As the Gaza situation continues, even in the face of international outcries and the top U.N. human rights official calling for a war crimes investigation, the real-deal hand in all this, Iran, is being cool.
One great fear of this entire cruel episode is that Israel will piss off its Arab neighbors so bad, an all-out all-Arab war will open up in the region.
Israel has been through this before, but in this modern age this may not end up very good at all — not only for Israel, but the entire planet.
So far, however, Iran’s real boss, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, appears to have carried the day with some restraint.
(Illustration found here).
Just yesterday, Khamenei stepped in to stop some 70,000 students who had signed up as suicide bombers headed to Gaza and Israel.
A shitload of die-hard crazies, incited by Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but then rebuffed by the ayatollah.
A sigh of relief.
Juan Cole at Informed Comment on Saturday touched upon the thin-ice restraint exhibited by Khamenei.
As if the spigot is just a bit tightened, but can easily be opened:
- On the other hand, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has intervened to stop Iranian suicide bombers from leaving the country and heading toward Palestine/Israel.
Hard line president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had called for such practical action against Israel, but the Supreme Jurisprudent foresaw that this step would risk widening the war and stopped them.
Rumors of a rift between Khamenei and Ahmadinejad have proliferated for some time, but this is the first time they have been clearly visible in public on a major policy initiative.
In fact, Iran seems to be restraining Hizbullah in Lebanon, as well.
This article speculates that the Iranians do not want to derail the possibility of better relations with the US under Obama.
This restraint, however, depends on Israel not directly attacking Iran.
William Lind argues that if Binyamin Netanyahu of the Likud Party gets elected on Feb. 10, he may well bomb Iran.
In that case, Lind says, Iran might well have the tools to cut the US military off from its supplies that come up from the Persian Gulf through the Shiite south of Iraq, allowing it to be effectively killed.
Only time and Israel will tell.