U.S. Sizing Up Iran?

ramonmercado

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There are right now protests in Iran, and it seems Iran has cut off both the internet and any phone calls from outside the country.
An article which deals with the protests in Lebanon and Iraq but which ties in Iran.

The protestors who have been out on the streets in Beirut and Baghdad have two common complaints:

1. While there is economic hardship for the majority, corruption and nepotism is flourishing amongst those in power.

2. Both states are saddled with sectarian constitutions.

The first complaint has echoes of Iran, where the ruling clerical elite faces identical accusations, while the second is in fact a by-product of colonial and imperialist interventions.

https://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1275/met-with-maximum-force/
 

ramonmercado

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More on Iranian Influence. Interesting how the protests in Lebanon and Iraq have spilled over into Iran itself. Maybe the mullahs days are numbered.

Hundreds of leaked intelligence reports shed light on a shadow war for regional influence — and the battles within the Islamic Republic’s own spy divisions
By Tim Arango, James Risen, Farnaz Fassihi, Ronen Bergman and Murtaza Hussain
Nov. 18, 2019

In mid-October, with unrest swirling in Baghdad, a familiar visitor slipped quietly into the Iraqi capital. The city had been under siege for weeks, as protesters marched in the streets, demanding an end to corruption and calling for the ouster of the prime minister, Adil Abdul Mahdi. In particular, they denounced the outsize influence of their neighbor Iran in Iraqi politics, burning Iranian flags and attacking an Iranian consulate.
The visitor was there to restore order, but his presence highlighted the protesters’ biggest grievance: he was Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, head of Iran’s powerful Quds Force, and he had come to persuade an ally in the Iraqi Parliament to help the prime minister hold onto his job.
It was not the first time General Suleimani had been dispatched to Baghdad to do damage control. Tehran’s efforts to prop up Mr. Mahdi are part of its long campaign to maintain Iraq as a pliable client state.

Now leaked Iranian documents offer a detailed portrait of just how aggressively Tehran has worked to embed itself into Iraqi affairs, and of the unique role of General Suleimani. The documents are contained in an archive of secret Iranian intelligence cables obtained by The Intercept and shared with The New York Times for this article, which is being published simultaneously by both news organizations.
The unprecedented leak exposes Tehran’s vast influence in Iraq, detailing years of painstaking work by Iranian spies to co-opt the country’s leaders, pay Iraqi agents working for the Americans to switch sides and infiltrate every aspect of Iraq’s political, economic and religious life.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive...an-iraq-spy-cables.html?ncid=newsltushpmgnews
 

Xanatic*

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I can't say wether they are being paid. The lack of internet means I have no contact with anyone in Iran.
 

ramonmercado

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I can't say wether they are being paid. The lack of internet means I have no contact with anyone in Iran.
I was being facetious, I think these protesters are genuine and I hope they at least force the mullahs to reverse the price increases if not do more damage to the Theocracy.
 

Xanatic*

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I believe Iran recently said they found a new spot of oil, which will increase their oil reserves by a third. They should be able to lower the prices then.
 

ramonmercado

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More on the protests. No sign of the mullahs backing down.

Protests are ongoing across Iran against a recent hike in fuel prices. They began on 15 November, after the Iranian government announced an end to fuel subsidies, which will lead to a significant increase in fuel prices.

The ANF Firat News Agency spoke in particular on 16 November about how the protests had spread to Iran’s Kurdish region:

Yesterday people in many Iranian cities took to the streets against the gasoline price increase. Now the protests spread from Tehran and Tabriz to East Kurdistan. Also the provinces Yazd, Gilan, Lorestan, Islamabad and the cities of Kermanshah, Sine, Ciwanro, Ilam Saqiz and Urmia in Rojhilat (East Kurdistan) are shaken by massive protests. The people erect barricades of burning car tires.​

Over a thousand protests reportedly took place on Sunday 17 November across Iran’s 31 provinces. Protests are still ongoing as of Monday 18 November. Schools have closed, and many students have joined the protests. Shopkeepers have also shut their shops in many cities as a gesture of support for the demonstrators. More than 100 banks and over 50 shops have been set on fire, and police vehicles destroyed.

https://www.thecanary.co/global/wor...o-mass-protests-and-state-repression-in-iran/



 

ramonmercado

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While this thread is mainly about US attempts to destabilise Iran I think it is only proper that the crimes of the Theocracy are also highlighted. Opposing US intervention whilst staying quiet about the mullahs is hypocritical imho.

