Anti-protest tactics that worked in 2009 have a fatal flaw that Iranians failed to test


by FG

Iran’s generals have spent a great deal of time, money and practice on the assumption that what worked in 2009 should work even better next time in consequence. They have purchased more motorcycles, more shields and more tear gas. They are confident in their ability to “handle” demonstrators and let Iranians know it. Believing so, Iranians are slow to rebel. However, this assumption, shared by both sides, only holds until you look closely at Syria’s uprising and ask, “What isn’t there that used to be?” Assad originally employed Khamenei-style insurrection tactics but rarely does so now unless FSA presence is minimal. We need to ask why.


The Syrians PROVED that Khamenei’s favored counterinsurgency tactics can be undone by even a handful of determined and lightly armed defectors (aka People Protectors) . First because urban combat exacts a heavy toll on even elite and well-equipped troops and their armored vehicles let alone untrained paramilitary scum or unmotivated troops. Secondly it enables furtherl defections (always welcome) That partly explains why the regime relies on types with no scruples. Once deprived of a “freebie environment,” any thug astride a motorcycle may as wear a "Shoot me! Shoot me!" sign.

In 2009 Khamenei—unlike Assad--was never pushed by the opposition into tactics where his “superior” forces stand at a distance, pound a neighborhood to rubble and then move in to loot, smash up whatever remains and massacre surviving non-combattants. If Khamenei is forced into the same boomerang approach, I doubt the outside world will tolerate such behavior for long in Iran's case thanks mostly to geographical and endless revenge motives.


Unless the Islamic Republic can end any uprising before defections start, it is a dead duck. By contrast, the opposition needs to keep things going until defectors manage to killl a few paramilitary thugs and drivie them off. That will require Syrian-style courage. Even one success could suffice to get the snowball in motion. Such momentum, once underway, can go in only one direction. Hence tiny victories are a big deal far beyond the relatively miniscule number of casualties inflicted. The news encourages others to defect, demoralizes a thrashed militia and emboldens the populace.


1. The initial outbreak must be spontaneous and unexpected (which is why the 2009 demonstrations actually worked at first).

2. Protests must be wide, nationwide and continuous, allowing regime forces no “tea breaks.” You don’t see Syria’s opposition making that big 2009 mistake. Surprise is always best.

3. Iranians too must rely BOTH on peaceful protests and a combat arm.

The effect of perceived weakness or vulnerability on this harsh regime is what one might expect if Khamenei were a hardened, tatooed convict and someone pushed a thin young inmate into his cell. The mistaken assumption that violence favors any regime so well-armed and unscrupulous is flawed by simplicity. Heavy weapons work best when employed against other conventional forces. If anything, they are counter-effective when employed against a hit-and-run insurrection. Even tanks are vulnerable. The regime weapons also require soldiers trained and motivated to use them. Who can be inspired by hated officers are vicious mullahs?


Yes. That's why one should borrow what worked for Syrians and adjust for all variables, favorable or not. The good news for Iranians is that the former applies in this case. That should reduce the length, losses and destruction from the Second Iranian Revolution. I’ve pointed out why in several past posts. but will do so in a subpost here upon re


more from FG

Re: Dissident clerics post

by FG on

I know there are dissident clerics and it would be nice if they could pull off change. However I doubt they have the capacity for two reasons:

1. Khamenei has stuffed every important body with reactionaries like himself.  

2. He has shown that he is no less reluctant to shut up dissident cleregy than to shut up reformers and that--if necessary-he will use any means to do it. 

The reason I favor revolution is because all avenues essential to peaceful change and blocked and totally in the control of reactionary ultraconservatives. That leaves only one avenue to change--violent revolution. To reject that is to leave people with only lone choice--accept the horrific lives they have today (which can only get worse) and  live with it forever.

It would be nice if  Khamenei and the thugs around him would go peacefullu but they are psychologically no different from Assad.   Like Assad, they'd destroy the country and kill half the population to retain power.

At least in Iran revolution will have its upsides:

1. When it ends the Islamic Republic will be gone for good and Iran will be the mos secular state in the Persian Gulf with radical Islamist and even Islamist rule discredited forever.

2. Though substantial bloodshed and property damage cannot be avoided,  it will likely be a great deal less than in Syria.   For one reason, discontent is everywhere in Iran now unlike Syria in March of 2011 when protests began there. This suggests a quicker collapse.   For another, Iranians are far more likely than Syrians to get all the aid they request, including safe zones, no fly zones, anti-copter help and small special force units on the ground. 


