Khamenei misjudges Trump and loses his leading terrorist

Jan, 07, 2020


Clifford D. May

Illustration on U.S./Iranian relations by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times


At 80 years of age, Ali Khamenei is an old man in a hurry. The ruler of the Islamic Republic of Iran regards himself as the leader of a global revolution, one that began years before the advent of al Qaeda, that jihadi-come-lately.

His ambition is to establish a great Islamic empire, a successor to those that dominated the civilized world in antiquity. That requires “Death to America!” because America is the leader of the West or, as he might prefer, the “Crusader-Zionist alliance.” He believes, not without reason, that the acquisition of nuclear weapons is the surest means to that end.

Already, his regime controls Lebanon through Hezbollah; props up the mass-murdering dictator in Syria; strengthens the Houthi rebels in Yemen; and has increasingly exercised power over Iraq as well.

At home, by contrast, he has achieved little. But giving Iranians peace and prosperity and the best darned health care system in the Middle East are not goals that interest him. As his predecessor, Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini, pithily noted: “The revolution is not about the price of watermelons.”

Ayatollah Khamenei has held power since 1989 and, for the past 20 years, he has relied upon Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force, the expeditionary wing of his Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to advance his imperialist project.

The charismatic Gen. Soleimani was responsible for the killing and maiming of hundreds of Americans in Iraq following the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. He facilitated the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Syrians. He was behind terrorist plots in more than half a dozen lands, America among them, and he had been designated a terrorist by both the United States and the United Nations.

Republican and Democratic administrations alike have done nothing serious about the metastasizing threat posed by the Islamic Republic. President Obama thought he could appease Iran’s rulers. He offered them respect, wealth and power — the opportunity to “share the neighborhood,” as he put it.

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