Iranian protesters in Tehran turn against regime after military admits shooting down plane | Daily Mail Online

Iranians protest against the government after a vigil held for the victims of Flight 752 turned into an anti-government demonstrations outside Amirkabir University in Tehran, Iran
Iranians protest against the government after a vigil held for the victims of Flight 752 turned into an anti-government demonstrations outside Amirkabir University in Tehran, Iran.

Iranians have gathered in the streets of Tehran to demand the resignation of Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei after the regime admitted it had mistakenly shot down a civilian passenger plane.

Source: Iranian protesters in Tehran turn against regime after military admits shooting down plane | Daily Mail Online

To be honest, many Iranians have been “turned against” the regime for some years, now; but this is one more straw on the back of a well-laden camel. If it will prove the last straw, of course, remains to be seen… In any case:

The Islamic Revolutionary government of Iran has finally admitted to “accidentally” shooting down a Ukrainian airliner filled with mostly Iranian passengers on Wednesday (8 January), but 57 of the victims were Canadians of Iranian descent, and other nations were represented as well. In all, 176 people died. Tehran originally attributed the crash to “technical difficulties,” but that story quickly became impossible to defend.

Iranians shout slogans against the government after a vigil held for the victims of the airplane of Ukrainian International Airlines that crashed near Imam Khomeini Airport turned into an anti-government protest outside Amirkabir University

Now many Iranians are livid at the government, and despite the typical attempts at repression by regime forces, are making their anger known. The Iranian people have been on edge anyway, after months of demonstrations, and more recently the escalation in tension with the U.S.  stemming from the killing of IRGC Gen. Qassem Soleimani (which seems actually to have been received with favor by many Iranians, despite the highly orchestrated funeral “mourning” imposed by the regime).

That action had been followed by an Iranian missile strike against (well, sort of “against”…) U.S. targets in Iraq that seemed rather carefully calculated to avoid U.S. casualties. And in fact, there were none, despite some 15-20 ballistic missiles being fired. While needing to “save face,” it looks very much as if the Iranian regime had no interest in provoking a further U.S. response.

And now this… The Daily Mail (UK) reports that

“Angry crowds gathered on Saturday night in at least four locations in Tehran, chanting ‘death to liars’ and calling for the country’s supreme leader to step down over the tragic military blunder, video from the scene shows.

“What began as mournful vigils for Iranian lives lost on the flight soon turned to outrage and protest against the regime, and riot police quickly cracked down, firing tear gas into the crowd. 

“‘Death to the Islamic Republic’ protesters chanted, as the regime’s security forces allegedly used ambulances to sneak heavily armed paramilitary police into the middle of crowds to disperse the demonstration.”

If the Daily Mail does not feel all that egg on their face, they should look in the mirror, considering that they swallowed hook, line, and sinker the Iranian regime’s reports of widespread grief and mourning over the death of Soleimani, as I noted in an earlier post.

Now we have Iranians – unrehearsed, unchoreographed, uncoerced – chanting “Death to the Islamic Republic,” calling for the Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei) to step down, and (in English) “Mad, mad, dictator!” (referring to Khamenei). Hardly the actions of a people bowed with grief over the death of that dictator’s chief minion and enforcer! Indeed, this is more fuel on the fire of the Iranian people’s decades-long grievance against the regime.

A woman gestures during a protest against the government outside Amirkabir University in Tehran, Iran on Saturday

“‘Our enemy is right here; they lie when they say it’s the US’ protesters were heard chanting in one video,” the article quotes one protester, noting that another wrote in Persian on Twitter, “‘I now believe the word of the Great Satan,'” an apparently ironic reference to a favorite term used by the Islamic Revolutionary government to refer to the U.S., since the days of the Ayatollah Khomenei.

“Protesters demanded that those responsible for shooting down the civilian plane be publicly tried and held accountable. The crowd also condemned the Islamic Republic’s paramilitary internal security force, chanting ‘Death to Basij’…

“Anti-regime factions said that the protests reflected the frustrations of Iranian citizens with the government corruption and oppression. 

“‘The protest by thousands of Iranians in Tehran burst the propaganda balloon of the regime regarding Qassem Soleimani’s elimination,’ [emphasis added] said Shahin Gobadi, spokesman of the anti-regime group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, in a statement to DailyMail.com.

