IRAN’S ELECTION MEDDLING
Can the Mullahs outlast Trump?
Turns out, maybe, Hamas was just following orders when they started the latest assault against Israelis. Iranian orders. It’s one of three versions Hamas leaders and spokesmen have trotted out, ranging from technical error to sheer accident. The most interesting is “the Iranians ordered it.” Why? To play electoral politics; to turn Israeli voters against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
This interests me because it fits with the Iranians’ increasingly frantic search for some kind of solution to their great national unraveling. Electoral politics is central to what national security and foreign policy writer Adam Kredo calls Iran’s new long-term strategy versus the United States. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei [pictured above] has decided, Kredo says, to hang on to power until 2020, when he hopes President Trump will be voted out of office and friendlier Democrats will take over.
This bespeaks a failure by the regime to design a winning strategy, and you can see this failure across the board, beginning with the financial straits in which Hezbollah is now suffering. Hezbollah is looking for a way to make its evil ends meet. In March, its chief Hassan Nasrallah made an unprecedented appeal for donations. Hezbollah isn’t paying salaries to a goodly number of its fighters, which means Iran isn’t fulfilling its promises to them. A London-based Sunni magazine, Majalla, spells it out with evident pleasure:
Hezbollah has brought many of its fighters from Syria back home, mainly those who are on a contractual basis and are no longer needed. Hezbollah does not feel obligated to pay them now that they are back home. In addition, employees of Hezbollah’s media, education, medical, and military systems have complained of deep pay cuts. But more significantly, fighters and their families are beginning to complain about lost wages as well—a largely unprecedented development. Married fighters are reportedly receiving only half of their salaries (which normally range from $600 to $1,200 per month), and single fighters are receiving only $200 per month.
Previously, Hezbollah money came from Khamenei and the Iranian regime, but not so much now. This is part of a wide sweeping failure by the regime. The once-admired president, Hassan Rouhani, was totally missing when massive floods swept across northern Iran; he thought it was a good time for him to take a vacation. Yet, as Amir Tahiri tweeted, “Islamic Red Crescent reports current floods affected 18.5 million people in 304 towns and cities across Iran, driving 1.2 million out of their homes. It says it has managed to provide shelter for only 29,030. Not a great performance but no surprise.”