Iran Open Thread

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What to say?  I asked Babak to send us something on this but thus far not a word.  We will have an open thread on this crisis as well as a number of topical posts.

This situation in the streets looks to me to be a bigger revolt than that 0f 2009.

The key question in this uprising is the extent to which the IRGC and the police remain loyal to the Supreme Guide and willing to suppress the masses by all means necessary.

As has been said a lot now the US should be careful not to make empty implied promises of support to the resistors as we did in Hungary in 1956 and in Iraq in 1991.  Approving messaging in the media is one thing but any fanciful ideas that involve supply of weaponry or organizer/advisers should not be given a moments thought

This is an Iranian moment, a moment in which the Iranian people and their sons in the military and police should show what they are made of.  pl

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77 Responses to Iran Open Thread

  1. Degringolade says:

    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?

  2. Adrestia says:

    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.

  3. Babak Makkinejad says:

    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.

  4. turcopolier says:

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

  5. turcopolier says:

    Adrestia
    Soleimani is a valid target. He knows that. pl

  6. Annem says:

    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.

  7. Adrestia says:

    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

  8. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    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.

  9. RC says:

    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

  10. Fredw says:

    “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?

  11. blowback says:

    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?

  12. Willybilly says:

    Netanyahu is a Valid target as well

  13. LG says:

    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.

  14. different clue says:

    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.

  15. b says:

    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.

  16. Amir says:

    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.

  17. Fredw says:

    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.

  18. eakens says:

    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.

  19. Charles says:

    Aren’t we all.

  20. J says:

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

  21. Kooshy says:

    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.

  22. outthere says:

    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

  23. Kooshy says:

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

  24. Babak Makkinejad says:

    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.

  25. GeneO says:

    Ali Khamenei has been in power since 1989. And before that he was President for seven or eight years. The Iranian people are getting tired of him, perhaps even the ones who benefit the most from his charities.
    2009 was not the only protest against his regime: he called out the Basij in 94 in Qazvin; called them out again (plus the Ansar-e Hezbollah) in 99 during the student protests at Tabriz U; and during the Day of Rage in February 2011.
    I believe Babak Makkinejad is correct. i.e.: grass roots protests with no leadership, the protests will peter out, and no change in electoral law, etc.
    What will happen to Rouhani is my question. Some say he brought this on by publicizing the huge portion of the budget that goes to the . Plus he got a small measure of revenge on the hardliners by agreeing that some of the complaints and resentment are valid. Are his days now numbered?

  26. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    In my comment #9, above, I mentioned the foisting off of a pic of a demonstration in Bahrain in 2011 as occurring in contemporary Iran. I encountered a link to a Titter thread in a post by “b” at Moon of Alabama which looks like the one I saw yesterday. Although the link does show still pics of the demo, they were apparently captured from a video, which is what has gone viral. Since I now see no reference to BBC on the thread, I probably owe the network an apology.
    https://twitter.com/BAHRAINDOCTOR/status/947779753234268160

  27. blowback says:

    Is there something in the water in Washington DC that destroys the little grey cells – I’ve seen more intelligent remarks from Nikki Haley.

  28. GeneO says:

    I meant to have said:
    What will happen to Rouhani is my question. Some say he brought this on by publicizing the huge portion of the budget that goes to Khameini and to IRGC projects while most families are earning less now than they were five or ten years ago.

  29. Kooshy says:

    The system constitutionally is set to have SL to be around for las long as he keeps the assembly of experts confidence just a bit more versatile then US Supreme Court. IMO Iran need this system religiously and unity wise, I believe he is very respected for his decision process in Iran.

  30. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The Office of the Supreme Jurisprudent has kept the constituional order in Iran functioning by arbitrating among factions that are not keen on any sort of Westministerian Democracy or a Presidential one.
    Who or what is or could be an alternate Legitimate Authority?

  31. Trita Parsi has a piece over at Antiwar.com analyzing the protests.
    There’s Something Different About These Iran Protests
    https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/01/01/theres-something-different-about-these-iran-protests
    In his opinion, these are protests from people who don’t believe changes to the government are possible, triggered either by hardline conservatives who lost control of them and/or economic reasons.
    He notes that the protests are far smaller than the 2009 protests and don’t appear to have any specific leaders. He reiterates that the 2009 elections were fraudulent, but based on my readings of the Leveretts at the time there is no real evidence for that.
    Without someone leading the protests, odds are they will dissipate after a few days or a week once the police crack down as they appear to be doing. Almost certainly there is no significant threat to the government overall.