DUBAI (Reuters) - Amnesty International said on Tuesday that more than 100 protesters had been killed in 21 cities in Iran during unrest that broke out over a rise in fuel prices last week. Snipers have shot into crowds of protesters from rooftops and, in one case, from a helicopter, Amnesty said.

The anti-government protests began on Friday after fuel price rises of at least 50 percent were announced. An Iranian official said they had subsided on Tuesday, a day after the Revolutionary Guards warned of “decisive” action if they did not cease.

The London-based Amnesty International said that at least 106 protesters in 21 cities had been killed, according to credible reports from witnesses, verified videos and information from human rights activists.

“The organization believes that the real death toll may be much higher, with some reports suggesting as many as 200 have been killed,” Amnesty said in a statement.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/iran...dd454dae4b010f3f1ceb58b?ncid=newsltushpmgnews
 

INT21

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Perhaps if a certain leader of a certain country was to stop laying siege to Iran then they would not have the need to raise the fuel price.
 

ramonmercado

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At least the cheetahs weren't charged with spying.

PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 20, 2019

A COURT IN Tehran today has handed down a guilty verdict for six cheetah researchers accused of spying, with sentences ranging from six to ten years.
The researchers all work for the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation (PWHF), a Tehran-based nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to saving the Asiatic cheetah and other species. They have spent almost two years in jail since their arrest in early 2018. The intelligence branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps accused them of spying on Iran for enemy countries. (Read more about their arrest and imprisonment.)

PWHF founder Morad Tahbaz (who holds both U.S. and Iranian citizenship) and program manager Niloufar Bayani both received 10-year sentences, while Houman Jowkar and Taher Ghadirian were sentenced to eight years each, and Sepideh Kashani and Amirhossein Khaleghi Hamidi sentenced to six. Abdolreza Kouhpayeh and Sam Radjabi have not been sentenced yet.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/...nimals-cheetahresearchers::rid=&sf224148220=1
 

Xanatic*

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They are back online, more or less. More than 100 people killed.
 

ramonmercado

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Iranian dissident Yassamine Mather analyzes recent events.

Tehran has blocked the internet in a desperate attempt to suppress protests, reports Yassamine Mather.

Over the last five days, tens of thousands of Iranians have protested against the hike in the price of oil, following an official statement issued by the country’s ‘economic coordinating committee’, which issued the following restrictions: each motorist is allowed to buy 60 litres of petrol a month at 15,000 rials (£0.10) a litre, but each additional litre will then cost 30,000 rials. The announcement came as a shock to Iranian drivers, who until this week could buy up to 250 litres of fuel at 10,000 rials per litre.

According to the government, the revenues gained from fuel will be used for cash payments to low-income households. The Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, claimed on November 16 that 75% of citizens were currently “under pressure” and the extra revenue from the petrol price hike would go to them and not the treasury.

However, from the beginning there was a problem: no-one believes claims about helping the deprived from a government presiding over a system riddled with corruption and nepotism. Every day Iranians suffering from lack of food, medicine and basic goods, through a combination of sanctions and economic mismanagement, hear about multi-billion-dollar corruption cases and money sent abroad by unscrupulous capitalists - many of them close allies of one or other faction of the regime.

Iran’s oil minister and the country’s ambassador to the UK both claimed that the measures were good for “the environment”. Although there is no doubt that Iran’s heavy traffic is creating pollution, who believes claims like that from a government that is failing to take a responsible position regarding nuclear waste and radiation? A government whose lack of environmental policy has led to catastrophic weather conditions in the south of the country? A government that stands idly by, as major lakes dry up, while water from rivers is diverted to the highest bidder? ...

Showing unbelievable levels of stupidity and ignorance, sections of the Iranian opposition are calling on western governments and human rights organisations to support the protestors in Iran. They do not seem to be aware that:

 These are to a large extent economic protests turned political because of the Iranian state’s violent response.

