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02 January 2018

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Degringolade

Doing my before work reading and ran across this.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/protests-erupt-iran-180101142214891.html

Seems pretty well thought out. If this is a revolt of the masses, then we could be looking at a "let them eat cake" moment. Urban elites bitching and trying to make debating points are easy to put down. Widespread pissed off proletariat-types are what drives a revolution.

What will the Supremes do?

Adrestia

Kuwaiti report: US gives Israel go-ahead to kill powerful Iranian general
US intelligence agencies have given Israel the green light to assassinate the senior Iranian responsible for coordinating military activity on behalf of the Islamic Republic in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, according to the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Jarida.

For the past 20 years or so, Qassem Soleimani has commanded the Quds Force — the branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards responsible for military and clandestine operations outside of the Islamic Republic

This is not the original I read at Zerohedge a few hours ago. That was more extensive with more analysis/background material. That has been removed now! Unfortunately didn't save it.

Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

I have not received any such request from you.

I will state the following:

Evidently, the protests were initiated by political enemies of Rouhani in Mashhad. That city is referred to in Iran as a "hizbollahi city" - "Party of God City". That is, in Iranian idiom, a city of conservative thuggish doctrinaire Muslims.

One Mr. Alm-al-Hoda, son-in-law of Raisi, the presidential contender, and the Friday Prayer Leader appointed by Ayatollah Khamenei, had organized it. During the first 15 minutes, hizbollahis got what they wanted; "Death to Rouhani" slogan was shouted. Then the protesters moved on to other slogans, "Death to Dictatorship!", etc. - which was not part of the script.

Then the protests spread to other cities due to deep anger and frustrations with this governing system's failure on economic front as well as civil liberties enshrined in the Iranian Constitution but abridged by successive Iranian governments.

I think this could be a bigger challenge than 2009 protests, which only encompassed Tehran but not other Iranian cities.

Government, without a doubt, would be worried about a repeat of Arab Spring. although I personally do not see any chance of that.

Last December 21, during the Yalda Celebration, 210 or so party goers were arrested by the police for engaging in immoral acts; such as dancing in mixed company etc.

At the time, I thought that the Iranian security forces seem to have too much time on their hands, arresting young people having a good time. Now, of course, they have too much on their plates for a change.

I do not expect this to bring down the government or the system, but I do expect it to weaken the hizbollahis and strengthen the political and cultural position of middle-of-the-road Iranians.

I also expect the protests to peter out before this week is out.

However, in the current security situation in the Near East, with war being waged against the Party of Ali all over the place, the security organs of the state will indubitably tar the protesters as part of a conspiracy to bring down the Islamic Republic.

There are also tens of millions of Iranians who owe everything that they have to the Islamic Republic. They can be brought in in large numbers to suppress any whiff of opposition - although they have not yet been mobilized.

Furthermore, the opposition, in Iran or abroad, have been singularly incapable of articulating a credible positive political program; trite statements such as “secular democratic republic with respect for minority rights” are uttered with neither any conviction nor any road-map on how to get there; they are stated to endear oneself to Westerners – an attempt at manipulating the Franaji and also gain his respect and trust.

It likely will accelerate the social liberalization already taking place but the political liberalization, e.g. the restoration of the electoral law to that which prevailed in 1982 - in my opinion - is not in the cards.

In Mexico, another restricted representative system, it took 70 years for that to occur.

turcopolier

Babak

Thanks. This is interesting. There is another commenter who posts under Babak and whose e-mail address is Babak Mallenijad. pl

turcopolier

Adrestia

Soleimani is a valid target. He knows that. pl

Annem

A complicating factor is that while the regular military and police units MAY be sympathetic to the protesters, the "parallel structure" IRGC and the basij Have their own set of loyalties, tied to the clerical establishment they prop up. Of course, some of them may have a successor to Khamenei in mind, likely one less malleable. This group must have been a bit rattled by the chants against the Supreme Leader, the clerics and even calling for the return of the Pahlavi family.

