By Caroline Glick:
In his speech on Tuesday before the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu tried to get the Americans to stop their collective swooning at the sight of an Iranian president who smiled in their general direction.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” the premier warned, “I wish I could believe [President Hassan] Rouhani, but I don’t because facts are stubborn things. And the facts are that Iran’s savage record flatly contradicts Rouhani’s soothing rhetoric.”
He might have saved his breath. The Americans weren’t interested.
Two days after Netanyahu’s speech, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel issued a rejoinder to Netanyahu. “I have never believed that foreign policy is a zero-sum game,” Hagel said.
Well, maybe he hasn’t. But the Iranians have.
And they still do view diplomacy – as all their dealings with their sworn enemies – as a zerosum game.
As a curtain raiser for Rouhani’s visit, veteran New York Times war correspondent Dexter Filkins wrote a long profile of Iran’s real strongman for The New Yorker. Qassem Suleimani is the head of the Revolutionary Guard Corps. It is the most powerful organ of the Iranian regime, and Suleimani is Iranian dictator Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s closest confidante and adviser.
Rouhani doesn’t hold a candle to Suleimani.
Filkin’s profile is detailed, but deeply deceptive.
The clear sense he wishes to impart on his readers is that Suleimani is a storied war veteran and a pragmatist. He is an Iranian patriot who cares about his soldiers. He’s been willing to cut deals with the Americans in the past when he believed it served Iran’s interests. And given Suleimani’s record, it is reasonable to assume that Rouhani – who is far more moderate than he – is in a position to make a deal and will make one.
The problem with Filkin’s portrayal of Suleimani as a pragmatist, and a commander who cares about the lives of his soldiers – and so, presumably cares about the lives of Iranians – is that it is belied by the stories Filkins reported in the article.
Filkins describes at length how Suleimani came of age as a Revolutionary Guard division commander during the Iran-Iraq War from 1980 to 1988, and how that war made him the complicated, but ultimately reasonable, (indeed parts of the profile are downright endearing), pragmatist he is today.
As the commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Suleimani commands the Syrian military and the foreign forces from Iran, Hezbollah and Iraq that have been deployed to Syria to keep Basher Assad in power.
Filkins quotes an Iraqi politician who claimed that in a conversation with Suleimani last year that the Iranian called the Syrian military “worthless.”
He then went on to say, “Give me one brigade of the Basij, and I could conquer the whole country.”
Filkins notes that it was the Basij that crushed the anti-Islamist Green Revolution in Iran in 2009. But for a man whose formative experience was serving as a Revolutionary Guards commander in the Iran-Iraq War, Suleimani’s view of the Basij as a war-fighting unit owes to what it did in its glory days, in that war, not on the streets of Tehran in 2009.
As Matthias Kuntzel reported in 2006, the Revolutionary Guards formed the Basij during the Iran-Iraq War to serve as cannon fodder. Basij units were made up of boys as young as 12.
They were given light doses of military training and heavy doses of indoctrination in which they were brainwashed to reject life and martyr themselves for the revolution.
As these children were being recruited from Iran’s poorest villages, Ayatollah Khomeini purchased a half million small plastic keys from Taiwan.
They were given to the boys before they were sent to battle and told that they were the keys to paradise. The children were then sent into minefields to die and deployed as human waves in frontal assaults against superior Iraqi forces.
By the end of the war some 100,000 of these young boys became the child sacrifices of the regime.
Read more at Jeruslaem Post