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Iran is in the mainstream global news this week because a few of it's most nefarious, effective and ruthless military leaders were killed while in the midst of plotting and interfering in Iraq. They were directing the attacks on the US embassy in Baghdad, killing American military and civilians in the region and coordinating with Latin American and Mexican cartel leaders to infiltrate and attack Americans through it's southern border. They trained, hired, planned attacks through their branches in Hezbollah, Hamas, the Houthis in Yemen, the Palestinian Jihad (PIJ) Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) and the Basij Militia-to name a few of their proxy units in the world. The continual fighting in Syria and the various battles with Daesh/ISIS involved some of the fighters/trainers from Iran as well.
"Harakat al Nujaba has close ties with Lebanese Hezbollah. The two groups have coordinated activities as Iraqi militia fighters entered Syria to battle rebels and jihadists. The militia was established to funnel fighters from two other Iranian-backed militias, Hezbollah Brigades and Asaib Ahl al Haq, into Syria. It has been spotted on several battlefields in Syria, including in Aleppo." https://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2016/03/hezbollah-and-harakat-al-nujaba-are-the-twins-of-resistance-iraqi-militia-spokesman-says.php
Although most will say it is a nation' s right to determine it's own laws, punishments and protection for it's own citizens; it is also important to point out that millions of Iranians were affected by the cruel, relentless policing of Iran's Revolutionary guards, the elite Quds forces. This includes their actions against protesters peacefully demonstrating since 2017. Human rights organizations with insiders report over 1,500 confirmed deaths and over 9,000 injured during arrests, detainment or harassment in Iran. These are only conservative estimates. www.dailysabah.com/mideast/2019/12/23/death-toll-hits-1500-in-iranian-anti-government-protests
People forget (or never knew) of the bloody history of the "Islamic Revolution" that shook the world in 1979 and was responsible for over tens of thousands of deaths, arrest, detention and torture or disappearance of their own citizens.
Iran (Eran) has been a significant military and economic force in the world since around 550 BC. Until the 1930s other countries called Eran-"Persia" and before the use of guns (fire arms) the "Persian army" were famous for their cavalry and as archers. Eran instituted a policy of "tolerance" for those they conquered under the master leader and diplomat, Cyrus. He instituted laws protecting people's right to speak their own languages and practice their own religions. The "Cyrus Cylinder" was a collection of guidelines written on stone tablets and preserved to this day. It stated that while Zoroastrianism was the official religion, other religions were respected. Conquered peoples would be protected as long as they paid taxes and abided by Persian laws. Their places of worship were often rebuilt after battles and their cultural traditions and festivals permitted to continue "in freedom throughout the Persian empire". study.com/academy/lesson/the-persian-empire-religion-social-structure.html
iranians fought long and hard against invading Arabs in the mid 600s AD, but were part of the large Islamic conquest and submitted to Islam. Thereafter, Eran was ruled by a number of "dynasties" for the next thousand years, developing weapons, alliances and battling the Ottomans, Great Britain and Russia. After World War II and the development of Eran's natural resources (oil, natural gas, coal, copper, chromium, etc) the Shah (leader) of Iran had the financial resources to build up their military. Eran was ranked 9th in the world for their economic strength.
Eran began it's nuclear program in the late 1950s. "The U.S. provided Iran with its first research reactor — a nuclear reactor, a 5-megawatt nuclear reactor that is still functioning and still operational in Tehran. The United States built that nuclear reactor in 1967 on the campus of Tehran University. It also provided Iran with fuel for that reactor — weapons-grade enriched uranium." www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2015/09/18/440567960/born-in-the-u-s-a-how-america-created-irans-nuclear-program
"In 1953, amid a power struggle between Mohammed Reza Shah and Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the U.K. Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) orchestrated a coup against Mosaddegh’s government. The interference of these two outside intelligence/government forces changed the political landscape and direction of Iran."
In the 1970s, Eran paid out billions of dollars to purchase the latest equipment and weapons from the UK, Russia, Sweden, Canada, the Netherlands, the USA and Israel. The Shah (leader of Iran) Mohammed Reza Pahlavi reigned over a secular regime. He was the last of the Pahlazi dynasty. Iran recognized Israel in those years:
"On 18 July 1977, Iranian Vice Minister of War General Hassan Toufanian traveled to Israel where he met with Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan and Minister of Defense Ezer Weizmann. They discussed a number of joint Israeli-Iranian military projects, among them Project Flower."
Politically, the Shah Reza Pahlavi envisioned a "social provisionary" state which provided for it's citizens all the benefits of "eastern and western" society including healthcare, education, infrastructure, defense and human "freedoms" under a monarchy. He included human rights, women's rights and literacy goals in his governing aims. The income from high oil prices and mineral exports was substantial. Eran had the possibility to raise the standard of living of it's citizens to the highest level in it's history, albeit it did so with many repressive measures against those resisting change. Arrests, detention and torture were part of the Shah's legacy as well as his "White Revolution" and leaping into the 21st century.
