How can one deny the facts that everything Mousavi has said, as well as his mentor, (a.k.a. spiritual leader Montazeri) and cohorts, and conclude that they’re de facto ”liberal Muslims” worthy of support?
Andy once again lays the case, painstakingly, and its clear, so much so that it leads me to conclude that Ledeen is a narcissist, what else explains a devout reluctance to discard old notions in light of the obvious evidence?
Message to Michael* Ledeen on Mousavi, Montazeri, and the Soylent Green Movement
Mir Hossein Mousavi, Soylent Green Movement “Visionary,” and His “Inspirational” Imam, Khomeini
—Mousavi and the Montazeri-Inspired Soylent Green Movement, Epitomize Iran’s Problems, Not Its Solutions
Michael Ledeen closed out 2014 with yet another paean to Mir Hossein Mousavi and the affiliated Iranian “Green Movement.” As is also his wont, this tribute was accompanied, again, by excoriating the Obama Administration for not abiding Ledeen’s wisdom on these matters:
If we had a foreign policy team worthy of us, we’d be supporting the Iranian opposition, but Obama has proven that he prefers Khamenei to Mousavi.
Perseverance is often a virtue, but not, as in Ledeen’s case, when tirelessly advocating—indeed, hectoring—on behalf of demonstrably odious Muslim leaders, who promulgate demonstrably odious Islamic ideologies. Ledeen appears imbued with the same apologetic mindset Bernard Lewis described six decades ago (in his 1954 essay, “Communism and Islam”) when characterizingMuslim apologists for “Islamic democracy”:
Many attempts have been made to show that Islam and democracy are identical—attempts usually based on a misunderstanding of Islam or democracy or both. This sort of argument expresses a need of the up-rooted Muslim intellectual who is no longer satisfied with or capable of understanding traditional Islamic values, and who tries to justify, or rather, re-state, his inherited faith in terms of the fashionable ideology of the day. It is an example of the romantic and apologetic presentation of Islam that is a recognized phase in the reaction of Muslim thought to the impact of the West
Examining why Ledeen persists in this woefully misbegotten advocacy campaign is beyond the scope of my assessment. I would only suggest that clues may be found in social psychologist Leon Festinger’s seminal 1957, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Regardless, the focus herein will establish that Ledeen’s assessment of Mousavi, and Grand Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri, the designated Shiite religious avatar of what I have dubbed, since 2009 (seehere; here; here), the “Soylent” Green Movement, does not withstand the barest scrutiny.
While Mousavi remains Ledeen’s “transformative” Iranian political icon, for Ledeen, the late Ayatollah Montazeri (d. December, 2009) represents the Green Movement’s eternal “spiritual” inspiration. Reuel Marc Gerecht is Ledeen’s Foundation For the Defense of Democracies colleague, and Farsi-familiar rosetta stone on Shiite Iranian culture and politics. Writing in October, 2010, ten months after Montazeri’s death, Gerecht labeled the Ayatollah, simultaneously, “the spiritual father of Iran’s Green Movement,” and the erstwhile “nemesis of Ali Khamenei, Iran’s ruler,” whom Gerecht derided (in contrast to Montazeri), as “a very mediocre student of the Sharia.” Earlier, immediately after the announcement of Montazeri’s death at age 87, on December 20, 2009, Ledeen had opined,
Some of us who have long fought against the terrible regime in Tehran were fortunate to have received wise observations from Montazeri over the years, and I am confident that, with the passage of time and the changes that will take place in Iran, scholars will marvel at the international dimensions of the Grand Ayatollah’s understanding and the range of his activities.
These odd, harmonious viewpoints reflect a profoundly flawed, ahistorical mentality which denies the living legacy of Shiite Islamic doctrine and its authentic, oppressive application in Iran, particularly, since the advent of the Safavid theocratic state at the outset of the 16th century. Iran’s Safavid rulers, beginning with Shah Ismail I (r. 1501-1524) formally established Shiite Islam as the state religion, while permitting a clerical hierarchy nearly unlimited control and influence over all aspects of public life. The all-encompassing influence of the Shiite clerical elite, continued for almost four centuries, although interrupted, between 1722-1795 (during a period precipitated by [Sunni] Afghan invasion [starting in 1719], and the subsequent attempt to re-cast Twelver Shiism as simply another Sunni school of Islamic Law, under Nadir Shah), through the later Qajar period (1795-1925), as characterized by E.G. Browne:
The Mujtahids [an eminent, very learned Muslim jurist/scholar who is qualified to interpret the law] and Mulla [a scholar, not of Mujtahid stature] are a great force in Persia and concern themselves with every department of human activity from the minutest detail of personal purification to the largest issues of politics.
A thorough evaluation of Montazeri’s recorded modern opinions—entirelyconcordant with traditionalist Iranian Shiism during the Safavid-Qajar eras, and since the retrograde Khomeini “revolution,” following Iran’s 20th century dalliance with Western secularism under the Pahlavi Shahs (from 1925-1979)—does not comport with the eulogies of the late Ayatollah by Ledeen, Gerecht, and their ilk.