The Corner

The Birth of the Modern

Among the reasons today’s anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution is important is this: Thirty-one years ago, militant Sunni Muslims around the world understood what Ayatollah Khomeini was trying to achieve:

Iran was being transformed into the first, modern jihadi state. Where was the Sunni equivalent? Not Saudi Arabia: Despite the infidels-as-vermin sermons routinely preached in its mosques, members of the “royal family” were all too comfortable in the fleshpots of the West. Not Pakistan: Though increasingly Islamist, its Western-trained military officers were not about to lead a global insurrection. The seeds of a non-state, Sunni, jihadi/terrorist movement were soon planted. Watered with immense oil wealth, they would sprout from the deserts as al-Qaeda a few years later.

On NRO today, I also ask this question which I hope others will pose as well:

What prevents President Obama, French president Nicolas Sarkozy, and other Western leaders from standing before the cameras and forcefully calling on Supreme Leader Ali Khameinei and Pres. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to refrain from attacking Iranians peacefully demonstrating for democratic reform? How much effort would that require? How many lives might it save?

Kathryn’s interview with Nazanin-Afshin Jam is a must-read. The model/singer/activist makes many cogent points, among them, that in 1979, Iran underwent a bait-and-switch revolution:

A Shi’a cleric by the name of Ayatollah Khomeini came to power promising freedom to the people. He deceived the nation and introduced regressive change in Iran’s political, economic, and social structure. Two thousand five hundred years of monarchic rule came to an end and was replaced with an Islamic dictatorship. This theocratic regime gave rise to gender apartheid, the persecution of ethnic and religious minorities, the execution of apostates and homosexuals, and the severing of freedom of expression. The Iranian people have been suffering ever since. . . .

The regime understands that it is standing on its last leg. The only way it maintains power is through brute force and intimidation.

As if all this were not Orwellian enough, FDD’s Claudia Rosett reports this morning that Iran’s rulling mullahs

are seeking a treat for themselves at the United Nations: Iran is running for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Utterly perverse though it would be, Iran might snag that prize. The 47 seats on the Geneva-based Human Rights Council are parceled out among regional groups of U.N. member states. This year the Asian bloc has four seats opening up. Five contenders have stepped forward: Malaysia, Maldives, Qatar, Thailand–and Iran. The winners will be chosen in May, by secret ballot of the 192-member U.N. General Assembly — a notoriously thug-friendly body, run this year by a former foreign minister of Libya.

The U.N. Human Rights Council has yet to issue a single resolution condemning Iran, or appoint an investigator, or hold a single special session on Tehran’s brutalities. At U.N. Watch, a nongovernmental watchdog in Geneva, executive director Hillel Neuer keeps a tally of activities at the council–where current membership already includes such abusers as Russia, China and Saudi Arabia. Neuer says that since the council was launched in mid-2006, it has issued 33 condemnatory resolutions. Of these, half a dozen have concerned Burma and North Korea. The other 27 have focused on condemning Israel, while absolving its attackers, including the Iranian-backed terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah. . . .

What’s Obama going to do about this? If the answer is nothing, we could be headed for an era in which a nuclear-armed Iranian regime, ruling by terror at home and spreading terror abroad, lands itself a seat alongside the U.S. as a U.N.-certified arbiter of human rights around the globe.

Clifford D. May — Clifford D. May is an American journalist and editor. He is the president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a conservative policy institute created shortly after the 9/11 attacks, ...

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