June 16, 2007

Iran Nearing The Tipping Point?

The mullahcracy in Iran has apparently unleashed its latent paranoia, resulting in a crackdown on dissent not seen since the 1979 Revolution. The Iranian government has moved to quell academic debate, silence citizen groups, purge their internal security systems, and generally tighten the screws on the Iranian people:

Iran is in the midst of a sweeping crackdown that both Iranians and U.S. analysts compare to a cultural revolution in its attempt to steer the oil-rich theocracy back to the rigid strictures of the 1979 revolution.

The recent detentions of Iranian American dual nationals are only a small part of a campaign that includes arrests, interrogations, intimidation and harassment of thousands of Iranians as well as purges of academics and new censorship codes for the media. Hundreds of Iranians have been detained and interrogated, including a top Iranian official, according to Iranian and international human rights groups. ...

The widespread purges and arrests are expected to have an impact on parliamentary elections next year and the presidential contest in 2009, either discouraging or preventing reformers from running against the current crop of hard-liners who dominate all branches of government, Iranian and U.S. analysts say. The elections are one of several motives behind the crackdowns, they add.

Public signs of discontent -- such as students booing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on a campus last December, teacher protests in March over low wages and workers demonstrating on May Day -- are also behind the detentions, according to Iranian sources.

"The current crackdown is a way to instill fear in the population in order to discourage them from future political agitation as the economic situation begins to deteriorate," said Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "You're going to think twice about taking to the streets to protest the hike in gasoline prices if you know the regime's paramilitary forces have been on a head-cracking spree the last few weeks."

If the mullahs think this will work to end internal dissatisfaction with the governing elite, they're going to find themselves very surprised, and probably sooner than later. The Iranian people as a whole are a lot more cosmopolitan than the provincial clerics that act as dictators over them. Until recently, the creation of an Islamist state has kept Muslims from reacting to the oppression, especially as the mullahs acted to give limited expression of popular dissent after the death of the revered Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, as a safety valve against an explosion of resentment.

Now that they have acted to close off those safety valves, they had better watch out for the reaction. It may not happen overnight, but the Iranians will not sit quietly for long, as Khomeini proved in 1979. If they refuse to allow even modest reformers to run for office and toss into jail anyone who complains, it will not shut off the misery but force it into new and destabilizing channels.

The Iranians have accused the US of fomenting revolution, and the US has not exactly denied it. In fact, an ABC report unveiled a purported presidential directive to the CIA demanding that the agency take action to undermine the mullahcracy -- which undoubtedly hastened the paranoid reaction we see now. It may have been a calculated bluff to push the Iranians to a tipping point -- and it may have worked even more quickly than the Bush administration hoped.


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Comments (25)

Posted by Marzouq | June 16, 2007 11:44 AM


Salaam eleikum!

Posted by emdfl | June 16, 2007 12:12 PM

The problem is that few, if any, of those "cosmopolitan" Iranians have any of the guns, which makes their anger pretty much irrelevant.

Posted by Scott in CA | June 16, 2007 12:15 PM

This has always been the Iranian Achilles heel; the threat of rebellion against the fundamentalist Islamic government, and to a lesser extent, the revolt of the non-Persian half of the population.

I hope it works. I don't want a military strike on Iran, as it would enrage the Left here and in Europe. That's the last thing the Republicans in the US need right now.

Better to let others bring about the downfall of the Mullahs.

Posted by Realist | June 16, 2007 12:21 PM

It seems more likely that they are clearing the decks in preparation for the summer war. The other ducks (Hezbolla, Hamas, Syria, Iraq [al-Sadr]) are lining up nicely.

Posted by NahnCee [TypeKey Profile Page] | June 16, 2007 12:28 PM

The Iranian people as a whole are a lot more cosmopolitan than the provincial clerics that act as dictators over them.

Isn't that what we said about the Iraqi's, too? That in Baghdad there was a well-educated population who would be thrilled to be handed democracy and a better life on a silver platter?

Turns out that after decades of self-censorship and internal pruning, they had killed off all the thinking, motivated people, leaving only the corrupt, bribe-taking, murderous ones, and the timid, don't-rock-the-boat blind ones who don't notice when large holes are being dug in the road and even larger bombs are being placed.

And remember, too, that before the mullahs took over, the Shah had been in charge, and he had his own pogrom going of dealing with those with ambition or intelligence.

