Iran and China terrify the Empire, but why?

Iran and China terrify the Empire, but why?

August 11, 2020

By Aram Mirzaei for the Saker blog

The proposed 25-year deal between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the People’s Republic of China, titled “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between I.R. Iran and P.R. China” has been heavily discussed recently. While not all details in the deal are clear, it has been described by Iranian and Chinese officials as specifying the roadmap of developing and deepening Tehran-Beijing ties in “Political”, “Executive Cooperation”, “Human and Cultural”, “Judiciary, Security and Defence”, and “Regional and International” domains.

It remains unclear when such a deal will be formally clinched. But Iran’s government says the two sides have so far finalized at least 75 percent of the draft version of the pact. Once concluded, the text of the deal will be discussed for final approval in Iran’s Parliament. However, many lawmakers are already critical of the government for not consulting the deal before entering into negotiations with China.
What has so far been made public is that the 25-year cooperation roadmap will cover economy, security and military areas. Iran will reportedly supply the PRC (People’s Republic of China) with oil for 25 years. In return, China will invest heavily in Iran’s infrastructure as well as banking and telecommunications sectors, amounting to some 400 billion dollars. Reactions, both inside and outside Iran have been mixed. Some inside Iran have criticized the deal since they believe that the Islamic Republic has negotiated it from a position of weakness, in order to escape the failing JCPOA deal and its aftermath – Washington’s maximum pressure campaign. Supporters of the deal argue that the deal is a political victory against what Beijing and Tehran have identified as a common opponent.

Naturally, the US State Department and anti-Iran Farsi media outlets based outside Iran have denounced the possible deal without even knowing all the details. The US State Department went on to issue tweets in Farsi, comparing the potential Iran-China accord to the 1828 Treaty of Turkmenchay which was a peace treaty between Qajar Iran and the Russian Empire. By the treaty, Iran had to cede to Russia control of most of its areas in the South Caucasus.

As per usual, social media is the main tool they use for their propaganda. Certain think tanks led by Western governments, particularly the United States spread rumours and lies. For instance, they have created various hashtags like “No to Iran Sellout!” This has been picked up by Iranian analysts too:

“Based on our monitoring of social media, we spotted the first analyses on the Iran-China cooperation plan in US media. What the mainly US media claim is reproduced in social media, particularly Twitter. Those who are active in cyberspace and social media include users affiliated with the Zionist regime, users affiliated with the Mujahideen Khalq Organization as they are supposed to insinuate wrong interpretations into public minds in Persian language. MKO agents based in Albania and benefiting from Western funding are involved. The Zionist regime and Saudi Arabia are also cooperating by spending money and offering human resources. From as early on as 1995, Iran has been aware of the importance of the Beijing- Tehran axis as a counterweight to the U.S.-led global order. Iran and China share a desire to engage in revisionist regional moves without wanting to start a large-scale war; to put an end to US imperialism and military supremacy in the Persian Gulf region. It is a valid question however, whether this will not lead to a Chinese show of military might in the region.

Our ties with some nations may be focused on a single aspect like agriculture, culture and energy. But with China, we have reached the conclusion that we can cooperate in academic, cultural and IT and economic sectors. And regarding the strategic aspects, our ties with some countries may be periodic. But the Islamic Republic of Iran and the People’s Republic of China eye long-term cooperation. “ Hamed Vafai, China Affairs Analyst

The Iranians outside of Iran who oppose the deal are often pro-Western and echo the same lies spewed by Washington – for example when they claim that Iran has sold its soil to China, offering Beijing Iran’s Kish Island as a military base and so on. The sheer hypocrisy by Pro-US Iranians is mind-boggling. The things they accuse the Islamic Republic of doing for China are the same things their beloved “King” did for the US, if not even more. I don’t need to go into detail over how subservient the Iranian monarchy was to Washington.

Tehran has made it clear that this deal is to protect the Iranian economy from US sanctions, and that it will not cede any part of its soil to China. Tehran rejected the criticism saying is it aimed at appeasing the enemies of the Islamic Republic. “Unfortunately, a destructive line of propaganda has been initiated and directed from outside Iran against the expansion of Iran’s relations with neighbors and especially (with) China and Russia,” Iranian president’s chief of staff, Mahmoud Vaezi, said last week.

The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, Seyed Abbas Mousavi dismissed unfounded claims of Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf being leased out to China, oil sold at exclusively low prices, or the deployment of Chinese armed forces in the Gulf, an invading force in Iranian waters that is. He said such claims were too ridiculous to even merit a denial. Apparently the Chinese response to the allegations was not so different.

So what’s in it for the parties involved?

There is no doubt that Washington’s withdrawal from the JCPOA and the subsequent sanctions imposed by Washington has left the Iranian economy in a very difficult position, especially since the EU has betrayed the deal as well. Part of the blame has been placed on the Rouhani government, which I believe to be wrong. It is counterproductive to assume that the Islamic Republic’s commitment to the JCPOA triggered the crisis since the pressure on Iran’s economy was no less severe before the JCPOA.

The trade deal itself is one of necessity as the West has failed to live up to their promises and proven once and for all that they can never be trusted. Not only have they reneged on their commitments, but they also continue to wage psychological warfare on Iran through propaganda and lies. Bearing in mind that Washington has forbidden many countries from doing deals with Tehran, I see no reason to be critical of this potential deal with the PRC as of yet. This is about the Islamic Republic’s very survival, something that the IRGC and the top leadership in Tehran have also recognized – which explains why they have remained so silent about it.

The potential partnership offers Iran a way out of the harsh US sanctions. For Iran this would translate into an injection of approximately 280 billion dollars for its energy sector and 120 billion dollars for manufacturing and transport infrastructure. In return for a discounted oil-flow to China and preferential Chinese access to various sectors of the Iranian economy, Iran would have its infrastructure given a much needed boost. The deal includes 100 projects which defy US unilateral sanctions against Iran.

China is the only remaining official buyer of Iranian oil and has strongly opposed Washington’s sanctions. It defies the US also economically together with Russia and Iran, as the three have attempted to replace the US dollar in their dealings, an act that inspired Pakistan and may have other regional states follow. Why wouldn’t the Islamic Republic with its free-falling rial want China as a potential shield against US sanctions and even motions at the UN Security Council? What other options does Iran have? To negotiate a new JCPOA with Washington, one which the US would at any time once more renege on? Besides, it should be known to all by now that the nuclear issue is not really why Washington is sanctioning the Islamic Republic.

The PRC is viewed in the West as a threat both because of its rising economic power, and more recently because of its potential political power, poised to challenge Washington’s hegemony. Crude accusations of Chinese imperialism and false expressions of “worry” for poor Asian and African countries aside, the West is worried because China’s entry into the Middle East would enhance Beijing’s position not only in West Asia, but in Central Asia and the Caucasus as well. For China, Iran could very well be a gateway into the Middle East, as it has historically also been. Iran has connections in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon where China has up until recently been absent, and their partnership could flourish as Iraq and Syria will rebuild their countries after decades of US imposed wars. The Islamic Republic can introduce lucrative projects to the Chinese who may not know the region quite well.

All this gives Washington clear reason to be annoyed since it would make the US sanctions rather useless. But Washington also knows that the implications of this potential deal are far greater than just helping Iran.

Washington knows that its position in the Middle East as the sole dominant power alongside Israel is being challenged by Russia, Iran and now China as well. The Zionist axis has lost the struggle for Syria and is desperately clinging onto the oil fields in the eastern parts of the country, they have lost in Iraq as Baghdad wants them out, and they will lose elsewhere too. Even Turkey – a NATO ally – is a loose cannon that Washington cannot trust, especially since Ankara has repeatedly refused to follow Washington’s orders. This leaves Washington with the vassal reactionary monarchies in the Persian Gulf and Israel as the only reliable “friends” of Washington’s. The birth of an alliance/united front with a common cause against the Zionist empire could potentially lead to an East-West divide situation not so different from the Cold War in Europe.

Personally, I welcome it. A bipolar balance in the region would deter Washington further from regime change attempts. The only reason for Washington’s audacity to start the Syrian and Iraqi wars were because of the power vacuum left after the dissolution of the Soviet Union – without a counter-weight against it, Washington has been free to do as it pleases in the region for the past 3 decades.

Necessity will drive China and Iran to deepen relations. Both share grievances against the US and its vassals, both are being threatened in their own regions by Washington and together with the Russian Federation, they can finally bring back a balance of power in the world. When it is all said and done, let’s see what these two ancient Asian cultures can achieve together.

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage?

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage?

April 12, 2020

By Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

In just 24 hours the UK saw nearly a half-million people volunteer to deliver food and medicine to the nation’s 1.5 million elderly and vulnerable people. Nearly 750,000 signed up, so many that they had to turn people away.

In the US the situation is the opposite: there are no shortage of stories such as NPR’s, Coronavirus Drives Away Volunteers Just As They’re Needed Most. But it’s not just the local holy-rolling church and the local food bank – the professional charity services have seemingly turned tail and ran away even though soldiering through a crisis is their job. In an “only in America” type of headline – The Peace Corps isn’t just bringing home 7,300 volunteers because of the coronavirus. It’s firing them.

With 17 million made jobless in 15 days, but with no government aid system to help them permitted to exist under US neoliberalism, food banks are not only increasingly short on food but short on people to hand out what little food they have left. Their malnutrition situation is so very dangerous that The New York Times reported that, “Uniformed (national) guardsmen help ‘take the edge off’ at increasingly tense distributions of (food) boxes,” and without even commenting on what an abnormal “edge” that is to have.

Doesn’t that all seem very American?

But in the UK national solidarity is now off the charts, and it’s not of the fundamentally conservative, nonsensical “Keep calm and carry on” variety from 2008: commentators say that the volunteer wave is healing the divide caused by Brexit, as well as erasing generation gaps because WWII-era Brits are seeing what their youth can and will do in a crisis.

How can we explain this disparity?

I think I should relate that to an Iranian this disparity is especially perplexing.

After all, “Marg bar (down with) England” is always right up there with, “Marg bar the United States”. Those two comprise 40% of the reliably unholy pentagon of your standard “Marg bar …!” chant, along with Israel, the MKO/MEK hypocrites, and those who oppose the guardianship of the Islamic jurist principle.

But look at all those volunteers – has England changed drastically and grown a conscience? Has Iran got it wrong? Are we supposed to stop marg bar-ing them now?

What?! Have you lost your head during this corona crisis?! If anything, we should be adding marg bars, not reducing marg bars! For example: why not “Marg bar Wales”? Don’t you think they feel left out often enough? And why are we leaving Scotland off the hook?

So the very notion of not marg bar-ing England practically makes me want to add a, “Marg bar you!”

But I get carried away easily, so I think it’s time for a marg bar on jokes in this article.

The reason for the difference is quite simple, but very sad

Are all of America’s healthy men and women aged 20-40, who have a statistically infinitesimal chance of dying from coronavirus, too busy to volunteer? Of course not – they’re mostly on lockdown now.

Are they too self-centred to volunteer? Is this more out-of-control Western individualism? Are they too lazy? Have they been scared into submission by an atrocious and irresponsible national media?

I honestly don’t think it’s anything like that: I think it’s that Americans are scared of the health care costs they might incur if they got sick while volunteering. Contrarily, able-bodied, young, patriotic Britishers have the National Health Service.

It’s really that simple: young Americans want to help their elder class, but they can’t go (even deeper) into debt to do so.

And that is really a sad, sad commentary on “Capitalism with American characteristics”, isn’t it?

I’m sure we can all immediately perceive how so very many negative, anti-social, self-defeating, wasteful and truly lamentable cycles of all sorts are kept in constant motion by the atrocious neoliberal principles which have been foisted on the US populace since 1980.

(Similarly, the US food bank charity is a recent development that exploded beginning in the Reagan era.)

Think of all the helplessness, hopelessness, anomie, anger, bitterness and (that old American standby) rage which could have been alleviated in America by both the act of volunteering and the benefits volunteering would bring, but which cannot even be attempted due to the incredibly difficulty of mere self-preservation in the US?

In their article To Fight Coronavirus, U.K. Asked for Some Volunteers. It Got an Army The New York Times does not mention this obvious explanation for the difference between these two across-the-Atlantic brothers. They either cannot put two and two together, or they refuse to broach the simple fact that the UK can marshal such a force because their youth class has no reason to fear indebtedness due to volunteering.

This disparity – and the explanation is hardly complex, although the ramifications are embarrassing for the US to honestly discuss – is precisely the kind of issue which fake-leftist media similar to The New York Times are steadfastly not discussing in favor of obsessive Trump-bashing and corona “deathboard-watching”.

Because fake-leftists in the US are so prone to turning their rage into false righteousness – this is not a problem caused by Trump: Obama made huge cuts to food stamps for a million households in 2014, which increased the number of people forced to rely on food bank charity, and his health care reform was a pathetic capitulation to the health care corporations and their medical lobbyists. The problem is not Republicans – Democrats are just as rabidly anti-socialist and pro-neoliberalism.

But in a pandemic any nation is necessarily going to live and die on the strength of its existing health care system. The US has to go on lockdown (they say) because their terrible health care system cannot bear even a moderate strain; the same rationale also silently explains why the average American cannot dare to attempt to humanely alleviate the ramifications of such a drastic, anti-lower-class measure.

I’m sure that many American readers are no doubt feeling quite mixed feelings about how such a simple thing – a promise of merely decent health care – could have made such a huge cultural difference during this time of huge cultural upheaval. America has just as many cultural divides to heal as Britain… but they are forced to remain alone, helpless, scared, hungry, untreated and debt-fearful.

One often has to laugh to keep from crying, so permit me one last marg bar – for those who are obsessively making every waking moment and every tiny thing about one subject and one subject only: marg bar religious corona fundamentalism.

The corona fundamentalists in the US could instead spare some time to wonder why it’s too expensive to volunteer for charity work.

***********************************

Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!

Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020

A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020

MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media – March 25, 2020

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? – March 26, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30, 2020

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020

(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020

Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020

Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020

‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020


Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.

“Death to the Islamic Republic” they chant now- and they call themselves Iranians

January 18, 2020

By Aram Mirzaei for The Saker Blog

Nobody has escaped the news of the so called “popular demonstrations” in Iran during the recent days. Hundreds of thousands of articles, updates and tweets have been made on this matter, and many have talked about what the reasons behind these protests have been. Many videos show groups so called Iranians tearing down the pictures of Martyr Qassem Soleimani, while others chant “death to the Islamic Republic” and “death to Khamenei”. Thousands of such people have appeared across Iran and many of those Iranians outside of Iran cheer on them while the Empire takes every chance to attack Iran as these protests are used by the Western Media to wage psychological warfare on the Islamic Republic.

This marks a new stage in the audacity of dissent in the Islamic Republic. In order to understand what I’m talking about; we should take a trip back in history to recognize the sworn enemies of the Islamic Republic. The Islamic Republic has since the beginning of its existence had two mortal, existential enemies – the MEK cult and the Monarchists. For a while, the Communists were a force too to be reckoned, especially in the 1980’s.

The MEK cultists, advocating “Islamic Marxism”, seek to replace the Islamic Republic’s old and conservative policies with their “modern interpretation”. In their quest for power, they’ve committed heinous acts, such as terrorism and treason, to the point where even the US, Canada and the European Union, enemies of Iran, had listed them as a terrorist organization. They have since lifted the designation and have been grooming them into becoming a “viable opposition group”.

After the 1979 revolution, the Islamic Republic had managed to drive away or execute most Monarchists and many of their supporters went into exile in the West, mostly the US, where they continued their opposition. With most of Iran’s wealth taken away by the monarchists in exile, the Islamic Republic defended by a group of ill-trained and poorly equipped group of men calling themselves “Army of Guardians of the Islamic Revolution”, fought against internal and external enemies during most of the 1980’s. The invading Iraqi Army, Communist guerrilla groups, MEK cultists armed by the Saddam regime, and separatist groups were fought vigilantly during the entire war with neighboring Iraq.

One by one, they were defeated and driven out of the country, into exile and the Islamic Republic won the battle for its survival. The communists were all but destroyed and driven into exile and the once powerful Tudeh party was split into several factions. The war ended when the MEK terrorist group were defeated in 1988, after they had been armed by the Saddam regime and launched an invasion into their own country. Saddam, who had been armed and supported by Western countries, including the US, was driven back from Iranian land and the war with Iraq resulted with a status quo ante bellum, and over a million dead Iranians. With the MEK driven back into Iraq, the Islamic Republic had survived this tremendous test and stood its ground and yet many more challenges stood in its way in the coming years. Only a year after the end of the war, the founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini passed away, leaving what many believed would be a vacuum for his successor to fill. The morning after Khomeini’s death, on June 4, 1989, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was elected as the new Leader of the Islamic Revolution despite not belonging to the rank of Marja (Grand Ayatollah), as required by the constitution, although this requirement was later removed through amendments to the constitution.

Throughout Khamenei’s rule, several rounds of rather large and widespread protests have struck Iran. The first significant one occurred in 1999, when students in Tehran protested against the closure of a reformist newspaper. The next challenge was the 2009 presidential elections and the aftermath of widespread protests due to the alleged election fraud in which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president for a second term. Both of these incidents were marked by violence and disaffection among the protesters, yet they never chanted against the Islamic Republic, they never rioted and attacked security forces in the ways that we have seen recently. In both of those protests, the protestors were pro-reformist and chanted in support for ex-president Mohammad Khatami and the presidential candidate of the 2008 elections – Mir Hossein Mousavi.

