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MORE ON THOSE IRAN PROTESTS

On Jan 4th, four days ago, I spoke briefly in my News and Views from the Nefarium about the recent riots in Iran, and what may be going on there. Iran - or if you will, Persia - is a land of dualisms and paradox. It is a sophisticated, technologically advanced country with a literate and educated people, a literary and artistic heritage going back centuries. It is, after all, the home of one of the great empires and civilizations of the classical era. Yet too, it is the home of a brutal backward and murderous theocracy. It's a land of dualisms, a fact that is perhaps to some extent ironic, since it is also home to the ancient dualistic religion of Zoroastrianism. Hence, in my News and Views four days ago, I suggested yet another dualism possibly at work in the recent protests against that backward and totalitarian regime; I suggested that there may be two basic, and very different, roots of the protests. One might be historic, as before World War I, Persia - now Iran - was the home of very reformist clergy who wanted and were attempting to outline a reform of the Shia Islam they had inherited. I detailed a bit of this process, and how it was short-circuited during World War I by the West, as Baron von Oppenheim and others were attempting to weaponize radicalized Islam in the service of the Central Powers against the Allies. The other possibility that I entertained was that, in addition to these old currents, long repressed but never entirely erased, there might be considerable presence of Western agents provocateur driving, or at least attempting to influence, events.

With that in mind, Mr. T.M. sent along this very thoughtful article that appeared in The Atlantic magazine, written by an Iranian, Karim Sadjapour, which seems to confirm at least some of my suspicions:

The Battle for Iran Change will not come easily, peacefully, or soon.

The title says it all: Iran is entering a prolonged period of contention for its cultural and national heart and soul, a struggle that, as I have attempted to indicate, was put on hold, but not forgotten, during World War One. Sadjapour does not mince words concerning the difficulties the country and the protesters face:

Protest movements in the Middle East face enormous repressive hurdles and rarely have happy endings. Even when protesters “succeed” in toppling an autocrat, they’ve rarely succeeded in ending autocracy.

In Iran, the obstacles to success are daunting. Whereas most Middle Eastern countries are ruled by secular autocrats focused on repressing primarily Islamist opposition, Iran is an Islamist autocracy focused on repressing secular opposition. This dynamic—unarmed, unorganized, leaderless citizens seeking economic dignity and pluralism, versus a heavily armed, organized, rapacious ruling theocracy that espouses martyrdom—is not a recipe for success.

What makes these protests unique is that they are in some cases clearly expressing open opposition to the current theocratic regime, echoing - dimly to be sure - the pre-World War One movements for reform:

And yet, against this inauspicious backdrop, Iran’s mushrooming anti-government protests—although so far much smaller in scale than the country’s 2009 uprising—have been unprecedented in their geographic scope and intensity. They began December 28 in Mashhad, a Shiite pilgrimage city often considered a regime stronghold, with protesters chanting slogans like “leave Syria alone, think about us.” They soon spread to Qom, Iran’s holiest city, where protesters expressed nostalgia for Reza Shah, the 20th-century modernizing autocrat who ruthlessly repressed the clergy. They continued in provincial towns, with thousands chanting, “we don’t want an Islamic Republic” in Najafabad, “death to the revolutionary guards” in Rasht, and “death to the dictator” in Khoramabad. They’ve since spread to Tehran, and hundreds have been arrested, the BBC reported, citing Iranian officials.

Sadjapour acknowledges that these grievances in some respects are indeed decades old, the difference now being the connectedness of the country via smartphones and social media:

While these grievances have been festering for years and indeed decades, among the dozens of factors that distinguish today’s protests from 2009 is the smartphone. In 2009—when an estimated 2 million to 3 million Iranians protested silently in Tehran—fewer than 1 million Iranians owned such a device, and few outside Tehran. Today, an astonishing 48 million Iranians are thought to have smartphones, all of them equipped with social media and communication apps. The app Telegram alone is thought to have 40 million users, elusive from government control, but not immune to a communications shutdown if Tehran tries to throttle the internet.

Sadjapour points out that the theocratic regime has abundant resources of repression, from its open support for Hezbollah, to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and various Shia militias in the country, facing - let it be noted carefully - an unarmed population. Additionally, Sadjapour points out that the country his the highest execution rate per capita in the world, exceeding even the (out)House of Saud. And, though we don't need to be reminded, Sadjapour points out the repression of women, homosexuals, and religious minorities. Ahh.... the glories and wonders of the religion of peace and tolerance!

What's of interest is how Sadjapour address what the west, and more importantly the USA, can or should do. He poses a unique solution, one which, in the wider context of the global financial-geopolitical war, might have some teeth:

One concrete suggestion is to make it clear that companies and countries around the world complicit in Iran’s repressive apparatus—including those providing censorship technology—will face censure from the United States. The United States should also mobilize global partners that do have working relations with Iran—including Europe, Japan, South Korea, and India—to add their voices of concern and condemnation to Tehran’s repression. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has been noticeably silent.

The problem is, of course, the dwindling US leverage over its allies, fed up as they are with American unpolarism, particularly in Europe, where Washington's sanctions regime is falling on increasingly deaf ears, as witnessed by the French finance minister, M. Bruno Lemaire's statements that I referred to in my News and Views.

