ANALYSIS: Are disgruntled Basilj students turning on the regime?


by FG

Check out this open letter as described at Enduring America:

The Student Basij forces have written an open letter to President Ahmadinejad, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, and head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani protesting that "people are struggling with economic problems".  The Basij asked Ahmadinejad, "In your provincial tours, do you not see inflation and its impact on people's lives?" It appealed to Sadegh Larijani, "Why can the judicial system not track the honesty and transparency that we expect from our government?"

OBSERVATION #1: Khamenei can hardly apply his norm for dealing with critics and their relatives in this case.  Yet not cracking down will embolden further complaints since the problems aren’t going away.

OBSERVATION #2: That Basilj complaints now mirror those of the public in many respects has potent implications.

What is stunning in this case is that the Basilj complaints go beyond economics to attack inbuilt dishonesty, a failed justice system and lack of transparency that enables all crimes.

Basilj students are starting to grasp what the lesson most Iranians learned in 2009—that there is no prospect life can ever get better so long as this regime exists.   Writing such letters is a waste of time, like the appeals to Khamenei just after the 2009 elections.   These Basilj may be a step behind the Iranian people but it won't take long to learn the same lesson.

Three years ago the average Basilj could perform mayhem on command because he actually believed the nonsense about “foreign agents” behind all popular discontent.   Now that their families “enjoy” the same grievances, they know better.  The more grievances are shared, the harder it will be to commit future mayhem upon request from the Holy Men. 

OBSERVATION #3: The regime has no possibility of satisfying  the grievances mentioned by Basilj students

Expecting serious reform from “principlists” who monopolize power is as realistic as expected reform from Czar Nicholas II or Leonid Brezhnev.  Closed systems encourage corruption, incompetence and economic monopolies under loyalist cliques.    Transparency is an essential check but how can a regime which has committed so many crimes suddenly tolerate  free speech, free press, the right to demonstrate peacefully and the right to probe past crimes and those responsible?   It’s unthinkable.   Hence such dubious charges as "propaganda against the regime."

All possibility of major reforms ended with the 2009 election (thwarting serious reform was exactly why it was rigged). That experience and the subsequent regime crimes squandered public support for good and opened people's eyes for good.   Substantial reform rquires public trust in the leaders which allows patience.   As in Syria, both are long gone.

OBSERVATION #4: Many Basilj have lost their three main reasons for supporting the regime:  1) belief in foreign conspiracies as the cause of popular discontent, 2)  bribery and 3) a naïve faith in morality of ruling clerics.

I've already shown why few people take seriously anymore the nonsense about foreign “conspiracies” explaining discontent.  That includes mouthpieces like Manoucher who spout it on command.  As for bribery, money for that purpose is in short supply.  When it does arrive, it can’t match inflation.

That brings us to the problem of maintaining faith in the ruling clerics as moral holy men.  No one gets angrier than a idealist who sees himself as having been betrayed.   Blindfolds are coming off amongst Basilj students who suffer from an overdose of “I saw what you did.”  

To live under a regime ruled by clerics and their carefully chosen tools implicit means that all complaints about the regime’s honesty are complaints about clerical honesty.   The worse life gets for Basilj members and their families the more disturbing the incredible wealth of the high living clerical class. That includes Khamenei’s multi-millionaire son, Mojtaba who played a major role in brutally suppressing all reform.

As Basilj begin to experience the same grievances as the people, how many feel bitter about having been used as teenagers to commit horrendous and immoral crimes against people who complained about the same things that now upset them?  Faith in religion and its leaders comes to resemble the attitude of adults once victimized by pedophile priests.  Anyone who has ever talked with an ex-cult member or ex-KKK member knows exactly what I mean.  


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