Skip to comments.Protests aren't enough to topple the Islamic Republic
Posted on 06/20/2009 2:49:35 PM PDT by nuconvert
by Michael Rubin
Street protests in Iran are important but are themselves not enough to force change. The supreme leader will not be swayed because he considers himself accountable to God, not to the people. Indeed, even the Islamic Republic's clerical establishment is irrelevant in this calculus. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's invocation of folk religion -- his appeals to the messianic Hidden Imam, for example -- is a way to bypass senior religious figures who, according to Shiite theology, will be among the greatest obstacles to the Hidden Imam's return. Nor does the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, pay too much heed to his fellow clerics in Qom. They have always refused to bestow on Khamenei a level of religious legitimacy to match his ambition. Today, the majority of Iran's grand ayatollahs oppose the concept of theological rule. Not by coincidence, the majority are now in prison or under house arrest.
Khamenei can weather the public's disdain so long as the Revolutionary Guard serves as his Praetorian Guard. Khomeini, the Islamic Republic's founder, formed the Revolutionary Guard to defend his revolutionary vision. It is more powerful than the army and answers only to the supreme leader. That the Islamic Republic has lost legitimacy in the eyes of the Iranian public is now evident to the outside world, but it is not news to the regime. In September 2007, Mohammad Ali Jafari, the new Revolutionary Guard chief, reconfigured the force into 31 units -- one for each province and two for Tehran -- on the theory that a velvet revolution posed a greater threat to regime security than any external enemy. Guardsmen are not stationed in their home cities so that they do not hesitate to fire on crowds that might include family and friends.
In the public mind, the Islamic revolution 30 years ago looms large. The regime is not aloof to this. It understands the shah's mistakes and is determined not to repeat them. Next month marks the 10th anniversary of the student uprising, which erupted after the security forces attacked a student dormitory. Their brutality shocked the Iranian public, and demonstrations spread throughout the country. For a few days, regime survival was also subject to speculation.
In the aftermath of the protests, the Chinese government supplied security consultants to Tehran. Rather than bash heads and risk protests and endless cycles of mourning, Iranian security services began photographing demonstrations, after which they would arrest participants over the course of a month when they were alone and could not spark mob reaction. With the assistance of European businessmen, the Iranian government upgraded its surveillance of communication (and the Internet).
Ultimately, the theocracy will fall only if servicemen in the Revolutionary Guard switch sides. There will be compromise. The end will come only over Khamenei's dead body. Certainly, Iran today is a tinderbox. The question is whether the regime is better at putting out fires than demonstrators are at starting them.
They’ve got to get the army on their side to force out the mullahs.
Interesting. I didn’t think the IRGC was more powerful than the regular Iranian armed forces. I wonder what, exactly, “more powerful” means in this context? It seems to me that if the army left it’s barracks with their heavy weapons and APC’s, the IRGC would be in deep do-do.
IRGC has heavy weapons of their own
I wonder what sort of 2nd Amendment like rights the Iranians have.
parsy, who is going to look this up.
I would think that the Revolutionary Guard is similar to other internal security forces throughout history in that some units serve a police-function, while others are oriented toward conventional combat. Usually the combat units are in the minority.
You are correct. This revolution will only succeed if the army switches sides. The revolutionary guard is as radical as the mullahs and “Im A Nut Job” so they will be called out to squash this rebellion.
The real revolution will not be by unarmed demonstrators against the revolutionary guards and their militias, but by the regular army defending the unarmed demonstrators by firing upon the revolutionary guards and their militias.
The real question is whether or not the regular army is ready to make this choice. I suspect that we will know in a few days because it is clear that the mullahs are going to order the revolutionary guards to crack down on the unarmed people. Their only hope then will be the regular army in a civil war.
Is it really a revolution?
So far it looks like a bunch of folks pissed off that they lost an election.
We are dealing with events that are taking place over the mountain, so to speak, and what we see is occasional flashes of light and loud noises. So your guess is as good as anyone else’s.
The mullahs have to die.
Didn’t Obama want a “Civilian” Army as well armed and as well funded as the Department of Defense? Is there a university where would-be dictators go to learn? Did Ahmadinejad go to Yale?
It’s too early to say for sure what the political aftermath will actually be in Iran. Unfortunately, protests, throughout the U.S., are also not enough to successfully defeat the leftist dominance here in the U.S. Things will get much worse for the U.S. before they get any better, thanks to long-term leftist dominance throughout the U.S. Amnesty for illegal immigrants will really cause the total U.S. crime rate to skyrocket, and socialized medicine will really throw “quality health care” out the window throughout the U.S. Things will also get much worse for Iran before they seriously get any better, because their present government really needs to be successfully toppled before actual change can happen in Iran. Both Iran and the U.S. will need serious prayers for their long-term futures.
Doc Demarol, too. Good luck. I thought Saddam allowed one assault rifle per family or something in Iraq. Unsure about Iran. Maybe this is the big story. A revolution with no weapons.
parsy, who believes in his guns.
If reports are to be believed, they are pissed because the election was rigged. Given that the mullahs select beforehand which candidates can run and which one's can't that doesn't seem like such a far fetched believe...the elections begin rigged.
The Iranian people have to get their hands on some guns, and use those guns to get more guns.
This kind of crap will not be tolerated by an armed American populace, which is why the leftists and statists are working 24/7 to disarm us.
“I wonder what sort of 2nd Amendment like rights the Iranians have.”
They have none, which is why the Iranian government is able to terrorize its people.
“Didnt Obama want a Civilian Army as well armed and as well funded as the Department of Defense? “
Yes — and a deafening level of silence from all those “Bush is a fascist” crowds after Obama made this statement.
Lets just keep it simple and count these “silent supporters” among the brown shirts when the poop hits the fan...
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