Bloomberg has a piece out about a new book, “The #Iran Wars,” by Wall Street Journal reporter Jay Solomon. The book documents the lengths that President Barack #Obama went to establish a rapprochement with the Iranian mullahs. Obama was so obsessed with this policy that he betrayed the Iranian freedom fighters during the “Green Revolution” that took place starting in the summer of 2009.
The uprising took place after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner of a presidential contest that many Iranians believed to be rigged. Hundreds of thousands of protestors took to the streets and were savagely suppressed by Iranian police and Revolutionary Guards. The Iranian authorities murdered some of the protesters and arrested others, subjecting them to torture.
The CIA had already established some contacts with leaders of the Iranian Green Movement, as it was called. The Agency was eager to provide the Iranian resistance with money and material support. The idea is that the movement might have forced a regime change in Iran and establish a more secular, pro-western government.
President Obama ordered the CIA to sever all ties with the Iranian freedom fighters. He was not about to alienate the mullahs when he was secretly negotiating a nuclear arms agreement. The Green Revolution, which featured more protests for a couple of years, was repressed by the Iranian government.
Obama eventually got his nuclear weapons agreement with Iran. But the agreement was so poorly negotiated and so ill written that most experts believe that it constitutes a license for Iran to develop a nuclear arsenal anyway by clandestine means.
The decision to betray the Iranian freedom fighters sets up a haunting what-if for the Obama era. What if the president had recognized the opportunity the uprising presented. If Obama or another president (McCain for example) had fully supported the Iranian revolution and if it had resulted in the overthrow of the mullahs, the face of the Middle East would have changed in many beneficial ways.
America would have gained an ally in a democratic Iran. The new government would have given up nuclear weapons as a matter of course and would also have stopped fomenting terrorism around the world. Iran would have become a new ally in the War on Terror and a stabilizing influence in the Middle East.
But, instead of emulating Ronald Reagan who liberated Eastern Europe, Obama choose to become the 21st Century Neville Chamberlain. The cost in blood and treasure will be beyond evaluation. #Foreign Policy