  32. i think you are correct. There is an enormous amount of wishful thinking masquerading as analysis in the cable news media. There are strong hopes that this is large and widespread. I would note we have not seen anything like the crowd size that paraded in front of the US Embassy 38 years ago.

  33. kooshy says:

    I haven’t seen or read Ayatollah Nouri Hamedani’ statement on this, but if he indeed said this IMO he could be playing the decoder since I don’t think he is against the system, is good to be able to divert and redirect.
    IMO, Iran is one of the most experienced countries with CIA, Color revolutions and regime change,just back in 90s and 00s twice they were able to uncover the entire CIA informant network in Iran and Lebanon
    http://articles.latimes.com/2005/feb/12/world/fg-cia12

  34. LeaNder says:

    Interested in his representation, blowback? It’s from the still ongoing 34. Chaos Communication Congress (34C3).
    Uncovering British spies’ web of sockpuppet social media personas, Mustafa Al-Bassam
    https://media.ccc.de/v/34c3-9233-uncovering_british_spies_web_of_sockpuppet_social_media_personas
    *******
    I found his personal background on matters interesting. Snowden apparently helped to understand, and motivated him to take a closer look. Which means the tools have changed. But studied they can be. And they are more and more.
    Strictly sockpuppets/bot, botwebs, social bots are around for much longer by now, they a standard marketing/PR tool. Thus it is no surprise they surfaced in the last US election to the extend of 20% of tweets. Was it? On both sides really. …
    He is a Lauri Love supporter. Obviously. Let’s see how the British High Court, EWHC, will decide.

  35. Peter AU says:

    Trump admin verbal attacks on Iran, going back to Flynn and further. Domestic unrest in Iran? Seems more foreign backed/initiated (US admin) unrest after internal gripes have been identified.

  36. kooshy says:

    Babak
    FYI here is link (in Persian) to what Ayatollah Nuri Hamedani said regarding recent protest as reported on IRNA, it seems to be completely opposite on what you read.
    http://www.irna.ir/fa/News/82784375

  37. “They vandalize public property and attack police stations and military posts to gain weapons – so far unsuccessful.”
    3rd comment from “Arioch” on the SST link below shows how this developed in the very different context of Syria.
    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2017/07/on-the-primacy-of-combined-arms-maneuver-warfare-ttg.html?cid=6a00d8341c72e153ef01b8d2981dd5970c#comment-6a00d8341c72e153ef01b8d2981dd5970c
    The border is porous but on the question of external interference Syrian style, if the present Iranian security services are anything like those of the Shah’s time would not such interference be difficult?
    Whatever the position on that it’s a pity Western politicians are welcoming these disturbances. I recollect reading some time ago that a women’s rights activist in Iran found life difficult, not so much because her work was resented in itself, but because everyone was worried in case she was part of an external destabilisation effort. Presumably by now every time there’s a protest in Iran half the country says “Colour revolution”, which must have an inhibiting effect on normal political development. Therefore it would be better if Western politicians did not magnify such fears by open jubilation every time there are signs of trouble.

  38. Barbara Ann says:

    David P. Goldman has just done an excellent, detailed analysis of the multitude of Iran’s structural problems underlying the recent discontent. He includes:-
    – Failing/mismanaged water resources
    – War costs
    – Bankrupt pension & banking systems, the latter due to bad loans/assets
    – Huge demographic time bomb to go off before mid century
    – Estimate of real youth unemployment at 45%
    http://www.atimes.com/article/irans-complex-crises-catches-regime/

  39. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The relevant part is excised.

  40. kooshy says:

    David P. Goldman? really? he is the excellent analyst on Iran , have you ever read what he wrote and what he called Iranians.I don’t think you should or could get an “excellent” unbiased analysis from a conservative Jew Israel supporter on Iran, that is if one don’t intend to spread hasbra. Especially one from this AH creature David Goldman, who was hiding his name and who he is for years until he was exposed.

  41. kooshy says:

    Sorry missed the link
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_P._Goldman
    “Goldman is the Wax Family Fellow at the Middle East Forum, a Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, and a member of the Board of Advisors of Sino-Israel Government Network and Academic Leadership (SIGNAL).

  42. Poul says:

    Riots are one thing. A power-changing protest is something else.
    South Koreans toppled their president with massive demonstrations.
    In a country of ca 50 mio about a million in the streets. Organized and peaceful but determined. That is pressure on any politician. Elected or not.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cczAjCwtd9o

  43. Barbara Ann says:

    kooshy
    By “excellent” I just meant the piece includes much sourced quantitative information and is not just another qualitative ‘opinion’ (c.c. Pepe Escobar’s piece also in Asia Times today). I did not intend to infer that it was unbiased. Perhaps I should have limited my description to “detailed”.
    I am aware Goldman is far from impartial & his surname alone should warrant caution WRT Iran, but thanks for the additional info re his affiliations.

