Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Crips vs. Bloods--Iran Style

What mainstream press and TV there has been concerning unrest in Iran has largely been about the pro-democracy movement and demonstrations against the most recent rigged presidential election. But the story that is little covered is the clash between the two oppressive factions which are running Iran.

In Libya, Egypt and Syria, the clashes are between the Muslim radical public and the Muslim repressive regimes. It's a choice between arsenic and cyanide. Whoever wins, it's bad for the West. The clashes are painted as pro-democracy, anti-dictatorship, but that is just plain wishful thinking. If there's any democratic tendency there at all, it's the typical "one man, one vote, one time" version. Hamas, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood have their fingerprints all over the uprisings.

The pro-democracy movement in Iran actually has strong underpinnings of democratic desire. Two generations of young people have grown up under the thumb of presidential tyrants and apocalyptic ayatollahs. The large student population is well-educated, and if there is any such thing as moderate Muslim thought and genuine democratic sentiment in the Middle East, you're most likely to find it in Iran. Still, the movement has little physical ability to overthrow a sophisticated, well-armed militaristic government. Tepid support from the United States and the West, combined with in-your-face determination from the Iranian regime has left the democracy movement to die aborning.

The only thing that might distract the Iranian powers-that-be and give the democracy movement a chance to be reborn is the battle between madman president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and insane Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. There has been bad blood between the two and their factions for some time, but only recently have the "blood threats" actually materialized. In the past few days, they've spilled into the streets. On Saturday, supporters of the two nutcases met in violent confrontations in Tehran. The security forces which are supposed to break up unauthorized demonstrations are reported to have simply stepped aside. The same paramilitary teams that ruthlessly suppressed the pro-democracy demonstrators seemed unable to choose a side in this conflict.

There were clashes throughout other parts of the capital city, but the numbers were smaller and the presence of the Revolutionary Guard and the Basij militia kept bloodshed to a minimum. The more disorganized local anti-riot police didn't seem to be able to prevent roving confrontations between the highly-mobile, black-garbed demonstrators. In the Naarmak section of Tehran, the bustling clerical businesses which double as funeral homes and places of worship have become hastily-converted barracks. The two sides seem to have split the barracks about equally. But since Naarmak is the home base of Ahmadinejad, security forces are pouring into the area. Contrariwise, the Avlieh Amr, troops loyal to the ayatollah, have surrounded the Shaheed Mottahari Complex where his and the president's offices are located.

Several observers have reported that they found it hard to tell from their clothing and arms which group was which. But when they clashed in the streets, the demonstrators themselves seemed to have no problem telling friend from foe. Separation of mosque and state is not an issue in this gang fight. The impossibly-knotted political/religious nature of fundamentalist Islam makes this a clear battle between the secular-religious president and the religious-secular ayatollah. And then you have to add the additional ingredient of the Islamic belief-system unique to Iran and its current leaders.

The whole wonderful mess seems to have started with a movie produced a few months back. A "documentary" entitled The Coming Is Upon Us was commissioned by Ahmadinejad. It played on an Iranian Muslim theme centered on the return of the "mahdi" also known as the twelfth or "hidden imam." It is a Shiite belief that has become particularly potent in fundamentalist Iranian religious practice. And like apocalytpic Christian belief, it posits that the end times are coming very soon. The true believers are convinced that the hidden imam is already among them. And therein lies the conflict.

Ahmadinejad maneuvered the filmmakers into painting a picture that was designed to lead toward the belief that he is that hidden imam. Khamenei took strong exception. Neither has actually claimed to be the hidden imam, but their followers have made that claim on their separate behalves. The two leaders are pointing their fingers at each other over the issue, but Khamenei got the jump on Ahmadinejad by getting the clerics in the holy city of Qom to denounce the movie as empowering the West to divide the Iranian faithful while also revealing the "private" beliefs of Iranian Islam.

