Badtux the Snarky Penguin

In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin.

Religious fundamentalists are motivated by the sneaking suspicion that someone, somewhere, is having fun -- and that this must be stopped.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Who's afraid of the Mayor of Tehran?

Well, the Likud party has given marching orders to the Bushevik neo-cons. Iranian President Ahmadinejad must be brought to trial at the Hague. Since the only way to do this is to invade Iran and topple the government, why, that is what must happen.

Mr. Ahmadinejad, apparently, is guilty of genocide. Somehow. It's not clear how. But anyhow, he must be painted as the Great Evil Man who will wipe Israel off the map if he's not removed from power. Even though Ahmadinejad is basically the Mayor of Tehran.

Hold it, what's that, you say? He's the President of Iran? Yeah, but you're forgetting something. Only in banana republics and the United States (but I repeat myself) is the Presidency a position of power. In most of the world, the Presidency is a purely ceremonial office. When was the last time you heard of the President of Israel? Or the President of Austria? Or the President of Germany? Like, never? That's because those are purely ceremonial offices. The Prime Minister has the reins of power in those countries, as is true of all functioning democracies in the world as of the time of this writing.

Now, the Iranian Constitution does grant Mr. Ahmadinejad a little more power than the Austrian constitution grants the President of Austria. He has pretty much the same powers as a big city mayor here in the United States. Thus my crack about Mr. Ahmadinejad as the Major of Tehran. But c'mon. If someone said that the major of Los Angeles was going to wipe Israel off the map, we'd all be rolling on the floor laughing. It simply wouldn't pass the giggle test.

As for who really has the power in Iran: The military in Iran is commanded by the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, who in turn is appointed by the Assembly of Experts, which in turn is basically appointed by the Guardian Council which vets potential members to make sure they are proper clerical Islamic scholars, who is in turn appointed by the Supreme Leader. This little self-perpetuating circle of power is primarily comprised of ayatollahs who came to power with the Iranian Revolution and basically appoint their successors and vet candidates to other offices to make sure they're sufficiently "politically correct" (as in, agree with the ayatollahs on most issues regarding proper Islamic conduct).

Ahmadinejad is completely outside this particular circle of power. He is not a cleric and thus not qualified to be a member of the Assembly of Experts or the Guardian Council, and similarly would not be allowed, by the Iranian Constitution, to become the Supreme Leader. He cannot declare war or order the military to do anything because both powers rest with the Supreme Leader. Insofar as foreign relations are concerned, therefore, he is basically a non-entity other than as the ceremonial leader of the Islamic Republic in meetings with foreign dignitaries. Which is why the Bush Administration's emphasis upon demonizing Ahmadinejad is completely and utterly laughable to anybody who has even the slightest knowledge of the Iranian Constitution. It's as stupid as trying to paint the mayor of Paris as a threat to the nation. What's he going to do, pie us?

Unfortunately, the arrogance, ignorance, and stupidity of the average American citizen (including its politicians) is impossible to underestimate, so it appears that the Bush Administration's goal of creating a bogeyman in the Middle East is succeeding. Why we should be scared of the Mayor of Tehran still eludes me, but then, I actually took time to look up a little basic information about Iran's government, which makes me better informed than 99.999% of the American public.

- Badtux the Geopolitical Penguin

Cross-posted over at the Mockingbird's place

Posted by: BadTux / 1/28/2007 12:05:00 AM  




What you said...

I'm surrounded by fuckin idiots. And they are our leaders.
# posted by BBC : 28/1/07 6:59 AM  

"Inciting genocide"?

Will he be sharing a pew with Ann Coulter, Charles Johnson et al?

- Phoenician in a time of Romans
# posted by Anonymous : 28/1/07 9:03 PM  

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