Yes, the 2009 protests were foreign backed, but not in the same obvious ways that we see today. For the first time in November 2019, I witnessed slogans calling for the death of Khamenei and outright regime change. The heinous act of tearing down Martyr Qassem Soleimani’s show these people’s absolute contempt for the Islamic Republic, but it also shows something else: that they are not protesting due to poor living standards or lack of freedom. It would make absolutely no sense to tear down the poster of Martyr Soleimani if they were poor or feeling oppressed since Martyr Soleimani’s struggle was mainly conducted abroad in an effort to liberate the region from the hands of tyrants. In fact, Iranians have Martyr Soleimani and the Quds Force to thank for their own safety from terrorism, as Imam Khamenei once said: “If we were not fighting Daesh in Aleppo or Mosul, we would be fighting them in the streets of Kermanshah and Tehran.”

If poverty was an issue, then the government reform to the gas subsidies should be welcomed by the poor since that money will now go to the poorest families in Iran. Yet the same “protestors” instead turned to rioting and set fire on banks and government buildings, rather strange isn’t it?

One should also take note of some curious things this time around. We all know that Iran announced that it accidentally shot down the Ukrainian airliner. On that same day, small anti-government began to spring up in Tehran, mainly led by university students, chanting “death to the liars”, the only problem is that nobody lied. Iran admitted to have accidentally downed that plane. Yes. it took a few days, because there had to be an investigation first before drawing any conclusions, despite whatever evidence other countries supposedly had. It’s not like these countries, allies of the Terrorist Empire, haven’t lied and pinned incidents on Iran before…

In any case, the media have been very anxious for this news. Barely any mention on the Yellow vests and the violent protests in Chile, instead they focus on a couple of thousands of protestors, with rather shady agendas, compared to the 25 million Iranians that mourned for Qassem Soleimani, and portray it as if three poster-tearing “free Iranians” represent the true Iranian sentiment for Martyr Soleimani.

Interestingly, the calls for foreign intervention among these protestors and their supporters abroad is on the rise. The so called protestors and their Twitter fans also deliberately spread videos of these “proud Iranians” who refused to step on the US and Israeli flags, as a way to bait US public support for “American help” while chanting that “the US and Israel aren’t our enemies, our enemy is right here”. There is no question as to who and what these so-called protestors represent. On some videos one can hear pro-Monarchist and pro-MEK chants. MEK communiques such as their social media platforms are filled with active propaganda and calls for regime change. Threats are constantly issued to the Islamic Republic along with instructions and encouragement to attack security forces and military bases. These people openly stand with the Terrorist Empire against their own country – and they dare to call themselves Iranians.

The Monarchists, MEK and the Terrorist Empire want people to believe that Monarchist Iran was a modern and prosperous country. In truth, Iran was a country in decline during the monarchy era, starting from the era of the Qajar dynasty in the late 1700s to the early 1900s, and continuing with the Pahlavi era to 1979. It was a country were up until 1978, 60% of the population were illiterate, where large parts of the population lived without electricity or running water, and a large majority of the country’s oil belonged to foreign powers, with a leader who had come to power through a foreign backed coup. Only the Islamic Republic has successfully ended 200 years of humiliation in the face of foreigners. Only the Islamic Republic can defend Iran from US colonialism. Only the Islamic Republic can lead the region into a rebellion with the aim of kicking the US out of West Asia. They have done more for Iran than any king has since the fall of the Great Safavid dynasty. True Iranian Patriots would wish for an independent Iran where she has retained her culture, instead of having switched it out for Western culture.

This is the Islamic Awakening. For the first time in more than a century, the Islamic world can regain its long lost honor and free itself from the shackles of colonialism and imperialism. But only with the Islamic Republic..

IRAN’S QODS FORCE AND MODERN PROXY WARS

Source

On January 3, Major General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Qods Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units were killed by US strikes on the Iraqi capital of Bahdad. The US strike caused a new regional crisis and put the entire Middle East on the edge of a new open military conflict.

In this light, it’s especially interesting to recall what the Qods Force is and how the unit provides the Iranian interests all around the world. The analysis below was originally released by SouthFront in July 2019:

The Qods Force is the irregular warfare unit of Iran’s Corps of Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Enghelab-e Eslami).  Created during the Holy Defense to augment the capabilities of the Sepah to include irregular warfare, it has since become one of the chief means of expanding Iranian ‘soft power’ within the Middle East and throughout the world.  Carrying the Persian name for Jerusalem, it is emblematic of the eschatological significance of the Islamic Republic’s regional military strategy.  More has come to light about this secretive organization since its inception, but precious little of its organization, personnel, weaponry and operations is known, and comes to light only in the wake of its suspected activities.

The close of the Holy Defense in 1988 saw the completion of the first chapter of the history of the Islamic Republic – conventional war.  The peace which followed left the new government intact but the population war-weary; the government needed to turn its attention to rebuilding the infrastructure and bringing orderliness to the disrupted lives of its people. The armed forces – both the Artesh and the Sepah – though rich with battle experience, had been worn down and desperately need this peace.

If this war taught the Iranian leadership anything, the lesson was: prevent another conventional attack by pushing the frontier for possible conflict as far as possible from the border.  To safeguard the home of the Revolution – which Khomeini and his followers viewed, and still view, as the only legitimate Islamic government, and the one which is meant to prepare the way for the return of the Mahdi – a sizeable buffer had to be constructed to allow for its endurance.  While Iran had not been defeated in the Holy Defense, it had been severely wounded by Saddam’s army with Western backing. At end of the war, Iran was in shortage in key resources and finance. The war clearly exposed the weaknesses of both the Iranian economy and the armed forces. The mujtahid rulers needed to create and perfect a national defense based upon self-reliance in order to turn Iran into a fortress for Islam from which calls for Islamic unity in the face of Zionist and Western imperialist influence could issue.  Having survived this baptism of fire intact, and with geopolitics still centered around the bipolar contest between the United States and the Soviet Union, the time for such a reconstruction appeared optimal.

The Sepah was created immediately after the Revolution in order to counter threats from armed opposition groups inside Iran such as the MKO (the Mojahedin-e Khalq or People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran) and to protect the ideological integrity of the new political system. Originally a paramilitary formation, during the Holy Defense it necessarily took on a military character while shouldering with the Artesh the burden of fighting.  During the war, in addition to the many conventional battles fought against the Iraqis, the Iranians also deployed special forces to the front line in the mountainous terrain of the north, and behind the lines to support the Kurdish struggle in northern Iraq against Saddam Hussein regime. To mirror this unit within the Artesh, the Sepah created the Qods Force to engage in all aspects of irregular warfare. Thus, the role of Quds force in the establishment of Hezbollah’s Islamic Resistance (al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya) in 1982 during the Lebanese Civil War was inevitable; following this it was used to support the operations of the Hezbe Wahdat Shia mujahedin in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation.

By supporting Hezbollah and the Hezbe Wahdat, Iran was able to counter, respectively, the American/Zionist coalition and the Soviets, thereby keeping these two groups from threatening the territorial integrity of the Islamic Republic.  When Khomeini died in 1989 and was succeeded by Ali Khamenei, who oversaw the transition from a war to a peace economy, Qods was able, along with its parent Sepah, to maintain its level of funding and even to increase its relative importance within the military strategy of Iran.

Having discussed the ideological and strategic origins and purposes of the Qods Force, let us look at its structure and methods of warfare.  Apart from its three senior commanders, no names can be attributed to either its leadership or the remainder of the force.  Major General Pasdar Qassem Soleimani, presently the most well-known Iranian soldier, has commanded the Qods Force since 1997, and his two deputies are Brigadier General Pasdar Ismail Qaani and Brigadier General Pasdar Ahmad Sabouri.  Because all members of Qods are taken from the larger Sepah, one can presume that it retains the same rank structure as its parent, although it is impossible to verify or deny this.  Similarly, although the size of the Qods Force can be approximated, its small-level tactical organization can only be guessed at based upon the arrangement of other comparable military units.  As indicated previously, Qods has two missions: advising and training of foreign military and police, and clandestine operations.  Teams of men for either type of mission may be formed ad hoc out of the service pools of each of the eight directorates suspected to exist.  According to the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, Qods is divided into the following eight directorates:

  • Iraq
  • Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Yemen (Persian Gulf)
  • Israel, Lebanon, Jordan (Middle East)
  • Afghanistan, Pakistan, India
  • Turkey
  • Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldovia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia (former-Soviet Union)
  • Central and Western Europe and the United States and Canada
  • North Africa

Further, US military intelligence suggests that Qods is divided into several branches of specialization:

  • Intelligence
  • Finance
  • Politics
  • Sabotage
  • Special operations

Because however its operations are unconventional, there is no reason to think that the Qods Force has an organization remarkably different from other secret services.  For its clandestine operations, something approaching a commando team of varying size (anywhere from 5 to 15 men led by one or two officers) seems reasonable.  Also, there could be organic, permanent units of Qods assigned to each directorate, each with a different operational specialty, and these would invariably be combined-arms units but with the component men varying depending upon what needs to be accomplished.  For the advisory and training missions, arguably what constitutes the greatest percentage of Qods assignments, one can imagine an officer/NCO structure corresponding to the level of the ranks needing training; e.g. so many officers of such a rank to train their peers or lower ranking officers, and likewise so many NCOs to train their peers or enlisted men.  As a side note, it has been suggested that Qods trains most of its clients in either the Sudan or in Iran itself.

For all of these missions, the officer/NCO ratio is necessarily higher than in the rest of the Sepah.  For this reason, it can be argued that officers and NCOs comprise a large majority of the Qods Force personnel, seeing that enlisted men would not be used to train or advise their superiors.

Where does the Qods Force carry out its clandestine operations?  From reasonable conjecture regarding the structure, the reach of Qods is world-wide.  It has been suspected of involvement in South America (e.g. in supporting the government of Venezuela), of continuing to intervene in Afghanistan against the American presence, of constituting a permanent training and advisory role to the Islamic Resistance of Hezbollah, of supporting the Syrian government since the conflict of 2011, and most of all of involvement in Iraq since 2003. Since 2008, the Qods Force has been given control of all military operations in Iraq, and it formed and currently oversees the three primary Shi’ite paramilitary organizations which work in conjunction with the Iraqi military: Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (“League of the Righteous”) with 10,000 members, Kata’ib Hizb Allah (“Brigades of the Party of God”) with 30,000+ members, and the Saraya al-Salam (“Peace Companies”) with anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 members.  This theatre of operations, provided indirectly to Qods by the Americans, gives the most continual experience to its members through the training and directing of these militias.  In the theatre of the Persian Gulf, the recent attacks against oil tankers bear the mark of what Qods is capable of, but the Iranian Government has consistently denied responsibility.  Conversely, American and Israeli special forces possess the capability to carry out such false-flag attacks and their histories give plenty of examples.  Currently, the most important missions which Qods directly or in which it participates are:

  • Missile shipments to Hezbollah
  • Arming and directing of Shi’ite militias in Iraq
  • Support of Syrian Government
  • Support of Houthis

As to types of weapons, the Qods Force probably uses the same species as other special forces (e.g. United States Green Berets, Russian Spetsnaz, British SAS), that is:

  • Handguns (e.g. PC-9 ZOAF)
  • submachine guns (e.g. MPT-9, KL-7.62mm)
  • heavy machine guns (e.g. MGA3)
  • portable MANPADs (e.g. Soheil)
  • rocket-propelled grenade launcher (e.g. Raad, RPG-29)
  • anti-tank weapons (e.g. Saeghe 1/2)
  • portable mortars (e.g. 37mm Marsh mortar)
  • plastic explosives (e.g. C4, Semtex)

The use of heavy equipment does not correspond to its missions.

In terms of size, the active personnel of Qods has been estimated to be anywhere from 5,000 to 20,000, although the most common number given is 15,000.  Globalsecurity.org asserts that in 2008, the Iranian Supreme National Security Council authorized an increase in the size of the group to 15,000, but this cannot be presently confirmed.  By comparison, the Russian Spetsnaz has a strength of roughly 5,000, the United States Green Berets 7,000, the British SAS 400 to 600.

Moving to consider its place in the Iranian political ideology of Twelve Shiism, Qods Force bears great eschatological significance.  A fact which receives barely any coverage in the Western press, the founding of the Islamic Republic was clearly stated by Ayatollah Khomeini to coincide with the approach of the end of the world.  As Twelver Shias, Khomeini and his successors are convinced that the maintenance of velayat-e faqih is critical to the return of the Twelfth Imam, Mohammad al-Mahdi.  The eschatology of the Jafari School of Jurisprudence (the official legal teaching in Iran, named after the Sixth Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq) names Jerusalem as central to the return of the Mahdi and to the establishment of Islamic government throughout the world; i.e. the golden age of Islamic rule as promised by the Prophet Mohammed. According to Sunni and Shia prophecies, the army foreordained to conquer Jerusalem is to be comprised of mostly people from the region of Iran with Iranians having a great and important role in the event. Thus, the naming of the special operations subset of the Sepah after the Persian name for the Holy City of Jerusalem should show the rest of the world just how important to the Iranians is the maintenance of their system of government by all means possible.  Currently, the use of Qods to engage in asymmetrical warfare against the American-Israeli alliance is the best means to ensure this end.  Presently, Qods can be seen as forming a ‘shield-forward’ for the Islamic Republic from a strategic point of view; this gives eschatological importance to their continued support of Hezbollah in Lebanon and to their great commitment in men and material to ensure the continuance of the Syrian government. They believe that when Imam Mahdi returns, Zionism, which Shia regard as one of the main tools in the struggle between Good and Evil, will be defeated in the final great battle for Jerusalem. Therefore they are approaching as close as possible to Israel, serving at the front line. They have succeeded in giving Iran a reasonable amount of protection, if at the expense of their allies who are physically closer to Israel.  The American Navy remains a threat in the Persian Gulf, but the wider Sepah, to whose vigilance this theatre is committed, are confident they can close the Strait of Hormuz if necessary.  The strategic balance is currently in favor of Iran and they have thus fulfilled what they believe to be their role in preparing for the Mahdi’s return.

Of those who believe in the eschatological purpose of the Islamic Republic, the Qods Force is unquestionably the vanguard of the coming march on Jerusalem, and the Western press ignores this to their own peril and the continued ignorance of their audiences.

From military and political standpoints, Qods has been very effective.  Iranian strategy has, since the 1979 Revolution, been to keep the American-Israeli alliance and its proxies at bay.  As stated previously, due to Iran’s inability to wage a full-scale war against both countries, the use of unconventional warfare has made the Qods Force come into prominence within Iran’s national defensive strategy.  Through both its advisory/training roles and its clandestine operations, Qods is used to prevent Iran’s two chief enemies from realizing strategic objectives in the Middle East and Persian Gulf and to make their continued presence within Iran’s immediate zone of security as costly and unpleasant as possible.

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What Really Happened in Iran? Wave of Protests in 100 Cities

A fuel tax hike set the country ablaze and triggered a social backlash

Global Research, December 09, 2019

On November 15, a wave of protests engulfed over 100 Iranian cities as the government resorted to an extremely unpopular measure: a fuel tax hike of as much as 300%, without a semblance of a PR campaign to explain the reasons.

Iranians, after all, have reflexively condemned subsidy removals for years now – especially related to cheap gasoline. If you are unemployed or underemployed in Iran, especially in big cities and towns, Plan A is always to pursue a second career as a taxi driver.

Protests started as overwhelmingly peaceful. But in some cases, especially in Tehran, Shiraz, Sirjan and Shahriar, a suburb of Tehran, they quickly degenerated into weaponized riots – complete with vandalizing public property, attacks on the police and torching of at least 700 bank outlets. Much like the confrontations in Hong Kong since June.

President Rouhani, aware of the social backlash, tactfully insisted that unarmed and innocent civilians arrested during the protests should be released. There are no conclusive figures, but Iranian diplomats admit, off the record, that as many as 7,000 people may have been arrested. Tehran’s judiciary system denies it.

According to Iran’s Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, as many as 200,000 people took part in the protests nationwide. According to the Intelligence Ministry, 79 people were arrested in connection with the riots only in Khuzestan province – including three teams, supported by “a Persian Gulf state,” which supposedly coordinated attacks on government centers and security/police forces.

The Intelligence Ministry said it had arrested eight “CIA operatives,” accused of being instrumental in inciting the riots.

Now compare it with the official position by the IRGC. The chief commander of the IRGC, Major General Hossein Salami, stressed riots were conducted by “thugs” linked to the US-supported Mujahedin-e Khalq (MKO), which has less than zero support inside Iran, and with added interference by the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Salami also framed the riots as directly linked to “psychological pressure” from the Trump administration’s relentless “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran. He directly connected the protests degenerating into riots in Iran with foreign interference in protests in Lebanon and Iraq.

Elijah Magnier has shown how Moqtada al-Sadr denied responsibility for the burning down of the Iranian consulate in Najaf – which was set on fire three times in November during protests in southern Iraq.

Tehran, via government spokesman Ali Rabiei, is adamant:

“According to our information, the attack on the consulate was not perpetrated by the Iraqi people, it was an organized attack.”

Predictably, the American narrative framed Lebanon and Iraq – where protests were overwhelmingly against local government corruption and incompetence, high unemployment, and abysmal living standards – as a region-wide insurgency against Iranian power.

Soleimani for President?

Analyst Sharmine Narwani, based on the latest serious polls in Iran, completely debunked the American narrative.

It’s a complex picture. Fifty-five percent of Iranians do blame government corruption and mismanagement for the dire state of the economy, while 38% blame the illegal US sanctions. At the same time, 70% of Iranians favor national self-sufficiency – which is what Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has been emphasizing – instead of more foreign trade.

