Iranian military fracturing?

December 13, 2009

A dictator’s worst nightmare: the military turns against him.

Writing at Pajamas Media, Leiden University law professor Afshin Ellian has seen signs that the Iranian regular military, as opposed to the Revolutionary Guard, has placed the theocratic-fascist regime in Tehran on notice not to initiate a bloody repression of the Iranian people, or face revolt:

On December 10, a statement signed by a number of officers and commanders of the Iranian army was released. The regular army of Iran had not been involved in the suppression of the population. The statement was signed by:

  • Pilots and personnel of the aviation division of the regular army (Havanirooz)
  • Commanders and personnel of the 31th artillery division of Isfahan of the regular army
  • Pilots and airmen of the regular army
  • Teachers of the Shaid Satari University of the regular air force
  • Officers and staff of the logistics training unit the regular army
  • Professors and lecturers of the Imam Ali University for officers of the regular army
  • Officers, staff, and commanders of the chief of staff of the regular army

Professor Ellian then quotes the message itself:

“Therefore, we warn the [Revolutionary] Guards who have betrayed the martyrs (from the war between Iran and Iraq) and who decided to attack the lives, the property and the honor of the citizens. We seriously warn them that if they do not leave their chosen path, they will be confronted with our tough response. The military is a haven for the nation. And we will defend the peace-loving Iranian nation against any aggression.”

This may explain why the regime crackdown against demonstrators protesting the fraudulent elections last June, while brutal, was not the massacre many (including me) expected: the mullahs can’t trust the regular military, which sees itself as the guardian of the nation, not the regime. The defection of Air Force officers was one of the key moments leading to the fall of the Shah in 1978-79.

This is a common feature of dictatorships: hated by the people, a brutal ruler stays in power by keeping the armed forces happy. But, regular militaries aren’t necessarily loyal to the current regime, seeing themselves as defenders of the nation as a whole. Many Latin American constitutions spell out just such a role for their armed forces, which have often taken that as their justification for launching a coup. In response to this threat, some regimes create elite forces meant more to keep the regular military in line and for use against civilians when the Army can’t be trusted, than defend against an external threat. Indeed, the Romans gave us the name for just such a force, Praetorian Guard, troops raised specifically to provide a guard loyal to the Emperor. The Nazis had the SS and SA, the Soviets had the KGB and Interior Ministry troops, and Saddam Hussein had the Republican and Special Republican Guards. Such elite forces tend to be resented by regular militaries, who see them as rivals for resources and their existence as an insult.

If Ellian’s information is correct, then the mullahocracy is in deep peril, and its survival rests on a fragile base. The demonstrators in Iran haven’t given up; indeed, the cries of “Death to the dictator” are heard nightly from Tehran rooftops. If the military won’t defend the regime nor stand by while it uses other means to defend itself, then the mullahs’ time may be coming faster than we think.

This would be a perfect moment for the Obama Administration to provide moral and propaganda support to the pro-democracy forces in Iran. They blew it last June; let’s hope they get it right this time.

Oh, the irony

October 3, 2009

Iranian Fruitcake-in-chief President Ahmadinejad, a devout antisemite who has called for the destruction of Israel and the Holocaust a myth,  was himself born Jewish.

Overcompensating a bit, Mahmoud?


Netanyahu for President!

September 25, 2009

Okay, okay. It’s constitutionally impossible, but I can still wish for a president who can address the world with genuine moral clarity. From his address to the UN yesterday:

Yesterday, the man who calls the Holocaust a lie spoke from this podium. To those who refused to come here and to those who left this room in protest, I commend you. You stood up for moral clarity and you brought honor to your countries.

But to those who gave this Holocaust-denier a hearing, I say on behalf of my people, the Jewish people, and decent people everywhere: Have you no shame? Have you no decency?

A mere six decades after the Holocaust, you give legitimacy to a man who denies that the murder of six million Jews took place and pledges to wipe out the Jewish state.

What a disgrace! What a mockery of the charter of the United Nations! Perhaps some of you think that this man and his odious regime threaten only the Jews. You’re wrong.

History has shown us time and again that what starts with attacks on the Jews eventually ends up engulfing many others.

This Iranian regime is fueled by an extreme fundamentalism that burst onto the world scene three decades ago after lying dormant for centuries. In the past thirty years, this fanaticism has swept the globe with a murderous violence and cold-blooded impartiality in its choice of victims. It has callously slaughtered Moslems and Christians, Jews and Hindus, and many others. Though it is comprised of different offshoots, the adherents of this unforgiving creed seek to return humanity to medieval times.

Wherever they can, they impose a backward regimented society where women, minorities, gays or anyone not deemed to be a true believer is brutally subjugated. The struggle against this fanaticism does not pit faith against faith nor civilization against civilization.

It pits civilization against barbarism, the 21st century against the 9th century, those who sanctify life against those who glorify death.

Go, Bibi, go!!  Applause Dancing

For even more uncompromising moral clarity, let me recommend a good book.

(via Fausta)

Such lovely people

September 2, 2009

According to the primary spiritual adviser to Iranian Fruitcake in Chief Gilligan President Ahmadinejad, the rape of a prisoner, male or female, is acceptable in order to obtain a confession:

Asked if a confession obtained “by applying psychological, emotional and physical pressure” was “valid and considered credible according to Islam,” Mesbah-Yazdi replied: “Getting a confession from any person who is against the Velayat-e Faqih (“Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists”, or the regime of Iran’s mullahs) is permissible under any condition.” The ayatollah gave the identical answer when asked about confessions obtained through drugging the prisoner with opiates or addictive substances.