 Sanctions imposed by the west have played a significant role in impoverishing ordinary Iranians - as opposed to those close to government officials, who have often benefited from sanctions.

 Successive Iranian administrations (‘reformist’ and conservative), who have followed every IMF and World Bank dictate to the letter, have been instructed to remove subsidies, so that they can truly be accepted as flag-bearers for a neoliberal economy.

Given the above, do you really think these government and their ‘human rights’ organisations care about the killing of innocent Iranians? Who do you think came up first with the concept of abolishing state subsidies? Where in the world have they supported those demonstrating against economic hardship caused by abolition of subsidies? ...

https://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1276/regime-faces-new-crisis/
 

Victory

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Major escalation between USA and Iran.

US military just killed IRGC’s Al Qods chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani, 62, and the Iranian-backed Iraqi PMU militia chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

In my view, Soleimani was more powerful and dangerous than Bin Laden or Al Baghdadi.
 

Comfortably Numb

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Major escalation between USA and Iran.
Yep... that sure is going to strain tensions much further.

Briefly browsing the, usually informed, online analysis sources... concensus seems to be this is a monumental escalation and Iran may be compelled to respond fiercely.
 

Yithian

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Major escalation between USA and Iran.

US military just killed IRGC’s Al Qods chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani, 62, and the Iranian-backed Iraqi PMU militia chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

In my view, Soleimani was more powerful and dangerous than Bin Laden or Al Baghdadi.
I was slightly bleary-eyed when waking up and reading this news.

To be clear, with hindsight, was Trump's Tweet about the greatest UFC knockouts of 2019 supposed to be a winking hint that the assassination was about to occur?

It was rather incongruously sandwiched between the Iranian-oriented messages.

The Pentagon statements do seem to be placing a heavy emphasis on the fact that the action was taken 'at the direction of the President'. Perhaps surprisingly, there's also little employment of euphemism--they're saying they 'killed' him, not that he was neutralised, eliminated or something similar.

All eyes on Tehran for the response.
 

Comfortably Numb

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The Pentagon statements do seem to be placing a heavy emphasis on the fact that the action was taken 'at the direction of the President'. Perhaps surprisingly, there's also little employment of euphemism--they're saying they 'killed' him, not that he was neutralised, eliminated or something similar.
That's precisely what shocked.

No messing... the President has been orchestrating these, elemental, high-level assassinations for some time.

Seems their intelligence sources were immaculate.

...know who is going to be travelling, where we can strike and mission professionally accomplished.
 

AlchoPwn

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This is a direct response to the attack on the US Embassy in Iraq. Soleimani was likely behind the Embassy attack. No doubt the USA will soon ramp up the pressure further to get Iran to seek de-escalation.
 

ramonmercado

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This is a direct response to the attack on the US Embassy in Iraq. Soleimani was likely behind the Embassy attack. No doubt the USA will soon ramp up the pressure further to get Iran to seek de-escalation.
Or was it just the local Iran backed militias acting on their own? Difficult to micro-mange them. Paradoxically Soleimani might have been arriving to exert some control over the wildmen.

High stakes all round here.

What's happening suits both Trump and the Mullahs, takes attention away from Trump's impeachment and Iran's internal protests.
 

ramonmercado

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Boris really should have been told in advance of the attack.

Boris Johnson was not warned about the US airstrike in Iraq that killed a top Iranian general, the BBC understands.

The UK has 400 troops based in the Middle East and works alongside US forces in the region. But President Donald Trump did not tell the UK PM about the attack he ordered that killed Qasem Soleimani on Friday.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has asked Mr Johnson to confirm what the UK was told before the airstrike. In a letter to the prime minister, he asked whether, if it had been informed in advance, the government had expressed its opposition to the attack. He also requested an urgent meeting of the privy council to discuss the airstrike's consequences, and asked what the government was doing to ensure the safety of UK nationals.

Meanwhile Tory MP Tom Tugendhat said there was a "pattern" from the current White House not to share details with its allies, which was a "matter of concern". The former chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee added: "I have long believed the purpose of having allies is so we can surprise our enemies, not each other."