On sanctions, no less than 83% agree they exerted a serious impact on their lives. Mostly because of sanctions, according to World Bank figures, Iranian GDP per capita has shrunk to roughly $6,000.

The bad news for the Rouhani administration is that 58% of Iranians blame his team for corruption and mismanagement – and they are essentially correct. Team Rouhani’s promises of a better life after the JCPOA obviously did not materialize. In the short term, the political winners are bound to be the principlists – which insist there’s no possible entente cordiale with Washington at any level.

The polls also reveal, significantly, massive popular support for Tehran’s foreign and military policy – especially on Syria and Iraq. The most popular leaders in Iran are legendary Quds Force commander Gen. Soleimani (a whopping 82%), followed by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (67%) and the head of the Judiciary Ebrahim Raisi (64%).

The key takeaway is that at least half and on some issues two-thirds of Iran’s popular opinion essentially support the government in Tehran – not as much economically but certainly in political terms. As Narwani summarizes it, “so far Iranians have chosen security and stability over upheaval every time.”

‘Counter-pressure’

What’s certain is that Tehran won’t deviate from a strategy that may be defined as  “maximum counter-pressure” – on multiple fronts. Iranian banks have been cut off from SWIFT by the US since 2018. So efforts are intensifying to link Iran’s SEPAM system with the Russian SPFS and the Chinese CIPS – alternative interbank paying systems.

Tehran continues to sell oil – as Persian Gulf traders have repeatedly confirmed to me since last summer. Digital tracking agency Tankertrackers.com concurs. The top two destinations are China and Syria. Volumes hover around 700,000 barrels a day. Beijing has solemnly ignored every sanction threat from Washington regarding oil trading with Iran.

Khamenei, earlier this month, was adamant:

“The US policy of maximum pressure has failed. The Americans presumed that they can force Iran to make concessions and bring it to its knees by focusing on maximum pressure, especially in the area of economy, but they have troubled themselves.”

In fact “maximum counter-pressure” is reaching a whole new level.

Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi confirmed that Iran will hold joint naval drills with Russia and China in the Indian Ocean in late December.

That came out of quite a significant meeting in Tehran, between Khanzadi and the deputy chief of the Chinese Joint Staff Department, Major General Shao Yuanming.

So welcome to Maritime Security Belt. In effect from December 27th. Smack on the Indian Ocean – the alleged privileged territory of Washington’s Indo-Pacific policy. And uniting the three key nodes of Eurasia integration: Russia, China and Iran.

Khanzadi said that, “strategic goals have been defined at the level administrations, and at the level of armed forces, issues have been defined in the form of joint efforts.” General Yuanming praised Iran’s Navy as “an international and strategic force.”

But geopolitically, this packs a way more significant game-changing punch. Russia may have conducted naval joint drills with Iran on the Caspian Sea. But a complex drill, including China, in the Indian Ocean, is a whole new ball game.

Yuanming put it in a way that every student of Mahan, Spykman and Brzezinski easily understands: “Seas, which are used as a platform for conducting global commerce, cannot be exclusively beneficial to certain powers.”  So start paying attention to Russia, China and Iran being quite active not only across the Heartland but also across the Rimland.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

This article was originally published on Asia Times.

Pepe Escobar is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from OneWorld

Western counter-revolution tragically on display at gas price hike protests

A picture taken on November 17, 2019 shows a scorched gas station that was set ablaze by protesters during a demonstration against a rise in gasoline prices in Eslamshahr, near the Iranian capital of Tehran. (By AFP)

A picture taken on November 17, 2019 shows a scorched gas station that was set ablaze by protesters during a demonstration against a rise in gasoline prices in Eslamshahr, near the Iranian capital of Tehran. (By AFP)

Western counter-revolution tragically on display at gas price hike protestsBy Ramin Mazaheri

Thu Nov 28, 2019 08:18AM [Updated: Thu Nov 28, 2019 08:24AM ]

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.’

 

A simple question for you: are there, for lack of a better word, “counter-revolutionaries” in Ukraine, Hong Kong, or Syria? By that I mean: do those nations have people on the far extremes of the political spectrum who will provoke, take advantage of, and even relish in violence against their governments?

Obviously, only a liar or somebody foolishly playing devil’s advocate would not respond that, yes, in these nations there are many such persons — the proof is overwhelming.

So why would it be so hard to believe that there are such persons — counter-revolutionaries — in Iran, and that they hijacked recent protests over gas price hikes to provoke, take advantage of, and devilishly relish in death and violence against the government? Iran, unlike the nations I listed — and unlike almost every nation, period — actually had a popular revolution for extremists to counter in the first place.

Iranians are reminded of their exceptionalism when, for example and for certain, such far-right groups drove on a motorcycle to a gas hike protest, fired on the crowd, and fled.

Such vicious, armed people — the allies of the governments of many of those reading this article — are obviously the worst, most anti-democratic type of criminal. Their goal is just as obvious: to foment a counter-revolution in Iran.

What is unfortunate regarding the West’s coverage of the national tragedy which was the violence at the Iranian gas hike protests is that there isn’t the barest mention of this very real, very life-and-death, very accurate reality.

The term “counter-revolutionary” staggers the Western mind in its tracks — they seem to think it has been consigned to history? Or because there are no revolutionary countries in the West, and many ones filled with neo-imperial propaganda, perhaps they cannot even conceive of the existence of counter-revolutionaries?

The impact of such naivety is profoundly deadly.

Iranian counter-revolutionaries are aware of this yawning Western blind spot, and so they know that every single Iranian death — when reported by Amnesty International or Western journalists — will be blamed on the government and national security forces even though every Iranian knows that this is false and impossible.

The sweet, good-hearted innocents at Amnesty and the desk-only journalists in London, Paris, and New York City simply do not have the experience, or maybe even the editorial approval, to write this truthful question asked by every Iranian: how many innocent deaths were caused by counter-revolutionaries, and how many counter-revolutionaries pushed their far-right views all the way to their own demise?

We don’t know, as an official government report of the deaths has not yet been released. But everyone in Iran has an idea of the answer — a lot of them.

And there were many innocent deaths of protesters, too. This is why the gas hike protests are a tragedy.

And we know, because no one denies the right to self-defense, that the government simply had to fire back: when somebody drives by on a motorcycle and opens fire… what is the alternative for any civil servant working in security?

What needs to be impressed on non-Iranians is that there are regular protests in Iran and that they are not violent. Iran is not Cuba, which has no protests besides the “Ladies in White.” Iran is also not China, which has almost too many protests to keep track of. Iran is also not the US, which seemingly forgot how to protest in between the end of their Vietnam invasion and the election of Donald Trump. So if Iran has many protests which do not get violent, why did these?

The gas price hikes were launched without warning, and I assume it is because the government knew that they would be very unpopular… but they didn’t want them to be explosive.

And by “explosive” I mean that they didn’t want the old-money monarchists, the insane MKO who are even less popular than the criminal monarchists, ISIL (an attack of theirs caused 70 innocent casualties in Tehran in 2017), the cynical mercenaries bought by Western nations and their Arab monarch puppets, the secret service agencies of such nations which of course target Iran (is this is not a great number of people, already?) to have time to plan their drive-by shootings, building bombings and arsons at a  moment of heightened social unrest. I would say it’s not that the government wanted to catch the Iranian people by surprise, but to catch these illegitimate, undemocratic, far-right, definitely “counter-revolutionary” forces by surprise.

Were there legitimate protests against the gas hikes? As I mentioned, of course, and nor were they unusual or unexpected.

But attacking a police station, probably to get weapons — it is a normal journalistic question to ask if these are the works of counter-revolutionaries or “normal protesters,” regardless of the passport such attackers hold? Take a moment to imagine what the Western mainstream response would be be if French Yellow Vests did that — the idea that any of them would receive the barest sliver of public support is preposterous.

Just like with the Yellow Vests, the West lies about the true authors of protest violence

This should be stating the obvious to anyone with a rudimentary political awareness, but in the Iranian context, a “far-rightist” is synonymous with a “counter-revolutionary.” This is the case of every society which had a revolution since 1917, and Iran is no different. There is no “far-right” party in China, Cuba, Iran, or in any revolutionary nation because revolutionary nations all banish/declare war on far-right forces, after all.

It is difficult for Westerners to understand the recent Iran protests because they are denied this historical-political honesty and context about Iran. Their difficulty is further compounded by the fact that the top NGOs and the Western mainstream media cannot or will not admit that in Western nations the far-right is firmly a part of their establishments, unlike in Iran.

Look at the Yellow Vests in France: across the West, they have been portrayed as violent, far-right thugs masquerading as protesters. The reality is — and I have been there nearly every Saturday and can testify — the scenes of extreme violence always come from Black Bloc members who infiltrate the protests. Black Bloc is totally detrimental to the legitimate pro-democracy and socioeconomic demands of the Yellow Vest protesters; their ultra-left anarchism is totally unwanted; they are easily infiltrated by rogue cops, who merely have to wear black; French riot cops don’t lift a finger to stop Black Bloc’s vandalism — they are either colluding or, certainly, told to allow violence to occur in order to discredit the Yellow Vests.

The Yellow Vests are innocent protesters, just like the Iranian gas hike protesters — they are unarmed and cannot possibly stop people from committing unreasonable violence. Therefore, how can the West blame the Yellow Vests for violence they disavow and have no part in? I don’t know… but that is certainly what they have done for a calendar year.

The real violence comes not from Iranian gas price hike protesters nor Yellow Vests (who started following a gas price hike) in either of their situations, but from outside, unwanted, self-interested forces with incredibly dubious democratic intentions.

It is crystal clear: just as the West doesn’t report that it is Black Bloc committing violence and not the Yellow Vests protesters, the West also doesn’t report that it is far-right/counter-revolutionaries who are the authors of violence in Iran.

The Iranian government must absolutely punish police wrongdoings whenever proven. They must not be like France, which last week finally opened their first trial for police brutality despite the full calendar year of incredibly calculating repression. Iran has had a short-lived paroxysm of violence — the French government cold-bloodedly wages police brutality with sadistic regularity and precision.

However, comparing France and Iran is to compare apples and bowling balls. France’s government doesn’t have to spend one second thinking about catching “anti-France” forces “by surprise.” France is not beset by many rich, far-right groups / nations / monarchs / ex-monarchs / terrorists who get out of bed in the morning with the sole goal of destabilizing their national system.

Iranians, unlike the French, know this article is full of truths.

They know that because they know what propaganda is: France just had its bloodiest day since being kicked out of Beirut some 40 years ago, as 13 French soldiers died while fighting in Mali. President Emmanuel Macron immediately tweeted, “These 13 heroes had just one goal: To protect us.” Now that is laughable propaganda about France’s “one goal!”

Nobody can believe that, but many in France and the West do — all part of the “war on terrorism,” right? But Malians know better: a January 2018 poll in the capital of Bamako revealed that 80% of respondents believe that France’s army is in Mali only to defend its own interests. Which is, of course, obviously the case. Macron immediately and robotically made his phony “war on terror” claim because he knows such scaremongering propaganda is desperately needed to stop honest discussion.

Just as many Westerners will believe Macron’s false propaganda, many Westerners will believe 100% that the Iranian government is responsible for every recent death. The emphatic, self-righteous certainty with which Western propaganda insists this falsehood and inaccuracy is appalling.

Iranians believe otherwise — some told me the majority of the dead were ardent counter-revolutionaries. This is a common perception, but it cannot be verified yet — what’s certain is that innocents did die, and that is a tragedy.

US clarifies its ‘diplomacy:’ allow a counter-revolution or starve to death

The real economic problem in Iran is the Western sanctions blockade. Such sanctions are made to create instability to the point of civil war. The West also funds groups which are designed expressly to create the most sparks precisely at times of heightened dissatisfaction and difficulty.

Those are all facts, and why would they not have been on full display at the gas price hike protests?

They were, but honest analysis of Iranian politics has few forums available. This article has discussed and analyzed these rarely-discussed realities which Iranians know well and will not deny.

In Iran, the violence comes from an ultra-violent right but the West naively acts as if such a political sector in Iran does not exist. The West also naively acts as if within their own nations there is not establishment support of far-right, conservative, certainly “counter-revolutionary” ideas and groups. It should thus be clear why the West is so unwilling to support revolutionary Iran in maintaining its revolution.

The West allies with the far-right across the world. Iranians know this, and they also pay the price. They pay the price at the gas pump, as the West’s blockade has undoubtedly forced the recent price increase, and they pay the price in so very many liters of blood, just as they have done ever since the beginning of the Western-forced invasion by Iraq in 1980.

Why can such realities not be even be broached in Western media or by Western NGOs? To this, I have no satisfactory answer.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just said, essentially, that Iran has to have a counter-revolution if “they want their people to eat.” As Yemen proves (in case North Korea did not do this already), the US is fine with starvation as a “legitimate” political tactic.

What is certain, sadly, is that no Western journalist called Pompeo a “far-rightist,” a “fascist” or a “counter-revolutionary” — they all simply nodded and reported what he said without question, contestation, or a hint of shame.

The counter-revolutionaries lost in Iran recently, again; Iran mourns that they still keep trying. The nation mourns most of all because of the West’s never-ending blockade against Iranian self-determination.

The terroristic inhumanity of their starvation-strangulation-sanction policy is something which cannot be broached in Western media, NGOs, governments or among many Western citizens, as well.

 

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)

 

Rioting, insecurity will be dealt with decisively: Iran’s IRGC

Image result for Rioting, insecurity will be dealt with decisively: Iran's IRGC

Press Tv

Monday, 18 November 2019 2:36 PM

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has issued a statement on the recent riots in some cities, which followed peaceful protests over government’s decision to raise fuel prices, warning that it will firmly deal with any measure aimed at sowing insecurity in the country.

Commending the insight and smartness of the Iranian people, who draw a clear line between their peaceful protests and acts of rioting, the IRGC’s statement, which was released on Monday, said, “Continuation of any measure, which would foment insecurity, and all actions targeting the calm and tranquility in the society will be dealt with decisively.”

On Friday, Iran began rationing gasoline and substantially increased the price of fuel, saying the revenue would be used to assist the needy.

The National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company (NIOPDC) said in a statement late Thursday that the price of a liter of regular gasoline had gone up to 15,000 rials (12.7 US cents) from 10,000 rials and the monthly ration for each private automobile was set at 60 liters per month. Additional purchases would cost 30,000 rials per liter.

The decision sparked rallies in a number of Iranian cities, some of which were marred by violence as opportunist elements tried to exploit the situation and ride the wave of peaceful protests against hiking fuel prices.

Consequently, the demonstrations turned violent in some cities, with reports of clashes between security forces and certain elements vandalizing public property.

On Sunday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei backed the recent government decision to ration gasoline and increase its price.

Ayatollah Khamenei said while he is not an expert in the field, he still supports the decision which has been made by the three branches of power — namely, executive, legislative and judicial.

Read more:

Noting that the acts of rioting in some Iranian cities were stoked by counterrevolutionary elements, the anti-Iranian Mujahedeen Khalq Organization (MKO) and the remnants of the past monarchical regime of Iran, the IRGC said in its statement that the vigilance of the Iranian people, who distanced themselves from saboteurs, turned the table against those elements and thwarted their plans to spread insecurity across the country.

It hailed the brave and dedicated Iranian people who have always subdued the deceitful enemy through their power and greatness and guaranteed stability and calm in most of the Iranian cities and provinces during the recent days in a way that there was not even one report of insecurity, destruction and plunder of public property in most parts of the country.

The statement also stressed the importance of protecting people’s civil rights and dignity against any violation and preventing increases in prices of other goods and commodities by relevant state bodies while calling on the Iranian people to disregard hostile propaganda of satellite and online networks of the enemy as the best way to put an end to rioting and establish sustainable and inclusive security in all parts of the country.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that his administration recognizes people’s right to hold protests against a recent government decision to ration gasoline, emphasizing, however, that nobody will be allowed to spread insecurity in the society.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting in Tehran, Rouhani referred to the recent protests in some Iranian cities against the government’s measure, which were at times marred with violence, saying holding protest rallies was a natural right of the people.

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Read more:

War Gaming the Persian Gulf Conflict

August 02, 2019

War Gaming the Persian Gulf Conflict

By Blake Archer Williams for The Saker Blog

Greetings from Tehran, the “Capital of the free world” (E. Michael Jones).

A few days ago, Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst, had a brief post on Colonel Patrick Lang’s weblog, Sic Semper Tyrannis. Here’s the link:

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2019/07/will-donald-trump-kill-his-presidency-over-iran-by-larry-c-johnson.html#comments

He gave four possible options, and invited the commenters to add others of their own. The whole post and the comments which followed were absolutely pathetic in terms of the depth of analysis, including this mind-blowing comment by the Turcopolier himself:

“The strait would not stay closed long, but there would be considerable economic damage while it is.”

I mean, are these people nuts?? Let me put it this way:

The [sand] niggers have burned down the plantation, OK? The plantation is no more. It is an ex-Plantation.

And the niggers have built their own supersonic Noor ground to sea and ground to ground missiles; we have built ballistic missiles with ranges of up to 2000 km and winged cruise missiles with a range of 2500, all with high precision (low CEP) impacts. Our latest generation of drones are on the leading edge of the technology. Trust me. (We are always in the 90+ percentile if not actually winning the medals in the Olympics for mathematics, physics, chemistry, electrical engineering, information technology, etc.)

