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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Gary Sick answers a weblogger about Ganji

what iranian webloggers say about Ganji VI

Gary Sick: Hoder wrote to me privately to ask what I thought of the thesis he isdeveloping that Ganji is simply one of the latest pawns in a clever gameboth by the Bush administration and the Iranian regime. He argued in hispublished blog item that the Bush administration would prefer a dead Ganjiwho can serve as a martyred symbol of resistance, rather than a liveGanji.

I suspect that what you are describing is the likely outcome -- i.e. thatGanji won't die, that he'll be discredited as much as possible by theregime, and that the hawks will be largely deprived of one tool in theirarsenal. But I don't think there is so far much evidence of a "Ganjistrategy" on the US side.The neo-cons and others are merely following their instincts to go for anyopening they can find to attack Iran. They would certainly increase theirlevel of attack if he should die, but I suspect they know that that is nottheirs to decide or even to think too much about. They are just using theammunition that is provided to them, rather chaotically in my view --improvisation rather than a well-considered strategy.The folks favoring early, assisted Iran regime change ARE lookingsystematically for an Iranian "leader." They want someone who willgalvanize public opinion and who has enough credibility with the Iranianpublic to justify a full-fledged campaign of support -- public and/orcovert.The young shah was (and remains) a possibility; but I think even mostneo-cons realize that he carries too much baggage and is not all thatcharismatic. But there have been a string of others. The MKO was (and is)a favorite of a number of neo-cons, although its appeal has faded quite a
Khomeini was a possibility; they brought him to Washington and gave him aplatform for some wild talk, but then he disappointed them by going backhome and settling into his privileged establishment life. Today, onlyChristopher Hitchens finds him worth interviewing.The Azerbaijani separatist Mahmud Ali Chehregani was another; he had hisWashington moment of fame. Mohsen Sazegara was the most recent candidate,and the NY Sun got absolutely giddy at the prospect; someone got him avisa despite his past record in the Revolutionary Guards (much betterdocumented than Ahmadinejad), paid his way to the States, and gave him aplatform -- to write and speak and meet all the right people. But hisgreat campaign for a referendum (and of course the boycott) hasn\'t reallycaught on, at least not yet.Ganji is the latest, and in some ways the most promising of all. Iunderstand your point that a dead Ganji could be very useful, but a liveGanji who came to Washington and got the funds and platform to lead amovement might be quite a development.This game is still going on -- and WILL go on until they find the IranianChalabi of their dreams who can mobilize Washington, and perhaps alsoIran, for regime change. I think they are right to believe that you won\'tbe able to sell Washington (or Iranians for that matter) on a pro-active,united regime change policy without a specific Iranian leader with seriouscredentials who is persuasive as a credible alternative.A lot of people have already tried out for this role, which would be wellpaid and prestigious, though perhaps a bit dangerous as well. Despite animaginative and well-funded effort to locate talent, I would say that noreal star has emerged thus far; however, AEI and WINEP are developing astable of candidates they can draw on in the future as the occasionrequires.

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