I sorta agree with you, FG

by MM on

I remember the protestors protecting the scums who fell off their cycles, but given what we have seen in the past 3 years, I don't think there would be much sympathy for the IRI scums.  Further, your scenario sounds a lot better than foreign intervention as pushed by some here.  What do you think the trigger would be?


FG - No US admin survives without pandering to defense Industry

by ayatoilet1 on

Please don't tell me the Obama administration is not connected to the defense industry. Just open your eyes. US will be spending more money on defense this year then the whole rest of the world combined. Upwards of 680 Billion dollars. You can not become president in the U.S. without pandering to this indusrty.

You analysis of Syria and Libya is NOT correct. Turkey has been a strategic ally of the opposition since even before all this started (officially on your TV screen). In fact, operatives were inside Syria during the Iraq invasion, planning for the toppling of Assad. And if, in fact, the Iraq invasion had gone smoothly they would have very quickly gone into Syria. It was always on the books. To delay all this, Syria started funding insurgents in Iraq...and created a quagmire for the U.S. troops there. In fact, the Syrian ambassador to Iraq is now sharing details of what Syria was doing to the U.S. now that he has defected.

In the mean-time U.S. tactics in the region have changed. Bush was a cowboy and wanted to just go in there and get 'em. Obama's administration is more subtle and prefers lower cost, indirect means of achieving strategic goals - by essentially arming the populations to do their own dirty deeds. Its the very same goal, just a different way of execution.

Turkey has been pivotal, and set up refugee camps over 2 years ago along its borders. Provided strategic assistance - providing communication equipment, etc. over two years ago to the FSA. Even setting up a political office for the FSA two years ago -- well before the fighting started.

FG - you just don't know the facts. The U.S. is arming Kurdish rebels, they are arming Jundallah rebels (in Baluchestan), they are arming Azeris (Iranian Azeris)....but they are NOT arming or assisting ordinary Iranians in Tehran. Their goal is to splinter Iran - not have a regime change that results in Iran remaining one "large" nation with one government. You simply don't know what their plans/strategies are, and then you are attacking Iranians for NOT being wise/smart, corageious, willing to die for liberty etc. What you don't know is how many people have already been killed.Its literally over 20,000 iranians - and so far the casualties in Syria are 17,000. That's more than Syria has provided these past 2 years.

I am not sure what you are smoking. Whatever it is, its affecting your ability to read and analyze facts.


Don't lie, Ayatoilet! Iranians did NOT fight in 2009

by FG on

 RE: Iran's prisons are littered with young kids who were all fighting. 

Throwing stones, punches, trash cans or tear gas canisters is not fighting in any military sense which is part of what we require.  Before qualifying for foreign help, how many Bad Guys did Syrians and Libyans have to kill? How many defections did they encourage?  How many casualties did they suffer?   

RE: Iranians are brave.

Where did I say otherwise?  Show me.  The tactic you employ in this case is "straw man argument."   Look it up online.

RE: Iranians are...wise

Wisdom is an individual characteristic not a group one.  However, there is no doubt their leaders were as dumb as snails when it comes to strategy.  

RE: You didn't have guns. 

Copy from the Libyans and Syrians.  In Libya over 95 percent of ground equipment came via defection or capture not from foreigners.   Syria's protests started 15 months ago yet foreign military hardware only started arriving two weeks ago.  Iran's protests ended overnight by comparison.  To  get assistance, you gotta pay your dues.  That means making the transition form Protest Only stage to Revolution.  They did.  You didn't.  Yet you dare scream "discrimination!"

Re:  The USA didn't arm Iranians because "the Military-Industrial Complex Supports the Mullahs" 

Problem #1: Who is closer to the military-industrial complex: Obama or the Neo-Cons.  Which most favors going to war with Iran?  Of course you'll simply ignore what doesn't fit. 

Probablem #2: To "love the mullahs" we'd have to forget outrages (the Lebanon marine barracks, Khobar Towers, the IEDs in Iraq and Afganistan, present destabilization efforts in neighboring countries and addition schemes to target Amerians elsewhere (See Thailand, India, Kenya and the Soviet ambassador plot).   You can bet Iranians wouldn't forget.  Why do you insist Americans are so different?

Problem #3: Incompatible theories again.  How is "we love the mullahs and want them to stick around" compatible with "Israel controls US policy toward Iran." I thought Israel wanted the IRI gone right now.     

