During the weekend of 06-09 December the sin’aat al-mawt program on the Saudi-owned
al-arabiyya TV covered the Iranian interference in the demonstrations/revolts taking place in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon. The Iranian and Iraqi dissidents interviewed for the show claim that Iran has been using its baseej personnel to physically attack demonstrators in Iran and Iraq with weapons.
The baseej is a voluntary militia force attached to, and subordinate to, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Their purpose is to enforce Iran’s religious laws, to monitor the internet and social media, help organize (and enforce) religious services, and to aid in “law enforcement,” including the breaking up of civil demonstrations. In other words, they are sort of an Iranian Shi’a Gestapo. They boast over 150,000 members and have branches in every city in Iran.
The Iranian dissidents interviewed for the sin’aat al-mawt show said that these baseej people are very religious, and their agenda is to enforce Islam. Their deployment against the demonstrators in Lebanon and Iraq, as well as Iran, are very telling in more ways than one. The media has reported that the demonstrations in Iran were simply over a rise in fuel prices. No, the rise in fuel prices was only the spark. The real reason for the demonstrations which have reached revolt status, and have taken place in over 100 cities and towns in Iran, is disgust against the regime.
That’s why the crowds are shouting “death to Khamenei,” and “down with the regime.” They would not be doing that, and they would not still be protesting in spite of the bajeej and IRGC using live rounds, including at one point machine gun fire, they would not still be protesting in the wake of over 1,000 protestors killed . . . if all they were protesting was a rise in fuel prices.
In Iraq baseej members in civilian clothes have infiltrated the protestors and have singled out apparent ring leaders upon whom they then converge and beat with Iranian-issued long, white billyclubs. Pro-Iranian Iraqi Shi’a militia called al-heshd ash-sh’abi (popular mobilization) militia have contributed live fire against the protestors resulting in over 300 deaths and over 1,000 injured in Iraq.
The Iranians have formed other plainclothes militia groups out of their IRGC which go by the names of al-za’laan, al-shebeehah, and al-mandosoun. As the host of the sin’aat al-Mawt show said, “the names proliferate, but the result remains the same: doing Iran’s bidding.”
One of the show’s interviewees complained that the Iranians are using the same techniques in the Arabic countries of Iraq and Lebanon that they used to gain control of Iran–namely these plainclothes militias to intimidate and subdue all opposition. The Original 1979 revolution against the Shah was not a “Khomeini-let’s-impose-shari’a-law” revolution at the beginning. The original demonstrators had legitimate concerns about the regime’s abuse of power, the lack of any freedom of speech, the media, and assembly, but the street thugs that Khomeini was able to unleash once the Shah was out of the way allowed the Khomeini movement to take control of the entire revolution, and quickly eliminate all opposing views. This is the struggle that is now being fought in the streets of Iraq and Lebanon.
There are reports of Iranian bajeej and other plaincloths militia also being used in Lebanon, but they are less prevalent there, however, Iran has the terrorist group hizbollah to do its dirty work there. That being said, in Lebanon, there have only been a couple of deaths and a handful of injured. The demonstrations in Lebanon are first and foremost against “Iranian hegemony” as represented by the hizbollah. The protestors are primarily Christians and Sunni Muslims. Shi’a Lebanese, even those not connected with hizbollah, are supporting hizbollah positions.
In Iraq, however, the protests so far have been entirely by the civilian Iraqi Shi’a and directed entirely against Iran and Iranian hegemony, as well as against the current Iraqi regime that is seen as a mere puppet of Iran’s. The anti-Iranian sentiment has reached the level of the crowds chanting “death to Khamenei,” “death to Iran,” and even to the level of setting fire to the Iranian consulate in the Shi’a holy city of Najaaf, Iraq–not once, not twice, but three times.
While Sunni Arabs and Sunni Kurds had initially stayed out of this conflict between the Shi’a demonstrators in Southern Iraq and the regime in Baghdad, this past weekend has seen the Arab Sunni clans in Western Iraq issue a joint statement supporting the protestors.
The protests in Iran have taken place in over 100 cities and towns, and in 20 different provinces (both Persian and non-Persian), and all strata of society has participated according to the sin’aat al-mawt participants.
