Iran Protests, Dec 30, 2017 – chanting slogans against Khamenei in Tehran University – NCRI
Demonstrators were reportedly heard yelling slogans like “The people are begging, the clerics act like God”. Protests have even been held in Qom, a holy city home to powerful clerics.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-42519054 – 12/30/2017
Other demonstrators chanted “leave Syria, think about us” in videos posted online. Iran is a key provider of military support to the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
Twenty-one hours ago:
One theme emerging from the protests: faith in President Trump’s determination to battle back dictatorships and groom democracies.
US President Donald Trump has repeatedly taken aim at Iran, denouncing its government as a “fanatical regime” and accusing it of violating an international agreement aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear program, refusing to certify its compliance with the deal.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert also addressed the protests.
“The United States strongly condemns the arrest of peaceful protesters. We urge all nations to publicly support the Iranian people and their demands for basic rights and an end to corruption,” she said in a statement.
Given Tehran / Moscow-Tehran’s duplicity where their ambitions have been concerned, State would have known the Iranian treaty worthless before it was signed and consequently used weakness (remember Kerry’s pink tie?) to purchase time for other measures.
In that Moscow-Tehran tie together in analysis, the same policy in diplomacy has helped Moscow-Damascus destroy Syria while running down Moscow’s ready cash base. Possibly: we weren’t going to be blackmailed by the incubating of ISIS or the threat of mass migration; instead, in time-honored fashion, we have been watching the enemies of the west destroy themselves.
The Saudi deal — billions in arms — seems more complex but pursues similar ends in relation to the continued diminishment of the once Soviet Era axis that Moscow has been trying to sustain and Washington has been trying to neutralize and transform. In that the Saudis have had a long history with The English and today are today heavily invested in western success (look over Kingdom Holdings) and taking some steps to alter the deeply medieval character of the state — https://conflict-backchannels.com/2016/11/02/sixteen-women-the-kingdoms-most-powerful/ — the relationship may be more valuable than the arc of time involved in getting a medieval state that has contained itself from violently aggressing against the west — into position for updating.
That these “moves” work too slowly and across Administrations dissatisfies us, but some — well, maybe just me — who take the long view of Russian, Islamic, and post-revolution Iranian politics, the popular demand for direct-fast change promises primarily to deliver the chaos and violence of revolution and war (which may have to be met in any case given Moscow-Tehran’s commitment to feudalism, feudal political methods, and the sustaining for their populations a medieval worldview). It would seem better to maneuver both into being less ready for war on a large scale — one by allowing the leadership to run the state short on ready operating cash (Russia) and the other (Iran) by way of the modern wants of its constituents, who will find they cannot get what they want if their regime cannot contain itself.
Claims regarding Iran’s innocence in relation to global terrorism are fallacious. The state supports Hezbollah and Hamas and is itself an immense kleptocracy — http://www.reuters.com/investigates/iran/#article/part1 .
As regards Sunni-based terrorism, a fair look-up of “Zawahiri, Russia” should straighten that out. In the wake of the Soviet defeat in the 1980s, the criminals appear to have picked up on the CIA/ISI method of producing a treasury-draining proxy (Charlie Wilson’s Taliban) and throwing it back at the west.
The Kingdom has invested heavily in western success (via Kingdom Holdings) and has embarked on cultural updating sufficient to produce an iconic set of accomplished women — https://conflict-backchannels.com/2016/11/02/sixteen-women-the-kingdoms-most-powerful/ . However, sigh, in the medieval worldview, the legitimacy of kingdoms rest on the persuasive power of clerics.
My trope for all dictatorships: “Different Talks — Same Walk!”
They all produce leaders who look good on the outside — well, maybe Qadaffi’s a stretch on that — but turn out irredeemably ugly on the inside. I call them “MaligNarcs”, short for “Malignant Narcissists”.
The greater east-west framework: feudal methods, medieval worldview v modern democratic rule of law and the constraint of power by representative means. On that, the House of Saud has a long history with “the English” and may be expected to lean westward with time. The same may not be said today of Moscow / Moscow-Tehran and all the related phantoms of the Soviet Era.
The 18 to 20 million people who live in 2700 shanty towns and illegal dwellings, particularly around major capitals, the rampant phenomenon of trafficking of young women and girls to other countries, the rising number of women who post ads on the walls to sell their infants, and the 30 per cent of the population who according to the admissions of the regime’s officials are starving, are but a few examples indicating how the Iranian people’s lives have been destroyed under the repressive rule of the Velayat-e Faqih, Khamenei.
Such devastation coupled with incessant executions and daily arrests of some two to three thousand people comprise the security the mullahs claim they have provided for the people of Iran by engaging in the slaughter of the people of Syria, Iraq and other countries in the region.
