Bahrain's tactics may inspire Khamenei but will they work in Iran?


by FG

Bahrain has been even more public that the devious Supreme Leader in openly spilling blood. Infamous for his lack of moral restraints the Supreme Leader may imitate Bahrain's tactics.  There are good reasons to think he may not be able to pull it off. 

First in Bahrain a tiny Sunni minority rules over a large Shia majority who have been long oppressed. Since the officer corp and most troopers are Sunnis, there is little hesitation about cracking down.  Khamenei has no ethnic divide to exploit.   Worse yet, his victims would include past regime heroes with strong past credentials.

Secondly, Bahrain stuffed police and military ranks with hired foreigners (Sunnis) from nearby states.  These men have zero emotional connection with the protestors.  In theory Khamenei could do the same.  Indeed, people say he did hire Lebanese thugs in plainclothes when post-election crowds became too big.  To dare use foreign thugs in police and military ranks would only encourage side-changing.  Iranians are a very nationalistic people.

Someone recently posted an alleged warning from IRCG officers addressed to Jafari and Khamen. It opposed the use of troops and police against demonstrators.    That link was to the Jerusalem Post so people may be skeptical.  A new report from the English language site of the Green Voice of Freedom provides more credibility and includes additional details.  It says something about the regime when Green leaders are more trusted than Khamenei.  See:


One interesting demand is that the regime must restrain the Basilj (an "or what" is explicit?)  Club-and-chain wielding militia are almost always viewed as thugs by professional military.  Thus, Hitler's brownshirts (SA) were eliminated on the Night of the Long Knives by the demand of the military.   It was a pre-condition for assuming office back in 1933.

The military warning letter might explain the relatively restrained behavior of the security forces last Monday--so untypical of the regime.  The crackdown since has been ruthless but carried out by plainclothes thugs our of sight of the troops who know about it and complain. 

Officers who signed the protest letter should be aware by now that it won't deter Khamenei and his hardliners.  Past behavior suggests the ruling "clerics" have no moral compass and imagine they can get away with anyting.   A new purge of the officer corps seems likely.  It will not prevent troops from joining the people but only delay the day.  One counterproductive effect will be to increase scorn among the ranks.  Pro-regime replacements should anticipate a reduced life expectancy if they attempt to enforce highly unpopular orders.


I still believe the Greens will be in a much stronger position if they defer major confrontations until late spring/ early summer when the dual consequences of subsidy reduction (essential to the economy) and substantial food price increases (weather related) must inevitably reduce the number of true believers and apathetic fence sitters.   One can imagine the tenor of political conversation in the troops' households and among workers by that time.  Nothing would being down the regime faster than a simultaneous general strike and mass demonstrations.  It can hardly send thugs to the homes of millions of striking workers and demand they return to the job. 

Meanwhile, let's suppose the regime were to arrest, try and murder Moussavi, Karoubbi or Mohammed Khatami   Instead of intimidating, their martyrdom will accelerate military and police defections.   Not even the hardliners believe their own rants abut former heroes of the revolution being "traitors," hirelings of Islamiots and the CIA" and "seditionists liked to the MKO."  Why do they think the average person would swallow it?   In what deluded world are they living? 



more from FG

Good post. Thanks FG.

by vildemose on

Good post. Thanks FG.


Scott Lucas raises some good points re: "military letter"

by FG on

In his daily roundup on Iran at Enduring America, Lucas writes: 


I have not posted this in updates nor have I linked to the article, although there is some discussion in comments, because 1) similar claims have proven unfounded in the past; 2) The Telegraph does not produce the letter that underpins its claims, so there is no way to verify  them; 3) the journalist who puts out the story has proven far from reliable in his past reporting.