Khamenei's support base is even smaller than Assad's, a masterpiece finds


by FG

Today's best analysis comes from the co-authors of "The Dictator's Handbook" and appears in Foreign Policy. The "must read" focuses primarily on Assad but 90 percent of what it says applies to Iran as well for reasons that will become apparent as you read.

When focusing on Iran, the authors point out Khamenei's base of support in Iran is substantially smaller than Assad's in Syria (It continues to shrink of course). They also explain how important assistance from three countries--Iran, Iraq and Venezuela--has been in keeping Assad in power and his thugs well financed. The Syrian people know they "owe" Iran's mullahs and their Iraqi puppet once Assad is gone.

The analysis of how such regimes survive and what determines the point at which dictators opt for reform over oppression is first rate and mirrors what some posters have written here: Khamenei and his arch-conservative mullahs will never let up so long as there is a penny in the piggy jar to be stolen. If he did so before that point, Khamenei would be ousted or killed by his security force generals, despite all their fervent pledges of loyalty for now while they enjoy all the perks. The only way to avoid that is to invite them all to a nice dinner, as the Sultans did for Janissary leaders.

It's too bad Iranians and Syrians lack a decent man like Gorbachev who chose to resign with grace rather than spill blood. The Living Joke Iranians have instead one is a "holy man" and moral exemplar who claims to enjoy a direct phone line to Allah. That is what make Iran's situation especially bitter-- almost a black comedy. Such leaders inflict any suffering on their people so long as they can stuff their faces/ They fully deserve to end up like Mussolini, Saddam and Khadaffi.

Assessing AssadThe Syrian leader isn't crazy. He's just doing whatever it takes to survive.



more from FG

Mullahs blow a fuse as Mammoud plays fashion designer

by FG on

"Madame and Monsieur, would you prefer your thuggery and corruption with or without social freedoms?  Try this 'Manteau by Ahmadinejad' perhaps?"

Taking advantage of every boneheaded move by ruling clerics, Mahmoud is playing up his "Lesser of Two Evils" appeal and making voters chuckle. Many Iranians who don't give a damn about human rights (these are only ones likely to vote) cannot abide the long-nosed grunches who dispatch social police to enforce "islamic" dress codes, bust heads of hand-holding couples and arrest single women who ski without a male relative tagging along. 

In one move, Mahmoud places a trap while simultaneously catching the only two real differences between himself (taunting sense of humor) and sour-faced Grand Inquisitor.  Either the clerics must endure obvious public mockery or they crack down and reinforce their spoilsport status. 

The headless mannequins may be unusual but they are hardly accidental. Both the public (Ha! Ha!) and the clerics (sound of grinding teeth) will get Mahmoud's joke.  

EXCERPT:  “Instead of presenting short coats for women, the officials organizing
the Islamic fashion show should have presented chadors,” the
conservative Web site Mashregh News complained. “The chador is the only
possible Islamic dress.” (Hold up that "Laugh Now!" card, Mahmoud.


RE: About the 2,000  figure in the original story on Syria.

The figure refers to Syria.  I don't recall that the writers gave one for Iran and I believe he was talking about relative figures not absolute ones in the latter case.  In proportion to a much larger population--Iran's figure is considerably smaller is what the writers seem to argue. 



Iran denies Harboring

by vildemose on

Iran denies Harboring Al-Qaeda Financier



“It’s not enough that faith claims to be the solution to all problems,” he wrote in Slate in 2009 after a Danish newspaper apologised for publishing cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. “It is now demanded that such a preposterous claim be made immune from a


Syria Violence: Government

by vildemose on

Syria Violence: Government Tanks Unleash Fire On Protesters, Killing At Least 20




Dis eez pencil nook tiz!!!

by Hooshang Tarreh-Gol on

I juss couldn't help writing that response.

Per the number: the two millions estimate itself might not be that accurate either.

Perhaps half of that, lets say around one million,-as the core active support base-, which makes it roughly one percent of the total population, a bit more.

On the other hand once the economy collapses and no one recives their monies, and the import/export mafias start to break down, then even this hard core support base starts to wear down.


Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

What is this

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on

business interests, totaling, according to our
survey of Iran experts, about 2,000 in a population of well over 70 million.

I got to agree with HTG 2000 sounds really off. I hate IRI but still got to say it has a lot more support than 2000. There is no possible way a regime would hold power with that number. Maybe they are doing "creative" accounting. 

Perhaps only counting among the "elite". In that case I would believe it. But if this was really true:

  • The regime would have fallen long ago.
  • Iranians would have a shortage of idiots.

Among masses I would guess they got hundreds of thousands of idiots. But yes faced with a serious Western threat I bet many would run. They may be stupid but not that stupid. Anyway I hope USA gets new "experts" on Iran.


Not even close

by Hooshang Tarreh-Gol on

In contrast to Syria where the state power resides in the military and the ruling party, in IR you have a combination of Clerical Caste [Rohaniet], the state proper [Dolat] , and the Sepah.

Only the leadership bodies in each of those branches in the Iranian ruling class is more than 2000.

Some Basisji rank and filers (from poor and working class basis) might be open to the masses, once there is an uprising and they precive a defeat.

Greens had some supporters in Sepah. Sepah's commander himself had a press conference about the level of difference in there. He gave a very high number. 

All these point out to serious fractures within the system. Yet the level of their mass support is way over 2000. You might as well add three more zeros in there. That would make it two millions. Out of population of 75 millions that would make it only around two and a half percent.

In 1979 Revolution with a population of thirty two millions, proportions were ninty nine to one, or even less than that.


How he got the figure

by FG on

You'd have to ask him. What he has done, I'm sure, is to count up those invididuals who fatten on the regime and hold positions of power from which they can use a great deal of leverage.  As they withdraw or defect (only when the ceiling is caving in and the end in sight) such types tend to take quite a few potential assets with them.   Their names are commonplace on sanctions lists.


Obviously you can't can't rank-and-file troops in either country, many of whom act with a gun to their head or will defect if civil war develops and a united opposition sets up a government.  

The head of the Free Syrian Army says at least 70 percent of Iran's military forces would defect tomorrow if a no fly zone were put into effect and many are presently discouraged from defection for the time being.  When they do defect, if they have armor or artillery, they are encouraged to destroy it rather than try to bring it along for now since it would be very vulnerable to air power.

In Iran, the Green faction inside the military in 2009 had plenty of supporters below the very top levels.  Some were purged.  Others remain, keeping their mouths shut but very unhappy with the regime.  Same goes for the Intelligence Ministry.

Khamenei and Ahmadinejad were both ticked when Moussavi won an estimated 60 percent of the vote from IRCG troops which again raises the question: Where did Ahmadinejad's mysterious majority come from?  Throw in the fact that "only 600 people" supposedly voted for Karoubbi and zero in his hometown where he is popular and non wonder the Iranian public and the world scoffs at the 2009 election results


Maryam Hojjat

FG, thanks for posting this blog

by Maryam Hojjat on

quite interesting.


"Totaling, about 2,000 "?!

by Hooshang Tarreh-Gol on

How did he come up with that number?