Thursday, June 30, 2011

What is happening in Iran?

Basically, few reactionary Mullahs led by Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, with the assistance of their cronies at the Revolutionary Guards Corps and a public support of less than ten percent of Iran's 70 millions population, have hijacked the country's resources and its people. This is a short and concise answer to the above question.

But the real dilemma in relation to this little minority is to find out if they are really capable of delivering what they have been pretending for quite sometimes--endangering the stability of the Middle East and/or beyond; if troubled hard. They very much like us to believe that proposition. They have been vocal about it since the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq by the US; and they are surely walking in the same direction today. For instance, days ago there was a missile attack, after a relatively quite period, on Camp Victory, a US military camp outside Baghdad in Iraq. As a result, five US personnel believed to have been killed. Robert Gates, the US Secretary of Defence, has indicated, in an interview with CNN, that Iran is the source of the hardware used in the attack---but we should always remember not to mistaken the Islamic Republic Revolutionary Guards Corps for Iran! Iran belongs to the Iranian people and until such a time they speak their view in a free referendum on what this little minority and their generals are doing in their name and the name of their country; one should be careful when attributing these actions to Iran and its people.   

Leaving this aside, an Iraqi Shiite group has interestingly claimed the responsibility for the attack. It is interesting because we, confidently, know that Iraqi Shiite has not had a bigger; stronger; and richer backer than the Islamic Republic since the creation of the regime in Tehran over 32 years ago. Tehran helped Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim, a prominent Iraqi Shiite figure, both financially and militarily to form the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq in the early 1980s. The council was one of the biggest opposition group to the Saddam's regime for two decades. After the demise of the Saddam's regime in 2003, the council and other Shiite groups close to Moghtada Al Sader and its Mahdi Army joined forces almost dominating the entire political and military structures of Iraq today. Therefore it would not be a wrong assumption to suggest that; Tehran has no difficulty to pursue its political and military goals, both regional and international, using its elements in Iraq. Thus the missile attack on the Camp Victory, regardless of which Shiite group claims responsibility for it; can be seen as a direct message from Tehran to the White House. But the question is; why? What has caused Tehran to go to such extent to authorise the killing of the US personnel today?

I am not sitting at high political, military or intelligence positions having access to that sort of information to know what has really forced them to make such a move. Therefore in searching for the reason or reasons behind the attack, I can only rely on my imagination, hopefully a good imagination though! 

Tehran is under immense pressures, economically; politically; and perhaps militarily--if needed to be. Day after day there come more and more economic and personal sanctions against the regime and its highest political and military figures. Recently US has named some of its top military brass as supporters of the Assad's regime in Syria and accused them of assisting the Syrian regime in its killing spree of civilians in Syria. Military people in Tehran must have surely felt the heat. Simply because this could be a starting point toward accusing them of committing crimes against the Syrian people today. While Tehran and its Revolutionary Guards may well be aware of the consequences of their actions in Syria; they may have been left with no choice but to defend the Assad's regime. They have stuck between rock and a hard place--I believe. Before their eyes, their biggest ally, Bashar Al Assad of Syria, in the Middle East is at the verge of removal. They see the possible demise of the Assad's regime as a stride toward their own. Because they are conscious of the fact that a huge percentage of Iranians are against them; internally, it makes them badly vulnerable. Externally, however, Syria was their only, known, strategic ally, as a nation, in the Middle East; which they now see its survival as a matter of do or die of their own.

Needless to say that they have used this alliance of convenience with Syria to compensate their political, economic and military weaknesses against the West over decades. And now what other choice do they have? None; except fighting along Assad and its regime. And at the same time send the strong message of that kind to the White House; they are ready to fight to death!

But I would like to put this question to politicians and generals in Tehran; doesn't a suicide make you look silly (?); just because you are not good at maths!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pervasive Heart Disease Among Journalists and Political Activists in Iran

Death of journalists and political activists while in custody in Iran has become part of daily business of the Islamic Republic. The striking similarity of all dead, however, is their heart disease only to be diagnosed after their death.  

