As protests have engulfed Iran across the country for five days, President Donald Trump has made it very clear that he is supportive of the protesters, a very different position from the Obama administration. And Obama minions are now criticizing his response. But a former CIA official settles the question, revealing the secret of what the Obama administration did in a similar situation in 2009 and how that helped keep the mullahs in power.
The recent protests were started by high prices and bad economic conditions. Even with the Obama nuclear deal and the ‘pallets of cash,’ the people didn’t see that money, they didn’t see the boost to the economy that the government said they would get. But they’ve moved on to a full-blown call for regime change with people calling for the Ayatollah Khamenei to step down and people marching on his residence. The people are concerned about funding terrorists like Hezbollah and foreign adventurism in Syria and Yemen. Some who have long memories are even calling for a return of the son of the Shah, Reza Pahlavi, the last time the country had some real measure of freedom almost 40 years ago.
From Daily Caller:
At least 12 protestors have been killed in incidents across the country and hundreds have been arrested. Iranian authorities are now blocking social media access on popular applications in an effort to quell the protests, much like the actions taken by Arab nations during the 2011 demonstrations across the Middle East.
President Trump has been very supportive, quite a change from the Obama administration in a similar situation with the protests in 2009.
And Obama minions have come out to criticize Trump’s response and/or say he should be quiet or say nothing.
Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, she of the Benghazi lies:
John Kerry and Ben Rhodes basically saying it’s not our place to say anything.
Former spokesperson for the U.S. National Security Council under Obama Tommy Vietor:
Former UN Ambassador Samantha Power, the one who unmasked allegedly hundreds of Trump team communications:
Yes, how dare the President be concerned about people coming in from a country that chant ‘Death to America’ and which country has threatened to send terrorists to the United States?
And then there’s the obligatory Hillary Clinton political, sound nice, but do nothing answer.
When protests that came to be known as the Green Movement broke out in 2009, the Obama administration did not support it publicly. Some have argued that the reason they did not was that they didn’t want to make it appear as though the United States was precipitating it, a charge that is always made about protests to discredit them.
But that charge is always made whether you are or you are not, so you might as well stand on principle and be supporting it. At least if you think that, you could be circumspect in your public language but do some facilitation behind the scenes.
However, as Obama administration officials themselves noted, Obama can’t use that claim as an excuse for inaction because it was a very conscious choice not to help the protesters to continue to reach out to the regime.
From New Yorker:
During the peak of the protests in Iran, Jared Cohen, a young staffer at the State Department who worked for Slaughter, contacted officials at Twitter and asked the company not to perform a planned upgrade that would have shut down the service temporarily in Iran, where protesters were using it to get information to the international media. The move violated Obama’s rule of non-interference.
White House officials “were so mad that somebody had actually ‘interfered’ in Iranian politics because they were doing their damnedest to not interfere,” the former Administration official said. “Now, to be fair to them, it was also the understanding that if we interfered it could look like the Green movement was Western-backed, but that really wasn’t the core of it. The core of it was we were still trying to engage the Iranian government and we did not want to do anything that made us side with the protesters. To the Secretary’s credit, she realized, I think, before other people, that this is ridiculous, that we had to change our line.” The official said that Cohen “almost lost his job over it. If it had been up to the White House, they would have fired him.”
So their policy was not to do anything helpful at all, even just keeping Twitter up was considered bad.
They even ordered the CIA to do nothing, according to the former CIA station chief at the time, Gary Berntsen
From Biz Pac Review:
The former CIA officer recounted the mass kidnappings and killings committed in Iran, and called the Obama administration’s orders to the CIA at the time an act of “stupidity.”
“The Obama administration ordered the CIA-Iranian ops element to have no contact with the Green Movement … which, quite frankly, in the intelligence business is just stupidity. It’s insanity.”
And how did that work? The revolution failed, the mullahs have remained in power till now, despite (or because) of everything the Obama administration did.
Berntsen praised Trump’s reaction now as “on-point” and “justified,” arguing that the president’s support for the protesters will actually help weaken the country’s allegedly corrupt, clerical regime.
Berntsen warned the Iranian government will only be removed by a popular uprising. He was asked what was the best thing America could be doing at this point.
“The fact that President Donald Trump is encouraging the demonstrators against them is on point. Thank you, President Trump.”
[Note: This post was written by Nick Arama]