Source: Freedom Lovers 4 Syria & Iran – 1/2/2017.
Also on BackChannels: https://conflict-backchannels.com/2015/01/18/on-human-rights-day-iran-is-again-covered-in-blood-maryam-rajavi/ – 1/18/2015. The People’s Mojahedin has had a checkered history in the Iran-Iraq region, but for many years it has been producing the kind of humanist outlook expressed above in the Freedom Lovers 4 Syria & Iran blog. BackChannels inclines to accept the talk but with some background supplied by earlier efforts with this blog.
Nazanin Fatehi appears to have committed a murder in self-defense as a 17-year-old girl in 2005. The regime initially found her guilty of murder and sentenced her to death by hanging. The human rights community took up her cause and the lunatic processes of what passes for justice in Iran released her (with financial obligations) in 2012. She has disappeared.
Nazanin Afshin-Jam, an Iranian-Canadian possessed of gorgeous looks and multiple talents took up Fatehi’s cause on top of the cause of freedom in Iran and became part of the run-up to the 2009 challenge to the regime. As an advocate for Nazanin Fatehi, she published a book, The Tale of Two Nazanins (2012).
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is today a British citizen held by the regime on secret charges — an affront to British Power, a potential casus belli — and part of an absurd diplomacy involving provocative behaviors (e.g., seizing patrol boats in open waters) that appears to play out between Iran and its western marks with fair regularity.
Posted to YouTube December 22, 2006.
Posted to YouTube April 27, 2007.
Posted to YouTube June 21, 2009.
Posted to YouTube June 3, 2012 (22-minute interview).
Posted to YouTube May 10, 2016.
Posted to YouTube December 19, 2016.
As of July 2012, the whereabouts of Fatehi, age approx. 25, were reported as unknown by individuals in the West with whom she had prior contact, with current contact being only the most sporadic. A book from Canadian supporter and activist Nazanin Afshin-Jam appeared in 2012 chronicling the divergent lives of these two Iranian Nazanins, whose lives intersected during the period of Fatehi’s trial; media responses to the book were generally positive
Dystopian Imagination —
In the American high school education of the 1960s, the above were part of the canon taught to all. Any who missed mention of Golding, Huxley, and Orwell or failed to read Animal Farm (or the Cliff Notes) would have had to have missed school altogether. Awareness and fear of absolute obedience before a tyrannical authority; of erasure beneath the wheels of an engineered, mechanical, repeating society; of cynical political manipulation and exploitation; and of savagery itself were built into the imaginations of the young. As our own society could not be the dystopian nightmares observed in reading, we would have to wade back through history or wait for the Islamic Small Wars as they present online to let us know that somewhere our fictions were emblematic of somebody’s political and social reality in situ.
Dystopian Reality —
Training a new generation of youth and inoculating them against the Western cultural invasion constitute another mission of the female Basiji, who should make their “children aware of the problems of threats through explaining outcomes and upshots of the soft war.” To achieve this goal, the WSBA established the Babies’ Basij to indoctrinate children before they reach school age. To establish the Babies’ Basij, the WSBO implemented the plan of Quranic kindergarten (mahdha-e mehrab). Under this plan, a WSBO kindergarten was established at each mosque with a WSBO base. Children between the ages of three to five years attend these kindergartens. In addition, the organization designs a curriculum to be used in the home for instructing children who are younger than three years of age. Female Basiji are encouraged to bring their children to Basij activities, in order to socialize with other children and train them for future posts in the Islamic regime (p. 117)
Columbia University Press provided BackChannels with a review copy a month or two ago, and while reading took place post-haste, reviewing has had to wait for the “what to say” about a book whose author, Saeid Golkar, has covered the subject thoroughly and done so in plain textbook prose that makes the telling of the tale — specifically, coverage of the layout and history of the most pervasive organizational element exploited by the Iranian regime to create, reinforce, and sustain a society obedient to its will — on each page all the more chilling.
Although Golkar balances his exploration of the Basij organizations (“Basij is a Persian word meaning “mobilization.” The complete name of the group, Sazeman-e Basij-e Mostazafan, means “Organization for the Mobilization of the Oppressed”) with this-or-that modules (.e.g, “The Basij: Nongovernmental Organization, Administered Mass Organization, or Militia?”), there are portions focused on the regime’s impositions throughout the land, and as much comes out in subchapter titling: “Penetration in Society: The Organizational Structure of the Basij”; “Mass Membership and Recruitment Training”; “The Mass Indoctrination of Basij Members”; “The Basij and Propaganda”; “The Basij and Moral Control”; “The Basij and Surveillance”; “The Basij and Political Repression”; “The Basij and the Controlling of Families . . . Schools . . . Universities . . . the Economy.” By the time one reaches “Islamic Warriors or Religious Thugs?” the drift in concern has been made abundantly clear.