Islamic Republic has earned itself a place in the Guinness World Records this week. Three political activists have died in one week in Iran, two in custody while the third one at her father funeral believed to have been beaten by security officials and left to die at her father grave. Mrs. Hale Sahabi was the fifty-one years old daughter of Mr. Ezzat Alah Sahabi, leader of Nationalist-Religious Coalition , the first victim who has died in the notorious Evin jail's clinic last week.

The second person died in custody was Mr. Huda Saber, a journalist and political activist. Before his death, he had also been transferred, owing to his chest pain, to the clinic. But instead of being taken to a hospital immediately; he was savagely beaten by the security officers disguised as medical staff at the clinic. That is what over 63 of other political inmates, whom were told by Mr. Saber himself before his death, have said in an open letter to the media. Mr. Saber, at the time, had been on hunger strike; protesting the suspicious death of Mrs. Sahabi.

On the wake of these deaths comes the belated appointment of the UN Human Rights Council's special envoy for Iran. The council has appointed Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, former Maldivian Foreign Minister, to report on the violation of human rights by the regime in Tehran. However Tehran is not a stranger to the condemnations for its decades-long violation of human rights; without teeth of course. Tehran is the World Champion and the record holder of the human rights violation.

Nevertheless, today, considering the reform-train steaming through the Middle Eastern and African countries; Islamic Republic as a whole, regardless of being its political body; security; intelligence; military; militia; or otherwise; must be very careful. The violation of human rights is no longer tolerated by the international community. It is no longer acceptable for a minority few; just to hold into their political or economical powers and advantages; to use torture; rape and killing of innocents. I am hopeful!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lack of Kevin Rudd on the Syrian Human Tragedy

Kevin Rudd, our Foreign Minister in Australia, has the ability of seeing the international political scenery in details. He has been showing this quality soon after he became a shadow Foreign Ministry spokesperson long time ago. He showed it then; and he surely demonstrates it today as the Australian Foreign Minister.

He was very active in the Egyptian affairs during the demising days of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. He occasionally met with the opposition activists back then, and he openly expressed his view and of the Australian Government on the need for transition to democracy in that country. He supports human rights and democracy for the Egyptian people.

He was also supporting, and perhaps more than Egyptian case, the freedom seeking people of Libya in their uprising against Gaddafi. Mr. Rudd stood with the innocents who were targeted by Gaddafi’s killing machine. He was a vocal advocate of a no-fly zone against the Gaddafi’s Air Force which was bombarding defenceless people in Libya. He played his role in the passing of the UN resolution 1973 against the Gaddafi’s regime.

These stands proved his quality and ability in playing the international political chess game which is being played in Africa and the Middle East.

However, he has been quite lately over the Syrian development. I wonder why. Syria is located in the Middle East. She also plays the terrorism card along with her Middle East renegade trouble maker and human rights violator, the Islamic Republic in Iran. She, with the Tehran's assistance, have been killing Syrian civilians for quite sometimes now. And one would have expected to hear more from Mr. Rudd on the issue of dealing with Bashar Al Assad. That would perhaps constitute hitting two or even more birds with one stone–or at least this is the way I see it.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Are they playing us?

Of all political news out of Iran recently, the conflict between president Ahmadi Nejad and Ali Khamenei, the leader, has been dominating the media, both inside Iran and abroad. The clash appeared to have been triggered over their constitutional powers. 

Consequences of such unprecedented clash, however, could not understandably be contained at the executive limb of government. They fast transcended to the other branches, the parliament and the judiciary, as well as unelected bodies such as the Guardian Council all of which are Ali Khamenei's toys--or have a mutual understandings and benefits to consider. One should not expect for Iran to have -yet- a system of government as we know it in the West. There is no such thing as independent branches of government--they run the country like mafia. Therefore in addition to these more official and purported independent political bodies; Ali Khamenei mobilised his top brass military personnel in the Revolutionary Guards, its paramilitary militia Basijis, pressure groups (say street thugs) to attack president Ahmadi Nejad and his supporters. It was an all-out verbal war. They even threatened the president with physical confrontation. One could then only assume that a bomb explosion at the Abadan Refinery--Abadan is an Iranian city at the southern point of Iran next to the Persian Gulf--during a visit by president Ahmadi Nejad recently was a very loud message directed at the president!