I have absolutely no faith whatsoever that the Iranian people have any intelligence, or courage, or honor. Why should they have? It's been systematically bred out of them for at least 70 years.

AND, you just know that if any Iranian is smart enough to over-throw the mullahs, he's been bought off already by either China or Russia, so how would that be helpful?

Posted by Tom | June 16, 2007 1:05 PM

Multiple painfully obvious analogies exist between the pre-1979 Khomeni movement and the American progressive Left. Only the U.S. outcome remains in doubt and we are very close to our own Tipping Point. I am very frightened for my children's and grandchild's future.

Posted by Adjoran | June 16, 2007 1:30 PM

Let's dismiss at the outset any notion of "moderates" or "reformers" among Iranian politicians. Even those who western media have in the past described as such - Rafsanjani, and the parliament members who were not allowed to run for reelection a couple of years back - are by no means in favor of any meaningful "reform." All support the theocracy, which is the 200-mullah council and the Supreme Leader making all the decisions. Everything else - parliament, President, foreign minister, etc. - is just window dressing.

Now, a "reformer" would want to CHANGE that, and no such individual has EVER been allowed to participate in the process at any level in the Ayatollahs' Iran.

The Shah's Savak (secret police) were ruthless in cracking down and suppressing, but the people they were constantly repressing were the Islamist extremists. Now we understand WHY, perhaps.

When the actual "tipping point" comes in Iran, we will know in a matter of days. Guns and night sticks notwithstanding, when millions are marching, you just can't arrest or shoot or beat them all.

Posted by Carol Herman | June 16, 2007 2:05 PM

Heck, at least Stalin had his last day. Though, when truth is told, he got a lot of American support.

Which brings me to worry that we'll pay heavily for the Bush lagacies. And, when it happens in the arab world? Nothing is really as it appears.

Bush, with Saudi blessings, dumped $60-million-dollars-worth of American made munitions into Gazoo. Fatah didn't touch it! They just took delivery! And, when the Fatah asked for permission to fight, what did Abbas do?

Um. Abbas closed his eyes.

Now, by some sort of miracle, cooked up "somewhere" ... the other thing you notice about the religious nutters in gazoo; is that they're the extremist arm of the SUNNI's!

Fatah. Schmata. We're all be taken for a ride.

While up at Little Green Footballs, a comment from someone whose handle is "Pawn of the Oppressor" let me laugh out loud. Here. Is:

At the same time, hundreds of people looted police positions on the Palestinian side of Erez, and at one point Israeli troops fired in the air to keep the crowd at bay. The looters walked off with furniture and scrap metal.

This is the third reference I've seen to looting of furniture in as many days. Are they short on furniture in Gaza and the West Bank? Is there a business opportunity here?

/Chairs for Palestine

Can Bush keep hiding his agenda?

It sure looks like "something's" plunged.

Will Tony Baloney Blair be elevated to the Kingdom topper of the EU? Here, again. I thought it was a dead letter drop. An issue that the voting public in europe wouldn't support.

Go figa. A lot that is going on now has nothing to do with what you support. Or anyone supports.

While the Saud's bet BIG on?

Let me help you out. Their version of allah-ba'kakta islam leading the way.

Seems like it just took hold in gazoo.

While Bush still plays with the idea that Americans will go on vacation; and as if by magic, Harry Reid will suddenly become a star player. And, he'll get 15 or 20 more votes.

We're actually all being given a religious experience.

There are no words. We're all supposed t figure out what the burning 'bush' says. Personally? I think we're in for a very long haul. Or however long it takes to reach the next election cycle.

"Weak hand players" by definition, have no reason to listen to the public. They keep their seat until they're tossed.

While James Baker grows rich.

With the truth playing out in front of your eyes; do you believe the magic tricks that go on underneath those checkered tablecloths? I don't.

It s

Posted by patrick neid | June 16, 2007 2:43 PM

iran will reach it's tipping point when we cruise missile the leadership.

there is no reason to bomb, invade, etc the country or infrastructure. just clip the leaders. let the people take care of the rest.

trust the process.

Posted by Randy Brandt | June 16, 2007 2:59 PM

It is naive to think the Iranian people are on verge of a revolt. The Basij, who are anything but cosmopolitan, real true believers, will do whatever it takes to supress any discontent with the Mullahocracy.