Let's hope that outside forces do not operationalize their proxies, such as MEK, the Balouchis, and the Arabistanis to complicate matters on the ground.

All this is interesting in light of the fact that at the local level, the majority of voters choose candidates for mayor, etc., from among Rouhani supporters but the centralization of the governing system means that it does not give them a voice in economic and political decisions made in Tehran. Some blame Rouhani's turn to neo-liberal economics has made life harder for many Iranians. Even the mighty MbS had to put his austerity program on hold in order not to antagonize the very Saudis he proclaims to speak for.

For the time being, silence is golden.

Adrestia

I'm sure he knows, but I intended it for other readers on SST. Especially when such articles appear and dissappear they become more interesting IMO.

The article is still on Zerohedge, but removed from their search-index and no links to it.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-01-01/us-intelligence-reportedly-gives-israel-green-light-assassinate-irans-top-general

ex-PFC Chuck

This Twitter thread from yesterday suggests that the Western media is over-emphasizing the sizes and extent of the crowds. That said, I don't know who Sayed Mousavi is or what his affiliations are, if any.

https://twitter.com/SayedMousavi7/status/947645826548998144

Also, I also saw a tweet asserting that a massive crowd scene shown by BBC was in fact a pic of a demonstration some years back in Bahrain some years ago the turnout for which was reliably pegged at 300K. However I've so far haven't found the link and have to run an errand now.

RC

Voltaire Network carried a report about the demonstrations late last week. ( I've copied it since I don't know how to link it. )

You might wonder if this is a coalition "assisted operation" out of Afghanistan.

* * * * *

On 28 December 2017, important demonstrations took place in Khorasan (that region of Iran located at Iran’s border with Afghanistan). The protestors denounced the unemployment, corruption within the government and a drop in the people’s standard of living.

The main cities that have been affected are: Mashhad (the sanctuary of Imam Reza and the country’s third most important city), Birjand, Kashmar and Nishapur.

According to the images available, the crowds chanted: « Not in Gaza, not in Lebanon, my life is in Iran! », « Death to Rouhani! » and in some cases « Death to the dictator! ».

Contrary to the way Western media presents them, these demonstrations bear no relation to the 2009 “Green Revolution”. At that time, the aim was to remove President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and replace him with a leader that would support US interests. The protests were held almost exclusively in Teheran and Ispahan. They were for the most part the expression of the well-heeled bourgeoisie. In contrast, the recent events belong very much to the people. The demonstrations are directed principally against Sheikh Hassan Rouhani. He had promised that once the 5 + 1 agreement had been signed, sanctions would be lifted. However even though the treaty has now been signed, the sanctions have still not been lifted – not ever. One also reproaches Rouhani for the unbelievable wealth injected into his entourage. Second: the protestors call on the Guide of the Revolution, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. They reproach him for not calling the President to line and focussing all his efforts on defending the Palestinian people, Hezbollah and Syria. The supporters of the former president Ahmadinejad (whose relatives have been forbidden to compete in the elections) have joined hands with the demonstrators.

The police have shown themselves to be very tolerant: policemen on mopeds have mingled with the demonstrators. At Mashhad, they went right into the middle of the crowd that applauded them.

Unemployment is officially at 12% but it is very unevenly distributed across the territory. It would be much more significant in Khorasan.

Translation
Anoosha Boralessa

Fredw

"There are also tens of millions of Iranians who owe everything that they have to the Islamic Republic. They can be brought in in large numbers."

This is new to me and perhaps to other readers. I will see what I can find out. Does anybody have a link to something that explains it?

blowback

But then there are so very many "valid targets" on all sides. The Iranians don't have a record of assassinating foreigners although they have when it comes to the Iranian opposition abroad. Killing Soleimani would open a whole new can of worms that should be kept very firmly closed.
Actually I reckon this is the usual Mossad bullshit which the CIA and US Zionised military will eventually agree was their idea. Mossad might have got away with assassinating the odd Syrian or Palestinian (although that didn't work out too well in Dubai) in the past but I think somebody as important as Soleimani will be a different matter. Is the United States ready for another Iraq War but on steroids to see one man dead?