The opening salvo came when Ahmadinejad fired Minister of Intelligence Heidar Moslehi, and Khamenei reinstated him. A common religious belief had to step aside for the resolution of the question "who's in charge here?" Moslehi was too close to the ayatollah for the president's tastes, while Khamenei wanted to maintain control over Iran's spy rings. Fundamentalist clerics quickly rallied behind the ayatollah, announcing that disobedience of the ayatollah was an offense against Allah.

Khamenei's faction subsequently arrested two dozen prominent political figures who supported Ahmadinejad, and used their intelligence wing to block pro-Ahmadinejad websites. He even went so far as to arrest the prayer leader of the presidential palace. That resulted in Ahmadinejad's use of the Revolutionary Guard to threaten "blood in the streets." That was no idle threat, and came to fruition this past weekend.

This is a falling-out among thieves that Westerners should be able to enjoy and Israelis should cheer. Every day the two factions go at each other is another day that Ahmadinejad and Khamenei are distracted from their duties to destroy Western civilization and wipe Israel off the map. Meanwhile, if the bloody dispute grows, the Obama administration and the MSM (mostly one and the same) will have to take notice of it. This should be an interesting test for the Obama administration. It can't claim it supports the pro-democracy faction since neither side represents anything faintly representing democracy. Both sides claim that Allah is on their side. How can a good Christian like Barack Hussein Obama claim to know which is right?

It's too early to tell if this conflict will grow into a major battle between Satan and Beelzebub. But if it does, will President Obama grasp the opportunity to use American intelligence agencies to help stir the pot? And will he at the same time grasp the opportunity to give real, genuine support to the pro-democracy movement that could benefit from the dueling dictators? Given his weak-kneed personality, it is more likely that he will stand back and wait to see which faction wins, then give another mealy-mouthed speech praising the growing warmth between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran. He doesn't know enough history to see that this is just the conflict between Hitler and Roehm written in Farsi.


AndrewPrice said...

I like how two of Ahmadinejad's deputies were arrested this weekend for "sorcery." That's a real old school kind of charge and you have to respect that! LOL!

T-Rav said...

Excellent post, LawHawk. I'd heard some already about this flare-up but didn't know about the mahdi video. Also, one other thing: bizarrely, the ayatollah's supporters seem to have accused A-job's of sorcery or something. What a madhouse Iran is.

Unknown said...

Andrew: If a third of Americans think that Obama can walk on water, then sorcery doesn't sound that far out in Iran. Obama himself thinks he can make money appear just by waving his magic wand. So who's the primitive? LOL

Unknown said...

T_Rav: Well, Obama believes he can make the deficit disappear by spending money. That's sorcery, isn't it? I think he and Imadinnerjacket may be brothers in the black arts (oops, was that racist?).

Notawonk said...

i'm reading this and i keep saying to myself, "holy sh*t." powerful stuff. this is one of the reasons i love you guys; you give us hard-hitting substance. unlike some other site that just uses a sharp stick to poke the bears. (coughnawcoughcough) lol!

Unknown said...

Patti: I really am surprised how little coverage this has gotten from the MSM. I expect them to suppress anything that could be a negative for Obama or contrary to their leftist agenda. But this story is at least interesting for people of any political stripe and regardless of what conclusions they draw from it. Maybe they're just getting out there ahead of the Waffler-in-Chief in order to avoid a potential negative story about him.

Tennessee Jed said...

very interesting, Hawk. I will admit, it would probably be hard for us to help a whole lot. I say this from, basically, a position of not really knowing. On the surface, though, it seems like a place where we would have a hard time getting solid intel on who the "leaders" might be. I would also worry that once we get in, the warring factions of bad guys might see the mutual threat as large enough to really crack down. That isn't to say I wouldn't love getting a friendlier quasi democratic, modern, non-fundamentalist group with more power, but for now, I am just pretty skeptical.

Unknown said...

Tennessee: I can't prove it, but I don't think intel would be that hard to get. You'd be amazed how much I learned about goings-on in Iran just from an associate who went every year to visit her family which had stayed behind in Iran. Of course, first I had to listen to her complain for an hour about having to wear that damned outfit.

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