Image result for abraham lincoln ship

If the first ballistic missile or Noor cruise missile fails to take out the control tower of the Abraham Lincoln (and fail they won’t), we will use the multiple warhead option on the ballistic missiles, and “carpet bomb” the runway so that it will be useless. Just a rubber duck sitting in our pond, with its 5,000+ sailors constantly under fire until they raise the white flag of surrender and wait to be taken hostage.

The niggers have exercised strategic patience for a very long time (four decades). It would be nice to have a few more years just to be sure, but we are ready. We are thirsting for relief from the false new worldly order (novus ordo seclorum falsus) as declared in the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican in 1965 and in the Centesimus Annus encyclical issued by Pope John Paul II in 1991, which emphasized the surrender to usury (“capitalism, properly understood”).

Let us game this. Trumpf is talking about the use of nuclear weapons. He is itching for it. But only after he gets re-elected. What are Iran’s options? The Iranian “Samson Option” is simple: Fire a few Noor missiles at the deep-water supertanker docking ports of Ra’s Tanura (Saudi Arabia), Fujairah, and Dubai’s Jebel Ali port, “the largest man-made deep-water harbor in the world that is also the U.S. Navy’s busiest port of call outside of America.” It would take at least six months to rebuild the ruins, IF the sand-niggers allow the reconstruction to take place, during which time no supertankers will be able to dock anywhere in the Persian Gulf to fill their huge bellies with that yummy crude. What that would do to the world economy, you would have to ask my friend, Pepe Escobar, who knows a thing or two about derivatives and over-extension more generally. What is Trumpf going to do now that he has crashed Wall Street worse than 1929? I.e. the final crash which Pax Americana (as wagged by the Pax Judaica tail, of course) will not recover from. I.e. finally putting the Crash of September 2008 precipitated by the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy out of its misery. Take a dive from the top of Trumpf Tower, that’s what. The American equivalent of Seppuku, not having the “guts” for the real thing, or not being able to “make the cut” – you decide.

The pathetic talk on Sic Semper Tyrannis is that we would be able to hit some of the Saudi oil and tank infrastructure. For example, one of the commenters (Jack) says,

“The real question is how badly could they damage Gulf oil production infrastructure and how long would it take to rebuild?”

Why would we want to destroy what is [ultimately] ours??

Why not provide machine guns to the 2 million oppressed Shi’a in Qatif; you know, the niggers who run the Ra’s Tanura refinery and port… Roll in a couple of armored Divisions, given them the Uzi and Kalashnikov high copies (and maybe some magic Houthi sandals with which to wage war), and leave the tanks there for them to defend Qatīf with. (We would have their backs on the Persian Gulf side).

Why not take as many of the 10,000 soldiers at the un-defendable Bagram base in Afghanistan hostage, as well as the 5,000 or so sailors of the Fifth Fleet stationed in Bahrain? (With the fall of Qatīf, Bahrain would also fall back into Iranian suzerainty.)

Why not bomb the control centers and runways of all the airfields the US would want to use to take out our radar installations out in the first few weeks (so that they can then send in their Depends™ -wearing pilots to take out our nuclear sites). And for what? Like that is going to achieve anything other than bring about further national unity and cohesion. But like I said, there would be no “few weeks” once Iran implements the first three days of its gameplan.

Why not take out Dimona and the Haifa Port Chemical Terminal and the Ben-Gurion Airport control tower?

Why not make Israel a no-fly zone, so that the dual passport holders can make their way back to Europe and New York, which is where they came from in the first place? Not for the military aircraft, but for commercial aircraft: Anything taking off or landing in Ben-Gurion will be shot down by domestic analogues of the S-300’s; you know, the same good fireworks brought to you by the same folk who destroyed the so-called “stealth” Triton drone at four o’clock in the morning. (Help me out here… we’re just gaming this, ok?). And as for the Persian Gulf (not “the Gulf”, stupid); someone rightly characterized it as the Hotel California for whatever martial vessel which dares enter it. And for those who are not old enough to know: “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave!”

So these are the options as we see them.

First the Emirates (half of whose keffiyeh wearing “sheiks” are ethnically Iranian and Persian speaking anyway), and Qatīf (and of course Jīzān and the southern parts of Asīr back to the Yemenese, where they have always belonged historically). And then on to the Hejaz and the haramayn: Mecca and Medina, driving the Wahhabeast heretics back under the rocks of Najrān, from under which they crawled with the aid of British arms and financing back in the middle of the 18th century.

Yes, Russia isn’t too happy about the possibility of Iranian control over such a large geopolitical jugular vein, but hey, it’s geographical determinism; they’ll get used to it. They will be getting Germany and France and the European sub-continent’s integration into the Eurasia “world continent” (McKinder?). And better the oil in the hands of the rational Shi’a than the crazy-as-a-loon American cowboys. And the ‘Sea Power’ pirates, Perfidious Albion and Uncle $cam will have to scamper back home with their rat-tails between their rat legs, followed by all their takfiri scum “rats” (Ghaddāfī), who will be deported to London and New York, God grant!

The phase of strategic patience is over.

We are now in the phase of Eye for an Eye Escalation. But do not think that this phase will have the longevity of the last one. It is on a high-sprung spring-loaded trigger, after which all bets are off.

This is the way we see it. How do you see it, Pray tell? Do you see it as we see it? As Colonel Lang sees it? Or somewhere in between? I eagerly await to see your perspectives in your comments.

Blake Archer Williams has asked me to add this article under his analysis because it illustrates the points he just made.  He also added the following important caveat to this translation:

The translation of the subtitles is not the best. Particularly, General Soleimani’s very first sentence, which is very important, has not been rendered well. Where it says, “There is no need for armed forces, I am your foe, the Qods Force is your foe.” It should read as follows:
“There is no need for the [regular] Iranian Armed Forces [to get involved in order to resolve the conflict between us]; I am [a sufficient] adversary for you; the Qods Force is [sufficient enough] of a foe for [the likes of] you.”

Also, at 1:37, where the good general says, “You start this war, but the end of it, we will decide.” Should read:

“You [may] start this war, but [know that in such an event], it is we who will draw (tarsīm) [the political map] of how it will end [literally: “of its end”)].

And as you know, my friend, General Soleimani is not given to hyperbole and lies, as is the unfortunate habit of US politicians and now generals too.

——-
Here is the article in question:

PressTV reports

Iran’s Major General Qassem Soleimani has sharply reacted to the recent “cabaret owner-style” military threat by US President Donald Trump against the Islamic Republic, saying he takes the position to respond “as a soldier” since it is beneath the dignity of Iran’s president to do so.

Addressing Trump, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said, “You threaten us with an action that is ‘unprecedented’ in the world. This is cabaret-style rhetoric. Only a cabaret owner talks to the world this way.”

He was reacting to Trump’s all-caps tweet addressed to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in which he threatened the Islamic Republic with actions “the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before.”

The tweet came after President Rouhani warned the US against its hostile approach against Iran, saying Washington should know that peace with Iran will be the mother of all peace while war with the country will be the mother of all wars.

“It is beneath the dignity of our president to respond to you. I, as a soldier, respond to you,” Soleimani further said.

You already did all you could!

The senior general further reminded the United States of its failures in its invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

“What was it that you could do over the past 20 years but you didn’t? You came to Afghanistan with scores of tanks and personnel carriers and hundreds of advanced helicopters and committed crimes there. What the hell could you do between 2001 and 2018 with 110,000 troops? You are today begging Taliban for talks,” Major General Soleimani said.

The Iranian commander added, “Afghanistan was a poor country, what the hell could you do in this country that you are currently threatening us?”

“You arrogantly attacked Iraq with 160,000 troops and multiple times [military equipment] compared to what you used in Afghanistan, but what happened? Ask your then commander who was the person that he sent to me and asked ‘Is is possible for you to give us time [and] use your influence so that our soldiers would not be attacked by the Iraqi fighters in these few months  until we exit this country?’ Have you forgotten that you provided adult diapers for your soldiers in tanks? Despite that you are currently threatening the great country of Iran? With what background do you threaten [us]?”

“We are near you, where you can’t even imagine. We are the nation of martyrdom, we are the nation of Imam Hossein, you better ask. Come; we are ready. We are the man of this arena. You know that this war would mean annihilation of all your means. You may begin the war, but it is us who will end it,” he said.

In Yemen, Soleimani said, the US-backed coalition of Saudi Arabia and its allies has been incapable of making any gains against the country’s Houthi Ansarullah movement, which is both running state affairs and defending the nation against the Riyadh-led aggression.

“A mere organization is standing against you in Yemen, but it has emerged victorious in the face of the most advanced of your military equipment. What have you achieved over the past four years? You stripped the Red Sea – which used to be a safe sea – of security. You brought under fire Saudi Arabia and [its capital] Riyadh – which had not seen a single rocket fired at them for 100 years.”

The senior general further warned Trump against insulting the Iranian nation and president.

“Trump! You must not threaten our nation and must not insult our president… You must know what you are talking about; ask your predecessors and take advantage of their experiences,” General Soleimani emphasized.

The senior military official also censured the US for supporting the most hated anti-Iran terror group, called the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO), saying Washington failed to achieve anything by doing so.

The commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force said,

“the US had some grandeur in the past [and] when its fleet moved out, a nation fell apart. Have you now become attached to the Monafeqeen, who have been thrown in the trash bin of Iran’s history? You have become attached to a vagrant woman, and show her in all [your news] networks; is your hope pinned on this? Is this all your power? You are aware of our power in the region and capability for [launching] asymmetrical war?”

 

No, Israel Did Not Attack Iranian Targets In Iraq

 

By Moon Of Alabama

August 01, 2019 “Information Clearing House” – Israeli newspaper repeat a report which claims that Israeli planes hit Iranian targets in Iraq.

From the last one:

The IAF used its F-35i stealth fighter jets to hit two Iraqi bases that were used by Iranian forces and proxies and for storing ballistic missiles, the London-based Saudi daily Asharq Al-Awsat reported on Tuesday.

Asharq Al-Awsat is owned by Faisal bin Salman, a member of the Saudi ruling clan. It is – like other Arab papers – often used to launder Israeli disinformation and propaganda that is then repeated in the Israeli press.

The original Asharq Al-Aswat report reads:

Israel has expanded the scope of its Iranian targets in Iraq and Syria, western diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat amid reports that Tel Aviv carried out an airstrike earlier this month against an Iranian rockets depot northeast of Baghdad.

The July 19 attack was carried out by an Israeli F-35 fighter jet, they added.

On Sunday, the Ashraf base in Iraq, a former base used by the Iranian opposition People’s Mujahedin of Iran, was targeted by an air raid, said sources.

The base lies 80 kilometers from the border with Iran and 40 kilometers northeast of Baghdad.

The sources revealed that the strikes targeted Iranian “advisors” and a ballistic missile shipment that had recently arrived from Iran to Iraq.

Last week, Syria’s Tal al-Hara was struck by Israeli jets.

The diplomatic sources said the attack targeted Iran’s attempt to seize control of the strategic hill, located in Daraa countryside in southern Syria.

The above F-35 promotion then goes on to laud the Israeli Arrows-3 air defense missile the U.S. paid for.

Of the three incidents Asharq Al-Awsat mentions only one, in Syria, really happened.

On July 19 a fire broke out at a camp of the 16th Brigade of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). It set off some ammunition. The 16th is a light infantry brigade. It does not have ballistic missiles. While the incident was first reported as a missile attack, an investigation later said (Arabic) that the fire was caused by a defect of some equipment (machine translation)

The Central Commission of Inquiry sent by the People’s Assembly on Sunday announced the results of the investigation into the bombing of the Martyrs’ Camp of the Commission, which is located near the city of Ameri.

The report of the specialized committee confirmed that the investigations conducted have proved that the explosion was not a military target as a result of a plane or a guided missile, but was a fire of solid fuel due to an internal defect.

No one was killed in the incident.

The alleged attack on Sunday never happened:

TØM CΛT @TomtheBasedCat – 17:29 UTC · Jul 30, 2019

The Camp Ashraf incident was nothing more than a rumor that started on Facebook. It’s not even called Ashraf anymore, the base is named after the Brigade 27 commander who was Martyred in Diyala battles.

Saudis hard at work creating Fake News.

It is not the Saudis that created this fake news but the “western diplomatic sources”, aka the Israeli ambassador in London, who briefed the Asharq Al-Awsat writer.

The third incident, in Syria, did happen:

Syria’s state media said on Wednesday an Israeli missile attack had targeted the country’s southern province of Daraa, but did not report any casualties.

State news agency SANA and state TV added that the “Israeli aggression” struck Tal al-Hara hill that is home to Syrian army posts adding that it only caused material damage.

The Tal al-Hara hill, a strategic area overlooking the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, was for many years a major Russian military radar outpost until rebels took it over in 2014 before it was again recaptured by the Syrian army last year.

Israel did not hit any Iranian targets or anything else in Iraq. The Asharq Al-Awsat story is pure propaganda.

If the Israeli air force were stupid enough to bomb targets in Iraq, it would likely see consequences that it would not like:

TØM CΛT @TomtheBasedCat – 18:08 UTC · Jul 30, 2019

And besides

If Israel really wants to waste their time and resources striking sites in Iraq, by all means.

They’ll only accelerate the decision as to whether or not to purchase the S-400 system.

There are plenty of Air Defense Officers who are already fluent in Russian.

This article was originally published by “Moon Of Alabama” – 

Do you agree or disagree? Post your comment here

==See Also==

Israel to conduct new offensives in Iraq soon: “Israel has expanded its area of ??control against the Iranian presence in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq,” while indicated that it will conduct further strikes soon on Iranian sites in Iraq.

Iran’s Qods Force And Modern Proxy Wars

South Front

25.07.2019

Iran’s Qods Force And Modern Proxy Wars

Based on the analysis prepared by Dennis M. Nilsen, PhD exclusively for SouthFront

The Qods Force is the irregular warfare unit of Iran’s Corps of Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Enghelab-e Eslami).  Created during the Holy Defense to augment the capabilities of the Sepah to include irregular warfare, it has since become one of the chief means of expanding Iranian ‘soft power’ within the Middle East and throughout the world.  Carrying the Persian name for Jerusalem, it is emblematic of the eschatological significance of the Islamic Republic’s regional military strategy.  More has come to light about this secretive organization since its inception, but precious little of its organization, personnel, weaponry and operations is known, and comes to light only in the wake of its suspected activities.

The close of the Holy Defense in 1988 saw the completion of the first chapter of the history of the Islamic Republic – conventional war.  The peace which followed left the new government intact but the population war-weary; the government needed to turn its attention to rebuilding the infrastructure and bringing orderliness to the disrupted lives of its people. The armed forces – both the Artesh and the Sepah – though rich with battle experience, had been worn down and desperately need this peace.

If this war taught the Iranian leadership anything, the lesson was: prevent another conventional attack by pushing the frontier for possible conflict as far as possible from the border.  To safeguard the home of the Revolution – which Khomeini and his followers viewed, and still view, as the only legitimate Islamic government, and the one which is meant to prepare the way for the return of the Mahdi – a sizeable buffer had to be constructed to allow for its endurance.  While Iran had not been defeated in the Holy Defense, it had been severely wounded by Saddam’s army with Western backing. At end of the war, Iran was in shortage in key resources and finance. The war clearly exposed the weaknesses of both the Iranian economy and the armed forces. The mujtahid rulers needed to create and perfect a national defense based upon self-reliance in order to turn Iran into a fortress for Islam from which calls for Islamic unity in the face of Zionist and Western imperialist influence could issue.  Having survived this baptism of fire intact, and with geopolitics still centered around the bipolar contest between the United States and the Soviet Union, the time for such a reconstruction appeared optimal.

The Sepah was created immediately after the Revolution in order to counter threats from armed opposition groups inside Iran such as the MKO (the Mojahedin-e Khalq or People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran) and to protect the ideological integrity of the new political system. Originally a paramilitary formation, during the Holy Defense it necessarily took on a military character while shouldering with the Artesh the burden of fighting.  During the war, in addition to the many conventional battles fought against the Iraqis, the Iranians also deployed special forces to the front line in the mountainous terrain of the north, and behind the lines to support the Kurdish struggle in northern Iraq against Saddam Hussein regime. To mirror this unit within the Artesh, the Sepah created the Qods Force to engage in all aspects of irregular warfare. Thus, the role of Quds force in the establishment of Hezbollah’s Islamic Resistance (al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya) in 1982 during the Lebanese Civil War was inevitable; following this it was used to support the operations of the Hezbe Wahdat Shia mujahedin in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation.

By supporting Hezbollah and the Hezbe Wahdat, Iran was able to counter, respectively, the American/Zionist coalition and the Soviets, thereby keeping these two groups from threatening the territorial integrity of the Islamic Republic.  When Khomeini died in 1989 and was succeeded by Ali Khamenei, who oversaw the transition from a war to a peace economy, Qods was able, along with its parent Sepah, to maintain its level of funding and even to increase its relative importance within the military strategy of Iran.