You Want Us to Start the Revolution for You 

Iranians never got past the protest stage.  Yet you demand the same aid as those who did.  Protests are not a revolution.   And when a revolution does start, don't expect foreign assistance immediately.  No one else gets it.  So why do you insist on special case treatment for Iran?

You also haven't thought out an obvious downside of the prima donna treatment you demand.  Hint: Who did the mullahs blame for all discontent?  If Was it true?  Would not that charge be valid if we did what you demand? 

Unlike you, I believe Iranians do have the courage and ability to achieve what Syrians and Libyas achieved, if lousy leaders don't hold them back.  

Ayatoilet has avoided the most embarassing question

Taking into account the Greens oft-proclaimed "we don't want to fight" policy, tell mehow we could have supplied them anyway.  How?  By force?  As in Syria and Libya, it is your job to provide open borders for supplies to arrive--not ours--and to keep them open while at the same time tying up enemy forces elsewhere.  We can't do everything for you.  

RE: if the Mullahs did not exist, the West would create them.

You'd need a threat equivalent to the Soviet Union to do the military-indusrial complex any good.  Iran doesn't qualify. Yes it can inflict some losses but so can Argentina.  Where Iran does pose some threat its nature is not of the sort countered by vast increases in in defense spending. 

RE: the prisoners inside Iran's jails are living proof of how Iranians have been double crossed and let down.

All they "prove" are: A) the mullahs are ruthless and B) opposition strategy was boneheaded.  Put blame where it definitely belongs.

Re: An ex-CIA operative "proves"American intent.

Some ex-CIA guys are crackpots (See Watergate).  One man's personal assessment is not "proof of US policy."  Internally and externally how often do the CIA, the DIA, the NSA the president, his national security advisor and the Secretary of State.agree?      

Re: Iranians begged for weapon and we turned them down.

Emigres don't count.  See "Bay of Pigs" and "Iraq Invasion" to grasp why.  The Syrian National Council has the same problem.  


you need dissentient clerics before you need RPGs

by bushtheliberator on

dear FG.

Your Least Informed About Iran Visitor, and an Admitted Jingo, doesn't have much hope for your armed insurrection . And it might risk the break up of what remains of the Persian empire.

I don't think you can transform Iran without a struggle within Islam.Before you invest in an AK47, find those Shiite clerics who will straight-up condemn VF for producing an un-Islamic dictatorship.

Only the clerics gave the arrows sharp enough to Kill the Beast


FG - You Must Be A Clown Professionally?

by ayatoilet1 on

Iran's prisons are littered with young kids who were all fighting. Yes they fought. And we are not talking about one or two, Iran has the highest rate of executions in the world behind China. Iran has the largest number of political prisoners behind China.  One has to really admire the fighting spirit Iranians have shown and their courage in the face of absolute evil from the IRGC (and Basiji's) and the treachery of the West.

You are kidding right?

I can probably bring in over a million Iranians to the fight if we had guns and support. The simple fact is - if the Mullahs did not exist, the West would create them. The Mullahs - either directly or indirectly - feed into Western regional strategies. And the prisoners inside Iran's jails are living proof of how Iranians have been double crossed and let down. Its been 30 years of nonsense. They put on partial sanctions on Iran for decades, let Iran build a cat cracker then they decide the next month they will discontinue gasoline exports to Iran. Its a joke. They ask for wide ranging bans on Iranian oil, then they make exceptions for Greece and Spain, and now South Korea and meanwhile China doubles its imports. Its all a joke.

Wake up and focus on the facts. I can tell you of case after case of people that have approached the U.S. for support only to be told - oh we'll support you verbally but we won't give you guns. Look at interviews with Robert Baer who used to be a CIA middle east operative and see how contemptious he is of Iranians outside Iran. "They are only interested in listening to Western Music." Or, as he recently said " You have to look at Iranians in the West in the same way Machiavelli describes those in Exile".

We've been conned for 30 years. But maybe, just maybe some of us have grown up and figured out their game. I am not talking about conspiracy theories. As they put it, its just business. Just business. Greed.

Most Iranians are brave and wise. If you don't believe me ask U.S. analysts to see how bravely Iranians fought against Saddam Hussein against the odds. With Billions of dollars from the U.S. and Gulf States for Saddam Hussein and Iran was still saved.

And you must be a clown if you don't see it. Probably with a big red nose in front of your eyes! Red noses grow on cowards.


More nonsense from Ayatoilet

by FG on


re: "The West didn't give guns to Iranians." 

True--yet a very effective form of lying known as the "half-truth."  To establish credibility you start with a provable fact. You intentionally omit other proven facts that contradict your conclusion.

