Afternoon Roundup

Iran's fascist thugs crack down on women, again. Reuters via Iran Focus:
Iranian police said on Tuesday they would launch a crackdown on "social corruption" such as women flouting Islamic dress codes, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

"In accordance with the law, the police will confront those who appear in public in an indecent and inappropriate way," Fars quoted Tehran police chief Morteza Talaei as saying. "Police will seize women with tight coats and cropped trousers."

Enforcement of strict moral codes governing women's dress, Western music and mingling of the sexes became more lax after President Mohammad Khatami's election in 1997 on a platform of social and political reform.

But hardliners have been clawing back these concessions since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad swept to power last year with the backing of conservative clerics and the Basij religious forces, who condemn such "un-Islamic" practices.

Unhelpful! Unacceptable! Disappointing! Amir Taheri, via Marze Por Gohar::
The Middle East is passing through the most decisive moment in is history since the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1918. The options are clear. One is to let the Khomeinist regime dominate the region and use it as the nucleus of an Islamic superpower which would then seek global domination. The other is to go for regime change in Tehran as a strategic goal. (A third option - creating an Irano-American co-dominium in the region - might not be acceptable to the Arabs and Turkey, let alone Israel.)

All three options are hard to contemplate, especially for the United States and its European allies - powers that wish to set the global agenda but are reluctant to fight for it. The problem is that by refusing to stand up against the Khomeinist regime now, the Americans and Europeans (and their allies in the Arab world) may later have to fight an even bigger and costlier war against a nuclear-armed foe.

Plans for US attack on Iran. AFP via The Intelligence Summit:
The United States began planning a full-scale military campaign against Iran that involves missile strikes, a land invasion and a naval operation to establish control over the Strait of Hormuz even before the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, a former US intelligence analyst disclosed Sunday.
William Arkin, who served as the US Army's top intelligence mind on West Berlin in the 1970s and accurately predicted US military operations against Iraq, said the plan is known in military circles as TIRANNT, an acronym for "Theater Iran Near Term."

It includes a scenario for a land invasion led by the US Marine Corps, a detailed analysis of the Iranian missile force and a global strike plan against any Iranian weapons of mass destruction, Arkin wrote in The Washington Post.

US and British planners have already conducted a Caspian Sea war game as part of these preparations, the scholar said.

"According to military sources close to the planning process, this task was given to Army General John Abizaid, now commander of CENTCOM, in 2002," Arkin wrote, referring to the Florida-based US Central Command.

But preparations under TIRANNT began in earnest in May 2003 and never stopped, he said. The plan has since been updated using information collected in Iraq.

Helena Cobban to Iraqis: Drop dead. IraqPundit:
Of the many critical views of U.S. involvement in Iraq, the single most bizarre is that it is morally superior to hope that U.S.-supported democratization fall on its face. One high-minded thinker who holds this view is Helena Cobban, who reacted (justworldnews.org) recently to an analysis of the potential costs of U.S. failure with this moral howler:

"I think that a failure of the Bush administration's project in Iraq could constitute a net victory for the US citizenry, in terms of starting to re-balance our relations with the rest of the world away from imperial hegemony and back towards basic human equality."

Yeah, well, Bush's failure means jihadi success. Thus, in Cobban's moral universe, a victory for people who target children with car bombs, beat women with rubber truncheons if a strand of hair is showing, topple walls on gays, behead Nepalese dishwashers, etc., would be simply glorious, a step "back towards basic human equality."

Of course, Cobban is addressing the role of the U.S. in the world. As far as her moral niceties go, Iraqis can go to hell (and Iraq's immense oil reserves can go either to Zarqawi, or to thugs backed by a Tehran regime whose president is a Holocaust-denying nutcase).