Jihadis and whores
Wars are won by destroying the enemy's will to fight. A nation is never really beaten until it sells its women.
The French sold their women to the German occupiers in 1940, and the Germans and Japanese sold their women to the Americans after World War II. The women of the former Soviet Union are still selling themselves in huge numbers. Hundreds of thousands of female Ukrainian "tourists" entered Germany after the then-foreign minister Joschka Fischer loosened visa standards in 1999. That helps explain why Ukraine has the world's fastest rate of population decline. On a smaller scale, trafficking in Iranian women explains Iran's predicament.
To understand Iranian politics, cherchez les femmes: the fate of Iranian women sheds light on the eccentricity of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. By Spengler's Universal Law of Gender Parity, the men and women of every place and every time deserve each other. A corollary to this universal law states that the battered Iranian whore is the alter ego of the swaggering Iranian jihadi.
In the interest of balanced reporting, I cite the history of Jewish prostitution before delving into the Persian example. The Jews have lived long enough to be defeated more often than any other people. After Spain expelled them in 1492, the Jews sold their women so widely that the character of the Jewish prostitute figured prominently in 16th-century literature, notably in one of the earliest novels, La Lozana Andaluza (1528), a story of refugee Spanish-Jewish whores in Rome. After Russian pogroms drove Jews out of the Pale of Settlement in the late 19th century, Jewish women became the raw material of the white-slave traffic, supplying Argentina as well as Western Europe.  Jewish prostitutes are almost unknown today, a measure of the revival of the Jewish nation.
These distasteful facts bear directly upon Iran's national decline, and the impulses that push the Iranian leadership toward strategic flight forward. Iran's plunging birth rate, I observed in essays past, will burden the country with an elderly population proportionately as large as Western Europe's within a generation, just at the point at which this impoverished country will have ceased to export oil. By 2030, Iranian society will collapse.
One does not have to destroy an opponent's military forces to defeat him. Russia collapsed without a single shot fired when Mikhail Gorbachev and his generals understood that they could not compete with Ronald Reagan's United States. The Islamic world also has been defeated, by a globalized economy in which the US dominates the top, and China blocks entry at the bottom. As the most urbane people of Western Asia, the Persians grasped the hopelessness of circumstances quicker than their Arab neighbors. That is why they have ceased to bear children. Iran's population today is concentrated at military age; by mid-century, today's soldiers will be pensioners, and there will be no one to replace them.
That is why it is folly to approach Iran as a prospective negotiating partner, and meaningless to offer the clerical government security guarantees, for the threat to its security arises from within. Once a people has determined to extinguish itself, nothing will prevent it from doing so. There is no doubt as to the demographic data, which come from the demographers of the United Nations. But it is one thing to read the statistics, and quite another to consider the millions of intimate decisions that together sum up to national suicide.
What is it that persuades women to employ their bodies as an instrument of commerce, rather than as a way of achieving motherhood? It is not just poverty, for poor women bear children everywhere. In the case of Iran, deracination and cultural despair impel millions of individual women to eschew motherhood. Prostitution is a form of psychic suicide; writ large, it is a manifestation of the national death-wish, the hideous recognition that the world no longer requires Ukrainians or Moldovans.
Iranians already behave like a defeated people. That is why they are so unstable, and so dangerous. The new Persian Empire masquerading as an Islamic Republic is a wounded beast. The rural misery and urban squalor that drive Iranian women into the brothels of Dubai and Brussels contrasts sharply with neighboring Azerbaijan, whose economy will double in size by 2010 as new oilfields come online, according to the CIA World Factbook.
Half of Iranians do not speak Persian, and half of those speak Azeri. Azerbaijan's oil wealth is a giant magnet; it must attract either the largest national minority in Iran, or the military attentions of Iran itself. If a Kurdish state asserts itself out of the ruins of Iraq - a long-delayed justice for that ancient and resilient people - Iran's Kurds will be tempted to throw off the Persian yoke.
