Five Things You Need to Read Today
1. Naked Foreign Policy
So we didn’t have World War III, after all.
I was skeptical that the US airstrike on Iranian terror master Qassem Suleimani would lead to a massive escalation, and now it looks like not much will follow–for better or for worse.
Not much for us, that is. But we should always remember that the enemy has problems of his own. Even when our action is small or ill-planned, it can have big repercussions simply because the world’s dictatorship are fragile and suffer from deep internal dysfunction. So we have seen aftermath of the Suleimani strike rebound against Iran in an unpredictable way.
Iran retaliated with a missile attack on a US base in Iraq, which was largely ineffective thanks to early warning and quick evacuation to bunkers. Expecting retaliation for that retaliation, Iran put its air defenses on hair trigger alert and promptly shot down a civilian airliner. This put Iran on the defensive, both internationally and perhaps more important domestically.
Iranian demonstrators defied a heavy police presence Sunday night to protest their country’s days of denials that it shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane carrying 176 people…. Videos posted online showed protesters shouting anti-government slogans and moving through subway stations and sidewalks, many around Azadi, or Freedom, Square after an earlier call for people to demonstrate there. Other videos suggested similar protests were taking place in other Iranian cities….
Iranians have expressed anger over the downing of the plane and the misleading explanations from senior officials in the wake of the tragedy. They are also mourning the dead, which included many young people who were studying abroad….
Earlier Sunday, hundreds of students gathered at Tehran’s Shahid Beheshti University to mourn the victims and protest against authorities for concealing the cause of the crash, the semiofficial ISNA news agency reported.
Bahareh Arvin, a reformist member of the Tehran City Council, took to social media to say she was resigning in protest at the government’s lies and corruption. “With the current mechanism, there is no hope of reform, ” she said…. Two state TV hosts resigned in protest over the false reporting about the cause of the plane crash.
Massive anti-regime protests have become a chronic feature of Iranian life.
The best line on this is from Tablet‘s Lee Smith, who says that “Iran and America Are Suddenly Both Naked.” Specifically, Iran has been exposed as a paper tiger, and America’s stubborn adherence to Cold War rules meant to avoid confrontation has been exposed as unnecessary.
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