Having discussed the ideological and strategic origins and purposes of the Qods Force, let us look at its structure and methods of warfare.  Apart from its three senior commanders, no names can be attributed to either its leadership or the remainder of the force.  Major General Pasdar Qassem Soleimani, presently the most well-known Iranian soldier, has commanded the Qods Force since 1997, and his two deputies are Brigadier General Pasdar Ismail Qaani and Brigadier General Pasdar Ahmad Sabouri.  Because all members of Qods are taken from the larger Sepah, one can presume that it retains the same rank structure as its parent, although it is impossible to verify or deny this.  Similarly, although the size of the Qods Force can be approximated, its small-level tactical organization can only be guessed at based upon the arrangement of other comparable military units.  As indicated previously, Qods has two missions: advising and training of foreign military and police, and clandestine operations.  Teams of men for either type of mission may be formed ad hoc out of the service pools of each of the eight directorates suspected to exist.  According to the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, Qods is divided into the following eight directorates:

  • Iraq
  • Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Yemen (Persian Gulf)
  • Israel, Lebanon, Jordan (Middle East)
  • Afghanistan, Pakistan, India
  • Turkey
  • Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldovia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia (former-Soviet Union)
  • Central and Western Europe and the United States and Canada
  • North Africa

Further, US military intelligence suggests that Qods is divided into several branches of specialization:

  • Intelligence
  • Finance
  • Politics
  • Sabotage
  • Special operations

Because however its operations are unconventional, there is no reason to think that the Qods Force has an organization remarkably different from other secret services.  For its clandestine operations, something approaching a commando team of varying size (anywhere from 5 to 15 men led by one or two officers) seems reasonable.  Also, there could be organic, permanent units of Qods assigned to each directorate, each with a different operational specialty, and these would invariably be combined-arms units but with the component men varying depending upon what needs to be accomplished.  For the advisory and training missions, arguably what constitutes the greatest percentage of Qods assignments, one can imagine an officer/NCO structure corresponding to the level of the ranks needing training; e.g. so many officers of such a rank to train their peers or lower ranking officers, and likewise so many NCOs to train their peers or enlisted men.  As a side note, it has been suggested that Qods trains most of its clients in either the Sudan or in Iran itself.

For all of these missions, the officer/NCO ratio is necessarily higher than in the rest of the Sepah.  For this reason, it can be argued that officers and NCOs comprise a large majority of the Qods Force personnel, seeing that enlisted men would not be used to train or advise their superiors.

Where does the Qods Force carry out its clandestine operations?  From reasonable conjecture regarding the structure, the reach of Qods is world-wide.  It has been suspected of involvement in South America (e.g. in supporting the government of Venezuela), of continuing to intervene in Afghanistan against the American presence, of constituting a permanent training and advisory role to the Islamic Resistance of Hezbollah, of supporting the Syrian government since the conflict of 2011, and most of all of involvement in Iraq since 2003. Since 2008, the Qods Force has been given control of all military operations in Iraq, and it formed and currently oversees the three primary Shi’ite paramilitary organizations which work in conjunction with the Iraqi military: Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (“League of the Righteous”) with 10,000 members, Kata’ib Hizb Allah (“Brigades of the Party of God”) with 30,000+ members, and the Saraya al-Salam (“Peace Companies”) with anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 members.  This theatre of operations, provided indirectly to Qods by the Americans, gives the most continual experience to its members through the training and directing of these militias.  In the theatre of the Persian Gulf, the recent attacks against oil tankers bear the mark of what Qods is capable of, but the Iranian Government has consistently denied responsibility.  Conversely, American and Israeli special forces possess the capability to carry out such false-flag attacks and their histories give plenty of examples.  Currently, the most important missions which Qods directly or in which it participates are:

  • Missile shipments to Hezbollah
  • Arming and directing of Shi’ite militias in Iraq
  • Support of Syrian Government
  • Support of Houthis

As to types of weapons, the Qods Force probably uses the same species as other special forces (e.g. United States Green Berets, Russian Spetsnaz, British SAS), that is:

  • Handguns (e.g. PC-9 ZOAF)
  • submachine guns (e.g. MPT-9, KL-7.62mm)
  • heavy machine guns (e.g. MGA3)
  • portable MANPADs (e.g. Soheil)
  • rocket-propelled grenade launcher (e.g. Raad, RPG-29)
  • anti-tank weapons (e.g. Saeghe 1/2)
  • portable mortars (e.g. 37mm Marsh mortar)
  • plastic explosives (e.g. C4, Semtex)

The use of heavy equipment does not correspond to its missions.

In terms of size, the active personnel of Qods has been estimated to be anywhere from 5,000 to 20,000, although the most common number given is 15,000.  Globalsecurity.org asserts that in 2008, the Iranian Supreme National Security Council authorized an increase in the size of the group to 15,000, but this cannot be presently confirmed.  By comparison, the Russian Spetsnaz has a strength of roughly 5,000, the United States Green Berets 7,000, the British SAS 400 to 600.

Moving to consider its place in the Iranian political ideology of Twelve Shiism, Qods Force bears great eschatological significance.  A fact which receives barely any coverage in the Western press, the founding of the Islamic Republic was clearly stated by Ayatollah Khomeini to coincide with the approach of the end of the world.  As Twelver Shias, Khomeini and his successors are convinced that the maintenance of velayat-e faqih is critical to the return of the Twelfth Imam, Mohammad al-Mahdi.  The eschatology of the Jafari School of Jurisprudence (the official legal teaching in Iran, named after the Sixth Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq) names Jerusalem as central to the return of the Mahdi and to the establishment of Islamic government throughout the world; i.e. the golden age of Islamic rule as promised by the Prophet Mohammed. According to Sunni and Shia prophecies, the army foreordained to conquer Jerusalem is to be comprised of mostly people from the region of Iran with Iranians having a great and important role in the event. Thus, the naming of the special operations subset of the Sepah after the Persian name for the Holy City of Jerusalem should show the rest of the world just how important to the Iranians is the maintenance of their system of government by all means possible.  Currently, the use of Qods to engage in asymmetrical warfare against the American-Israeli alliance is the best means to ensure this end.  Presently, Qods can be seen as forming a ‘shield-forward’ for the Islamic Republic from a strategic point of view; this gives eschatological importance to their continued support of Hezbollah in Lebanon and to their great commitment in men and material to ensure the continuance of the Syrian government. They believe that when Imam Mahdi returns, Zionism, which Shia regard as one of the main tools in the struggle between Good and Evil, will be defeated in the final great battle for Jerusalem. Therefore they are approaching as close as possible to Israel, serving at the front line. They have succeeded in giving Iran a reasonable amount of protection, if at the expense of their allies who are physically closer to Israel.  The American Navy remains a threat in the Persian Gulf, but the wider Sepah, to whose vigilance this theatre is committed, are confident they can close the Strait of Hormuz if necessary.  The strategic balance is currently in favor of Iran and they have thus fulfilled what they believe to be their role in preparing for the Mahdi’s return.

Of those who believe in the eschatological purpose of the Islamic Republic, the Qods Force is unquestionably the vanguard of the coming march on Jerusalem, and the Western press ignores this to their own peril and the continued ignorance of their audiences.

From military and political standpoints, Qods has been very effective.  Iranian strategy has, since the 1979 Revolution, been to keep the American-Israeli alliance and its proxies at bay.  As stated previously, due to Iran’s inability to wage a full-scale war against both countries, the use of unconventional warfare has made the Qods Force come into prominence within Iran’s national defensive strategy.  Through both its advisory/training roles and its clandestine operations, Qods is used to prevent Iran’s two chief enemies from realizing strategic objectives in the Middle East and Persian Gulf and to make their continued presence within Iran’s immediate zone of security as costly and unpleasant as possible.

Reza Pahlavi sells himself at a 98% discount to MBS’ propaganda channel

July 15, 2019

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog (cross-posted with PressTV by permission)

Reza Pahlavi sells himself at a 98% discount to MBS’ propaganda channel

(Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of “I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China”.)

Reza Pahlavi, the son of deposed Iranian king Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, is reportedly set to star in a TV program for UK-based media Iran International.

The Farsi-language channel is reportedly funded by Saudi Arabia’s Mohammad bin Salman, and exists to produce propaganda against modern Iran. It also exists as a mouthpiece for terrorists: Iran International gained infamy in Iran – but no condemnation nor penalty from UK media authorities – for broadcasting a gloating interview with the perpetrators of the 2018 Ahvaz terror attack, which killed 25 people and wounded 70 others.

Mohammad bin Salman reportedly conceived the idea that the camera just loves Reza Pahlavi – MBS likely believes the camera loves all monarchs, even “never were” monarchs like Pahlavi.

MBS and Iran International may have a tough time attracting an audience, mainly because the Iranian people are not at all interested in the obvious goal of the program: whitewashing the crimes and multiple treasons of the Pahlavi household. Pahlavi will find it very hard to reverse the widespread opinion in Iran that the Pahlavi family is a hollow puppet of foreign powers which have only ill-will towards the average Iranian person.

Pahlavi, showcasing the negotiation skills he proposes to return to Iran’s top office, agreed to do the show at just 2% of his original salary demand. Perhaps Pahlavi cut his rates because he finally realised that he was not only not an actual king, but simply the son of a king, and a long-deposed king at that.

Unfortunately for those who value truth in journalism, this royal-sized discount leaves more money in the budget of Iran International – anti-Iran terrorists surely appreciate Pahlavi’s agreement to take a pay cut.

However, the same report said that he put aside his royal pride after getting pressured by the intelligence services of an unnamed European country. That European country is, of course, Poland. I realise that I am unusual in this assertion – every other Iranian surely assumes that the unnamed country can only be the UK, because bribing Iranian (ex-) elite to work for the detriment of the Iranian democratic will is what they have done since the early 1800s.

The only other European country with the neo-imperialist inclination to get involved in this type of a situation is France. However, they have long-hosted the MKO terrorist group, proving that they back the other losing horse in this pathetic race to history’s glue factory.

The MKO took time out of planning their next assassination attempt and their friendly chats with John Bolton to let it be known to their supporters inside Saudi Arabia that giving Pahlavi a program would result in the MKO leaking damaging information in retaliation. The MKO does not want Pahlavi viewed as a possible leader of the opposition to Iran’s popularly-supported democracy.

Sometimes people have fallen so far behind in a race that they actually convince themselves they are winning, and this is the case here. Watching the MKO argue with Reza Pahlavi while the Saudis try to hold the two back reminds all of Iran of Moe trying to restrain Larry and Curly in the “Three Stooges” film shorts.

The reality-show car crash which is the Pahlavi family, the “more horrifying than any movie” MKO – Iranians view both with tabloid interest combined with the relief that our national nightmares with them are completely finished. No matter how much support the US, Israel, the UK, the Arab monarchs and the French give, and no matter how much whitewashing they can get from mainstream Western media like The New York Times and Politico, neither of these groups have any political support inside Iran.

Pahlavi’s program will treat us to him traveling around the world and meeting with “dissident movements”. It boggles the mind as to whom would welcome an association with the Son of the Deposed King of Kings? Any movement which supports the restoration of royalty is automatically a reactionary group. The liberal democracy supporters (either of the republican or constitutional monarchy variety) who would go on Pahlavi’s show are obviously pathetic, aristocratic opportunists. Certainly no supporters of socialist democracy nor Islamic democracy would appear at any price.

I assume then that Pahlavi will be confined to taking his viewers to the only two areas of the world where overpaid, under-democratic monarchs predominate – the autocratic monarchies in the Muslim world and the liberal democratic monarchies of Europe.

The incredibly amusing joke which is forever ready in the bush whenever one debates with one of the “restore the shah” rich Iranian exiles is this: In their mind and in their discourse they are picturing that Darius the Great will take over, but the reality is… it’s just Reza Pahlavi!

Pahlavi is not considered by Iranians to be an especially smart guy – his only “job” has been to make well-paid speeches against Iran. Nobody, apart from the Arab monarchies, believes that “living off your inheritance” is an actual job qualification you can put on your CV. Nobody, apart from the US, imagines that “TV show star” qualifies one to lead a country.

Who will watch Reza’s new show?

We can say this for certain – absolutely nobody under the age of 40: this is a show whose appeal is based entirely around the concept of nostalgia, and Iranian youth obviously have zero experience with the Pahlavi era. And because they have been schooled in modern political concepts, they also have as little tolerance for royalism as do youth in the republics of France, Algeria or the US.

Among the middle-aged, no Reformist or Principlist party supporter could possibly take the show seriously either. The elderly who could possibly tune in once aren’t shah restorationists either – they are simply old and curious to see how the figures of their younger days turned out.

And how has Reza Pahlavi turned out? He is not someone Iranians respect, and this is for very obvious reasons: Any non-Iranian could easily grasp why he is considered to be a shameless opportunist, and the fact that he would work with the Saudi monarchy is just the latest example of this character trait.

This perception was sealed in Iran long, long ago: we must remember that Reza Pahlavi works with the Americans, who ejected his very sick father out of a hospital and into Panama, and that is something which will earn him eternal disapproval in family-loving Iran. What kind of a son works with those whom effectively killed his own father?

I’m sure non-Iranians are a bit confused and wondering: “But didn’t Iranians dislike and democratically depose his father?”

Yes, they did.. but even if your father is as bad as Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, you still shouldn’t treat your father like that! Family comes first in Iran, and please trust me that I am not joking about this Iranian cultural trait.

So, it is true – Reza Pahlavi just can’t win with Iranians, no matter what he does. Not unless he can go back in time….

Western imperialists and Zionists obviously have their own selfish reasons to ignore the reality of his total political irrelevance, but it is unfortunate for his own redemption that Pahlavi himself does not appear to grasp this fact either.

The only way Reza Pahlavi could be half the patriot, leader and sincerely religious Shia he claims to be would be to follow the example someone like the last emperor of China, Pu Yi.

Revolutionary China reformed Pu Yi from a self-centred autocrat who considered himself divine into someone who tried to be a genuinely good person. He was not executed in 1949 – he served 10 years in jail, and then was given a regular job as a street sweeper and gardener. He regularly spoke out in support of the democratic choice of the Chinese people, and he sincerely seemed to realise that monarchy is antiquated, immoral and unwanted. What Pu Yi absolutely did not do was collaborate with the enemies of the Chinese people, and at a 98% discount.

But two percent of a phony job is better than 100% of socially-productive work to some people; some people work with the worst elements of society in vain attempts to steal glory, power and ease.

Such people are not wanted around, and especially not to lead. As long as Reza Pahlavi cannot reform himself, he will never allowed to reform even a post office in Iran’s most remote mountain village, and that is the implacable and universally-known will of the Iranian people.

The only thing you can say in favor of Reza Pahlavi is that he is probably more popular inside Iran than the MKO, who – in something which can obviously never be forgiven by the average Iranian – fought alongside Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War.

However, as a journalist I am compelled to point out that both of them combined truly do not have 2% support in Iran. When Politico’s reasonably-trained journalists address this issue of obvious journalistic interest, they can only pen obscuring lies like, “it’s impossible to gauge how widespread support for the royals truly is inside Iran”. Nonsense: 2% is a totally-accurate estimation and I doubt any Iranian would seriously dispute that figure – Politico just doesn’t want non-Iranians to know or believe the truth.

And what is 2%? If you examine the number of US write-in votes in their elections we truly find that the combined votes of Disney characters and American football head coaches equals this same figure. As a serious democratic option, Pahlavi and the MKO are as serious as Mickey Mouse to the average Iranian, and if a non-Iranian wants to take one thing from this column – that should be it.

The only type of people getting their popcorn ready to watch MBS’ and Iran International’s new “Reza Pahlavi Comedy Hour” are the rich Iranian exiles in the wealthy areas of Los Angeles and Washington DC. Or rather, they are telling their servants to get the popcorn ready.

The Pahlavi show is thus designed to allow this group to continue to live in their bubble, unburdened by the facts that they often fled their own country with ill-gotten gains, that they failed to support a popular democratic revolution which took decades of sacrifices to realise, that they are nostalgic for an era which is not anywhere as beloved as they would like it to be because the mass majority was oppressed, that they are not qualified to be the leaders of modern Iran, and that they viciously and treacherously support even more hot war, cold war, sanctions and death on their own compatriots, culture and likely members of their own extended families.

This ratings group I have just described may be incredibly wealthy and able to produce any type of nonsense they want on television, but they are very small. They are also old and will soon pass into history, along with the King of Kings, his son and all their monarchical allies who – those of us living in the modern world agree – are not divine in the slightest.

As it should be, royalty is cheap in 2019 – the Saudis got Pahlavi at a 98% discount.

السعودية برعاية ترامب تموّل أعداء العرب الأوروبيين

مايو 6, 2019

محمد صادق الحسيني

في مفاجأة للكثيرين، من المراقبين الإعلاميين والسياسيين في أوروبا، فاز حزب يميني اسباني متطرف ومعادٍ للعرب والمسلمين والمهاجرين ولعضوية اسبانيا في الاتحاد الأوروبي، واسمه حزب صوت الشعب Vox ، فاز هذا الحزب بـ 24 مقعداً في البرلمان الإسباني الجديد، أيّ ما نسبته 26.10 من أصوات الناخبين، وذلك بتاريخ 28 نيسان 2019.

وكان هذا الحزب قد تأسّس بتاريخ 17 كانون الأول/ ديسمبر 2013، من قبل أحد أعضاء حزب الشعب الإسباني المحافظ آنذاك، وهو الييخو فيدال قادراس، والذي كان عضواً في البرلمان الأوروبي ونائباً لرئيسه في ذلك الوقت.

كما كان هذا البرلماني الأوروبي، الإسباني الجنسية، صديقاً لمنظمة مجاهدي خلق الإيرانية ويلتقي زعماءها باستمرار ويشارك في معظم نشاطاتها. وقد قامت هذه المنظمة بإطلاق حملة جمع تبرّعات لهذا الحزب الجديد يوم تمّ تسجيله رسمياً، كحزب سياسي في مدريد وذلك بتاريخ 17 كانون الأول/ ديسمبر 2013، حيث بدأ أنصار هذه المنظمة في أوروبا والولايات المتحدة بتحويل تبرّعات بشكل فردي، تراوحت قيمة التحويل الواحد منها بين ستين دولاراً وخمسة وثلاثين ألف دولار. وقد وصل إجمالي ما تمّ تحويله الى حسابات هذا الحزب آنذاك إلى تسعمائة واثنين وسبعين الف يورو.