You CORRECTLY state that Syria and Libya received outside arms but Iran did not.  However you lie to the extent you imply that the West provided arms to both.  


1. He CORRECTLY states that Iranians had no arms (and they still don't).

He ignores the fact that Syrians and Libyans started with the same handicap but did something about it.  Dictators everwhere favor a virtual monopoly over weapons for common sense reasons.

2. In his comparison, Ayatoilet intentionally ignores variables of which he must be aware.

To get outside help you must start with protests (IRANIANS did).  As the regime commits open and blatsant crimes, you appeal for ARMED defectors to defend the people (IRANANS did not).  Provoke the regime into large scale "intimidation" slaughters on a scale sufficient which spur intervention (IRANIANS did not).

3.  Ayatoilet KNOWS Iranian protests leaders in 2009 repeatedly renounced violence but is carefully not to remind his readers. 

Does anyone think he "forgot?"   Isn't it ludicrous then to complain that we should have forced Iranians to accept weapons?

4. Ayatoilet KNOWS we didn't rush to arm Syrians or Libyans so long as their rulers were committing crimes similar to the mullhas.

Evidence shows that we do not intervene the first time anyone raises a protest sign, or got shot by a sniper or beaten up--especially when the protestors themselves say, "Stay away."   Those who want help must do some real fighting first on their own.  They ust also force the regfime to engage in tactics suffient to legitiimize such help.

5. As Ayatoilet KNOWS that, ever since Mogadishu, humanitarian motives alone cannot justify intervention.

Otherwise we'd be involved in ten or more wars annually and non-stop. Clinton learned that lesson in Somalia.  

6. Ayatoilet KNOWS that we have more motives for kicking Khamenei's butt than we had against Khaddafi or Assad.

Our problem is we need sufficient pretext to build political support for intervention back home and Iranians--like Syrians or Libyans--could have forced the regime to provide  it.

People who have always lived under autocrats can't grasp that democracies are slow to go to war.  Democratic leaders, accountable to the voters, can't do what they want in foreign affairs.  They have to build up support which takes time.


The Iranian people must earn freedom.  Outside help can only go so far. Instead of whining, folks like Ayatoilet must get off their butts and do something instead of blaming foreigners for the failure to win freeedom.

Have you ever noices what kinds of governments tend to promote xenophobia?  The "go nowhere" types who need someone to blame to divert popular attention from their own failues.

."Go Getters" like South Korea don't waste time whining about how "We can't get anywhere because we totally lack natural resources" or because "foreigners are keeping us down" or because "they did so in the past."  South Korea experiences especially brutal treatment from foreigners.  Throw in a civil war in the fiftes at Stalin's instigation.

An "always rely on xenophobia" and "blame foreigners for every problem and injustice" attitude has held the Middle East back, as even many Iranians and Arabs are finally observing.  This blame game is exactly what Khamenei, Assad, Saddad and other dictators rely on to justify hardships they themselves caused.  Thus any awful conditions are caused by outsiders.  

That Ayatoilet and Amir rely on the same tactics and outrageous conspiracy theories suggests faction motives and a need to distract people.



Iranians did not use Guns - Why?

by ayatoilet1 on

First of all ordinay Iranians did not have them, but more importantly, they were NOT given any. Why?

In Syria and Libya there were heavy shipments of Arms from Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia etc. But NO ONE, I mean NO ONE would supply common Iranians with Arms. That has been a historic reality.

The West stood silent during the reform protests and would not supply arms to Iranians. To me that speaks volumes. Do they truly, I mean really want the Mullahs out? I do not think so. The Mullahs serve a very useful role for the West in the MIddle East. These lulu khorkhorehs scare everyone - including the Saudi's, Emirates, Israeli's  so much that they spend billions on Arms; and the regime in Iran is being sanctioned and contained while they steal literally trillions of dollars of oil and gas from Iran's part of the Caspian Sea; and even being used to Scare Israel into making a final deal with the Palestinians.... I could go on and on. If ordinary Iranians bore arms, the Mullahs would have been out many years ago.

Your blog is right. This is a great tactic.



by shushtari on



To put things another way

by FG on


The regime has placed virtually all its eggs in one basket.   Any tactic that could make three years of planning useless is worth a try.



As a strategy premised on not playing into the enemy's strength, the "no violence" doctrine makes as much sense as the charge of the Light Brigade.

The generals spent three years practicing for an uprising on the assumption the protestors would act only in a given way and not stray.  Why do what they expect?