09 May 2007

The Mullahs, the Pasdaran, and baksheesh.

Serving Allah has its perks. If you are a bona fide interpreter of Allah's will for, or a veritable pipeline from the Divine to, the adoring Muslim masses in Iran, you can clean up big time.

The mullahs may have come up with a genuine 21st century political innovation -- a theocratic plutocracy.

Military prowess also has an economic benefit. Be a top dog in the Revolutionary Guard and you get to plunge your snout into the trough too.

But, it's all on the up and up. You see, it's Islamic:
Mr. Ahmadinejad's next coup will likely be a major privatization scheme affecting more than 40 public corporations across the country. He has promised to help the employees buy up to 10% of the shares. The rest will go to rich mullahs and Revolutionary Guard officers and their business associates, using low interest loans from state-owned banks. By the time the scheme is ready, however, the Islamic Republic may be facing too deep an economic crisis for anyone -- even greedy mullahs and corrupt Revolutionary Guardsmen -- to want to invest even a borrowed rial there.
"Iran's Economic Crisis." By Amir Taheri, Wall Street Journal Online (subscription), 5/9/07.

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