The neoconservatives have been having a difficult time of late. In particular, the possibility that the American people, via the election of Obama, and the Iranian people, via the Green Revolution, may be moving toward a grand bargain that would avoid war alarms them. That's why Daniel Pipes wanted Ahmadi to win the election beforehand (a view he alone had the admirable intellectual honesty to air in public). The emergence of a Green Movement in Iran that does not share the worldview of the neocons is a terrible threat to the solipsism of the neocon right, in which every global conflict is really about religious war "for ever," to quote Irving Kristol, and in which the Iran-Israel question is actually a "Fourth World War," to quote Norman Podhoretz. If you are an Israeli, this might be plausible. If you are not an Israeli, less so.
In all this, a figure like NIAC's Trita Parsi is dangerous. Charismatic, telegenic, close to the Obama administration and yet a man whose credentials during the Green Revolution are impeccable: he suggests that neocon Manicheanism is far too crude to understand let alone resolve this crisis. Parsi opposes sanctions, for example, as do Karroubi and Mousavi. And, more relevant with respect to the neocons, he opposes war. And so if you want to understand the motives behind the leaked documents behind Eli Lake's recent fair story, you need look no further. Smearing the non-neocon Green opposition as essentially pro-Khamenei solidifies the neoconservative war project.
This is pretty obvious but we now have some rare and clear proof of how the neocons operate.
An email error gives the entire game away:
The central neocon smear of Parsi was that he was actually an agent for Kamenei. The absurdity of this is underlined by the fact that Eli could find no evidence for it whatever in his expose. But the origin of the story came from the neocon right, engaged in a defamation suit with NIAC and Parsi. And we now have, via Josh Rogin, the details of the strategy:
Previously unreported documents provided by NIAC to The Cable show that Daioleslam was working with neoconservative author Ken Timmerman as early as 2008 and that their moves on Parsi were part of a larger effort to thwart Obama's Iran policy.
"I strongly believe that Trita Parsi is the weakest part of the Iranian web because he is related to Siamak Namazi and Bob Ney," Daioleslam wrote in one e-mail dated April 2, 2008, "I believe that destroying him will be the start of attacking the whole web. This is an integral part of any attack on Clinton or Obama."
Namazi is a fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy with whom Parsi has worked. The e-mails show that Parsi and Namazi coordinated efforts to make recommendations to administration officials.
Tim Kapshandy, a lawyer for Sidley Austin LLP, came to represent Daioleslam in 2009. Upon seeing the e-mails about Parsi and Namazi, he accidentally sent a note to both of them. The note read, "Send it to [Washington Times reporter Eli] Lake right away!"
It's just a rare and small glimpse of how neocons operate. It is warfare abroad and warfare at home. It is a philosophy of attack and force, not dialogue and thought. And if we are to find a sane way through our current perilous global environment, it must be exposed and resisted as thoroughly and as relentlessly as we try to resist its mirror image among the extremists within the Iran coup regime.