It is extremely fanciful to think our CIA has the determination and strength of will to fight and undermine an entity as tough as the Iranian Mullahs. Our intelligence service is too busy battling the Bush Administration, developing fuel efficiency standards for it's vehicle fleet, and writing on one hand this and the other hand that memos. Why do you think Rumsfeld fought hard to keep defense intelligence out of a consolidated national department? He had first hand knowledge of the effectivness of the CIA.

The true believers will keep the secularists in Iran in line. If we do not soon realize some government systems are better than others and start believing in our future, we will face a very severe test in countering these fascists.

Posted by bayam | June 16, 2007 3:00 PM

It's a good time to let Iran stew in its own juices. In time there will be an uprising that the theocracy won't be able to control by appealing to nationalism, the oldest trick in the book for repressive states.

Posted by Carol Herman | June 16, 2007 3:30 PM

So far, the Iranians don't have much in the way of trading goods; or you'd be buying "stuff at Walmart's" that was tagged "Made in Iran."

As to the "hot stuff?" The nukes? Who knows? The russians disbursed a lot of stuff out to bad players; but they worry more, now, that it will "come back" via their own breed of muzzy. Though, yes, Putin did put down the Chechnayns. There's also not a "tourist spot" ... so what the heck to any of us really know?

We have a navy whose never been tested.

Israel has a navy, too.

I'll guess that anything that "takes out" nuclear installations in Iran, will come from a sub. Which will creep silently into shooting distance.

Meanwhile, I don't trust Dubya as far as I can throw him. Or his gang. True, he's surrounded with incompetents. Condi even being worse than Halfbright. But that may be a ruse?

Dubya is in charge of driving through victories for the Saud's.

And, they just did pick up Gazoo! Plus, Gazoo loaded with $60-million's worth of our military toys. How did that happen?

You mean, inside our squirrelly places, like the CIA, nobody had a "profile" on Abbas? They thought Fart-a would fight Ham's Ass? Really?

There one thing about a stage. EVERYTHING ON IT IS PROPS! So, when Shakespeare said the "whole world is a stage" ... he also knew BACKSTAGE like the back of his hand.

So keep this in mind: The Bush family has been imbedding in the total "picture" since the Mid 1970's. OPEC was birthed in 1974. And the Bush's are now billionnaires.

Sure, Dubya looks stupid. But he's playing for the Saud's.

And, the Saud's just picked up Gazoo;

How do I know this? I know the flavor of islam that resides under the checkered tablecloth headdresses.

We're told, they're all just a bunch of wild indians.

But Iran? A more limited reach than you think.

While the "big players" have made mints of money. And, Maliki, who is doing what he wants to do in Irak; lived in both Tehran and Damascus. TWENTY YEARS OF HIS ADULT TLIFE! Think about it. No problem living in Tehran. And, even less of a problem living in Damascus.

And, the idiot in the White House? Spends American money like its water shooting out of a fire hose.

He was gonna buy Irak? You believe him?

WHere's the CIA been, IF what we have NOW are furhter exercises against Israel?

You didn't know? CONDI IS ASKING OLMERT for the locations of all the cluster bombs that were dropped in Southern Lebanon. Do you know why? So Hezbollah's bullies run in, again. Now if they run in? THey lose a leg. If they're lucky, that's all they lose.

But CONDI IS ASKING OLMERT to make it easier for Hezbollah to "get around" in a month. Or two.

Right out in the open!

There's also a picture on the Net. You can see it on Little Green Footballs. It's a bunch of people from gazoo; who've packed their luggage. And, they're trying to flee across to safety ... You got it. In Israel! But there's one guy doing a "pole dance." And, people ask: What's he doing?

Well, in broad daylight, he's LOOTING. You'll notice he's using his jump to give him some leverage on a piece of vertical pipe. He's also got a friend, nearby. And, laying on the ground's the pipe already stolen. Just waiting to be carted back. To the "newly religious enterprise of gazoo.

You think the Saud's are mad? Really. Then you're just easier to fool than most.

Bush will do the least he has to do, just to survive in office. Where he can still hand out lots of goodies to his "fwends." Does he have a reputation? Nope. Not even for a brand of toilet paper.

Fart'a on and Ham's ass, notwithstanding.

Posted by sanssoucy | June 16, 2007 4:56 PM

Yeeeeeeaaaaah, I'm expecting a helpful Iranian revolution Real Soon Now(tm).


