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Monthly Archives: December 2009

The Iranian Body Snatchers at Work

December 28th, 2009 - 1:51 pm

In their desperate search for a way to quell the growing revolt of the Iranian people against the Islamic Republic, the regime’s storm troopers are arresting, beating and assassinating the families of the leaders of the Green Movement.  Sunday, as millions of Iranians took the opportunity of the Ashura mourning day to take to the streets, a hit team gunned down the nephew of Mir Hossein Mousavi.

Seyed Ali Moussavi Habibi was witnessing a 4WD Neissan Patrol car running over a few people in front of his house before being shot and killed with the same people in the car. After running over a few people  5 people get off the car and one of them comes very close to Seyed ali Moussavi and shoots him with a gun in  a way that the bullet passes through his chest and comes out from his back.  Then all 5 get on the car and run away.

Seyed Ali’s corpse was taken to a hospital, where all could verify the nature of his mortal wound, and the regime ghouls decided to cover up the evidence.  They carted off the body, saying they wanted to investigate the circumstances of his death.  Yes, really.

The demonstrations raged over three days, including today, and you can find good videos all over the net.  Here are two examples:

* Tehran, the evening of Ashura

* A wounded or dead person

The online coverage was excellent, from the New York and London Times to the Guardian, all of whom liveblogged it.  And today there was plenty of reportage.  I will leave you to their tender mercies.  There are several key points to make, and then I will look forward.

First, in line with my basic sermon these many years, if you study the videos you will see many many women in the front ranks.  They have every reason to be there, as the Islamic Republic (as so many Islamic regimes) is built on the sludge of misogyny.

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Montazeri

December 21st, 2009 - 4:22 pm

The opposition Green Movement in Iran had been trying for days to get official permission for a demonstration, but it was denied.  As a witty tweeter noted, Grand Ayatollah Montazeri took care of that by dying.   The demonstrations in Qom are abundantly documented.  Look at this video, for example;  it is entitled to your careful attention.

We see several important things:

–first, the dimensions of the protest (enormous).  There have been monster demonstrations against the regime for several months now, and they are not likely to stop;

–second, the discipline of the crowd.  This is extremely rare, especially when you consider that Iran is now in the annual period of mourning, and passions are very high.  Add to that the political dimension (Montazeri was a symbol of resistance to the regime), and the fact that there were regime provocateurs in the demonstration, trying to disrupt their disciplined chants.  This is an organized movement, not a group of wild-eyed protestors;

–third, the regime is frightened.  The supreme leader and his acolytes (Ahmadinejad is less and less visible.  Somebody should tell Diane Sawyer) are groping for a way to survive.  They seem not to realize that they died before Montazeri, and that nobody cares to mourn them. And so they stagger about, and find the worst possible gesture.  As the indispensable Banafsheh tells us:

On Monday evening Saeed Montazeri announced that the Montazeri family was forced to cancel the post-funeral sacrament as the Islamic regime’s forces had invaded the A’zam mosque where the observance was to be held. Saeed Montazeri also added that the Montazeri residence has now been surrounded by various revolutionary guards, members of the Basij, intelligence agents, members of special force, etc.

It is reminiscent of Gorbachev at his most inept, finding a way to be mean enough to enrage the people, but not tough enough to assert his power, thereby provoking that most dangerous of all mass reactions:  contempt for his person and his rule.  Basij thugs attacked Green leader Mousavi’s car today, injuring one of his bodyguards, smashing a windshield, but otherwise failed to do any serious damage.

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That’s the best way to describe the Islamic Republic’s latest move against the United States and its Iraqi ally.  The Iranians came across the border (which they contest) and claimed an oil well.  Nothing new, you might say.  And you’d be right.  The U.S. government is downplaying its significance:.

“There has been no violence related to this incident and we trust this will be resolved through peaceful diplomacy between the governments of Iraq and Iran,” a US military spokesman told AFP at Contingency Operating Base Adder, just outside the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah.

“The oil field is in disputed territory in between Iranian and Iraqi border forts,” he said, adding that such incidents occur quite frequently.