  44. GeneO says:

    “Who or what is or could be an alternate Legitimate Authority?”
    My answer: No person or group that I know of could replace him at this time.
    But 28 years in a position of supreme power is way too long. And although the people in the streets know that, their protests are dying out. Or is that just a result of internet and cell tower shutdowns and mass arrests?

  45. Charles Michael says:

    Funny you choose this one.
    Goldman seems a little bit biased (as usual)
    In the same Asia Tmes you have one from MK Bhadrakumar very good and one of Pepe Escobar, so so.
    and an other good one on indian punchline:
    http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/

  46. Babak Makkinejad says:

    So, you are suggesting a term limit. I think it is an interesting idea.

  47. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The report below is of higher quality than Goldman’s – in my opinion.
    Goldman is funny, in a way, repeatedly predicting the demise of the Islamic Republic, Iran, and the Iranians – why get so worked up then if she is so clearly on her way to disintegration.
    https://www.csis.org/analysis/crisis-iran-broader-perspective?block1=

  48. different clue says:

    I remember reading once that noted Nineteenth Century Robber Baron Jay Gould is supposed to have said: ” I can hire half the working class to shoot the other half”.
    I know nothing of the Iranian armed forces or what side they might take if there were real mass-marching discontent. But about the RevGuards and the Baseejers . . . I suspect they are the “half the working class” which has been hired “to shoot the other half”. And whether for reasons of being “hired” or from true belief, they will shoot as many discontented mass marchers as they feel they need to in order to get order restored. They will not break or waver.
    Outsiders who care about what happens to Iran or Iranian people should at least give every appearance of offering no opinion, no judgement, and no egging on.

  49. outthere says:

    again off topic with apologies
    James Risen has just published a long long article on his career as reporter of leaks, about how the system used to work, and how it changed. There are too many insights, incidents and nuggets to quote, please read for yourself.
    The Biggest Secret
    My Life as a New York Times Reporter in the Shadow of the War on Terror
    James Risen
    https://theintercept.com/2018/01/03/my-life-as-a-new-york-times-reporter-in-the-shadow-of-the-war-on-terror/

  50. GeneO says:

    At the least ‘consecutive term limits’. We here have managed to do that for the presidency and some state governors, unfortunately not yet for congress.
    It maybe can be taken too far as some have wondered if the Roman Republic one-year term limits on consuls and lower positions was one of the factors leading to its dissolution.
    But without term limits you get Mugabe, or Chiang Kai-shek, or Sadaam.
    Thanks for the csis link to the Cordesman article. Have you read his earlier analysis regarding Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel?
    https://www.csis.org/analysis/strategic-impact-making-jerusalem-capital-israel

  51. SmoothieX12 says:

    Nevertheless, To the extent that historical parallels exist, it is more than possible that Iran’s regime can ride out its problems if it promises to carry out reforms and particularly if it combines the kind of reforms recommended by the IMF and World Bank with a focus on the immediate needs of the Iran people and liberalizes its social restrictions.
    This phrase in CSIS article completely destroys any credibility of otherwise what seemed to be a robust report. I don’t know any occasion on which either IMF “reforms” addressed any needs of people, nor of IMF and WB’s “data” being realistic. In general, if one considers a whopping failure which IMF and WB’s “view” of Russia was, there are very few reasons to suspect that any prescriptions on Iran, granted Iran’s very real problems, will be more “effective” in either delivering a realistic picture or “addressing” anything.

  52. SmoothieX12 says:

    I also expect the protests to peter out before this week is out.
    Babak, on some Russian forums, people who have ties with Iran say that there were serious air deliveries of eggs by transport aviation. Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia did make deliveries and from Russia there were at least 6 AN-124s (the largest cargo plane in the world) with eggs in Tehran. Any info on that?

  53. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Egg prices went through the roof as hens died due to avian flu; an inquest must be launched to assign responsibility – the Iranian Veterinary Organization, the Producers, or the Producers Mafia – for the absence of vaccination.
    Government authorized importation of eggs.

  54. Kooshy says:

    Acording to Iranian media so far 450 rioters who burned public facilities and building were arrested, that is far lower number than the non rioting arrests of occupy Movment don’t you think so?

