Iran's reformists argue US pressure strengthens militarism there

Tuesday, February 21, 2006 at 02:13 PM

In the midst of a story on Iran's unsurprising rejection of $75 million that President Bush has asked congress to allocate for encouraging democracy there, the Financial Times reports today that "Iran's reformists - regrouping after election defeats - are loath to accept US money and argue US pressure strengthens militarism in Iran."

There's also reason to believe that US pressure, not to mention US occupation of Iraq, has increased militarism in the Palestinian Territories, in Egypt, in Jordan, and in Pakistan. You could make a cogent argument that continuing down the path of Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the Project for a New American Century may finally accomplish what others have found impossible for centuries: unification of the entire Muslim world. But it would likely be united in hatred of us, with people who aren't very nice leading the newly unified Muslim community.

FT notes that no significant Iranian groups are willing to take US money: not the reformers, not the ethnic minorities, and certainly not the current, increasingly hostile regime.  It adds that " Willing recipients for funding - including royalist exiles based mainly in Los Angeles - lack a presence in the country."

Well doesn't that sound like Iraq before the invasion?  Groups actually in Iraq were unhappy with Saddam but uninterested in US occupation, while groups anxious for the US to topple Saddam were in exile with no real presence or support in Iraq.

Lets hope that somewhere in the bowels of the White House there is at least one rational voice who can prevent a repeat of the administration's buying into the unproved claims of exiles, while ignoring the substantial objections of those actually in the foreign country that we are thinking of attacking.