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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 21, 2008 / 14 Adar II 5768

The Circus Is in Tehran: Search for meaning in non-elections

By Michael Ledeen

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There were no elections in Iran last Friday, whatever you may read. The “turnout” was shockingly low, even by past standards, as is demonstrated by the obvious panic in Tehran, where the mullahs kept the polls open an extra five hours. This was not, as they said, to make sure the patriotic citizens of the capital could drop their ballots in the box, but because they had to bus the reluctant faithful and the subservient government employees to the election offices, so as to be able to claim a large, voluntary participation. Even so, the official figure of 60 percent has no relationship to the actual event, in which perhaps 10 or 15 percent actually “voted.”

The outcome was preordained, both because there was no room on the ballot for any genuine opponent of the regime — all names are cleared by Khamenei’s loyal servants — and because the regime decided in advance who would serve in the next parliament. The fraud was so obvious that even the European Union denounced the “elections” as neither free nor fair, despite their wish to pass off the Islamic Republic (as former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and current McCain-campaign adviser once famously put it) as “a democracy.” In its write-up, The Economist calls it a “heavily constricted democracy,” which many intellectuals said about Mussolini or Stalin.

Not surprisingly, the observers and pundits cannot agree on the “meaning” of the announced results. The Islamic Republic operates in a sort of code, and the cypher is closely guarded by the small handful of grim-faced mullahs and ayatollahs who surround the Supreme Leader, the long-suffering Ali Khamenei. He has terminal cancer, and from time to time lapses into a coma (most recently a couple of weeks ago, when a long-scheduled meeting with United Arab Emirates leaders was suddenly canceled, and the Khamenei was rushed to the hospital in a coma.

In this world of schemes and shadows, where a Hobbesian war of all against all rages over the succession to Khamenei, it is pointless to try to figure out “what it means.” Some of the watchers say it was good news for President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, while others see it as a significant setback for him, with the same certainty as the former. Either way, it tells us little about what the Iranian people want. It may, however, tell us something about what the tyrants intend. The Independent has it right: It’s “a power struggle within the conservative camp.” Maybe, but the new Majlis doesn’t look very different from the current group, and you have to strain to interpret the outcome as a blow to Ahmadinejad. Yes, there are some hardliners who don’t like him. So what else is new? There was plenty of that after the last presidential elections, long before inflation hit 20 percent, and the verbal confrontation with America, Israel, Jews, the United Nations Security Council, and even the Europeans had reached their current intensity. Khamenei — the man who matters most in Iran — likes to see conflict among those fighting for his job, and there will be lots of it.

The Independent’s editorialists focus on a very interesting voting district for their analysis: the “holy city” of Qom, which overwhelmingly went for Ari Larijani, a smooth-talking pol who is usually described as a “pragmatic conservative,” a phrase often reserved for former President Hashemi Rafsanjani. The phrase is meant to portray a nasty hard-liner who nonetheless is reasonable, someone who can make deals with the West (none of the hard-liners has the slightest interest in pushing Iran in the direction of a more civil society). As the “Independent” puts it,

Some Iran watchers see the vote in a clerical stronghold like Qom as a sign that the powerful clergy have lost confidence in Ahmadinejad and may rally behind Larijani, if he stands in 2008. Those of us in the West who support jaw-jaw rather than war-war with Iran can only trust that a new president in Iran — not to mention a new president in the White House — might offer a way out of the current depressing logjam.

Which is a double error. First, because no president of the Islamic Republic holds enough power to fundamentally change Iranian foreign policy. The president doesn’t have that authority (Khamenei does). And second, because the “powerful clergy” in Qom include many who are in open opposition to the regime itself, not to one figurehead or another. In recent elections, Qom registered the lowest voter “turnout” in the country, a clear sign of protest. Many senior clerics, including some of the grand ayatollahs, are either under house arrest (Ayatollah Montazeri, at one time the heir apparent to Khomeini, is the most famous). Thousands of others are imprisoned there.

The regime made it quite clear that nothing of any importance is going to change. Two days after the election, another nine publications were shut down. So much for any sign of open debate in Iran.

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JWR contributor Michael Ledeen is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of, most recently, ""The War Against the Terror Masters," Comment by clicking here.

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