Apr 21, 2008 11:06 am


This may be unwelcome news. It is news the National Intelligence Estimate tried to hide by the misleading summary of its findings. But it is unfortunately true. Ahmadinejad and his clerical supporters believe that this is the right moment to reclaim the superior position enjoyed by the Persian empire in the Middle East by developing a military second to none.

The United States seems to have been weakened economically and its military is overstreched. Europe has yet to find its footing. Russia is trying to rebuild its empire. China is busy doing the same and India is rising. Their joint efforts to stop Iran as evidenced by economic sanctions have been easily managed with the help of Dubai banders and the Hawala system. Nor can the oil weapon have ever been stronger. Just note the ultimatum Iran delivered to Royal Dutch Shell, France’s Total and Spain’s Repsol, threatening to renew their contracts.

It is a small wonder that Islamist Iran in a manner reminiscent of pre-Munich Nazi Germany, believes that the time for a reconstituted Muslim empire is now and that Shia Iran is best situated to snatch back the leadership role the Sunnis have held for the past few centuries.

Speaking to thousands gathered on Tehran University campus, the head of the Guardian Council, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, did not mince words. Just as importantly, the Iranian News Agency made sure his battle cry would be heard around the world. In other words, the Sunni terrorist cry for the renewal of a Muslim Khalifat has been picked up by a Shia theocracy with ambitions of empire.

In not too remote a future, we need to achieve a status that our armed forces would be more competent than the entire armies in the world and their military equipment would be the strongest possible, so that no one would even dream of violating the territorial integrity of the Islamic Republic.

We need to be able to safeguard not only the territory of the Islamic Republic, but also the rights of the entire oppressed Muslims throughout the world, and to let the world Muslims know they have a strong supporter behind them.

We need to achieve a degree of strength that the enemies of Islam would not even dare to invade Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other Islamic lands, and beyond that, to be able to support the entire Muslims and oppressed nations living on the planet.

We need to have such a perspective in mind about the future of our armed forces, and then relying in Almighty Allah, remaining faithful to the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, and heeding the wise orders of the Supreme Leader, proceed towards the desirable condition that we need to achieve.

The Jaundiced Arab response to Carter's going to Canosa to meet with Mashal is evidence of the region's discomfort with Iran's ambitions. But, of course, discomfort does not active resistance mean. The best way to change the balance of Middle Eastern power is to flood the market with oil. That is what the Saudis were willing to do in the eighties and nineties. But they are not willing to do now.

Why? Because they have given up on the idea of securing the long term value of their oil by keeping the price low enough to prevent the profitable development of alternative energy. Now, they merely wish to make as much money as they can before viable alternative energies are developed. Hence, their determination to keep the oil price high by limiting production. Xinua reports:

OPEC tends to limit production to maintain current prices.

Its proven oil reserves comprise nearly 80 percent of the global total, with its crude oil output accounting for about 40 percent of the world. It therefore plays a decisive role in stabilizing supply and demand on the international market.

However, confronted with rising oil prices, OPEC has thrice declined to increase output since last December. It also insists that the economic recession in the United States will influence global economic growth and result in a decline of world demand for crude oil.

Meanwhile, the warming weather in the northern hemisphere and the well-supplied oil market, among other factors, are proof that there is no need for an output increase, OPEC has repeatedly said.

OPEC's expectations about"reasonable oil prices," as well as statements of some member countries that the prices have not significantly deviated from the reasonable level, are making analysts more skeptical about the cartel's readiness to curb the current high prices with an output increase.

Frank Schallenberger, an oil analyst from the German bank Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg, said:"As long as OPEC's output growth is insufficient to offset the demand from Asia, oil prices will continue to rise."

Iran rejects OPEC action over 'suitable' oil price. Of course, it does. That is not surprising. But the Saudi refusal to do so means that the Kingdom is in no mood to block the Iranian rise. An Iranian paper sums up their current thinking thus:

Iran’s enemies are losing their winning cards and so this year there is a lot of potential for us. If we make decisions now, we can probably make a good mark.

In other words, Iran will overreach and we will all pay the price.

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