Willybilly

Netanyahu is a Valid target as well

james

babak - thanks for your comments on this.. here is a twitter feed that also gives good insight into what is happening.. https://twitter.com/h0d3r/status/947665068421996544
read it from the top..
adrestia - if iranians are targets thanks israel, all those israeli goons that continue to murder, throw in jail and subjugate palestinians to a life of hell are worthy targets too.. some things just don't stop but i do find it amazing some can't figure out where an eye for an eye leads to - blindness on the part of those who follow this ideology... ditto willybillys comments..

LG

putting in my two cts. Since the islamic revolution, iran has seen a radical improvement in most human development indices: mortality, education, science, tech. this despite a long war in the initial years and brutal sanctions. there must be millions of working class iranians whose lives have improved in the last 40 years - these are the ones mr makkinejad is referring to.

different clue

Adrestia,

I hope that Israel fails in the attempt, or even better; forebears from even trying.

Why would I even care anyway? Because if the DC FedRegimeGov is on record as "greenlighting" ( or even egging-on) such an assassination, and it happens, the IRGov will know how to get very very even in a very assymetrical way. And while getting even may begin against Israel, it won't end there.

But perhaps that is the whole point. If Trump/McCaster/McCain/Israel/etc. want a war between the US and Iran, getting a Soleimani assassination traced back to the US would be a good way to get such a war started.

b

I intensively follow the various video distributors that spread the propaganda about the protests in Iran.

These were coordinated from the outside via a Telegram channel under control of an Iranian expat who is allegedly working for some foreign service. (These allegations are older than the current events.)

Genuine protests have already died down after Rouhani conceded the economic problems (his budget is causing for the poor) and affirmed the rights to protest.

Instead of protests we now see riots by groups in the size of 30 to 100 male youth. They vandalize public property and attack police stations and military posts to gain weapons - so far unsuccessful. The riots last night were in about 30 cities. In total some 66 cities have seen protests or on and off riots. The total number of involved people must be about a few thousand. They seem to have little public support.

So far the police has had quite a good grip on the situation. The IRGC has not yet intervened.

This event is by far smaller than the 2009 protests. Unless the groups get material and personal support from the outside (as they did in Syria) the whole thing will die down within a week.

Amir

I would like to add a few freestanding comments:

These protests initially started as the price of eggs and poultry suddenly had doubled/tripled. These prices had skyrocketing as the chicken population have been dissimated due to Avian Flu. Normally, the poultry should have been vaccinated but corruption has lead to lack of immunization and subsequent devastation of the industry.

The grainy YouTube video of protestors, with poor perspective that prohibits a thorough evaluation of their veracity and origin, does not show any political upheaval whatsoever. They are video propaganda efforts in tradition of the Syrian White Helmets Oscar Nominees’ fruitless efforts.

Also, some videos broadcasted slogans on behalf of “Reza Shah” (the grandfather of the current crown prince and the founder of the Pahlavi dynasty in the first decade of 20th century, meaning almost 4 generations ago). This would be as alien to the current citizen as chanting for the return of the, quit successful, founders of Ghajar- (19th century) or Afshar (18th century) dynasty.

When the president trumpets it’s enmity with the Iranian nation (calling the entire populous terrorists) and limits the freedom of travel of even family members of US citizens of Iranian descent and when he accuses Iran or even the Iranian government of being behind 911, is incapable of carrying out earlier diplomatic agreements (to no surprise as I had earlier states that Iranian government gave up a weapons program it did not have, for a recognition it will not receive), he puts himself out of the equation. He has already expressed support for the protests, that turned violent and by definition tainted it.