Political assassinations have been, and is, a routine business in Iran's politics since its birth. A group of, eight to ten, high ranking revolutionary guards officers believed to have been close to Hashemi Rafsanjani died when their plane crashed months before the last presidential election. Months prior to that another military plane crashed over Tehran with over 100 top brass military and revolutionary guards personnel on board, all dead-and it wouldn't be hard to guess which side of politics they would have associated with. A young 26 years old general practitioner died at his dormitory recently; he had treated two young protesters, they had been arrested after the presidential election unrest, for their injuries received under barbaric torture, and appeared before a parliamentary inquiry-both young died. An academic believed to had been associated with the Iran's Green Movement died in a bomb explosion when he was leaving home for work. There is no shortage of the stories of this kind, 32 years of political assassinations in the history of the Islamic Republic is an interesting subject for a research study; for a very brave person though!

The parliament also, on leader's signal, threatened the president with a possible impeachment. After all in the Islamic Republic; the parliament is "the leader's parliament", said the speaker, Ali Larijani.

In first glance, for an observer and of course the people of Iran, these unfolding events portrayed a different president than the one who kissed the leader's shoulder years back in his inaugural ceremony!  

Notwithstanding it now appears, strangely, that Ali Khamenei wants president Ahmadi Nejad to stay on for the remaining two years of his second four years term in office. Hence as much as the questioning of the leader's untouchable authorities by president Ahmadi Nejad was a new and an unprecedented move in the history of the regime in Tehran, the leader's move casts serious doubt over their noisy altercation. Basically in short and midterms, if president Ahmadi Nejad and his government stay on and the leader's overriding authorities, as his camp interprets it, remain intact; then nothing really happened after all! Except the implied message sent by the president challenge that the leader is not a sacred person who represents god on earth rather he is a human being like any other and his authorities can, and must, be questioned. Apart from this, all the noise meant nothing and a little group of people who calls themselves 'the Islamic Republic' remains happy!

If it actually happens and president Ahmadi Nejad stays on and things back to normality somewhat, we left with the question that, as I wrote here before, was the conflict real? The answer is either 'yes' or 'no'. Given president Ahmadi Nejad caved in and admitted to the leader's wish and authorities; a 'yes' answer does not really change anything and is not my real concern. However, a 'no' answer raises different questions. Why did they need to stage such a play? What factors did force them to do that? And what are they going to achieve from it?

Generally from the people's reaction to the rigged presidential election two years ago, both Ali Khamenei and president Ahmadi Nejad have learnt that they have no place among the majority of Iranians. They saw millions of them on streets chanting against them and the Islamic Republic. They also remember that they had to crackdown the peaceful opposition brutally and put its leadership under arrest. These daunting facts, they know, have transformed Iran into an explosive device awaiting a trigger. They are also aware of the fact that denying the people of Iran a domestic opposition force the people to search for an alternative opposition elsewhere. And when one adds this to the unhappiness of a Western world which is tired of irresponsible behaviour of Ali Khameni and president Ahmadi Nejad; it would be a dangerous mixture for them. 

Yet I still have not mentioned the wave of revolutions against tyrants of the Middle Eastern and African countries. Ali Khamenei and president Ahmadi Nejad know that it is only a matter of time before the people of Iran loudly demand their human and democratic rights as well! Perhaps, remember we are still talking about the 'no' answer to the question of their conflict being real or otherwise, Ali Khamenei and president Ahmadi Nejad felt the need for a domestic but controlled opposition to the tyrannic regime of Ali Khanmeni--if this speculation is right, I think they are desperate. In this way they might at least try to tackle some of their serious challenges ahead. But the question is that for how long more would they be able to deny the people of Iran what the Egyptians achieved, and the Yemenis; Tunisians; Libyans; and Syrians are in the process of achieving? My answer is; not very long; not very long at all.