“Gobadi said that the protests ‘showed the true sentiments of the Iranians and once again clearly proved that Iran is a powder keg and the Iranian people will not stop until the regime change.'”

Iranians protest against the government outside Amirkabir University in Tehran, Iran on Saturday

It is not only the Iranian people who are outraged. Even Leftist Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “cast doubt on Iran’s claim that it accidentally shot down the Ukrainian jet,” the article notes:

“Trudeau said the shoot-down of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 ‘is one of the issues that we certainly need better answers to,’ during a news conference on Saturday. ‘I am, of course, outraged and furious,’ Trudeau said of the crash, adding that whether the tragedy was an accident or not still needs to be determined.”

While it would not surprise me if Trudeau eventually accepts the Iranian regime’s assertion that one of their anti-aircraft missile batteries mistook the 737 for an American cruise missile – a dubious proposition, to put it mildly – the Iranian people are unlikely to be put off by such evasions.

The Anglophilic Anglican emphatically supports the Iranian people in their quest for freedom, justice, and self-determination.


Update (10:24 p.m. EST, 11 January 2020): Later reports indicate that the regime increased its efforts to break up the protests, after nightfall.

Riot police with shields and batons massed to disrupt the anti-government protests on Saturday night

“Screams were heard as regime forces fired tear gas at the protesters in a brutal crackdown after night fell… As night fell, riot police attempted to break up the protests with tear gas. Cops armed with shields and batons tried to disperse the crowds, and police fired water canons at protesters.”

As of this point, no indication as to how successful the attempts to break up the protests have been. Please join me in praying for the Iranian people.

 

The killing of Qasem Soleimani | MelaniePhillips.com

Qasem Soleimani

Source: The killing of Qasem Soleimani | MelaniePhillips.com

The inestimable Melanie Phillips comments on the killing of Islamic Revolutionary Guard general and Quds force commander, Qassem Soleimani:

“Soleimani has been described by some outlets as a terrorist leader. This is vastly to underestimate his importance. The al Quds force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is part of Iran’s hugely powerful proxy army, and Soleimani was the regime’s key military strategist and military commander.

“He launched countless military operations against US, Israel and others. He was responsible for hundreds of American deaths in Iraq. He was the invaluable architect of Iran’s territorial drive for regional incursion and hegemony…

“How will the Iranian regime react to this devastating blow to their prowess and prestige? … [It] will almost certainly use its still considerable malign power to retaliate.

Whatever now happens, however, Trump has achieved something of incalculable benefit for America. He has got it off its knees.

[…] “Faced with attacks on American assets, Carter ran away, Clinton prevaricated, Obama actually helped fund them – but Trump ruthlessly and decisively killed the attacker. America is now back as a force to be reckoned with.”

 

Iranian activist Masih Alinejad: The people of Iran did not mourn Qassem Soleimani’s death | Fox News

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Photo from a 2015 article on Masih Alinejad’s “My Stealthy Freedom” campaign.

Iranian journalist and activist Masih Alinejad told Fox News Friday that the people of Iran did not mourn the death of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

Source: Iranian activist Masih Alinejad: The people of Iran did not mourn Qassem Soleimani’s death | Fox News

Our own media, and many of our politicians, pundits, and talking heads, are all too quick to filter the news through their own anti-Trump biases, take Iranian (and other totalitarian) news media at face value, or both. So there is a narrative that Iranians are livid at the “termination with extreme prejudice” of Quds force commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, and that we have somehow awoken an Iranian sleeping tiger by killing him.

There is no question that the Iranian regime forces are livid – in part due to fear – or that they will attempt reprisals. We hold those truths to be self-evident. It does not necessarily follow that their public pronouncements speak for the ordinary people of Iran, many of whom would like nothing better than to chuck the mullahs and their minions head-first into the nearest river.

This interview, with Iranian journalist and activist Masih Alinejad – best known for her campaign against the compulsory wearing of the hijab, called “My Stealthy Freedom” – shows that for many Iranians, at least, the death of Soleimani is a source, not of anger and sorrow, but of joy:

“Appearing on ‘America’s Newsroom’ with host Sandra Smith, Alinejad said that the Iranian media staunches ‘freedom of expression’ in the country.