The proliferation of Iranian prostitutes in Western Europe as well as the Arab world helps explain the country's population trends. The European Commission's most comprehensive surveys of human trafficking found that Iranian women made up 10-15% of the prostitutes working in Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy.  "Fatima" from Persia has become as familiar as "Natasha" from Belarus. Iranian whores long have been a scandal in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, which periodically round up and expel them.
It is hard to obtain reliable data on prostitution inside Iran itself, but anecdotal evidence suggests that it has increased since Ahmadinejad became president last year. Anti-regime sociologists claim that at least 300,000 women are whoring in Tehran alone. The ADNKronos website reported on April 25:
Prostitution is on the rise in Iran ... Sociologist Amanollah Gharaii Moghaddam told ADNKronos International (AKI) that he believes Iran's deteriorating economy and the high unemployment rate among youths to be the main causes of this worrying phenomenon. In Iran, 28% of young people between the ages of 15 and 29 are unemployed ... The age of prostitutes is increasingly younger, and girls as young as 12 are selling their bodies on Iran's streets. Overall, the number of prostitutes is also on the rise and there are an estimated 300,000 of them in Tehran alone ... Nevertheless, Gharaii Moghaddam says "the number isn't so high when compared [with] the 4 million unemployed only in Tehran and the 5 million drug addicts today in Iran".The clerical regime vacillates between repressing prostitution and sanctioning it through "temporary marriages", an arrangement permitted under Shi'ite jurisprudence. In the latter case the Muslim clergy in effect become pimps, taking a fee for sanctioning several "temporary marriages" per women per day.
These numbers cannot be verified, to be sure, but the spillover of Iranian prostitutes into Western Europe and the Gulf states suggests that the actual numbers must be very large indeed, so large, in fact, as to help explain the frightful rate of Iran's demographic decline. Along with Albanian, Chechen and Bosnian women, Iranian prostitutes are living evidence of the dissolution of the traditional Muslim society that purports to shield women from degradation.
Islamism (or what George W Bush has called "Islamo-fascism") responds to the crisis of faith. As I wrote on November 8, 2005:
The crisis of modernization first of all is a crisis of faith, and the attenuation of religious faith is the root cause of the birth-rate bust in the modern world. Traditional society is everywhere fragile, not only in the Islamic world; by definition it is bounded by values and expectations handed down from the past, to which individuals must submit. Once the bands of tradition are broken and each individual may choose for herself what sort of family to raise, religious faith becomes the decisive motivation for bringing children into the world ...Nothing is more threadbare than the claim of Islamists to defend Muslim womanhood. Islamist radicals (like the penny-a-marriage mullahs of Iran) are the world's most prolific pimps. The same networks that move female flesh across borders also provide illegal passage for jihadis, and the proceeds of human trafficking often support Islamist terrorists. From Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur to Sarajevo to Tirana, the criminals who trade in women overlap with jihadist networks. Prostitutes serve the terror network in a number of capacities, including suicide bombing. The going rate for a Muslim woman who can pass for a European to carry a suicide bomb currently is more than US$100,000. The Persian prostitute is the camp follower of the jihadi, joined to him in a pact of national suicide.
The collapse of traditional society has brought about a collapse of birth rates across cultures. Cultures that fail to reproduce themselves by definition are failed cultures, for the simple reason that they will cease to exist before many generations have passed.
That is why the Islamists - Muslims who seek a new theocracy - display a sense of extreme urgency. They are not conservative Muslims, for they reject Muslim society as it exists as corrupt and decadent. They are revolutionaries who want to create a new kind of totalitarian theocracy that orders every detail of human life. 
 See Edward J Bristow, Prostitution and Prejudice: The Jewish Fight Against White Slavery 1870-1939 (New York: Schocken Books, 1983).
 Research Based on Case Studies of Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings in 3 EU Member States, ie Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands (pdf file), European Commission.
 Crisis of Faith in the Muslim World, Part 2: The Islamist response. Asia Times Online.