All these programs ended with the "Islamic Revolution" and the deposing and exile of the Shah of Iran as leader. Protests against the shah encouraged by those denigrating "westernization", western influences and promoting Shiite factions, divided Eran. Formerly secular leaders took an interest in the fundamentalist views of Ruhollah Khomeini in exile in France.
"The Iranian Revolution, also known as the Islamic Revolution, was the revolution that transformed Iran from an absolute monarchy under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to an absolute Islamic republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, one of the leaders of the revolution and founder of the Islamic Republic. It began in January 1978 with the first major demonstrations and concluded with the approval of the new theocratic Constitution by referendum. The Shah went into exile in January 1979. Ayatollah Khomeini became "Supreme Leader" of the country—in December 1979."
Ayatollah Khomeni immediately imposed a rigid form of sharia law and formed special military units and "religious police patrols" to enforce those laws. The former rights given to women were declared null and void. courses.lumenlearning.com/suny-hccc-worldhistory2/chapter/the-iranian-revolution/
For a quick but unique view of Iran's history in the 20th century I highly recommend the Iranian (in exile) film maker Marjane Satrapi's 2007, "Persepolis" linked here online in English and available in other languages: www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZ22VyjJ6n8 "Satraps" in ancient Persia were the governors of the province system Persians set up in their empire.
In the past 18 months protests within Iran, due to rising cost of living, corruption, repression and frustration - resulted in a brutal crackdown by the Quds (led by Qassem Solemani) and their further interference into Iraq's governing - with an agenda to commandeer Iraq's rich natural resources as well. With the death of Solemani and his cohorts, hundreds of thousands celebrated in many parts of the world adversely affected by Iran and especially by Solemani and his policies of inciting terrorist acts, brutality and disruption.
People in Syria, Jordan, Iraq and expat Iranians in Armenia, Canada, the UK, Australia,the USA and other countries posted videos of dancing, fireworks, marches and handing out "sweets and delicacies" during the official "days of mourning" declared by Iran's current Ayatollah Khomeni.
The belligerent threats and hyperbolic rhetoric we read and hear is more common in the "near" East and the Middle East. Did you know Iran has a declared "Death to America" day which is November 4-recalling the day Americans were taken hostage from their own embassy in 1970s. The Iranian government declared in 1987, an official day and official chants against the USA. Over thirty years of continual hate propaganda on an entire generation, indoctrinated in Iran. www.nationalreview.com/2020/01/death-to-america-iran-philosophy-for-40-years/
There is projection from numerous political camps, think tank types, former military advisers, intelligence analysts, academics and leaders about what will happen next. There are rumors printed as if they are "confirmed" strategies and "targets" from both the Iranians and the Americans. The location, value and number of "targets" are changed daily. As one contributor to Rudaw news. net from Kurdistan wrote:
"Whatever Iran’s capabilities, they pale in comparison to those of the United States. At a moment’s notice, Washington could take out other Iranian leaders, Iranian oil refineries, Iranian bases in Syria, or any number of targets." www.rudaw.net/english/analysis/06012020
In response to the responses from both sides Iraq leader Muqtada al- Sadr issued the following statement on Sunday, January 5:
"I call on Iraqi resistance factions especially, and factions outside of Iraq, to instantly meet to announce the formation of ‘International Resistance Regiments’,” Sadr said.
Sadr became the founding leader of southern Iraq’s Mahdi Army in 2003, during US occupation of the country. His militia killed and injured scores of American servicemen.
He disbanded the militias in 2008. However, he announced the reactivation of the Mahdi Army on Friday, (January 3, 2020) referring to himself as the “head of Iraqi National Resistance".
Other militia leaders such as Kataib Imam Ali’s Shibl al-Zaidy have also pledged allegiance to the proposal.
Hassan Nasrallah, head of Hezbollah, vowed to expel US troops from Iraq in a speech made on Sunday.
Sadr’s call to arms means the two major Shiite parties, who hold over 100 out of 329 parliamentary seats, are now threatening US forces with military action.
This is a gathering of forces foreseen for at least a decade. Each nation/government outwardly threatening has internal divisions-Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon-the USA. Which "targets" they choose to demonstrate their "resolve" and even "vengeance" will no doubt incur "collateral damage" in the civilian population, loss of life, injury, property destruction and trauma. Unfortunately there has been a build up of a nuclear style game of "chicken and concession" between the US and Iran since before 2000.
Other administrations have wagged their flaccid fingers about "red lines crossed" and done nothing but send billions in cash and equipment. Finally this week, they realize there is a "new deal-new players" who mean "business".
We know there will be at least some "show" of force in the coming weeks and months. We pray they select their "targets" with discrimination, and with the ultimate aim of "de-escalation" of tensions. We pray innocents are not caught in the crossfire.
Closing with strong theme song from Zack Hemsey - "Don't Get In My Way".
Read between the lines/lyrics and the notes as you will, but turn up the volume for full effect: www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIt6hRhM33g
Remember the 5 Ps'=Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance!
Stay healthy and alert,