“‘So, all you see in Iranian state television – state media – [is], like, showing some people took to the street mourning and showing their sympathy [towards] Qassem Soleimani,’ she told Smith. ‘But, the fact is this: many Iranians do not see him as a hero and if you go to social media, that they are very happy.’

“‘Why?’ she questioned. ‘Because they have been witnessing how [the] Revolutionary Guard killed people in the streets across Iran.’ Alinejad added that to many Iranians, Soleimani and the Revolutionary Guard are killers and torturers, responsible for acts of terror in much of the Middle East.”

When asked how she herself felt about the killing of Soleimani, she “said that while her dream was to see Soleimani and his cohorts in court, ‘this is what they had to face’ because they are responsible for the ‘misery’ in Iraq and Syria.”

Then there is this, from Baghdad, Iraq, where he apparently was not to popular, either! This video, from Ruptly, shows Iraqis demonstrating in the streets with great joy upon the news of Soleimani’s death.

“Protesters rallied in the streets of Baghdad to celebrate, hours after General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, was reportedly killed during a US airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport, on Friday.

“Footage filmed in the early hours of Friday shows crowds gathering in the streets of the Iraqi capital to celebrate the attack, marching and waving Iraqi flags.”

Meanwhile, back here at home, we have the rabidly anti-Trump press thoroughly embarrassing itself in its coverage of the event… the mind fairly boggles.

 

Another one bites the dust: drone strike takes out Quassem Soleimani, head of the Iranian “Quds Force”

In this Sept. 18, 2016, file photo provided by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qasem Soleimani, center, attends a meeting in Tehran, Iran. Iraqi TV and three Iraqi officials said Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, that Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, has been killed in an airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport.

Yesterday, January 3rd, 2020, in a drone strike authorized by President Trump, US military forces took out Maj. Gen. Quassem Soleimani, long-time head of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard (IRG) “Quds force,” just outside Baghdad in Iraq. The Quds force is a division which has been described as “primarily responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations” (Wikipedia).

This is another way of saying “a terrorist force,” and Soleimani was a terrorist mastermind. A commentary essay in USAToday – far from a right-wing source – notes that “Iran, using Soleimani’s Quds Force as its spearhead, was responsible for more than 600 American deaths in Iraq from 2003 to 2011, 17% of all U.S. dead in that conflict.” I have seen accounts that put the number closer to 1000 American dead.

The essay – which notes that “Trump had been a model of restraint in the face of increasingly aggressive moves against American allies and interests by Iran and its proxies” – points out that

“The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds force which Soleimani commanded was a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, which gave its members the same status as al-Qaida, the Islamic State or any other such group. According to the Pentagon, Soleimani was actively planning attacks against American forces, something he had done many times in the past,”

and further notes that “Iran has been escalating conflict in the Middle East for years. Iran supports insurgent and militia groups in Yemen, Afghanistan, Gaza, Lebanon and Syria, among others,” largely through the Quds force, and its commander, Soleimani.

That drone strike couldn’t have happened to a more deserving fellah.

Anyone who thinks it was a coincidence that Soleimani was in the Baghdad area at the same time as the US Embassy there was under attack by a pro-Iranian, militant Islamic militia, Kataib Hezbollah, is probably incapable of adding two and two, and getting four.

The Kataib Hezbollah militia – founded by Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was also killed in the attack – is closely connected to Iran, Iraq’s next-door neighbor to the east; and it is one of the country’s most loyal proxies in Iraq, according to analysts. It is difficult to conclude that Soleimani was there to advise, perhaps direction, and – if things had gone differently – gloat over the capture of the American Embassy.

Regarding al-Muhandis (a.k.a. Mohandes) – killed alongside Soleimani in the drone strike – Samuel J. Culper, intelligence analyst and founder of Forward Observer, notes:

“More than the news is telling you… Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes was the chief planner of the 1983 Beirut Bombing and the 1983 Kuwait bombings with attacks on six key Kuwaiti installations and US and French Embassy’s on 12 December 1983, two months after the 1983 Beirut barracks bombings.

“He was sentenced to death in Kuwait for involvement in the 1983 bomb attacks on US and French embassies there but fled the country.

“Mohandes also oversaw Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), an umbrella grouping of paramilitary groups mostly consisting of Iran-backed Shi’ite militias that was formally integrated into Iraq’s armed forces.”