Posted by leon | June 16, 2007 5:00 PM

You need to check out the accuracy of the May 15th Prophecy in regards to what is happing in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria and the return of the Hidden Imam


Posted by gaffo | June 16, 2007 5:16 PM

"I hope it works. I don't want a military strike on Iran, as it would enrage the Left here and in Europe."

you forgot the most important demographic!!!!!!
the IRANIANS!! a US strike would make all Iranians huddle to defend their Mullahs in a hearbeat! The fastest way to enshure defeat of reform is for the US to attack.

if Russia had attacked the US in the midst of Monica gate - you would not rally to Clinton's government?

"Better to let others bring about the downfall of the Mullahs. "

as it always is - something that should have been heeded in Iraqnam.

Posted by gaffo | June 16, 2007 5:25 PM

Nancy - Iraq was in artificial construct made by Britian's famous "divide and conquor" methodolegy. You take out the stongman and the Nation divides into its natural state (three Nations along ethnic lines). Iraqis have no sense of Nationalism, what little they did have died with Saddam.

Iran is TOTALLY different.

1. They are more powerful in every way than Iraq.
2. They are a natural construct made up of a unified people/ethnicity)
3. they have a very well developed sense of Nationalism.

we can't handle Iraq! you want to take on Iran militarily? - pure insanity and instant assured failure to boot.

no Nancy - Iran is not Iraq.

Posted by mrlynn | June 16, 2007 6:03 PM

Yes, we should do all we can to destabilize Iran and encourage revolt, but whether or not Iran is at a 'tipping point', we cannot wait to find out.

Iran is behind much of the trouble we're having in Iraq, behind Hisbollah and Hamas against Israel, and behind Syria against Israel, Lebanon, and us. If we want to turn the Iraqi adventure into a success, we have to confront Iran.

We should be disrupting and destroying Iranian and Syrian supply routes into Iraq and through Syria to Hisbollah and Hamas, and the cadres that support them.  We should be mounting covert attacks on Iranian military infrastructure and command-and-control facilities that have any connection with Iraqi infiltration.  And we should be gradually escalating overt military pressure on Iranian ports and airfields, with the expressed intention of destroying Iranian missile batteries and their nuclear industry in the bargain.

We should also make it clear that we intend to have a permanent base in Iraq for the next half-century, from which we will counter any attempt by Iran or Sunni Islamists to control the region or to threaten Europe.  I would call this “Islamist Containment.”

A permanent American presence in Iraq would give democratic movements in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East the incentive and encourgement to rise up. An American retreat, like that advocated by the Democrats, will lead first to Iranian hegemony, and ultimately an Islamic Europe.

/Mr Lynn

Posted by NahnCee [TypeKey Profile Page] | June 16, 2007 7:23 PM

Righhhhhht - I'm gonna heed and trust someone who punctuates with exclamation points, and spells like this:

enshure defeat

You betcha. This is an obviously educated and experienced person making perfect sense. Fer shure.

Posted by Mike | June 16, 2007 8:02 PM

Wow. I may be completely wrong here, and hope that I am, but I suspect that there will be no popular uprising in Iran. If we compare Iran to Russia in its final days, communism died because it was an economic, not a religious ideology and ultimately, the Russian army made a conscious choice to no longer kill its own people. The only folks with arms in Iran are crazed religious zealots who are more than happy to torture and murder their own people.

I am more and more distressed by Republicans who are adopting the Democrat tendencies to avoid armed conflict at any cost, even if it means bargaining with crazed killers who, if they get the chance, would like nothing more than murdering each and every American. There are no Iranian moderates, and while many Iranians are smart enough to see the American way of living as superior to the Iranian way of living, that does not mean that we may not have to visit horrific destruction on them before they do it to us.

Posted by ET | June 17, 2007 12:10 AM

Don't count on regime change in Iran from within. The mullahs have the guns and are brutal enough to maintain power. Most despots seem to remain in power until death or outside intervention; e.g., Russia under Stalin, Cuba under Castro, etc.

Iran's current regime came to power when US support for the Shah was removed, thanks to Jimmy Carter. This regime's backers are not inclined to remove their support, so don't expect the mullahs to fall.

It's a shame Iran's mullahs are allowed to continue destabilizing the region. Actually, "destabilizing" is not an accurate description of their activity. In reality, Iran has been commiting armed agression against numerous nations in and beyond the region. For example, many of Iraq's problems, and ours, are directly caused by Iran and its agents; other nations would echo this observation, too.

Posted by section9 | June 17, 2007 2:47 AM

Well, we've just had the first leak out of Ehud Barak's shop in the runup to Ehud, er, Pericles' trip to see GW and Condi.

