"It reminds me of Egypt under Nasser," a friend commented the other day as we watched television footage of crowds in Tehran shouting the usual slogans.
Crowds always resemble each other. It is individuals that are different.
In this particular case, however, the resemblance went beyond the crowds. Like Egypt in the 1960s, the Islamic Republic appears to be determined to provoke a war without being prepared for it.
Some commentators believe that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's public statements do not reflect the "deep down" position of the Islamic Republic. After all, he is one player among many in Tehran, they argue.
Nevertheless, whether or not Ahmadinejad speaks for the 'real leaders' of the Khomeinist regime is beside the point. There is no doubt that the president's statements, and behaviour, have contributed to raising the tension in the region and increasing the threat of war.
Judging by his public statements, Ahmadinejad seems to believe that only two countries might take military action against the Islamic Republic: Israel and the United States.
He further believes that neither nation would take such action for fear of defeat. "If Israel takes action against us, it will be wiped off the map," Ahmadinejad said in Doha, Qatar, the other day as a smiling emir watched.
As for the US, Ahmadinejad claims that a military clash with the Islamic Republic would spell "the end of American global hegemony.">>>
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