These are men who, as the old country saying put it, “needed killin’.” But of course, there are the usual explosions of hyperbole – primarily from the Left, naturally, but also from a certain sub-sector of right – about how this is a “dangerous escalation,” and may lead to another Iraq-war-like quagmire, or even “World War Three.” Well, anything is possible. But as this essay in National Review puts it,

“We have no clue how Iran will react to the elimination of its terror chief Qasem Soleimani. Religious fanatics tend to be unpredictable. One thing we can be certain of, however, is that every time the United States acts in its self-interest in the Middle East, a bunch of pundits and policy experts will start spouting lazy tropes about the Iraq War.”

Yep. The thing is – as this essay goes not to note – the issue with the Iraq War was not the Iraq War. We won that, handily and speedily. The problem was the interminable occupation and attempt at nation-building which followed. And as to that, the essay continues,

“As far as I can tell, there’s no evidence that Trump, or anyone else, has any appetite to invade Iran or force regime change. Many brave Iranians are already trying to do that on their own.”

They are, and I wish them well! As to Iranian reaction to the strike,

“Of course an Iran reprisal is likely to come sooner or later, and Americans will also likely be in danger. We shouldn’t dismiss these serious concerns. They are nothing new. Iran has been conducting a terror campaign against the United States and its allies for 40 years. It was the mullahs, not Trump, who ‘escalated’ tensions when Iranian-led militias stormed the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

“Until recently, the Iranians faced few repercussions for hundreds of Soleimani-coordinated murders and the maiming of thousands of American troops. And let’s not forget either that there is not a single conflict in the region that Soleimani wasn’t fueling or coordinating in some way. If this is not an enemy worth knocking off, who is?”

Indeed!

A Tale of Two Embassies… and two Presidents.

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US Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, burning on September 11, 2012, following attack by Islamic militants that killed four Americans, including the Ambassador.
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U.S. Marines assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command (SPMAFTF-CR-CC) 19.2, prepare to deploy from Kuwait in support of a crisis response mission, Dec. 31, 2019.

This was originally written for my Facebook timeline, and is posted here with minimal editing.

Benghazi, Libya, September 11, 2012. Under attack by Islamic militants, the US Embassy requests assistance. None is forthcoming.

As a result, four Americans die, including the Ambassador, Chris Stevens – the first U.S. Ambassador killed in an attack since 1979 – along with Information Officer Sean Smith, and two CIA operatives, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, both former Navy SEALs, who fell trying to defend the Ambassador against overwhelming odds. The Embassy is burned.

Baghdad, Iraq, December 31, 2019. Under attack by Islamic militants, the US Embassy requests assistance. Within a matter of hours, 100 Marines are airlifted into the Embassy grounds via Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, supported by Apache attack helicopters; further air assets are reportedly overhead.

Shortly after, 750 soldiers – an infantry battalion from the Immediate Response Force (IRF) of the elite 82nd Airborne Division – are wheels-up on their way to Kuwait, with an additional 4,000 troops gearing up to follow, in case additional support is needed.

Now, it’s possible to argue that we shouldn’t be there in the first place, and I might agree with you. But we ARE there: that’s the reality of the situation; American lives were in danger, and the response was quick and, so far at least, has proven effective.

Do some of y’all understand, now, why some of us support President Trump, despite the fact that we might not like or agree with everything he says or does? He puts America first, as an American President should, and when Americans are in danger, he protects them to the best of his ability.

Based on past history, if Hillary Clinton was President currently, we might be looking at another dead Ambassador and another gutted Embassy. That is the difference. You either get it or you don’t. If you don’t, I quite honestly feel sorry for you…

Sky Views: Tanker crisis requires decisive action on Iran or UK will be seen as soft target | World News | Sky News

Image result for royal navy frigate hms montrose
Pictured is the HMS Montrose, a Type 23 (Duke class) frigate of the Royal Navy which successfully fended off an Iranian attempt to board a tanker a week ago, but was too far away to intervene in time, this time (the tanker ignored radio instructions from the Montrose, which did not help). Montrose is the only warship Britain currently has in the Gulf, to cover the 90-mile Strait of Homuz.

