifying at attack on Iran.
I don’t think the neoconservatives can pull this off. But there is a terrible risk of an horrific conflagration in the Middle East, worse than anything seens since the Crusades. Oh wait, the Crusades are still going on.