  55. Kooshy says:

    So you think a new revolutionary young republic should have multiple elections for head of state ( controlling militry power) making it possible for good dandy election time color revolution mirdan possibilities. Don’t you think those who wrote that law in Iranian constitution, had seen and read about past Iran’ regime change experiences and tried to not consentrate all powers of state in one body or person.IMO, If it was not for the position of SL in past 40 years, Iran wouldnt have lasted internally and externally.

  56. Kooshy says:

    Without term limit, people could also end up, having Netanyahu, or never ending dynastic presidential families like Clintons and Bushies.

  57. Barbara Ann says:

    I value your opinion and will read it Babak, thanks.

  58. Barbara Ann says:

    Was simply impressed by the quantity of sourced economic data – others all words & no numbers.

  59. kooshy says:

    interestingly, the last three Iranian presidents, have experienced a foreign inspired/helped regime change uprising, all three failed. President Khatami 1999, Ahmadinejad 2009, and Rouhani 2018 looks like friends think every 9-10 years makes good cycle for trying a regime change. Coincidentally this cycle falls with beginning term of last two US president and end term of clinton. IMO during Bush,US IC were too busy with 911 and the shit they piled up in Afghanistan and Iraq
    so the regime change cycle was not tried

  60. Christian Chuba says:

    I do not believe anyone in the U.S. knows what these demonstrations mean, especially the MSM, I just love how the talking heads casually intermix terms like, ‘protests’ with ‘uprising’. As if there is no difference between wanting your govt to change something vs changing your govt.
    I had the misfortune of hearing Sean Hannity interview a member of MEK on his radio show, it was both amusing and nauseating. The MEK guy was playing Sean like a Stradivarius, his voice had a magic carpet quality to it and Sean was eating it up, he sounded so naive in comparison.
    If you believe MEK McFiddle, there are 100,000 student protesters, the regime is so unpopular with everyone that it will be overthrown within weeks or months as the army defects. 95% of the people want the MEK constitution which is modeled after the U.S. Constitution (I’m certain that it has the same tripartite system with Federalism that no other country on earth uses).
    Since I started out my post with ‘no one in the U.S. knows’ this includes me so how can I rule out Sean Hannity’s guest?
    He could be right just as someone rolling eight pairs of dice could choose the exact combination of numbers but I don’t trust a word he says.
    I just cannot believe how gullible people are when someone tells you what you want to hear, Sean even bought it when MEK guy said that the Iranians ‘love the U.S., especially Trump and Nikki Haley, they are heroes’.
    That is when I laughed, most people in the U.S. don’t even like them so why would Iranians like people who constantly threaten to bomb them, starve their economy, want to disarm them, ban them from coming into the U.S., and insist on calling that special body of water the ‘Arab Gulf’ and not Persian Gulf. I am going to guess that if Iranians used to like Americans, that is waning as time goes on.

  61. Adrestia says:

    I heard a reporter speaking of food prices in Iran and he mentioned eggs explicitly. In my country egg prices are also going through the roof, but that’s because of a pollution scandal that halved production for half a year now.
    So it can just be high egg prices. Checked and Turkey, Russia and Ukraine are top 10 egg-exporting countries.
    IMO food prices are important to follow. Quickly rising food prices (caused by subsidy-cuts as in Egypt and Syria as well as speculation/asset inflation) are one of the quickest ways to create unrest in the economically poorest part of societies.
    http://www.mattluedke.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/food_revolutions.png

  62. johnf says:

    Could be related to Amir’s post above:
    “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.”

  63. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think you be mistaken.
    FDR was president for 4 consecutive terms and only die-hard doctrinaire capitalist have had anything bad to say about him.
    Saddam Hussein, Mugabe, Chiang Kai-Shek, Stalin and others like them were men who were unwilling to play by their own set of rules. The 1934 Constitution of USSR was the most democratic one in the world at that time, yet USSR was not.
    The damage in Iraq started with the so-called Iraqi Revolution, in my opinion. A military coup that destroyed the constitutional order from whose destruction Iraq has not yet recovered.
    It is quite clear to me that representative system of the government must be firmly rooted in the ethos of a population of humans – it took 2 centuries for it to take root in France; in Central and South America it still remains with shallow roots.
    I know that many Americans like the idea of term limits; I do not find the idea attractive; I think it is yet another effort to white-wash the electorate from the consequences of their own choices.

  64. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I agree.
    As far as I can tell, there are 2 major issues in the Iranian Economy: the subsidies – which make it impossible to price things correctly – and the absence of investment banks with large pool of capital.
    The effects of subsidies, doled out as a form of Muslim Charity, is pernicious in as much as it trains large numbers of people to be wasteful; with their hands outstretched for government largess.