The crackdown has not yet begun: not even the Basij has been sent to reclaim the streets, let alone mobilizing the Sepah (Revolutionary Guards). A few pre-planned rallies were held by government supporters, which by the way dwarfed the antigovernment protests.
In my personal opinion, they are letting the “activists” get bolder and more visible, to then easily neutralize them, similar to what happened during the previous color revolution attempt. The opposition will again be suppressed for at least half a generation or more.

Looking at people around me, everyone is reminded of the Libyan- & Syrian situation and no one is moved by the crocodile tears of the DAESH supporters Macron, May and at least some elements within the current U.S. administration. And the spinless faceless European officials nor Merkel & co, who allowed their citizens to participate in a Al-Saud supported Salafist Jihad in Syria & Libya neither are thought to have any credibility.

For a through analysis of the current political drama, I refer to the following website and analysis by a local correspondent, Ramin Mazaheri http://thesaker.is/iran-protests-western-salivation-agitation-desperation , with obvious local sympathies.

Fredw

Life has undoubtedly improved for many people, but I am skeptical how much credit the Iranian establishment get for that. I haven't found systematic statistics about Iranian political attitudes (for obvious reasons) but more mundane demographic statistics can be had. The revolution was 40 years ago. To have any memory of of what went before, you have to be over 50. But Iran's age distribution skews quite young. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Iran#/media/File:Iran-age-pyramid.svg ) Most Iranian voters have lived in the Islamic Republic for their entire lives.

This kind of dynamic can happen. The Castro regime in Cuba seems to have had a solid base in black party members raised out of poverty by the revolution. But in that case there was a never fading distinction that made them and their children completely impervious to propaganda coming from the Cubans in Miami. I am not aware of any similar splits in Iranian society.

eakens

I suspect that there will be some reforms, but this will not lead to the downfall of the regime. As for who is fomenting this, I think what happened was that originally as Babak indicated, there were hardliners protesting Rouhani and some of them went off the reservation. That led to the MEK/foreign services jumping in to seize the opportunity to widen the protests.

During the early protests, I recall the twitter feeds that were being linked to which were calling for mass nationwide protests. Most were from people or groups associated with the Mujaheddin.

The problem with this is that the Iranians have not forgotten what happened in 1953, which means they definitely have not forgotten what the MEK did. Thus, they have little to no support in the country; yet the MEK is exactly who McCain, Cotton, and the others have put their bets on -- and they were as recently as a few months ago meeting with Maryam Rajavi and her "purple" color revolutionaries.

The other problem is there is no leadership for a revolution. If the US/Mossad/KSA think Maryam Ravaji is it, they are sorely mistaken. In all honesty, and as crazy as this might sound, I think Farah Pahlavi would be the horse I would bet on personally if that were an option.

Charles

Aren't we all.

J

I wonder just how much MI6 involvement there is in all of this?

Kooshy

Colonel, the other important difference between recent protest and the ones back in 2009 is this protests has no leader to shout for. Back in green revolution there was a leader the losing party X PM and losing presidential candidate, mir Housain Mosavi. Revolutions regime changes are hard to materialize without a clear leader to go out to streets for. So far the only leader for iranin protesters seems tone DJT. The protest started for economic reasons but IMO was high jacked by mobs highered by foreign services. IMO without a genuine uprising from lower level class this will not go far. Nevertheless Iranian state enemies (US,UK, KSA, Israel) will score a moral point on this, kind of a revenge for Syria and elsewhere.

outthere

pardon for being off topic, but
i have just read Biden's piece in Foreign Affairs
and he is as misinformed/duplicitous/dangerous/deluded as Hillary
https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2017-12-05/how-stand-kremlin

Kooshy

If they attempt to bring back the Afshars, I well may become the new king, and kick All the neighbor’ asses once more.

Babak Makkinejad

Ayatollah Nouri Hamadani in Qum has come out and stated that one cannot blame the protests on foreigners; that people have concrete and justified causes for their actions.

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