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.

 

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”

China should think twice before threatening to attack Americans | Fox News

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Pictured: the name-ship of the newest class of the US Navy’s nuclear-powered supercarriers, the USS Gerald R. Ford, officially commissioned on July 22, 2017.

China is betraying a level of strategic anxiety not yet seen as the impact of trade tariffs looms and its return to its historical power role in the Asia seems to have stalled.

Source: China should think twice before threatening to attack Americans | Fox News

People – mostly people on the political left, and media “talking heads” (who are often also people on the political left) – often complain about U.S. President Donald Trump’s off-the-cuff and sometimes controversial remarks on Twitter.

But even his most outrageous “tweets” can’t match Chinese Rear Adm. Lou Yuan, who, while speaking at a military trade conference, “announced that what the United States feared most was casualties and that the easiest way to defeat China’s main rival was to sink two American supercarriers, killing over 10,000 sailors in the process.”

China is not the first Great Power to misunderstand and under-estimate American capabilities, and American resolve. Japan made that mistake once, and Germany twice. It did not end well, for either. China should take the advice of the author of this essay, Captain (USN, Ret.) Jerry Hendrix, who writes,

“Those who would believe that the sinking of two aircraft carriers would trigger an impulse toward retreat would do well to make themselves aware of the United States’ history and the impact events such as the sinking of the Lusitania, the attack on Pearl Harbor and the collapse of the World Trade Center had on the national psyche.”

Noting that

“Any attack upon a single U.S. aircraft carrier by long-range aircraft, cruise missiles or ballistic missiles would surely generate a response against the bases from which those weapons were launched, the sensors associated with them and the command-and-control nodes that directed them, and then the United States would turn its attention on the Chinese naval and merchant fleet.

“Before China knew what was happening, it would be cut off from the overseas sources of energy and raw materials that fuel its import/export economy. Within weeks it would be without fuel and its factories would be shuttered. The American economy, established in a nation that has most resources domestically available, would be able to ride out the storm, even if China attempted to climb the escalation ladder and attack targets in North America,”

he cautions that

“[Chinese President] Xi Jinping should try harder to understand his real strategic position while remembering that he who rides the tiger finds it difficult to dismount.”

Ascending levels of badassery: the U.S. Army Soldier’s Creed, Infantryman’s Creed, and Ranger Creed

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While I was never active-duty, I did train with my college’s ROTC Battalion in my first year there (1983-84). During that time, I qualified for the Battalion’s Ranger Platoon. I must hasten to be clear that I was not a U.S. Army Ranger; I did not attend Ranger School and I was not awarded the Ranger tab. I was not a Ranger.

By qualifying for the Ranger Platoon, however, I was afforded the privilege of wearing the black beret (then the distinctive Ranger head-gear) and woodland-pattern camouflage BDUs, at a time when everyone else in ROTC wore OD fatigues and a ball-cap; and I had the opportunity for some additional training. I was – we were – also expected to serve as models and inspirations for the rest of the cadets. In other words, I had a taste – just a taste – of being a Ranger.

As a result, I have a tremendously high amount of respect for real U.S. Army Rangers. And as someone who wore the Army uniform, even for a short while, and whose forebears fought in the Army in two World Wars – my father in World War Two, his father in World War One – both decorated combat veterans, both wounded in action, I have a huge respect for the U.S. Army in general, and the Infantry in particular.

“Follow Me!” and “Rangers Lead the Way!” are two slogans – better, two approaches to living – which I have tried (not always with complete success) to live out in my civilian life. In honor of that passion for excellence, and that determination to defend our nation and its way of life, I offer the Soldiers Creed, the Infantryman’s Creed, and the Rangers Creed: Continue reading “Ascending levels of badassery: the U.S. Army Soldier’s Creed, Infantryman’s Creed, and Ranger Creed”

UK Armed Forces Day – Saturday 24 June 2017

Armed Forces Day is a chance to show your support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community: from currently serving troops to Service families, veterans and cadets.

Source: Armed Forces Day – Saturday 24 June 2017

Respectful salute to the men and women of all the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom! May God continue to bless and protect them, and the people they serve. And God save The Queen!