  65. kooshy says:

    It’s standard practice for our very “balanced” western media reporting, specially US media for not inviting opposing views or rebuttal. Never, even once, haven’t seen Iranian voices, or opinions of Iranians from inside Iran, like from a current University of Tehran political scholar, or an Iranian analyst supporting Iranian Government supporters point of view. It’s a waste of time to even think US media is not censored, self-censored or government ordered/asked censoring has no difference to end user.

  66. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I agree, I do not think anyone in US Government or Think-Tanks has accurate and reliable knowledge of Iran and Iranians.
    Since so many Europeans, South-Americans etc. news outlets also rely on US productions, they are also being misinformed.
    German newspapers should especially be chastised for their evil usage of word “führer” to refer to Ayatollah Khamenei.

  67. LeaNder says:

    Once again my full support on DPG, kooshy@43. I recall the times when he still published under the pseudonym Oswald Spengler, which strictly told you everything there was to know at that point in time. Clash of Cultures? The decline of the West? Too lazy to look his article up now. Although, he may be more careful once he had to publish under his real name.
    It was when “Old Europe” (France, Germany – aligned with Russia at the time) decided to dissent on the Iraq war. On the surface his article looked, as Barbara suggests, like a detailed analysis about the European Union. It took me a little to look up all the links and I dug a little deeper into his use of EU data. As I recall …
    Later, quite a felt while, the Mondoweiss crowd got aware of him, his ability to launch something via Asia Times into the larger media discourse. Might have been team Weiss/Norton. Anyway, whoever supported Phil, they successfully outed Spengler as Goldman based on text analysis. Forget were they found their texts, but seem to recall he published under his real name on First Things. Although that doesn’t feel likely the place were connected their dots.
    Hmm? I see he still does.
    https://www.firstthings.com/author/david-p-goldman
    Won’t look at his Wikipedia entry. Hope you don’t mind.

  68. LeaNder says:

    @70 Babak
    German newspapers should especially be chastised for their evil usage of word “führer” to refer to Ayatollah Khamenei.
    Ok, you may use more arbitrarily a part of what would be the German standard German translation: religiöser Führer/religious leader.
    Still any links to a more suggestive use on German media would be interesting.

  69. jonst says:

    Babak, leaving aside the difficult question of how and when this latest round of protests ends….lets speculate it runs out of steam in a week or so as you suggest. And the Regime begins to conclude it successfully dodged a bullet. If it plays out that way…do you expect the Regime to ‘tone down’ its leadership role in foreign policy in the ME? IOW…less likely to want to increase its risks in Southern Lebanon, Syria, Yemen ect? Or will it simply dismiss the protests and go full speed ahead with whatever its plans are now? Just curious for any guesstimates you might have.

  70. Poul says:

    Hmm, with a bit of tongue-in-cheek one could say that the USA share the first four problems with Iran.
    – Water mismanagement – See California and Arizona
    – War cost – Trillions spent. Trillions more to go.
    – Bankrupt pension system – Underfunding of public pensions
    – Huge demographic time bomb – Immigration which by year 2100 could reduced the Northwest European element of the US population to 30-35% of the total. Why, the US could very well have a Catholic majority population.

  71. rjj says:

    Remembering Cuba — Do they know what strain of avian flu? Is it part of a more general outbreak?
    Apologies if this question was asked and answered earlier. Turpitude.

  72. different clue says:

    Kooshy,
    (reply to comment 59)
    Term limits wouldn’t strictly speaking prevent political dynasties. We have had the Bush dynasty even with Presidential Term Limits. And the Clintons were laying the foundation for a Clinton dynasty even with term limits.

  73. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Certainly not.
    On the contrary, it just makes Iranian leaders more determined to consolidate and extend the Shia Crescent – the Iran sphere of influence.
    In fact, I wrote earlier that I expect them to make a strategic decision to help Houthis win – however that winning is defined.

  74. kooshy says:

    indeed

  75. A.I.Schmelzer says:

    In German, “Führer” just means “leader”.
    The reference to Hitler is if you use “Der Führer”. “Der Führer” is Hitler, “Ein Führer” ist just a leader.
    “Religiöser Führer” means religious leader and does not have a 100% connection to Hitler.
    While German media is frequently trying to cast whoever they disagree with as the new Hitler, most other German words or constructions/translators for “religious leader” are pretty clunky.
    Same with the fact that the direct translation of “Israeli Defense force” would be “Israelische Wehrmacht”.
    Typically “Israelische Selbstverteidigungsstreitkräfte” or “Israelische Armee” is used instead.

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