Indeed, we’ve downplayed far more serious Iranian incursions into Iraq, including joint Iranian/Turkish invasions and bombing runs in Kurdistan which have killed dozens of Kurds.  And you may recall that an American Special Forces unit was surrounded by Iranian troops a couple of years ago–again on the Iraqi side of the border–and had to kill a dozen or so of the would-be hostage takers.  Sometimes they succeed in taking American hostages–there are now five in Iranian claws–and we quietly make deals for their release.  Sometimes our citizens are murdered, and we do nothing.

So today’s event is part of a well established pattern:  Iran attacks us and our friends and allies, and we look away.  This is the theme of Accomplice to Evil.  Just as we dithered and “negotiated,” as the Nazis prepared the Second World War, and then as the Soviets prepared the Cold War,  so we have dithered for thirty years as the Islamic Republic has waged war against us.  Do not think for a minute that this sort of appeasement is unique to Obama;  the unique thing about the current phase is that we are so open about it.

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Code Red in Iran

December 14th, 2009 - 8:28 pm

The FT reports that Iranian industry is at 40% of capacity.  Student demonstrations are ongoing.  Stories abound concerning army and air force officers promising to side with the people if the regime does not cease its brutality.  (I believe these stories, as does Afshin Ellian).   The regime conjurs up a video purporting to show demonstrators burning a photo of Khomeini, and then arrests the “guilty.” Most Iranians seem to think it was a regime deception to justify further violence against students and their friends and (incredibly) relatives.

For about 48 hours Twitter has carried warnings that the regime is about to arrest the opposition leaders, but it has not happened, thereby suggesting regime indecisiveness.  And the country is headed into a period of religious celebrations, when there will be lots of people in the streets.  Mosharram begins on  December 18th, culminating with Ashura on the 27th, with its rituals of bloodletting and praise of martyrdom.

Those who thought the opposition had been crushed should look again.  And keep looking.  That cauldron’s still burning.  And now Obama’s said that we support the dissidents.  So far it’s only words.  Will he finally do something?  Unlikely, but life is full of surprises…

The Left, From Progressive to Oppressive

December 12th, 2009 - 9:47 pm

The Western political Left  famously began its political existence two hundred twenty years ago in the halls of the French Revolutionary Parliament.  It proudly declared itself  the Party of Liberty.  It is now the Party of State control,  Liberty’s ancient enemy.  Its founders were men and women of great passion.  Its heirs, from Europe to America, are so bloodless one sometimes wonders if they are really androids.  Once revolutionary progressives, they are now either reactionary oppressors, or apologists for a stultifying status quo.

The Left turned into its opposite.   Instead of withering away, thereby ushering in an era of radical equality,  the state grew mightier, and became the instrument of a new class of rulers, largely drawn from the intellectual and legal elites.  After some initial discomfort, as in the primal scream of the likes of C. Wright Mills, the Left on both sides of the Atlantic embraced the enterprise, and today are avid participants in the creation of the “soft tyranny” Alexis de Tocqueville warned us about.

As the revolutionary vision evaporated, the Left was reduced to a political party with little more than a desire for power.  I think the decisive moment came with the last European war, when the passion that had attended the birth of the European Left burned out, along with that of its evil twin, fascism.  Political intensity in the Old World vanished across the spectrum after World War II, which marked the end of the era of revolutionary Europe.  It was replaced with the bloodless elitism that is so thoroughly embodied in the European Union.  Passionate protest passed briefly to the young, as in France in 1968, but it has remained marginal.  Today it is next to impossible to find a European leftist who speaks the old language of liberty.  Indeed, insofar as any political figures invoke the old ideals, they are “rightists.”

The American Left has come to this sorry condition more recently.  For most of the past two hundred-plus years there were deep, fundamental differences between European and American leftists.  The Europeans were more doctrinaire, the Americans more pragmatic.  The Euros insisted on translating Marx into political and social parties and unions, the Americans never had a serious socialist labor movement.  And the Euros were suckers for Communism in a way the Americans never were.  The Euros fell for “state socialism,” while the American Dream inspired most Americans.

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Mousavi vs. Basij: The First Confrontation

December 8th, 2009 - 8:07 am

The leader of the Green Movement, Mir Hossein Mousavi, got very angry.  His wife had been assaulted yesterday by regime thugs, who unleashed pepper spray at her face when she attempted to join the demonstrations.  At one this morning she was taken to a private clinic, complaining of trouble breathing and seeing.  She was sent back  home, apparently in better shape, some hours later.