While the protests in Lebanon have been primarily Sunnis and Christians vs. Shi’a, in both Iran and Iraq they have been primarily Shi’a vs. Shi’a. It is tempting to see the revolts in Iraq and Lebanon as an ethnic Arab vs. Persian thing, or even as support for the “imported from Europe” secular Nation State concept vs. the religion-based dictatorship offered by the Iranians. To be sure, some of the protestors have been quoted expressing support for the “nation state of Iraq” idea, however, I believe that at some subconscious level the protests in all three countries, Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon are against Islam itself, and not just the Iranian version of it.
While “nationalism” might explain part of the motivations for the protests in Iraq and Lebanon, it can not explain the similar protests in the Persian-speaking regions of Iran. As reported previously on this site, Mosque attendance in Iran has plummeted to 3% in some areas, and young parents are naming their children after ancient pre-Islamic Persian heroes rather than giving them Islamic names which had been the custom for nearly 14 centuries. This is an important development because Shari’a law recommends that parents name their children after the prophets (including Jesus and the old testament prophets, as well as Muhammad). So, to witness an entire population basically giving the finger to that portion of Shari’a by turning their backs on Islamic names to intentionally choose names as non-Islamic as they can find . . . is very significant.
I believe that similar sentiments have been welling up in Iraq and Lebanon, though they have not been expressed so openly. In fact, some of the protesters in Iraq have been yelling “Allahu akbar” as if to convince themselves and their opponents that they really aren’t anti-Islamic.
As support for the anti-Islam idea, we have reported previously on this site that some of the Kurds in Iraq and Syria have been leaving Islam for the older religions of Christianity and Zoroastrianism. I believe that this development must be seen in the same context as the developments in Iran where new parents are choosing non-Islamic names for their children. It is significant that all of these developments, the anti-Mullah revolts in Iran, the anti-Iran revolts in Iraq and Syria, and the Kurds turning to other religious other than Islam, are all connected, and that all began transpiring as a result of the rampages of ISIS and the expanding hegemony of Iran.
In other words, most Muslims, whether they will admit it or not, at some level the recognized the actions and behavior of ISIS as being the true Islam of Muhammad, and they recognize the actions and behavior of the Iranian Mullahs as being the mirror image of ISIS, in other words, just another manifestation of the real Islam imposed by Muhammad and the early Caliphs.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PROPHECY
From the standpoint of the Iranian regime and the Mullahs, this is a lot more than just a corrupt regime using violence to stay in power, which is the way it is being portrayed in the media. Their use of whatever means is necessary, including live rounds, is a religious necessity. Like most devout Muslims, they believe that we are living in the “Last Days” before the “Day of Judgment.” According to Islamic prophecies in the ahadeeth one of the things that must take place before that glorious day, is that the Muslims must fight the West and “break the cross” (referring to the need to destroy what’s left of western Christianity).
The Mullahs in Iran, therefore believe that Allah has chosen them to lead all Muslims in this final jihad, this final “Holy War.” One of the key steps necessary to take before they can pull that off is to complete the “Shi’a Crescent” connecting Iran with the Mediterranean on Lebanon’s coast, snuff out Saudi Arabia via Iranian pressure from the “Shi’a Crescent” and a Shi’a-controlled Yemen in the south. Controlling the “holy” sites in Arabia’s hijaz region, they could then overrun Israel from three sides at once which would unite all Muslims under their banner (Sunni Arabs as well as all Shi’a) which would set the stage for the final battle with the West.
So, you can imagine what the Mullahs of Iran are thinking as they sit there in Tehran and Qom while watching their “Shi’a Crescent” fall apart not only in the Arab countries to their west, but inside Iran itself. This is why the demonstrators are nothing more than kufaar in their minds. For the demonstrators it is a war between a desire for modernization and the nonsense of the Mullahs.
I want to revisit now the idea broached above that at some subconscious level the protesters in Iraq, Lebanon, and especially in Iran, are protesting against Islam itself (whether they can admit it to themselves or not). What is lacking is some mechanism to give these protesters the tools they need to admit their wish to break away from Islam and Shari’a law, and not just the ruling Mullahs.
It is for this reason that I have been screaming for years about the necessity of establishing a “Radio Free Europe” type program for the Middle East. I have written about that in the book listed below, and have mentioned it previously on this site as well. Such a program (which would include satellite TV as well radio broadcasts) would give these protestors (and doubters across the entire Islamic world) the tools they need to free themselves from that atavistic ideology that has kept them chained to backwardness, violence, and dictatorships).