“Can an interrogator rape the prisoner in order to obtain a confession?” was the follow-up question posed to the Islamic cleric.
Mesbah-Yazdi answered: “The necessary precaution is for the interrogator to perform a ritual washing first and say prayers while raping the prisoner. If the prisoner is female, it is permissible to rape through the vagina or anus. It is better not to have a witness present. If it is a male prisoner, then it’s acceptable for someone else to watch while the rape is committed.”

Yes, praying to Allah makes the rape okay. It becomes, then, a holy act. Remember that, kiddies. Speaking of children, what of a child born from this rape? The monstrous bastard spiritual leader had an answer:

One aspect of these permitted rapes troubled certain questioners: “What if the female prisoner gets pregnant? Is the child considered illegitimate?”

Mesbah-Yazdi answered: “The child borne to any weakling [a denigrating term for women – ed.] who is against the Supreme Leader is considered illegitimate, be it a result of rape by her interrogator or through intercourse with her husband, according to the written word in the Koran. However, if the child is raised by the jailer, then the child is considered a legitimate Shi’a Muslim.”

You might wonder what kind of person could say this sort of thing. We’ve met Mesbah-Yazdi before. As a member and leader of Hojjatiyeh faction in Iran, he can be considered at the radical edge of Shiite Islamism (emphasis added):

To understand the power and influence of Messbah-Yazdi, one needs to learn a bit about the Hojjatieh sect of Shi’ite Islam. The Hojjatiyeh movement was founded in the early ’50s by Mahmoud Halabi, a cleric of Arab ancestry and Iranian nationality. The movement believes in the imminent return of the Hidden Imam, Mehdi (a.k.a The Mahdi, the 12th Imam or Sawheb’o’zaman, which means the lord and master of all time). The Mahdi is the 12th descendant of the prophet Mohammad, whose reappearance is predicted for a time when the Muslims are suffering from disaster and injustice; true Islamic rule is possible only upon his return.

The Hojjatiyeh movement opposes the Shi’ite version of a Caliphate, the Velawyat’eh Fagheeh (which Amir Taheri translates as The Regency of the Theologians), which was a principle articulated by Khomeini. Therefore, in a July 1983 speech, Khomeini outlawed the movement and ordered the arrest of Hojjatiyeh supporters. Some he even ordered executed.

Contrary to the concept of Velawyat’eh Fagheeh, which states that all political power should be in the hands of a single leader, Hojjatiyeh claims that a collective leadership should rule until the Imam’s return. The movement’s economic views are liberal, which is the why it enjoys the support of traditional bazaar merchants and landowners; they object to any religiously-based official supervision.

Hojjatiyeh actively encourages its members to spread chaos and violence in society and the world at large, in order to hasten the return of the Twelfth Imam. The movement made the headlines on April 24, 1999, when its members attempted to assassinate the head of Tehran’s judicial system, Ali Razini. In late 2002 and early 2003 Hojjatiyeh increased its activity. In response, Iranian senior officials quickly issued a warning against the entrance of its members into government institutions.

You read that right: these loons want to bring about the Shiite version of the apocalypse; even Ayatollah Khomeini thought them dangerous. President Ahmadinejad, the “Man Who Would Be Nuclear-Armed,”  belongs to a faction of the Hojjatiyeh, the so-called Jamkaran Group. And his spiritual leader is someone who advocates rape as an interrogation tool.

Meanwhile, our President has written them another letter.

Makes you feel real secure, doesn’t it?

(hat tip: QandO)

This is comforting. If you’re a religious psychopath.

October 22, 2007

Yesterday, Western governments were flatfooted by the sudden, surprise resignation of Ali Larijani, Iran’s senior negotiator (read: official charged with playing the West for suckers) for nuclear issues. Pajama Media’s Meir Javendafar described it as a case of one extremist getting fed-up with guys who were even more extreme:

Ahmadinejad does not believe in compromises when it comes to the nuclear program. To him, the reformists who have agreed to suspend Iran’s nuclear program, are as traitorous as the corrupt Iranian leaders who surrendered Iranian territory to the Russians in the Golestan and Turkemanchai agreements in the early 1800s.

To him, as he once put it, Iran’s nuclear program is like “a train with no brakes”. In other words, Iran does not need to make compromises for anyone. It is the West, especially the United Sates who has nuclear weapons and has used them, who must compromise, and not Iran.

Larijani on the other hand, urged caution. Now, he did not do this because he is pro-West. In fact, once he openly threatened that if the US attacks his country, Iran would “put Israel in a wheelchair”. He has also repeatedly attacked the presence of US troops in Iraq, and the policies of President Bush in the region. Larijani’s calls for caution stemmed from the fact that he was far more experienced than Ahmadinejad, both in terms of holding senior government positions and dealing with Westerners.

Today we learned that Mr. Larijani has been replaced by another of the millenarian, messianic end-timers that President Gilligan Ahmadinejad like to hang around with. Saeed Jalili is a close ally of Mojtaba Hashemi Samare, who during his career at the Foreign Ministry, was known for torturing diplomats thought to have become too “Western.” In turn, Hashemi Samare is a disciple of the Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, who is adored as a mentor and religious leader by … President Ahmadinejad. To give you an idea of where this crowd sits on the radical scale, Ayatollah Khomeini himself shut down Mesbah Yazdi’s organization for being too extreme.

That’s like Hitler putting down Ernst Röhm.

Now, however, bit by bit, the most extreme of the clerical fascists running Iran are gaining control over the country’s nuclear program, which, as we all know, is for peaceful purposes. (Oh, stop laughing.)

The West didn’t stop the Nazis in the 1930s, and over 50,000,000 people died for it. Let’s not make a similar catastrophic mistake this time.

(Note: Edited 5/31/2011 to fix a broken link.)