The death of Gen Soleimani "will certainly be a huge blow to the Iranian regime", but will "doubtless have consequences" elsewhere, Mr Tugendhat told BBC News.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-50981719
 

blessmycottonsocks

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The gibbering and frothing over at the Guardian opinion forums yesterday was amazing!
Lots of eulogies to the "heroic" Suleimani and the usual demonising of Trump and the USA.
One forumist posted that he couldn't wait for another 9/11 to happen and that he would cheer when it did. Someone else then called him a c*nt and The Guardian finally decided to delete the thread!
 

ramonmercado

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The gibbering and frothing over at the Guardian opinion forums yesterday was amazing!
Lots of eulogies to the "heroic" Suleimani and the usual demonising of Trump and the USA.
One forumist posted that he couldn't wait for another 9/11 to happen and that he would cheer when it did. Someone else then called him a c*nt and The Guardian finally decided to delete the thread!
Whatever you think of him this just increases the chance of war. Large crowds did celebrate the assassination in Baghdad though. Saw some footage on the BBC News Channel.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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Whatever you think of him this just increases the chance of war. Large crowds did celebrate the assassination in Baghdad though. Saw some footage on the BBC News Channel.
A low-level war has been going on for decades and Suleimani's involvement in it was significant.
I note that a Hezbollah leader was also killed in the drone strike. A potent reminder that Iran likes to fight wars through its proxies, such as Hezbollah.
 

ramonmercado

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A low-level war has been going on for decades and Suleimani's involvement in it was significant.
I note that a Hezbollah leader was also killed in the drone strike. A potent reminder that Iran likes to fight wars through its proxies, such as Hezbollah.
It's a different Hezbollah:
Al-Muhandis, the Iraqi militia leader who was also killed in the strike, commanded the Kataib Hezbollah group - also backed by Iran.
 

cycleboy2

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The gibbering and frothing over at the Guardian opinion forums yesterday was amazing!
Lots of eulogies to the "heroic" Suleimani and the usual demonising of Trump and the USA.
One forumist posted that he couldn't wait for another 9/11 to happen and that he would cheer when it did. Someone else then called him a c*nt and The Guardian finally decided to delete the thread!
However you look at the BTL comments on the Guardian, and it's very hard to even talk about this without it being political, you can't ignore the fact (a proper real non-made-up fact) that President Trump ordered the assassination (look up any definition of the word and this act qualifies, though the BBC were wary of using it at first), which is an extraordinary act for a Western democracy. Imagine the uproar if Putin/Assad/Kim jong-il had assassinated an opponent in a third country...
 
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ramonmercado

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So the drone strike killed the organ-grinder and the monkey.
Yes but the Kezbollah deny that they carried out the attack that started off this cycle. The Kezbollah were involved though in attacking anti-government demonstrators during recent protests in Iraq so I'll shed no teaes.

The organ-grinder was responsible for brutally repressing the 2009 protests in Iran, so I'll hire Michael Flatley to dance on his grave. Or maybe the dancing priest, he's probably cheaper.

I am worried though about the fall out from this assassination.

I want to see the Iranian Theocracy overthrown but from within. Any attack on Iran itself would likely increase the power of the regime at a time when it is facing internal unrest.
 

Wreckless

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However you look at the BTL comments on the Guardian, and it's very hard to even talk about this without it being political, you can't ignore the fact (a proper real non-made-up fact) that President Trump ordered the assassination (look up any definition of the word and this act qualifies, though the BBC were wary of using it at first), which is an extraordinary act for a Western democracy. Imagine the uproar if Putin/Assad/Kim jong-il had assassinated an opponent in a third country...
Uh, you do know that Obama was droning and killing (assassinating if you prefer) dozens of foreigners and an American citizen for his entire eight years in office. This isn't new or really different.
 

ramonmercado

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Uh, you do know that Obama was droning and killing (assassinating if you prefer) dozens of foreigners and an American citizen for his entire eight years in office. This isn't new or really different.
This is a much higher level assassination though and potentially has more far reaching consequences.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard is a state within a state, complete with it's own armed forces. As commander of the Quds section, Solemani was the equivalent of Heydrich.
 
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