Such a program would also undermine the Mullahs supporters’ belief in the “Last Days” and in the Mullahs’ right to lead all Muslims in the great fight against the west. It would also undermine the ideologies behind the Sunni terrorism exhibited by al-Qaeda, ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood, and similar groups, since Sunni terrrorism and the jihadi urge is fueled by much the same prophecies that are driving the Iranian Mullahs.
The inability of western “intelligence experts” to understand these issues is why we have to keep fighting the same wars over and over again.
As reported previously on this site, Turkey’s recent signing of a maritime treaty with the so-called government of Tripoli, Libya has generated lots of consternation among neighboring countries such as Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Cyprus, and Greece–not to mention the competing power in Libya led by General Khalifa Haftar.
Well, I’ve got news for these people. It’s only going to get worse. Arabic media outlets are reporting that Turkey has just announced that among the agreements Turkey has signed with “Libya” is the right to send in regular Turkish forces should Tripoli request such military help.
Up to this point, the terror-supporting nations of Turkey, Qatar, and to a lesser extent, Iran, have been offering only “superficial” aide, meaning such things as money and weapons, and Turkish operation of drones launched from Turkish ships off the coast. Meanwhile, the other side has been receiving “superficial” aide from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, France, and more recently Russia.
Therefore, the prospect of Turkey actually landing regular army troops on Libyan soil to fight alongside the Muslim Brotherhood government of Fayez Sirraaj would represent a dangerous new phase in the Libyan civil war, one that could lead to a wider Middle East/
Mediterranean war drawing in the great powers from outside the region.
Turkey could be gamboling that its strong stance on Libya will scare Russia, the UAE, and the others off leaving it free to include Libya as a new vassal state to its nascent Neo-Ottoman Empire. You see, the current ruling party in Turkey, the AKP, is a clone of the Muslim Brotherhood, and they are driven by the same Islamic prophecies and jihad ideology as are the Iranian Mullahs, and the Sunni terror groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS.
In the mind of Erdogan, and his supporters, Turkey must reconstitute the Ottoman Empire Caliphate before the next step of destroying the West can take place. Our political, military, and intel leaders in the DC area are totally oblivious to these facts, which is why they consistently misplay the Turkish card–to the extent of even selling them weapons, much less kicking them out of NATO as should have been done at least a decade ago.
The terrorist attack at the U.S. Naval Air Station in Florida this past week was also a direct result of an officially imposed ignorance about who our real enemies are. Failure to vet Muslims based on their level of devoutness has led to the deaths of Americans on an American military base on American soil–just as it did on Ft. Hood decade ago, and on numerous terrorist attacks both before and since Ft. Hood.
The media and the authorities will insist that the Pensacola shooter acted alone. In fact the media, including FOX news, is proclaiming that the motivation was a comment one of the shooter’s instructors had uttered six months previously! If that were true, the shooter would have done his act six months ago, and would have killed only that particular instructor. Absolute nonsense.
The mass shooting conducted by the shooter was a jihad act, he was doing his duty to Allah. He was earning his one way express ticket to paradise where his “porn stash” fantasy would become a licentious reality.
The night prior to the attack, the shooter and a number of his Saudi colleagues were watching “massacre videos.” What kind of mass shootings, the media has of course never said, but you can bet that these were clips of ISIS massacres, these were jihad Allahu akbar videos. This, to get them all pumped up for the big day of serving Allah. Then, as the shooting was taking place, witnesses noticed three other Saudis filming the event, a common tactic by ISIS.
To put icing on the cake, a few days after the shooting much of the city of Pensacola was shut down by a cyber attack. Anyone wanna bet this entire operation could not be a trial run for a larger operation later? Perhaps a 9/11-type event in conjunction with a more massive power outage? Perhaps combined with ambushes of emergency responders in order to create more chaos and havoc?
Bottom line: Until our political, military, and intel leaders are willing to indentify the enemy correctly, and to take appropriate actions at the ideological, propaganda, educational, and legal levels, Americans will continue to be slaughtered on American soil.
Barry Webb has logged a 25-year career as an Arabist for the NSA, has two MA degrees in related subject matter, and is currently a Senior Fellow with Americans for Intelligence Reform www.intelreform.org. He is the author of Confessions of an (ex) NSA spy: Why America and its Allies are Losing the War on Terror. His website is www.barrywebbauthor.com