It appears that Barak has demanded of his former lieutenants that they supply him with a multi-brigade operational plan for taking down Gaza later in the summer. Of course, this is what was leaked, intentionally, so the Iranians and the Syrians could read the story. Barak is someone who knows what the hell he is doing, so I trust him to telegraph an obvious deception. If this were Olmert and Peretz doing this I would actually expect some clumsy half-assed operation in Gaza in the mid-July heat that would accomplish nothing.

Gaza will be left to wither on the vine. I'm convinced that Barak will move in another theater, and in concert with the Americans.

In short, Carol's right on one respect, Barak is telegraphing a big move into Gaza. But the move will be north. Gaza is the feint.

Last summer's war was so catastrophic a failure precisely because the Hezzies and their Iranian patrons knew where the Zahal was and where it was going. There was little thought or artistry given to that operation.

Barak is counting on the inability of the Iranians to help themselves from starting combat. They will goose up the Pallies to fire and keep firing, then turn on the Hez when it looks like Israel is committed in the South. That's when Ehud Barak will go after the Syrians, hammer and tongs. My people tell me that Pericles has been waiting a year to redeem himself. Now he's got the defense minister to do it.

Posted by quickjustice | June 17, 2007 5:14 AM

The mullah government of Iran has neglected to maintain its oilfield infrastructure for decades. Sanctions have helped degrade Iranian oil production capabilities as well. (I hope that the U.S. is sabotaging their facilities to drive further reductions in production.) As a consequence, Iranian oil production is plummeting, even as oil prices rise.

As a consequence, Iranian government revenues from oil production also are falling, enough so that they no longer have the money to prop up a failing economy.

The unrest is a consequence of economic failure. The urgent question is, can we drive the Iranian mullah regime to collapse before they get a bomb, short of military action?

Posted by Fight4TheRight | June 17, 2007 6:37 AM

Remember Nancy Pelosi's visit to Syria? Well, I would propose that Harry Reid be sent on a month long visit to Iran. Harry's been pretty successful here in dividing 300 million people in six months, so I figure that in 30 days he could go a long way in doing the same with Iran's 80 million.

Posted by PD Quig | June 17, 2007 11:50 AM

Iranian revolution? Sorry, I'm too busy waiting for Godot. Everything will get better when he arrives, so there is no need for action until then.

Posted by exDemo | June 17, 2007 11:08 PM

The Palestinians have divided themselves into a civil war. Hamas will need more even more Iranian aid.

Iraq's government of majority Shia have been in power for two years now; they have constructed an Army that even Iran would fear. The Iraqi national Police is now at planned strength and no Muslim opponents to fear as the AQI and Al Sadr are no military force in actuality. Hoist on their theory of full asymmetrical warfare, they haven't even tried to construct the elementary guerrilla armies.

AQI has been decimated five or six times over and is losing out on its last and only remaining bastion in Anbar province,as the only real pollsters, the local politicians, the tribal chiefs, come down against them there. It's spreading to Sunni areas of Baghdad and Diyallah,too.

Sadr is in in exile in Iran; his militia have turned on themselves, and Sadr's government ministers have been self-purged with little effect in the Shia government,failing to bring it down.

Lots of oil has just been discovered in Sunni areas, so all three groups now will have oil wealth; now making it easy to "share" what all will have.

The Kurds are satisfied to remain in Iraq, protected from the Turks by the US, and free to continue their guerrilla wars against Syria, and Iran (and Turkey), to free their kinfolk.

When the West MSM isn't looking any more, the Arabs will kill as many Arabs as necessary to create order, and nothing will be said or noticed. Mopping up the AQI and Sadr remnants will be no trouble when you don't have to play by Marquis of Queensbury rules. Unlike us, the Iraqis have n problem detecting the foreigners of Al Queda or Persian origin.

All the Arabs hate the Persians, but love their money and aid. Just like us. Unfortunately, the Persian pockets are about empty, heavily overextended to support Lebanon's Hezb'Allah, and now Hamas, propping up Syria, arming Al Sadr, and building their own Manhattan Project Bomb.

Doing all this while suppressing the Iranian Kurdish civil war in northern Iran; amid rising civil unrest, in Iranian NE and SW and among the rising Iranian intelligentsia.

Even in North Korea the hereditary Communist tyrant-emperor is reported to be dying. Crocodile Tears are ready to flow.

With a realistic perspective, I would say, Things are coming up Roses!!!.