هذا ما اعترف به مؤسّس الحزب، الييخو فيدال قادراس، لصحيفة «إلباييس» الإسبانية والذي تمّ نشره فيها قبل أيّام.

كما انّ منسق شؤون مكافحة الاٍرهاب في الخارجية الأميركية، السفير دانييل بنجامين، قد كتب مقالاً في مجلة «بوليتيكو ماغازين» الأميركية بتاريخ 23 تشرين الثاني/ نوفمبر 2016، قال فيه انّ مجاهدي خلق قد استقطبت العديد من الساسة والنواب الأميركيين لصالحها، مثل جون بولتون مستشار الرئيس ترامب حالياً لشؤون الأمن القومي، ورئيس بلدية نيويورك السابق رودي جولياني، ورئيس مكتب التحقيقات الفدرالي السابق لويس فريه وقائمة طويلة غيرهم، حيث كانت تدفع عشرين ألف دولار مكافأة لكلّ مشاركة لأيّ منهم في نشاطات المنظمة المختلفة.

وهو بكلامه هذا يشير بكلّ وضوح الى انّ منظمة مجاهدي خلق لا تملك كلّ هذه الإمكانيات المادية لتمويل كلّ هذه النشاطات.

الأمر الذي أكدته مجلة «فورين بوليسي» الأميركيه، على موقعها الالكتروني بتاريخ 27 نيسان 2019، عندما نقلت عن المنشق عن منظمة مجاهدي خلق، والمسؤول الأمني السابق فيها، مسعود خوداباندي، قوله إنه ذهب إلى الرياض، أوائل تسعينيات القرن الماضي، وتسلّم من ضباط مخابرات سعوديين، عندما كان تركي الفيصل رئيساً لجهاز المخابرات السعودي، ثلاثة شاحنات مليئة بسبائك الذهب والتي قمت بنقلها الى الأردن وبيع الذهب هناك لصالح منظمة مجاهدي خلق.

وهو ما أكده للمجلس المنشق الإيراني الآخر عن منظمة مجاهدي خلق، عضو القيادة حسن حيراني، الذي أعلن انشقاقه عام 2018، حيث قال لـ «فورين بوليسي»، في معرض ردّه على سؤال لها حول مصادر الأموال التي تبرّعت بها مجاهدي خلق للحزب اليميني الإسباني مؤخراً، ولغيره من الأحزاب والمنظمات اليمينية الأوروبية، التي يشرف على تشغيلها وتحريكها ضابط البحرية الاميركية السابق، ستيف بانون، والذي عيّنه ترامب كبير مستشاريه الاستراتيجيين سنة 2017، قال حسن حيراني مجيباً:

انها بلا أدنى شك السعودية. فمنظمة مجاهدي خلق ليست إلا أداة تنفيذية بينما المموّل الحقيقي لكلّ هذه الأحزاب والتنظيمات هو السعودية.

بينما قال مدير مكافحة الإرهاب السابق في الخارجية الأميركية، السفير دانييل بنجامين، مجيباً على نفس السؤال: البعض يقول إنّ دول الخليج هي من يقف خلف الدعم الذي يقدّم باسم منظمة مجاهدي خلق.

علماً انّ ستيف بانون هذا كان قد التقى مسؤولي حزب صوت الشعب اليميني الإسباني المتطرف، المسمّى صوت الشعب Vox ، عدة مرات في واشنطن وفي عواصم أوروبية عدة. إضافة إلى انه كان يعمل على مساعدة هذا الحزب لتحقيق انتصاره في الانتخابات الإسبانية، التي جرت قبل أيّام وحصل فيها هذا الحزب على 24 مقعداً في البرلمان الإسباني، وذلك حسب ما جاء في مقال للكاتب بابلو باردو نشر يوم 27 نيسان 2019 على موقع مجلة «فورين بوليسي» الأميركية.

العلامة الفارقة في كلّ ما تقدّم هو انّ السعودية مستعدّة لصرف مالها في ايّ ساحة تريدها واشنطن وعلى أيد أقذر التنظيمات الإرهابية، المهمّ أنها ترضي ترامب وتناكف طهران…!

وبعد ذلك فليكن الطوفان…!

لكن السحر سينقلب على الساحر مهما طال الزمان…!

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…

Iranian Intel Ministry Identifies CIA Network in Iran, Region

Source

By Staff, Agencies

Iran’s intelligence forces have managed to discover a CIA’s espionage network in the country and in the region, said Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi on Friday.

“In a complicated process against the US Central Intelligence Agency, its espionage network was identified with 290 spies in different countries, including Iran,” he said, adding that the information was offered to friend countries which led to arrest of CIA agents.

He made the remarks before the start of Tehran’s Friday prayers while briefing the nation about achievements of Intelligence Ministry.

The forces have also given a similar blow to UK’s MI6, he highlighted, noting that details of both these operations will be announced soon.

Alavi went on to say that dozens of spies who had been working in the country’s sensitive sections have been identified and arrested.

In the past [Iranian calendar] year 1397 (March 2018-March 2019), intelligence forces have dismantled 114 Takfiri terrorist teams, 116 circles related to MKO, 44 anti-Revolution teams, and 380 drug smuggling bands, he added.

Furthermore, the ministry has neutralized 188 operations, he noted, adding that the last of which was carried out in the south of the country, leading to the arrest of 4 individuals and seizing 15,000 Ak47 bullets.

Related News

Mir-Salim: Iran’s Defense System One of Best Achievements

By Nour Rida

Tehran – Commemorating the 40th victory of the Islamic Revolution, al-Ahed news interviewed Vice-president of the Islamic Coalition Party Council Seyed Mostafa Mir-Salim, who was active during the revolution and had served as police chief following the revolution. He was proposed by then president Abulhassan Banisadr in July 1980 as a candidate for prime minister. He filled different posts during his career years and was also former minister of culture and guidance. Mir-Salim was also named as Islamic Coalition Party’s nominee for Iranian presidential election, 2017 in December 2016. He launched his campaign in April 2017.

Mr. Mir-Salim told al-Ahed news

“The Islamic revolution passed through several stages before arriving to its victory. We can say that the inception point came with the movement of Ayatollah Khomeini, especially in the year 1963 when he stood up to the oppressive Shah regime which led eventually to the events of 15 Khordad.”

The demonstrations of June 5, 1963, known as 15th of Khordad Uprising, were the public protest against the arrest of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini after his strong remarks on Iran’s Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, ‘Israel’ and the United States. The protestors were harshly suppressed but the event marked the vitality and power of the opposition against Pahlavi dynasty and the support Iranian nation had for their religious and political figure, Ayatollah Khomeini, who 15 years later led the Islamic Revolution to establish the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“The uprising in 1963, during which many Iranians lost their lives, was one of the main events that culminated in the Islamic Revolution some 15 years later,” he noted.

The politician continued

“Then, the period of intense repression and suppression of the struggle continued until 1974. During that year, the nature of dissension of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization MEK was revealed, and the fighters of the Islamic revolution eliminated themselves from the existence of these hypocrites. The Shah regime’s humiliation of the people and their beliefs and its neglect to their needs and principles prompted the people to continue their popular uprising.”

As Mir-Salim pointed out, the negligence of the regime and its offenses towards Imam Khomeini flared the sparks of anger across the different cities such as Qom, Tabriz, Yazd and other cities.

“The leadership of Imam Khomeini who was in exile at that time brought the people together, and on as the events continued and many were martyred, the victory saw light on the 22 of Bahman (February) 1979. It was a soon and unexpected popular victory owing to the strong faith, popular will and the wise leadership of Imam Khomeini.”

During that time, Mir-Salim was already member of the Islamic Coalition Party. However, he emphasized that

“during the early days of the revolution, no political party was officially active due to the violence and suppression of the regime Shah. However, after the Islamic revolution, political parties started to take shape, one of which is the Islamic coalition party.”

The party is a pivotal organization within Front of Followers of the Line of the Imam and the Leader and is considered a lay ally of the influential Combatant Clergy Association.

Asking him about what memories he holds from those days he said “I have bitter and sweet memories of that time. One of the shortest sweet memories that is still alive in my mind and heart is once when I was taking part in the rallies on the way to Azadi square. Suddenly, someone pats my shoulder from the back and says from behind “Sir, the speeches you gave were not futile, the revolution did triumph!” He was one of my committed students.”

As for progress and development that was realized since the days of the Islamic revolution, the vice-president says these are abundant.

“However I will mention what I believe was one of those achievements of which we should be very appreciative. I believe that Iran’s capability to defend itself since the very beginning of the birth of the Islamic Republic of Iran is an important attainment that helped all Iranians achieve independence and liberty in face of arrogance and oppression. It also helped establish an independent and religious democratic system, thanks to the guidance of Imam Khomeini and help of God. We must be thankful to see Iran’s successful defense system which allowed Iran to stand in the face of aggression during the imposed war, and this has made the US very furious to an extent it has used different methods and means to prevent the Islamic Republic from being self-sufficient and ready to confront any attack.”

The White Helmets Ride Again

White-Helmets-Terrorists-600x337.jpg

By Philip Geraldi
Source

I am often asked to explain why countries like Iran appear to be so aggressive, involving themselves in foreign wars and seeking to create alliances that they know will provoke the worst and most paranoid responses from some of their neighbors. My response is invariably that perceptions of threat depend very much on which side of the fence you are standing on. Saudi Arabia and Israel might well perceive Iranian actions as aggressive given the fact that all three countries are competing for dominance in the same region, but Iran, which is surrounded by powerful enemies, could equally explain its activity as defensive, seeking to create a belt of allies that can be called upon if needed if a real shooting war breaks out.

The United States and Israel are, of course, masters at seeing everything as a threat, justifying doing whatever is deemed necessary to defend against what are perceived to be enemies. They even exercise extraterritoriality, with Washington claiming a right to go after certain categories of “terrorists” in countries with which it is not at war, most particularly Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia. Israel does likewise in its attacks on Lebanon and Syria. Both Tel Aviv and Washington have regularly crossed the line drawn by international legal authorities in terms of what constitutes initiating a “just” or “legal” war, i.e. an imminent threat to use force by a hostile power. Neither Israel nor the United States has really been threatened by an enemy or enemies in the past seventy years, so the definition of threat has been expanded to include after-the-fact as with 9/11 and potential as in the case of Israel and Iran.

The “which side of the fence” formulation has also had some interesting spin-offs in terms of how so-called non-state players that use violence are perceived and portrayed. Nearly all widely accepted definitions of terrorism include language that condemns the “use of politically motivated violence against non-combatants to provoke a state of terror.”

It is quite easy to identify some groups that are unambiguously “terrorist.” Islamic State in Syria (ISIS) and its various affiliates fit the definition perfectly, but even in that case there is some ambiguity by those state actors who are ostensibly pledged to eradicate terrorists. There have been credible claims that the United States has been protecting the last enclaves of ISIS in order to maintain its “right” to stay in Syria, allegedly based on the stated objective of completely destroying the group before withdrawal. As long as ISIS is still around in Syria, Washington will have an admittedly illegal justification for doing likewise.

There are two notable groups that should be universally condemned as terrorists but are not for political reasons. They are the Mujaheddin e Khalq (MEK), Iranian dissidents that are based in Paris and Washington, and the so-called White Helmets who have been active in Syria. MEK is particularly liked by Israel and its friends inside the Beltway because it retains resources inside Iran that enable it to carry out assassinations and sabotage, and if it is only Iranians that are dying, that’s okay.

MEK has been on the State Department roster of foreign terrorist organizations since the list was established in 1997. Its inclusion derives from its having killed six Americans in the 1970s and from its record of violence both inside and outside Iran since that time. The group was driven out of Iran, denied refuge in France, and eventually armed and given a military base by Iraq’s leader Saddam Hussein. Saddam used the group to carry out terrorist acts inside Iran. MEK is widely regarded as a cult headed by a husband and wife team Massoud and Maryam Rajavi. Its members were required to be celibate and there are reports that they are subjected to extensive brainwashing, physical torture, severe beatings even unto death, and prolonged solitary confinement if they question the leadership. One scholar who has studied them describes their beliefs as a “weird combination of Marxism and Islamic fundamentalism.” Like many other terrorist groups MEK has a political wing that operates openly referred to as the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which is based in Paris, and another front organization called Executive Action which operates in Washington.

MEK was regarded as a terrorist group until 2012, when it was taken off the Special Designation list by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It was removed because multi-million dollar contracts with Washington lobbying firms experienced at “working” congress backed up by handsome speaking fees had induced many prominent Americans to join the chorus supporting NCRI. Prior to 2012, speaking fees for the group started at $15,000 and went up from there. Former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell reported more than $150,000 in honoraria. Rudy Giuliani has been paid generously for years at $20,000 per appearance for brief, twenty-minute speeches. Bear in mind that MEK was a listed terrorist group at the time and accepting money from it to promote its interests should have constituted material support of terrorism.

The group’s well-connected friends have included prominent neocons like current National Security Advisor John Bolton and ex-CIA Directors James Woolsey, Michael Hayden and Porter Goss as well as former Generals Anthony Zinni, Peter Pace, Wesley Clark, and Hugh Shelton. Traditional conservatives close to the Trump Administration like Newt Gingrich, Fran Townsend and Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao are also fans of NCRI. Townsend in particular, as a self-proclaimed national security specialist, has appeared on television to denounce Iran, calling its actions “acts of war” without indicating that she has received money from an opposition group.

MEK’s formula for success in removing itself from the terrorism lift involved paying its way through a corrupt political system. More interesting perhaps is the tale of the White Helmets, who have just been given the 2019 Elie Wiesel Award by the National Holocaust Museum, with the citation “These volunteer rescue workers have saved lives on all sides of the conflict in Syria. Their motto is ‘To save one life is to save all of humanity.’”

The White Helmets have been praised by those who hate the government of President Bashar al-Asad in Syria and want to see it removed because of its role as a leading element in the propaganda campaign that seeks to instigate violence or use fabricated information to depict the Damascus government as guilty of slaughtering its own citizens. The propaganda is intended to terrorize the civilian population, which is part of the definition of terrorism.

Favorable media coverage derives from the documentary The White Helmets, which was produced by the group itself and tells a very convincing tale promoted as “the story of real-life heroes and impossible hope.” It is a very impressive piece of propaganda, so much so that it has won numerous awards including the Oscar for Best Documentary Short last year and the White Helmets themselves were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. More to the point, however, is the undeniable fact that the documentary has helped shape the public understanding of what is going on in Syria, describing the government in Damascus in purely negative terms.

Recently, with the Syrian Army closing in on the last White Helmet affiliates still operating in the country, the Israeli government, assisted by the United States, staged an emergency humanitarian evacuation of the group’s members and their families to Israel and then on to Jordan. It was described in a BBC article that included “The IDF said they had ‘completed a humanitarian effort to rescue members of a Syrian civil organization and their families’, saying there was an ‘immediate threat to their lives.’ The transfer of the displaced Syrians through Israel was an exceptional humanitarian gesture. Although Israel is not directly involved in the Syria conflict, the two countries have been in a state of war for decades. Despite the intervention, the IDF said that ‘Israel continues to maintain a non-intervention policy regarding the Syrian conflict.’”

All of the Israeli assertions are nonsense, including its claimed “humanitarianism” and “non-intervention” in the Syrian war, where it has been bombing almost daily. The carefully edited scenes of heroism under fire that have been filmed and released worldwide conceal the White Helmets’ relationship with the al-Qaeda affiliated group Jabhat al-Nusra and its participation in the torture and execution of “rebel” opponents. Indeed, the White Helmets only operate in rebel held territory, which enables them to shape the narrative both regarding who they are and what is occurring on the ground.

The White Helmets travelled to bombing sites with their film crews trailing behind them. Once at the sites, with no independent observers, they are able to arrange or even stage what is filmed to conform to their selected narrative. Exploiting their access to the western media, the White Helmets thereby de facto became a major source of “eyewitness” news regarding what was going on in those many parts of Syria where European and American journalists were quite rightly afraid to go, all part of a broader largely successful “rebel” effort to manufacture fake news that depicts the Damascus government as engaging in war crimes directed against civilians, an effort that has led to several attacks on government forces and facilities by the U.S. military. This is precisely the propaganda that has been supported both by Tel Aviv and Washington.

Perhaps the most serious charge against the White Helmets consists of the evidence that they actively participated in the atrocities, to include torture and murder, carried out by their al-Nusra hosts. There have been numerous photos of the White Helmets operating directly with armed terrorists and also celebrating over the bodies of execution victims and murdered Iraqi soldiers. The group’s jihadi associates regard the White Helmets as fellow “mujahideen” and “soldiers of the revolution.”

So, the National Holocaust Museum, which is taxpayer funded, has given an apparently prestigious award to a terrorist group, something which could have been discerned with even a little fact checking. And the museum also might have been sensitive to how the White Helmets have been used in support of Israeli propaganda vis-à-vis Syria. Perhaps, while they are at it, the museum’s board just might also want to check out Elie Wiesel, for whom the award is named. Wiesel, who was a chronicler of Jewish victimhood while persistently refusing to acknowledge what Israel was doing to the Palestinians, notoriously mixed fact and fiction in his best-selling holocaust memoir Night. Ironically, the award and recipient are well matched in this case as mixing fact and fiction is what both Elie Wiesel and the White Helmets are all about.