Eventually, the Iranian theocracy will topple and its ayatollahs will go into the dustbin of history, where they rightfully belong. What remains to be seen, however, is whether the Iranian people will be friends or foe, because regime change games are games that two can play, and given the state of affairs there, it is just remotely possible that the BRICSA bloc - China and Russia and India in particular - would much rather do business with a stable and prosperous democratic Iran, than a fundamentalist and ultimately unstable one. I know that bucks every geopolitical intuition popularly held about those countries, but in the long run, my bet is that they rather have Iran in their corner than not. And eventually, the regime will fall. Why am I confident of this? Because after a century of repression from the Shah and then from ayatollahs, the Iranians still want freedom. And quiet support of the protestors from China, India, and Russia, would make their currency rise in the world and create yet another problem for American policy in the region. High octane speculation? To be sure! But stranger things have happened, and in the high-stakes world of the geopolitical-financial warfare we see emerging, anything is possible. Is there precedent in history for such an alignment between political ideologies and systems so misaligned? Indeed there is, for remember, republican France and Great Britain aligned themselves with one of the most repressive autocracies on earth against the constitutional monarchy and parliament of Imperial Germany in World War One.

To put it country simple: Iran is becoming a test for the BRICSA bloc, and it will be interesting to watch how China, India, and Russia respond, for respond, eventually, they must.

See you on the flip side...

7 thoughts on “MORE ON THOSE IRAN PROTESTS”

  1. Do you think the article in The Atlantic is accurate? Any possibility it could contain some element of propaganda designed to make conditions within Iran appear worse than they really are — in order to justify external interference? It just does not gel with other things I’ve read or heard which were written or spoken by people apparently very familiar with contemporary Iran.

  2. There are two issues here which are being conflated: religious-control and financial-control (sometimes overlapping, of course).

    On the religious-control aspect, much needs to change. Use of physical force and intimidation to control a populace is unacceptable.

    However, financial-control is – imho – a more important aspect. Iran is probably the biggest nation absolutely-not under the Rothschild privately-controlled Central Bank empire. Also, their religious leader(s) control the larger decisions as to business – capital allocation, mergers, etc. – not private interests. This puts them in a collision-course with the monetary PTB. Mammon, as it were…

    I would suggest that the sudden ‘need’ to push religious reform is a direct consequence of the Iranian religious leader(s) saying “No” to being taken-over by financial interests. In that regard, the Iranians know what happened to the Soviet Union as soon as capitalist interests got in the door. Tragic. So, they are fighting tooth-and-nail to keep that from happening to their country. Good for them.

    Also, this is not a good time for fundamental ‘reforms’. I make an analogy with a suggested US Consti tutional [hah!] Convention. In a balanced playing field, sure, the Consti tution could use a few minor ‘tweaks’ to bring it into the 21st Century. However, in our real playing field, the PTB would overwhelmingly change the Consti tution to THEIR benefit. It would be national suicide to allow a US Consti tutional Convention in this environment. So it is with an Iranian ‘Religious Convention’ – the PTB would do everything to make Capitalism the new ‘religion’ of that nation. So, do it after the PTB fall

    In view of the above, I see the Iranian ‘protests’ – while having some populist base – as an attempted “Arab Spring”-style coup d’état much like that enacted with The Ukraine. They have even shot a few protesters, to paint the police/guards into a corner. Standard playbook…

    (And Russia knows that if Iran falls, they are the next-up. China, while distant, plays a long game and knows they would be alone after Russia goes-down…)

    1. Robert Barricklow

      Religion/money are the two primary control levers.
      The money[information digitized to 1s & 0s]
      being 21st century digitized.
      Social media is fast becoming another digital tool
      of a third control lever: information.
      The silicon tech monopolies believe they have the opportunity to complete the merger between man and machine – to redirect the trajectory of human evolution.
      It is imperative “we” resist them.

  3. Robert Barricklow

    The color revolutions were orchestrated by intelligence agencies through social media, on-the-ground controlled news media, on-the-ground agent provocateurs, and agents-in-place social media “journalist”.
    That was then. Now, no doubt the Soros wannabes are lining up for christening; baptisms by social media in the live-action firing lines.
    Most are initially orchestrated to initiate the fuse to the targeted power-keg of socially unrest masses[also helped by social media operations all along the way].

  4. The 1953 CIA-led overthrow of Mossadegh remains enshrined as the apex of stupid of that rogue entity’s many stupidities.

    Iran is the West’s natural ally, not the Saudi thugs.

    It is face-palm stupid, what they did for some BP oil greed revenue, and here it is, epic blow-back echoing down history.

    I’m sure I’ll be moderated for all the uses of “stupid,” but honestly the only other suitable word is “moronic.”

  5. anakephalaiosis

    Persia is supreme patriarchy and mountain of fire worship. Mayflowers do not hold strength to match. USA’s daisies do not hold power to walk trough fire and stone. The cleansing fire and gravestone!

    Mass herded cattle to the New World has been led to believe, that they are on solid ground. Industry of death is an artificial dragon. Confronted with the real thing, Mayflowers will cry in fear.

    To understand Persia, is to understand Christianity at its roots of the Holy Grail. Filioque clergy is mere feminism wearing skirts. Druid triad is supreme patriarchy pulling rank. The Runes!

    1. anakephalaiosis

      Is not Pyramid a mountain of fire worship? Is not Death Star a transition through death into spark of eternal fire? Do not Zoroastrians know this to be a fact?

      Are not filioque clergy blindfolded in speculation? Are not Mayflowers rootless European flora? Can rivers teach the ocean? Can echo surmount its original sound?

      What did USA teach Iceland?
      https://www.lpthe.jussieu.fr/~roehner/oci.pdf

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