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NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Woolsey: destruction of Israel and US is essence of Iranian Vilayat Faqih movement

James Woolsey (former director, CIA) at The 7th Herzliya Conference

Thank you , it’s a great honor to share the platform with these individuals and to be asked to be here today, but to tell you the truth, since I spent 22 years as a Washington lawyer and then I spent some time at the CIA I’m actually honored to be invited to any polite company for any purposes whatsoever

My former State Department colleague, a very able man, Burns, yesterday generally gave the impression that all is reasonably well with the world. There are specific challenges; Israel-Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, a very serious challenge: Iran; that it was surprising that Iran didn’t accept the arrangement for electric power only from nuclear material; that the UN sanctions have been an achievement, but were weakened in the course of being implemented; and that the Unites States isn’t seeking confrontation, but a diplomatic solution to the problem with Iran and that we can hope for Arab support in Iraq. Others yesterday called upon the Palestinians to detach themselves from Iran, suggested that waiting for UN Resolution 1701 to be implemented and Hezbollah to be disarmed was a reasonable approach, discussed the elimination of nuclear weapons as a reasonable objective and that nationalism and capitalism are the most powerful movements in today’s world. While I do not represent AN American point of view, for in 2 ¼ centuries there has been no single American point of view, and I probably don’t represent a majority view. But I would say at least that on all of these points I beg to differ.

I wish we had a partnership with Europe but I am afraid it is deteriorating, Bruce Bower, Mark Stein and others have pointed to the accommodation increasingly in European countries with Shari’a and the degree to which the demographic trends in Europe are operating decisively to the disadvantage of continued European control, even of their own societies against encroaching Shari’a from their Muslim populations. The challenges of Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel and Iran are, at least in my view, not distinct. I believe that what Eran Lerman said last night right in his introduction for Secretary Gordon England when he called what we face Islamist totalitarianism. It is indeed Islamist, rooted in a corner of the world’s great religions and it is totalitarianism with various manifestations. It is a major set of history shaking movements, the defeat of which is I believe the great challenge of our age, just as the defeat of Nazism and the defeat of communism were. I believe the Arab “support” in Iraq will consist of continued Saudi Imam encouragement of suicide bombers to cross the Iraqi border and blow up Americans and Iraqis. I believe there it should be no surprise that Iran didn’t accept the guarantee of nuclear powered electricity with its huge oil and gas reserves. Iran is not remotely interested in nuclear power for purposes of electricity and I believe that the first UN resolution didn’t work and was heavily watered down by Russia and China just as other UN resolutions will be heavily watered down by those two states operating in their Kleptocracy mode.

I believe that the Vilayat Faqih in Iran is a theocratic totalitarian movement for which destruction of Israel and the United States is not a policy but its very essence. It defines itself in that way. Saying that is should change its policy with respect to destroying Israel and the United States is like trying to persuade Hitler away from anti-Semitism. It was his essence and it is the essence of the Iranian Vilayat Faqih. I believe that the nuclear weapons program of Iran is an important part of this and as Bernard said the recent up tick in fanaticism, the Hujetia, the End of Time Movement does represent a real and crazed part of Iranians today and the Iranian Shiite ideology.

If we think of Iran as a chess master and the Persians after all invented chess and are very good at it, and look at its various pieces I think we might characterize its nuclear weapons program as its queen, its most lethal and most valued piece. Other pieces on the board under the control of the chess masters in Tehran are Syria which might rise to the level of a rook, since it is in fact a nation state, and various pawns: Hezbollah, Muqtada al Sadr, Hamas and the others. As one piece gets put in to jeopardy perhaps Muqtada al Sadr a bit today, it’s played conservatively, then others are moved forward, such as Hezbollah last summer, which was part of an effort to protect the queen. I agree with Dore Gold, we cannot effectively deal with these individual chess pieces.

Negotiating with Syria over the Golan Heights or Hamas and the Palestinian authority over some political solution, which someday will be possible with the Palestinians, is today, in my judgment, fanciful. Nor do I believe that the current Sunni concern over the Shiite nuclear weapons program in Iran will lead to some sort of covert Saudi, Egyptian, American, Israeli modus vivendi to protect ourselves together against the Shi’a.

In 1979, which I think is probably the key year of the modern explosion in fanaticism in this part of the world; the seizure of the great mosque in Mecca and the rise to power of a Shiite theocracy in Iran produced an intense increase of Wahabi fanaticism as expressed in the madrasas of the Middle East and Pakistan. These expressions in the sermons, in mosques, and in the United States, are all very heavily funded by the increases price of oil. Little boys are being taught to dream of being suicide bombers in both Pakistani Madrasas and in the West Bank with Wahabi oil money, and that money is a huge part of our problem.

So I believe that the Wahabis, Al Qaeda, the Vilayat Faqih in Tehran, although often lethally competitive with one another, in the way the Nazis and communists and within the communist movement were competitive with each other in the 1920s and 30s are capable of unification. Those who say that these movements will never work together because of their ideology are precisely as correct as those who in the 1930s said that the communists and the Nazis will never work together. They didn’t, until they did.

So, what do we need to move forward today? First of all we need to take their theocratic totalitarianism authority seriously. We should pay attention to what they say. Hitler meant it when he said he wanted to exterminate the Jews. It was all spelled out in Mein Kampf. We need to take seriously what people like Ahmadinejad and others say to their own followers. They are not lying; they are stating their true objectives.

Secondly, we need clarity. We need to make sure that we call a spade, a spade. That when we are accused of being Islam-phoebes I think it’s fair to say no, we are not, but we are theocrat-phoebes. We should not let our sense of fairness lead to creeping Shari'a. It is beginning in Europe and even a bit here in the United States among the Muslim communities.

People need to all obey the law. You do not get, in Michigan, to be a taxi driver and turn down blind people with seeing eyes dogs as passengers because dogs are allegedly unclean. The answer to that is Donald Trump’s: You’re fired! We must not accept totalitarian regimes, we should, I think as Richard Pearl stated so yesterday, try with some of the tactics Bill Einhorn mentioned for regime change in Iran peacefully, if possible.

We should not tolerate a nuclear weapons capability for Iran. John McCain has it right. The worst situation we can imagine in that part of the world is the need to use force against Iran in order to stop it from having nuclear weapons, except for one other possibility, and that one other possibility is letting them have nuclear weapons.

And if we use force, we should use it decisively, not some surgical strike on a single or two or three facilities. We need to destroy the power of the Valayat Faqi if we are called upon and forced to use force against Iran. It is a shame that Israel did not and the United States did not help and participate in moving against Syria last summer when Hezbollah gave the opportunity. We should not pass up, if we are forced to use force the opportunity to use it decisively.

We also need to move decisively away from the use of oil. New developments in batteries and in genetic engineering of bio-catalysts are making that entirely feasible now. Within a very short time hundreds of miles per gallon of petroleum products for vehicles. Finally, we must not forget who we are. We as Jews, Christians and others are heirs in the tradition from Judaism of the rule of law. Even more fundamentally than democracy because democracy without the rule of law is a mob just like in capitalism without the rule of law is theft. Elijah had it right in confronting Ahab and Thomas Jefferson had it right in the one sentence of his that circles your head as you stand in front of his statue in Washington D.C. Of all Jefferson’s writings this was what was picked to symbolize his views. It says: “I have sworn on the alter of the all mighty God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man”.

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