 

Iran’s definitive account of the Iraq war: Written by a female Iraqi Kurd

Iran’s definitive account of the Iraq war: Written by a female Iraqi Kurd

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

On September 22nd there was a terrible terrorist attack in the Iranian city of Ahvaz which killed 25 innocent people and wounded 70 other people. This was universally reported in the West as having occurred at a “military parade”, when it was actually a parade to commemorate the 1980 start of the Western-backed, Western-funded, Western-armed invasion which used Iraq to try to destroy the democratic 1979 Iranian Revolution.

But none of those accurate adjectives can be said in the West…no, no, no – it was just a no-reason-needed military parade, as if Iran was a warmongering nation prepping its fanatical people for imperialist adventures. (Iran has not invaded a country in well-over 200 years.)

The timing of the attack was obviously (though not primarily) a way to divert the world’s attention from the deadliest conflict of the last quarter of the 20th century. Instead of talking about what disaster and death was heaped on Iran from 1980-1988, it was Iranian “militarism” which was discussed and not anyone else’s.

But ho-hum, more misreporting on Iran. In other news: the sun rose this morning. This is just life for all socialist-inspired democratic revolutions – Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, China, etc., have all had their sufferings ignored, their mistakes amplified and their successes denied. To even raise this point makes one an unthinking “apologist”, an Islamofascist, a totalitarian commie, blah blah blah.

This is the front cover art for the book One Woman’s War: Da (Mother) written by Seyedeh Azam Hosseini. The book cover art copyright is believed to belong to Mazda Publishers.

The tragic event, and the subsequent false histories of the Western media, makes this an appropriate time to bring up what has become the most important literary reference for Iranians regarding the war – a book called Da. “Da” means mother in Kurdish, and not in Farsi. The book was written by a woman whose Iraqi Kurdish family had emigrated to Iran when she was a child.

How could the definitive account on the Iranian view of the Iran-Iraq War have been written by an Iraqi Kurd, and a female to boot?!

You would think Iranians hate Iraqis; you are certain that Iran hates women; and you assume that Iran has a war against the Kurds, just like Iraq, Turkey and Syria. If you assume everyone follows the dictates of capitalism’s identity politics, you likely would predict that this book is a litany of accusations and compiled hatreds towards Iran.

If you assume all these things it’s because you fail to realize that Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution was inspired by socialism, which demands a citizen and a government loudly banish racism from the public sphere. Much like this stoned surfer-dude American idiot who wrote an article titled Whoa. The Soviet Union Got Racial Equality Right Before America?, you are way, way, WAY off. (And when did America get racial equality “right”?)

For a comparison: Can anyone imagine that France’s definitive account on the Algerian War for Independence would come from a non-White? Their most famous work on Algeria is The Stranger by Albert Camus, who was an isolated-from-Algerians pied noir whose refusal to condemn French oppression was selfishly defined by the fact that he cared more for his mother’s comfort than a million dead Algerians. Heaven forbid that Madame Camus would have to relocate back to France, even if that meant ending a war and a 132-year occupation.… Camus’ view of morality is 100% rooted in Western capitalism individualism, after all, which is the reason its popularity still endures today.

But Iran had no problem making Da a huge best-seller despite the author’s Iraqi Kurdish roots; and, somehow, Iranian men took time out of their daily oppression of women to find out their thoughts and feelings on past experiences. The 700-page account of the war was read by everyone, including President Rohani.

The book is a memoir of Seyyedeh (indicating lineage from Prophet Mohammad) Zahra Hoseyni, a teenager who was living with her extremely poor but tight-knit family on the border city of Khorramshahr. The city was the first to be sneak-attacked by the Iraqis, and the massacres and devastation wrought there would be reflected by a Farsi pun on the city’s name: “City of Blood”.

A memoir of the last, worst traditional war in our modern times

The book is not an easy read, as Hoseyni recounts one tragedy after another.

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In short, for those attacked by Iraq the war was one day from hell after another, with each one worse than the next. Hunger, thirst, physical exhaustion, emotional exhaustion, the nightmares of screaming planes, repeatedly watching people go insane with the pain of mourning, every weary pause only giving rise to recent tragic memories, the constant filth and lack of clean water a bombarded people must deal with, actual nightmares when sleep does come, the perpetual sound of war which then makes silent pauses totally strange, and the constant, constant guilt of being alive combined with the knowledge that death from a shell could come at any moment.

So much of the book is something like a horror hallucination of the first few weeks of an unexpected, undeserved war, combined with a recounting of the vast citizen efforts to fight back.

Each according to their abilities, of course: Hoseyni is an young lioness fighting for the cubs of the Iranian nation and Khorramshahr. She accepts responsibility after responsibility, and even refuses to back down to proud & protective Iranian men in her insistence on going to the front to help amid the bullets and bombs. She volunteers as a corpse-washer, which turned out to be a never-ending job, and which is certainly a job few would want. Her beloved father and brother die at the front, but still she endures and gives, gives, gives. Everyone is looking at her and seeing a person with an iron sense of justice, duty and faith.

What I suggest makes this memoir so compelling and successful is that, in Hoseyni’s retelling, she remembers not only that every day was a living hell but that every moment within every day was a living hell. Hoseyni repeatedly talks about the constant abyss of mourning and horror opening up inside her at every moment; seemingly dozens of times a day she is assaulted by an event/tragedy/memory/feeling which could send a normal person to a hospital for weeks of recovery and therapy. It is unlikely that a memoir by a male would admit the incredibly sad emotions which any human would go through in Hoseyni’s situation.

And yet Hoseyni appeared to all as indomitable (even after she is wounded at the front). She simply said a prayer of “Ya Hossain” and rushed towards another difficult task nobody else wanted. She was the model defender of the nation – indeed, Iran’s war “Mother” is not even a “true” Iranian, in non-socialist logic — but the book reveals that she was able to live this ideal even though her feelings were the absolute opposite of proud glory.

Saying a prayer before a difficult task can go a very long way, but it’s this juxtaposition of a public persona of revolutionary steel combined with total inner crumbling which makes the book so compelling. How she could do what she did – when she could not even bring herself to eat, nor sleep, nor mourn day after day after day – is astounding and an inspiration to anyone sanctioned by injustice.

For those who are not just uninterested in religion but who also actively detest religion, I’m sorry to objectively report that a huge part of her strength came from her religious faith – she and her family were pious people who took their title of “Seyed” as a serious injunction to be moral examples. However, the family was also extremely politically aware and active – these were true revolutionaries; they were also so poor as to come from the “correct” class to qualify as a revolutionary, although such prejudices represent antiquated notions about who can or cannot be a socialist.

There is much to learn from the war memoirs from World War I, II, or the Holocaust, but Da is exceptional in that it is from our modern times. When she recounts her rage and disbelief at BBC Radio’s totally misguided coverage of the war, we in 2018 share her shock at “fake news”.

Da should be essential reading to any war hawk advocating invasion in any foreign country which has had a socialist-inspired revolution, because you will be facing a very unique type of people. Whether it be the USSR, China, Vietnam, Korea or Iran, these are societies which cannot be divided into tribes or identities, as they have achieved socialist cultural unity:

“I saw myself as a tree with deep roots, resisting being pulled from the ground. How could I allow myself to be uprooted? Although born in Basra, I felt no attachment to the place. I loved Iran…my love for Khorramshahr overwhelmed all reason and logic.”

The Western capitalist and anti-multicultural societies of continental Europe cannot imagine that an immigrant is capable of ever feeling this way, and thus many there want immigrants expelled or at least segregated.

But the old tricks of divide and conquer, Balkanisation or the political segregation of Lebanonization will not work in socialist-inspired nations. The author recounts how Saddam Hussein tried exactly that – telling Iranian Arabs to join their Arab brother – but only the most reactionary fell for such a stupid worldview.

Hoseyni talks about the MKO/MEK terrorist group (and I am only talking about them because Western nations and their propaganda outlets keep pushing them back into the spotlight): stealing corpses to inflate their body counts for propaganda purposes, attacking people who disagreed with them at public debates, working as spies for Iraq and giving them coordinates of places to bomb, attacking ardent revolutionaries and then literally rubbing salt or pepper in their wounds out of sadism. The idea that the MKO isn’t detested by 100% of Iranians, and that they have a zero percent chance of ever being rehabilitated – much less being democratically elected into power – is totally, totally absurd to Iranians. Again, why would anyone even talk about them anymore? Oh yes, because they are propped by the West, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

She also talks about what an exceptionally politically-open society Iran was in the early days of the Revolution, and few non-Iranians know that much of this remains true today. Parliament was open to anyone to come observe and even shout disruptions, Khomeini held public audiences for two hours twice a week and received anyone and everyone, elected representatives were easily accessible and lived the common, poor lives of a nation under war. All of this is in stark contrast to the leaders of seemingly every Arab nation not named “Algeria”, and it also shows the democratic bonafides, the more-than-majority support, of the Iranian Islamic Revolution: you can shudder at the word “Islamic” all you want, but the revolution was democratic in the truest sense of the word and no matter in what country that word is uttered.

Western culture is full of ‘war porn’, but Iran is not titillated by such things

“The fall of Khorramshahr and the things I had experienced in the past weeks had made me more aware of how people suffered.”

Such are the types of wisdoms Hoseyni tosses off, but there is no doubt that they are not false cliches for her, nor for millions of other Iranians.

It reminds me of a major problem with America and the West: they are so war-crazy, and yet everything they know about it – to anyone under 85 – is totally fictitious, video-game-like nonsense.

The American view of war is truly one constant cliche, where glory appears to be a feeling to run after but which Hoseyni proves it is actually the result of living through unwanted horrors and tragedies.

It’s true that the younger generation of Iranians has little memory of the sacrifices, bombardments and war rationing, but the way Iran and the US remember their war martyrs is so very different.

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Can you name one famous American solider who died in Iraq or Afghanistan? All I can think of is Pat Tillman, and that’s only because he was also an American football player (and who was killed by friendly fire). However, Iran is full of portraits and memorials to dead soldiers and even dead teenagers…one cannot even make a comparison of the psychological/emotional/human gravity of war in the minds of the average Iranian versus the average American.

My point is that, for all their fighting, ever since Vietnam Americans have essentially been hero-worshipping an empty solider’s uniform. Unless we are talking about rural Americans from their lower class, most Americans really have no personal/psychological connection to actual war, unlike Iranians.

Such people, like the 4-F Trump, grow enraged at taking anyone knee during the National Anthem to protest the undeniable mass incarceration/mass murder/mass oppression of an ethnic minority, but there is no truly human element present – their honouring is phony and faceless.

Say what you will about Iran, but you cannot say that.

Furthermore, Iranian martyrdom – where death is assured – is far, far different from the power-trip fantasies and motivations of the American solider and the American chickenhawk playing Call of Duty video games.

For Iran war is not a glory, but a horror, and whatever sacrifices the nation must make due to the Western Cold war…at least it is better than the Hot War. Befuddled Western “analysts” of Iran cannot imagine this type of logic playing such a large part in Iranian policymaking because they have zero experiences and comprehension of any war which is not just on a two-dimensional screen.

Iran fights in places like Syria, Iraq an Afghanistan because their allies, cousins and cultural-cousins are being attacked, and also because justice itself is being attacked; America fights wars because it seems like fun, because they have such neat toys to play with, and they fight without gallantry and without esteem from the locals they claim to be “fighting with”. America massacres and plunders; Iran’s forces are far closer to Mao’s Long March injunction that soldiers should not take even a pin from locals they were trying to liberate from fascism.

Image result for Ahvaz Terror Attack,

Thirty years after the end of Iran’s “War of Sacred Defense” Iran’s “military parades” are attacked, but the world still doesn’t really comprehend exactly what the West is attacking in Iran. Da is an unsparing account of a civilian Islamic socialist revolutionary in wartime – reading this memoir would certainly help Westerners understand what they remain up against as they keep trying to implode Iran’s socialist-inspired democracy.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

Does the coincidence explain the concurrence of targeting Russia and Iran? هل يفسّر قانون الصدفة تزامن استهداف روسيا وإيران؟

Does the coincidence explain the concurrence of targeting Russia and Iran?

أكتوبر 5, 2018

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Washington is involved in the blood of the Russian officers and soldiers and in the blood of the Iranian soldiers, officers, civilians, and children in two planned operations. This was clear in the Russian successive statements which insist to refer to the backgrounds and refuse to consider the aggression as an accident and through the aggression which targeted Iran as programmed and arranged act in order to transfer the battle to the Iranian interior as announced by the Advisor of the Emirati Crown Prince. There are two messages that the American operations room which managed the two incidents wanted to send; first, the embroilment of Gulf hands that can only manipulate in the Arab tribalism in the south of Iran. Second, the embroilment of Israeli hands that can only move freely in the Syrian airspace observed by Russia since its military positioning in 2015 and its holding of understandings  and drawing lines of movement regarding the relationship with America, Israel, and Turkey.

The fact that the attackers take countries in the south of Iran such as Netherlands, Denmark, and Britain as headquarters of their leaders does not negate the fact that the Gulf countries are concerned in funding, mobilizing, and following up. The security project is useless unless it is related to stir up the tribalism in the components of the Iranian collective identity, after the Iranian –Kurdish relationships seemed governed by equations of deterrence, and the Iranian-Turkish relationships governed by relations of cooperation in many issues , and the Iranian-Pakistani relationships are open to further coordination and cooperation, but there is no longer way for valuable manipulation in the Kurdish, Baluchi, and Turkman components, and the bet on the tribalism is no longer possible without Pakistani and Turkey as the two sponsors of the largest national sectarian components. Therefore, the Arab tribalism became the only available way for tampering in the Iranian interior, as the tweets of the US President about transforming the conflict to Iran where the Gulf financer and operator interprets the American policies and trends.

Israel seems to be the last American resource to confuse the Russian role in Syria, after the bet on the return of Turkey to the front of the war on Syria fell, and after the Turkish-American relationships became deteriorated concerning the Syrian issue and in many new issues. The bet on the terrorist groups has become above the ability of Washington and these groups, while Israel has the opportunity to wage the experience of modifying the rules of movement in the Syrian airspace through presenting the issue of the Iranian presence in Syria along with the resistance forces as a factor of complicating the Russian -Israeli relationship from the gate of a clash that imposes dialogue and negotiation to draw new rules of engagement rules. Washington betted to make the presence of Iran and the resistance forces agreed legitimate goals between Moscow and Tel Aviv in avoidance of a clash once again, as long as Israel has effective tools in the Russian interior that are similar to what it has in the Israeli interior. Therefore the Russian seeking to avoid the clash becomes more important than searching for the points of disagreement.

The American facts in the two events embroil its owners. Washington wanted to threat Moscow and Tehran in an attempt to go to negotiation in which it has the decision of ensuring security to Russia and Iran in exchange for concessions, most importantly those related to meet the requirements of the Israeli security in Syria that grants a status for America, that is lost till today in the equations of conflict and the negotiation with Russia and Iran. As long as Washington wants to tamper indirectly, Moscow and Tehran seem comfortable for making the direct players paying the cost. Moscow did not make a secret negotiation with Tel Aviv as a result of the incident of the plane, but it made it an entrance for a public confrontation and a reason for redrawing the rules of flight in the Syrian airspace, while Tehran opens the door for minute investigations that lead it to the direct responsibilities in order to react harshly without excuses.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

هل يفسّر قانون الصدفة تزامن استهداف روسيا وإيران؟

سبتمبر 24, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– فيما واشنطن تغسل أيديها من دماء الضباط والجنود الروس، ودماء الجنود والضباط والمدنيين والأطفال الإيرانيين، في عمليتين مدبّرتين، كما بات واضحاً من البيانات الروسية المتتابعة والمحكومة بإصرار على التحدث عن خلفيات، ورفض الأخذ بأسباب تخفيفية لجعل العدوان مجرد حادث. وكما هو واضح من الاعتداء الذي استهدف إيران معلناً عن نفسه كعمل مدبّر ومبرمج، لنقل المعركة إلى الداخل الإيراني، كما أعلن مستشار ولي العهد الإماراتي، ينطرح سؤال محدّد يطال غرفة العمليات الأميركية التي تدير المسرحين، والرسائل التي أرادتها من عمليتين كبيرتين يصعب الصمت عليهما، واحدة تمت بتورط أيادٍ خليجية وحدها تستطيع التلاعب بالعصبية العربية في جنوب إيران، والثانية تمّت بأياد إسرائيلية وحدها تستطيع حرية التحرك في الأجواء السورية التي تديرها روسيا منذ تموضعها العسكري عام 2015، وعقدها تفاهمات ورسمها خطوط تحرك على محاور العلاقة بأميركا و»إسرائيل» وتركيا.

– أن يتخذ المهاجمون في جنوب إيران من دول مثل هولندا والدنمارك وبريطانيا مقار لقادتهم، لا يلغي كون اليد الخليجية هي المعنية بالتمويل والتحريك والمتابعة. فالمشروع لا يصلح لإزعاج إيران كمشروع أمني، ما لم يتم ربطه بإثارة العصبيات في مكوّنات الهوية الإيرانية الجامعة، وبعدما بدت العلاقات الإيرانية الكردية، محكومة بمعادلات الاحتواء والردع، والعلاقات الإيرانية التركية محكومة بعلاقات التعاون في ملفات عديدة، والعلاقات الإيرانية الباكستانية منفتحة على المزيد من التعاون والتنسيق، لم يعُد ثمة مجال لتلاعب ذي قيمة بالمكوّنات الكردية والبلوشية والتركمانية، ولا عاد الرهان على العصبية المذهبية ممكناً، بدون باكستان وتركيا، كراعيتين لأكبر مكونات قومية ذات لون مذهبي يصلح للاستعمال، فصارت العصبية العربية هي المدخل الوحيد المتاح للعب بالداخل الإيراني، وترجمة تغريدات الرئيس الأميركي حول نقل الصراع إلى داخل إيران، حيث يترجم المشغل والممول الخليجي السياسات والتوجهات الأميركية.