Meanwhile, Mousavi had been forced to spend the night at his  offices at the Fine Arts Center, surrounded by Basij hooligans, and mid-morning, contrary to the pleas of his security detail, he went out and got into his car.  Basij on motorcycles surrounded the car as it tried to move.  Some of them beat the vehicle with clubs and shouted at him.  So he got out of the car and confronted them, as a crowd of his supporters gathered.

“I know you have your orders,” he said. “You have been told to beat me or shoot me.  Do not delay.  Here I am.  Do it now.”

The Basiji hesitated, then left.  Mousavi continued on home to join his wife.  The news is now all over the country, on VOA and the BBC.

Meanwhile, there is intense fighting at university campuses in Tehran.  Reports of tear gas and gun shots.

Silence from the White House as the future of the world revolves around the Iranian cauldron.

UPDATE:  More details.

The Iranian people are preparing for the next big challenge to the dying regime:  tomorrow, 7 December.  Pearl Harbor Day.  And the regime is lashing out in all directions:

So we are perhaps going to be able to answer the contemporary version of that old question “if a tree falls and nobody hears it, does it make a sound?”  Our question is “if there is a revolution, and nobody reports it, does the regime fall?”

The mullahs are hoping that the answer is “no.”  In any case, people WILL report  it.  Planet Iran, for one.  I’ll follow it there.  And also at Enduring America.

Meanwhile, back at the mosque, the supreme leader delivered a rambling 40-minute speech in which he referred to “enemies” about 200 times.  It is one of those classics of tyrannical paranoia that students of failing regimes like to analyze.  Barbara Slavin,  who briefly permitted herself to believe that the regime was going to agree to an American proposal to delay uranium enrichment, today produced a useful survey of contemporary Iranology, reminiscent of the tortured analyses of the inner workings of the Soviet regime.  The centerpiece of the Iranologists’ thinking is the notion that the mullahs just can’t make a decision because they are so badly divided amongst themselves about making a deal with Obama.  They wonder if the Revolutionary Guards are not in control, rather than Khamenei.  And Ms Slavin quotes an unnamed administration official who takes credit for creating or at least catalyzing the inner turmoil.

The trouble with these experts’ analysis is that the top leaders have always said that they would never abandon the nuclear program, and the obvious straight-line explanation for their negotiating ploys for the past many years is a desire to buy time while fending off stern Western measures.  The Iranologists are inventing epicycles when they should be looking at planetary orbits.

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The Iranian Time Bombs

December 3rd, 2009 - 9:24 pm

Iranian President Ahmadinejad has been traveling, looking for someone who would recognize him as the legitimate head of government.  Most Iranians certainly don’t, and his stock is pretty low in his own region.  So he flew to South America, from Brazil–where President Lula was very friendly–and continued to Venezuela to visit his co-conspirator Hugo Chavez.  He arrived to considerable pomp, but the military band at the airport played the pre-revolutionary (i.e., the shah’s) anthem, which could not have pleased the little leader.

But the alliance with Chavez is working well, which troubles one of the best men on the continent, Alberto Nisman, Argentina’s courageous prosecutor who has indicted Iranian and Hezbollah leaders for the 1994 bombing of the Buenos Aires Jewish Social Center.  Nisman appeared at an event sponsored by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (where I hang my cloak), and warned about the Iranian penetration of Latin America.

He said that Iran, particularly through Lebanese proxy Hizbullah, has a growing presence in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua, using techniques it honed in Argentina before the country took measures to counter Teheran following the AMIA bombing.

He described sham operations involving taxi drivers, who conducted surveillance without arousing suspicion; fake medical school students, who could stay in the country for many years without raising eyebrows; and business fronts that helped funnel cash to operatives.

Meanwhile, the Iranians cultivated ties at the local mosques to search for people who could be radicalized.

It’s a template developed in Lebanon, where Hezbollah is now the dominant political force, and we had better pay attention, because it is undoubtedly being applied here.  Hezbollah cells were already present in the United States back in the 1980s, when I was privy to such information.

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