Source: Sky Views: Tanker crisis requires decisive action on Iran or UK will be seen as soft target | World News | Sky News

An increasingly belligerent Iran has now seized a British tanker, and the UK and its Royal Navy seems, to all appearances, to be almost helpless to respond, or at least to respond promptly, sufficiently, and effectively.

“Another factor looming large over all response options must be the reality that the Royal Navy no longer has sufficient warships to dedicate to escorting maritime traffic through the Gulf and at the same time maintain its other commitments around the world.

“I know such an operation would be done as part of an alliance but it is troubling that a maritime nation like the UK, which is also a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, is no longer able to offer even the semblance of a sovereign capability to protect its interests at sea.”

Indeed! The author of this piece continues, Continue reading “Sky Views: Tanker crisis requires decisive action on Iran or UK will be seen as soft target | World News | Sky News”

Protest, and possible move toward Restoration, in Iran…?

Remarkable developments in Iran! The greatly under-reported protests against government corruption and other social and economic ills have turned sharply political, as Iranians have become increasingly fed-up with life under the mullahs.

In particular, many of the protesters are calling for the return of Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, son of the deposed Shah, and a presumed Restoration of the Monarchy. Things may be reaching a critical point!

An Iranian friend and contact, well-placed to know what’s going on there and its implications, posted the above video on Facebook and commented,

“Who would have thought – I kept insisting that the most favorable conditions for restoration in any country today is Iran. Here is only one of the many protests calling for the return of Monarchy. This is yesterday – Dec 29, 2017. Chanting “King of Iran – return to Iran”. “Iran without a King = Iran in a mess”. “Reza Shah (Pahlavi) – Bless your soul.”

He further commented,

“The chants and slogans are being increasingly creative by the hour in support of the Monarchy. Empress Farah Pahlavi just issued a statement an hour ago in response to the calls of the people. People are now calling on Prince Reza Pahlavi, the Heir to the Persian throne to return asap.”

Here is the Empress Farah Pahlavi’s statement (in Persian):

FP-Iran-protest
I do not have a full translation, but it includes this: «I am confident that the Iranian nation, which will be [renewed…?] every time, like the Phoenix, will overcome difficulties and that light will overcome the darkness.»

Personally, I would love to see a Restoration. Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi seems to be a good man, dedicated to the well-being of his people, from what I have been able to determine. He also seems to be cautious and circumspect, which may help him to avoid some of the pitfalls of his father, who tried to bring Iran too far forward too fast, and thus incited backlash from Islamic extremists.

Still, Iran under the late Shah was progressive, forward-looking, protected the rights of women and religious minorities, and was friendly toward the West. And its people certainly deserve better than the rule of the mullahs.

Praying for the future of the Iranian people!

Iran’s exiled Crown Prince calls for a monarchist revolution in Iran – Royal Central

Some call him an Emperor, some a Crown Prince and by his Iranian followers, he is referred to as His Imperial Majesty Reza Shah II. Still, the Crown Prince of Iran, Reza Pahlavi, has now called for a monarchist revolution in his birth country of Iran and calls for Trump and American help to transform the dictatorship to a parliamentarian monarchy.

Source: Iran’s exiled Crown Prince calls for a monarchist revolution in Iran – Royal Central

It should be said that the Crown Prince wants to have a peaceful revolution that will be carried out by the Iranian people, and he does not envision an armed revolution with foreign military troops on the ground. Asked how his envisioned peaceful revolution could play out in Iran, Pahlavi said it would need to begin with the labour unions starting a nationwide strike.

Pahlavi’s father, Mohammad Reza Shah, took power following a coup in 1953 engineered by Britain and the United States. Under the Crown Prince’s father’s secular and pro-Western rule, Iran experienced a rapid modernization programme financed by oil revenues. The Crown Prince is clear in his statements; he does not want the same thing [a coup backed by Western powers] to happen again. “Western governments need to keep their distance and not threaten military action,” said His Imperial Highness.

I believe this would be of great benefit to the Iranian (Persian) people, many of whom are not happy with the rule of the Ayatollahs, and to the rest of the world, as well, for whom the Islamic Republic of Iran is well-known as a state sponsor of terrorism and a persistent threat to regional security. Respectful salute to His Imperial Majesty Reza Shah II, and prayers for the achievement of this goal!