– في سورية تبدو «إسرائيل» آخر الملاذ الأميركي لإرباك الدور الروسي، بعدما سقط الرهان على استرجاع تركيا إلى جبهة الحرب على سورية، وبعدما بلغت العلاقات التركية الأميركية ما بلغت من تدهور في العنوان السوري وفي عناوين جديدة كثيرة. والرهان على الجماعات الإرهابية صار فوق قدرة واشنطن وقدرة هذه الجماعات معاً، بينما تحظى إسرائيل بالفرصة لخوض غمار تجربة تعديل قواعد العمل في الأجواء السورية عبر تقديم الوجود الإيراني في سورية، وحضور قوى المقاومة فيها كعامل تأزيم للعلاقة الروسية الإسرائيلية، بوضع هذه العلاقة على المحك، من بوابة تصادم يفرض الحوار والتفاوض لرسم قواعد اشتباك جديدة، راهنت واشنطن أن تتيح جعل وجود إيران وقوى المقاومة أهدافاً مشروعة متفق عليها بين موسكو وتل أبيب، تلافياً للتصادم مجدداً، طالما أن لـ»إسرائيل» أيادي فاعلة في الداخل الروسي تشبه إلى حد كبير ما لها في الداخل الأميركي وما يجعل السعي الروسي لتلافي التصادم والافتراق أعلى مرتبة من البحث عن نقاط الخلاف.

– الوقائع الأميركية في المسرحين تبدو ورطة لأصحابها، حيث لم يطابق حساب الحقل حساب البيدر، فواشنطن أرادت أن تظهر العين الحمراء لكل من موسكو وطهران سعياً لتفاوض تملك فيه قرار توفير الأمن لروسيا وإيران، مقابل تنازلات أهمها يتصل بتلبية متطلبات الأمن الإسرائيلي في سورية، وتضمن بمجرد حدوثها تكريساً لمكانة أميركية مفقودة حتى اليوم في معادلات الصراع والتفاوض مع روسيا وإيران. وطالما أن واشنطن تريد اللعب وراء الكواليس تبدو موسكو وطهران مرتاحتين لجعل اللاعبين المباشرين يدفعون الثمن، فموسكو لم تمسح الضربة بجلدها وتذهب لتفاوض سري مع تل أبيب بل جعلت منها مدخلاً لمواجهة علنية، وباباً لإعادة رسم قواعد الحركة الجوية في السماء السورية، بينما طهران تفتح الباب لتحقيقات دقيقة توصلها لتحديد مسؤوليات مباشرة، وبعدها الردّ القاسي من دون عذر لمن تورّط.

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US-Delisted MEK Terrorists Still Openly Committed to Violence

October 1, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – In 2012, the US State Department would delist anti-Iranian terrorist group – Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) – from its Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list. Yet years later, MEK has demonstrated an eager desire to carry out political violence on a scale that eclipses the previous atrocities that had it designated a terrorist organization in the first place.
In the US State Department’s official statement published in September 2012, the rationale for delisting MEK would be as follows (emphasis added):

With today’s actions, the Department does not overlook or forget the MEK’s past acts of terrorism, including its involvement in the killing of U.S. citizens in Iran in the 1970s and an attack on U.S. soil in 1992. The Department also has serious concerns about the MEK as an organization, particularly with regard to allegations of abuse committed against its own members. 

The Secretary’s decision today took into account the MEK’s public renunciation of violence, the absence of confirmed acts of terrorism by the MEK for more than a decade, and their cooperation in the peaceful closure of Camp Ashraf, their historic paramilitary base.

Yet US policy before the State Department’s delisting, and events ever since, have proven this rationale for removing MEK as an FTO to be an intentional fabrication – that MEK was and still is committed to political violence against the Iranian people, and envisions a Libya-Syrian-style conflict to likewise divide and destroy the Iranian nation.

However, facts regarding the true nature of MEK is not derived from Iranian state media, or accusations made by MEK’s opponents in Tehran, but by MEK’s own US sponsors and even MEK’s senior leadership itself.

“Undeniably” MEK “Conducted Terrorist Attacks”

By the admissions of the United States and the United Kingdom, MEK is undeniably a terrorist organization guilty of self-admitted acts of terrorism. The UK House of Commons in a briefing paper titled, “The People’s Mujahiddeen of Iran (PMOI),” it  cites the UK Foreign Office which states explicitly that:

The Mojahedin-e Khalq (MeK) is proscribed in the UK under the Terrorism Act 2000. It has a long history of involvement in terrorism in Iran and elsewhere and is, by its own admission, responsible for violent attacks that have resulted in many deaths. 

The briefing paper makes mention of “assiduous” lobbying efforts by MEK to have itself removed from terrorist lists around the globe.

A 2012 Guardian article titled, “MEK decision: multimillion-dollar campaign led to removal from terror list,” would extensively detail the large number of prominent US politicians approached and paid by MEK as part of this lobbying effort.
Yet there is more behind MEK’s delisting than mere lobbying. As early as 2009, US policymakers saw MEK as one of many minority opposition and ethnic groups that could be used by the US as part of a wider agenda toward regime change in Iran.

The Brookings Institution in a 2009 policy paper titled, “Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran” (PDF), under a chapter titled, “Inspiring an Insurgency: Supporting Iranian Minority And Opposition Groups,” would openly admit (emphasis added):

Perhaps the most prominent (and certainly the most controversial) opposition group that has attracted attention as a potential U.S.  proxy  is  the  NCRI  (National  Council of Resistance of  Iran),  the  political  movement  established  by  the  MeK  (Mujahedin-e  Khalq). Critics believe the group to be undemocratic and unpopular, and indeed anti-American.  

Brookings would concede to MEK’s terrorist background, admitting (emphasis added):

Undeniably, the group has conducted terrorist attacks—often excused by the MeK’s advocates because they are directed against the Iranian government. For example, in 1981, the group bombed the headquarters of the Islamic Republic Party, which was then the clerical leadership’s main  political organization, killing an estimated 70 senior officials. More recently, the group has claimed  credit for over a dozen mortar attacks, assassinations, and other assaults on  Iranian civilian and  military targets between 1998 and 2001.

Brookings makes mention of MEK’s attacks on US servicemen and American civilian contractors which earned it its place on the US FTO, noting:

In the 1970s, the group killed three U.S. officers and three civilian contractors in Iran.

And despite MEK’s current depiction as a popular resistance movement in Iran, Brookings would also admit (emphasis added):

The group itself also appears to be undemocratic and enjoys little popularity in Iran itself. It has no  political base in the country, although it appears to have an operational presence. In particular, its  active participation on Saddam Husayn’s side during the bitter Iran-Iraq War made the group widely  loathed. In addition, many aspects of the group are cultish, and its leaders, Massoud and Maryam Rajavi, are revered to the point of obsession.  

Brookings would note that despite the obvious reality of MEK, the US could indeed use the terrorist organization as a proxy against Iran, but notes that:

…at the very least, to work more closely with the  group (at least in an overt manner), Washington would need to remove it from the list of foreign  terrorist organizations. 

And from 2009 onward, that is precisely what was done. It is unlikely that the MEK alone facilitated the rehabilitation of its image or exclusively sought its removal from US-European terrorist organization lists – considering the central role MEK terrorists played in US regime change plans versus Iran.

While MEK propaganda insists that its inclusion on terrorist organization lists around the globe was the result of a global effort to curry favor with Iran’s clerical regime,” it is clear that the terrorist organization earned its way onto these lists, and then lobbied and cheated its way off of them.
The MEK is Still Committed to Violence Today 
 
While Iranians mourned in the wake of the Ahvaz attack, MEK was holding a rally in New York Cityattended by prominent US politicians including US President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudolph Giuliani and former US National Security Adviser under the Obama administration, James Jones.
During the “2018 Iran Uprising Summit” Giuliani would vow the overthrow of the Iranian government.

MEK leader Maryam Rajavi would broadcast a message now posted on MEK websites. In her message she would discuss MEK’s role in fomenting ongoing violence inside of Iran.

She would admit:

Today, the ruling mullahs’ fear is amplified by the role of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) and resistance units in leading and continuing the uprisings. Regime analysts say: “The definitive element in relation to the December 2017 riots is the organization of rioters. So-called Units of Rebellion have been created, which have both the ability to increase their forces and the potential to replace leaders on the spot.” 

The roadmap for freedom reveals itself in these very uprisings, in ceaseless protests, and in the struggle of the Resistance Units.

Riots by definition entail violence. The riots taking place across Iran beginning in late 2017 and continuing sporadically since – of which Rajavi and her MEK take credit for organizing – have left dozens dead including police.
One police officer was shot dead just before New Year’s, and another three were killed in late February 2018 during such riots.
In the region of Ahvaz specifically, MEK social media accounts have been taking credit for and promoting ongoing unrest there. Ahvaz was more recently the scene of a terrorist attack in which gunmen targeted a parade leaving dozens dead and scores more injured.

Rajavi and MEK’s ultimate goal is the overthrow of the Iranian government. As Brookings admits in its 2009 paper, the Iranian government will not cede power to US-orchestrated regime change without a fight – and MEK was recruited as a US proxy specifically because of its capacity for violence.

Brookings would note:

Despite its limited popularity (but perhaps because of its successful use of terrorism), the Iranian regime is exceptionally sensitive to the MEK and is vigilant in guarding against it. 

It was for this reason that Brookings singled them out as a potential proxy in 2009 and recommended their delisting by the US State Department so the US could provide more open support for the terrorist organization.
It is clear that Rajavi’s recent admissions to being behind political violence inside Iran contravenes the US State Department’s rationale for deslisting MEK on grounds that the group had made a “public renunciation of violence.”

MEK is not only refusing to renounce violence, MEK’s most senior leader has just publicly and unambiguously declared MEK’s policy is to openly wield violence inside Iran toward destabilizing and overthrowing the government.

From the United States’ ignoring of its own anti-terrorism laws – aiding and abetting MEK while still on the US State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organizations list – to the US now portraying MEK as a “reformed” “resistance” organization even as its leader takes credit for ongoing political violence inside Iran, it is clear that once again the US finds itself a willing state sponsor of terrorism.

It was as early as 2007 that Seymour Hersh in his New Yorker article, “The Redirection Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” would warn:

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

It is clear in retrospect that the rise of the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS), Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, and other extremist fronts in Syria were a result of this US policy. It is also clear that there are many other extremist groups the US has knowingly whitewashed politically and is covertly supporting in terrorism aimed directly at Iran itself.

It is just a matter of time before the same denials and cover-ups used to depict Syrian and Libyan terrorists as “freedom fighting rebels” are reused in regards to US-backed violence aimed at Iran. Hopefully, it will not take nearly as long for the rest of the world to see through this game and condemn groups like MEK as the terrorists they always have been, and continue to be today.

Also in retrospect, it is clear how US-engineered conflict and regime change has impacted the Middle Eastern region and the world as a whole – one can only imagine the further impact a successful repeat of this violence will have if visited upon Iran directly.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.

IRGC to Saudi, UAE: Don’t Cross Our Red Lines!

September 28, 2018

deputy commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards, Hossein Salami

deputy commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards, Hossein Salami

Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps deputy commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami has warned Riyadh and Abu Dhabi not to cross Tehran’s “red lines.”

“If you cross our red lines, we will surely cross yours. You know the storm the Iranian nation can create,” Salami said in a speech during Friday prayers, as cited by Reuters.

“Stop creating plots and tensions. You are not invincible. You are sitting in a glass house and cannot tolerate the revenge of the Iranian nation…We have shown self-restraint,” Salami added.

The deputy commander also said that the United States has to “stop supporting the terrorists,” warning that Washington would “pay the price” if it didn’t.

Salami’s remarks come on the heels of comments by Iranian Supreme Leader, Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei accusing Saudi Arabia and the UAE of financing the perpetrators of Saturday’s terror attack in Ahvaz, which killed at least 25 people and injured over 60 others.

Imam Khamenei described the attacks as “a continuation of the plots of the regional states that are puppets of the United States,” adding that the goal of such terrorism was “to create insecurity in our dear country.”

Source: Agencies

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The Ahvaz Terror Attack: Will Iran Give in to U.S., Israeli, and Saudi Demands?

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Violence.  On September 22, 2018, “unknown” terrorists opened fire on a military parade in Ahvaz, Iran, near the Iraqi frontier.  The march past marked the 30th anniversary of the end of the Iran-Iraq war, in which the U.S. was deeply involved.  The supposed terrorists, some say from the “Patriotic Arab Democratic Movement in Ahwaz”, shot at the soldiers from behind reviewing stands, killing at least 25 and wounding at least 53.  The perpetrators were disguised as Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and Basiji (volunteer) forces.

This savage attack did not spring, like Venus, from the sea foam.

Where Did It Come From?  It built on regional discontent.  The Arab minority there, submerged in a dominant Persian state, has long been unhappy with its lot.  They’ve compared themselves to the Palestinians but claiming their situation is worse.  Additionally, the British have been promoting “semi-independence” for the area.  And, the Ahwazis have, in the past, appealed to the U.S. for help.

Mostafa Koshcheshm, a Tehran-based political commentator and journalist, told Al Jazeera… [the]Ahwazi separatist movement, …has been “nurtured, supported, and trained by Saudi Arabia”.

“It’s been operating for the past several years, they are looking to cut off and separate Iran’s energy-rich province of Khuzestan from Iran, which is exactly what Saddam Hussein wanted to do,” [he said].  “They call themselves Arab nationalists but we know they have very intimate ties to the Mujahedin-e-Khalq,” he said, referring to an Iranian exiled dissident group accused of killing thousands of Iranian civilians and officials.

The assault came at a time of renewed American, Israeli, and Saudi hostility towards the Islamic Republic of Iran.  Besides the war of words against Iran for having non-existent nuclear weapons and short-range “inter-continental ballistic missiles”, there is the war of sanctions.

Is Something Different?  In May 2018, U.S. President Donald J. Trump unilaterally withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and announced the unilateral imposition of new and extensive restrictions on Iran’s economy.  In Trump’s view, Iran was not in observance of the JCPOA.  The multilateral agreement, following years of negotiations, had imposed rigid controls on Iranian enrichment of uranium.  It also subjected the country to intrusive international inspection.  All the other participants in the JCPOA, as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency, agreed that Iran is and has been in full compliance with all the terms of the accord.  (Apartheid Israel, of course, has uncounted chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, but is not subject to anything like the JCPOA.)

Responding to Trump’s attacks on its economy, Iran took the United States to the International Criminal Court in August 2018, alleging “the sanctions were in breach of a bilateral accord struck in 1955.”  This set off “The Donald’s” national security advisor John Bolton.  He fumed:  “The International Criminal Court unacceptably threatens American sovereignty and U.S. national security interests.”

Who Dunnit?  Now, suddenly, just a month later, in September, mirabile dictu, there is an armed attack on Iranian government forces.  Without specifying which group, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif correctly laid the blame on outsiders, saying “Terrorists recruited, trained, armed and paid by a foreign regime have attacked Ahvaz.”  Zarif further noted that Saudi Arabia had been funding the group which seemingly carried out the attack.

Outsiders were certainly involved. The Saudis have been stoking tensions in the area, alleging that Iran, its rival for regional dominance, has been supporting “terrorists” here, there, and everywhere. (But, it’s been the Saudis who have been waging a savage war of aggression against Yemen, the neighbor to the south.  And the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been financing extremist groups in Syria while cozying up to Israel which has been using that benighted country as a shooting gallery.)

Who else might be involved?  Certainly the United States of America, constantly touting the evils of Iran, while demanding “regime change” there.  And just as assuredly Israel, a loud voice raving about the alleged dangers of Iran (which hasn’t invaded another country in the last two centuries).  What of the United Kingdom?  Didn’t its Secret Intelligence Service help the U.S. overthrow the legitimate government of Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953?  Wouldn’t Merrie Olde Englande like another bite of the apple–and aid its “ally” Donald J. Trump and all the Zionists opposing Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the opposition Labour Party?

Right now, only the “usual suspects” know for sure.  And they will likely be silent unless and until they manage to overthrow another Iranian government.

Will That Work?  Maybe not.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says that he and his countrymen will not submit to economic and psychological pressure from abroad.  Iran, he asserted, will never abandon its missile and defense capabilities in the face of U.S. coercion.  Blasting the U.S. for trashing the JCPOA, Rouhani went on to emphasize that his country is not interfering in other nations in the region.  Continuing, the Iranian president noted that, instead, his state is protecting other lands in the area from aggression.  Ultimately, Rouhani said, Donald Trump will fail in his efforts just as Saddam Hussein failed in his eight years of warfare against the Islamic Republic.

Can We Understand Anything?  What are we to make of all this?  Is the Ahvaz attack a one-off event or a continuation of past grievances the Arab community there has sometimes violently expressed?  Is this a new stage in American/Israeli/British efforts at “regime change” in Iran, one complementary to sanctions?  Or is it what President Rouhani called it, psychological pressure?  That is, is it a demonstration of outside power, an explicit display of “we can reach anywhere into your country and do anything we want” unless you give in to us?

In this author’s view, Rouhani is right. It is emotional stress, to be added to the sanctions’ economic strain, in the hope that Iran will give in to U.S., Israeli, and Saudi demands.

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