Sunday, December 16, 2007

Why I have been away

I don't know how many of you old readers of this blog still drop by here for updates. But if you still do I have some explaining to do, and of course some big apologies to offer.

As you might know, I launched my Persian blog in June and since then, I've been busy promoting it on the one hand, and improving my Persian structures and writing style on the other, since believe it or not, I now write and speak more comfortably in English than Persian and that's really bad for someone who wants to be fully bilingual in this business.

It's been a while, I know, and a lot has happened in regard to Iran this year, beginning with the first round of sanctions on Iran and ending with the unfortunate NIE report. The NIE was indeed an "own goal" as Zalmay Khalilzad, the us ambassador to the UN, put it bluntly. For now, it seems to have taken a little pressure off mullahs' back and added it to the Bush administration's. This is certainly not good news for a President who's entering the last year of his Presidency.

That's also bad news for all those who are advocating President Bush's policy of increasing pressure on the Islamic regime of Iran, including myself. I have never been for military strike on Iran, but was certainly hoping that the President, knowing he doesn't have much time left, would muster all his energy to continue to weaken the Iranian regime and provide further hope to those Iranians who have been struggling all these years to bring freedom and democracy to Iran. With this new NIE on Iran, I'm wondering if President Bush will be able to do anything more effective on Iran anymore, even if a third round of sanctions--a watered-down version most probably-- is approved in the Security Council anyway.

Contrary to what I believe, pundits like Fareed Zakaria and Thomas Friedman have long argued that the United States could produce a fierce debate within the regime by offering to normalize its relation with it and that Iran's expected refusal would convince Iranians that their government is responsible for Iran's foreign policy failure. The next President of the United States--specially if a Democrat--will most certainly pursue that path and upend president Bush's policy on Iran by extending a hand toward mullahs; the hand that the Iranian regime, given its ideological nature, will without a doubt bite--at least until the current supreme leader and his military clique are at the helm and have the final say on all matters. Will the US President have a plan B then? Or as Henry Kissinger puts it, will the US policy then "generate an analysis of the strategy to be pursued should Iran, in the end, choose ideology over reconciliation?"

Well, it all remains to be seen. For me, what matters is seeing a free, secular and democratic Iran at the end of the day. This dream seems pretty far-fetched at this point, but I do hope it'll happen someday.

As for myself, I certainly hope to be able to come back and write here much more often than before. I've been reading up on politics and history religiously in the past year and hope to add more insight to my commentaries, as I continue to learn more about the world's affairs.

Merry Christmas and have a great new year. Talk to you soon.