Golkar, however, generously covers the contrary view: the Basij are part of the regime’s patronage system, and those who wish to earn some money and make way on their careers may join for the familiar and practical causes known well to western chambers of commerce and numberless academic and civic organizations.
Just don’t forget who’s boss!
Here’s the last paragraph before the appendix:
“With the expansion of the Basij’s involvement in Iran’s social, political, and economic life, the opportunity for the country’s peaceful transition to democracy will decrease dramatically. Because many Basij commanders and members have been co-opted by the IRI, it is not implausible to think that they will resist any serious attempts at government reform that would jeopardize their positions” (p. 196).
# # #
In childhood, the kid with the chessboard chooses his opponent. Why not in adulthood? And what if you could not only control you opponent but make the same another rival’s opponent . . . how cool would that be?
That would be so far beyond cool as to have arrived at deliciously evil.
For Moscow — Putin’s post-Soviet neo-feudal Russia, “New Nobility” and all — ISIS serves at least these functions:
In ISIS, Khamenei (he may thank Assad and Putin) has chosen a familiar Sunni opposition for Iran’s purchase in Iraq’s Shiite militia community. Once again, Iranian Revolutionary Guard get to get their boots into battle with their old Baathist foes, now serving as generals in Baghdadi’s cause.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, established in 1949, has 28 members devoted to the idea of collective security. Prediction: By the time President Obama leaves office in 2017, the NATO pledge of mutual defense in response to aggression will have been exposed as worthless. Objectively the alliance will have ceased to exist. The culprits? Vladimir Putin—and Barack Obama.
The long-term aim would be to defeat or demoralise the non-Isil opposition, so that Isil became the regime’s only enemy. That would force the West to back President Bashar al-Assad against it. “They want to clean the country of non-Isil rebels, and then the US will work with them as Isil will be the only enemy,” the Damascus source said.
Russia bombed Syria for a third day on Friday, mainly hitting areas held by rival insurgent groups rather than the Islamic State fighters it said it was targeting and drawing an increasingly angry response from the West.
The U.S.-led coalition that is waging its own air war against Islamic State called on the Russians to halt strikes on targets other than Islamic State.
Next came Russia’s move on Syria. The weapons that Russia is sending there are not an attempt to settle the conflict. They are there to protect the Assad regime, which is its cause. Moreover, ISIL does not have warplanes: Russia’s air defense missiles are in Syria for a different purpose.
This became clear on Wednesday, when America was given less than an hour’s warning that the Kremlin was imposing, in effect, a no-fly zone in Syria. With this the Russians not only mounted a direct challenge to American authority. They also ripped up the rulebook of military diplomacy. America was aghast, but had no response.
The Ba’ath regime was strongly anti-American, so it’s not surprising that–despite the unfortunate fate of the Iraqi Communist Party–it was primarily a client of the Soviet Union (not the US), and this relationship continued up until the moment when the Soviet Union collapsed.
That Baathists helped ISIS, before the declaration of the ‘Caliphate,’ to rush into Iraq last year, and assist in the battles for key nodes in Iraq, is indisputable. Even in the Second Battle of Tikrit, just fought in the past few weeks, Baathists were a prominent component of ISIS forces. The very fact that Saddam Hussein’s al-Tikriti tribe was tossed out of their tribal domain certainly bore the hallmarks of the ultimate revenge against the Baathist core.
Moscow’s action were in line with the strategy it had used to defeat the separatist movement in Chechnya, infiltrating the insurgency, driving it into extremism, and facilitating the arrival of al-Qaeda jihadists who displaced the Chechen nationalists. In Syria, Russia’s actions accord with the strategy adopted by the regime and its Iranian masters to present Assad as the last line of defence against a terrorist takeover of Syria and a genocide against the minorities. New evidence has emerged to underline these points.
Testimony from gendarmerie officers in court documents reviewed by Reuters allege that rocket parts, ammunition and semi-finished mortar shells were carried in trucks accompanied by state intelligence agency (MIT) officials more than a year ago to parts of Syria under Islamist control.
Four trucks were searched in the southern province of Adana in raids by police and gendarmerie, one in November 2013 and the three others in January 2014, on the orders of prosecutors acting on tip-offs that they were carrying weapons, according to testimony from the prosecutors, who now themselves face trial.
While the first truck was seized, the three others were allowed to continue their journey after MIT officials accompanying the cargo threatened police and physically resisted the search, according to the testimony and prosecutor’s report.
Posted to YouTube 10/16/2015.
National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces. “Harvard University Reveals Secret Documents Proving Assad’s Involvement in Rise of ISIS.” August 23, 2016. Article comments from 2015 Der Spiegel article by Christoph Reuter based on papers obtained from the battlespace in 2013.