January 3rd, 2018

Predicting Iran

Iran is unpredictable. I have no idea what will happen there.

But I do know that tyrannies stay in power through a number of mechanisms. One is complete mind control, but only North Korea seems to be able to do that in this day and age. But another, and perhaps the most common one, is that the tyrannical regime—which, after all, consists of a small number of people in power compared to the large number of a country’s inhabitants—must have an enforcing agent. The leaders are always outnumbered, after all.

The enforcer can be the military. It can be the police. It can be the secret police or the elite military. It can be (and often is) several or all of the above.

And that group of enforcers must be willing to do the regime’s bidding. Time after time, tyrannies have fallen because the enforcers refuse to enforce the will of the country’s leaders.

Then there is the will of those in charge—in other words, how ruthless they are willing to be. In Soviet Russia, for example, the earliest leaders were plenty ruthless. Think Lenin and Stalin. Later on, though, some of that fervor went out of those in charge. Maybe because they got used to the high life, or because they became somewhat Westernized over time, or maybe they realized how rotten their police state was and they just couldn’t defend it with the same vigor. They didn’t want to lose power, but they just weren’t willing to kill as many people to keep it.

Which brings us to Iran. I don’t even begin to read the minds of the mullahs, but I do believe that religious fervor is more inclined to continue undiminished, because they believe that the kingdom they built in Iran isn’t just one of earth, it’s one of heaven on earth—no matter how many people they have to kill to sustain it.

So I think that it all depends on what the enforcers will do. If enough enforcers turn on the mullahs, that will be the real turning point.

33 Responses to “Predicting Iran”

  1. kevino Says:

    RE: “I don’t even begin to read the minds of the mullahs, but I do believe that religious fervor is more inclined to continue undiminished, because they believe that the kingdom they built in Iran isn’t just one of earth, it’s one of heaven on earth.”
    I don’t think that’s accurate. “Heaven on earth” is more of a western idea. What I understand of conservative Muslim views, life on earth is basically irrelevant. It’s simply a test. All that counts is victory for the One True God or die trying. Yes, the religious theocracy will continue because that is the only just and true government:

    “We hate you because your secular, liberal societies permit the very things that Allah has prohibited while banning many of the things He has permitted, a matter that doesn’t concern you because you separate between religion and state, thereby granting supreme authority to your whims and desires via the legislators you vote into power. In doing so, you desire to rob Allah of His right to be obeyed and you wish to usurp that right for yourselves. “Legislation is not but for Allah” (Yusuf 40).”
    — from “Why We Hate You, And Why We Fight You”, Dabiq, vol 15 [ISIS]

    [KO: ISIS aren’t Shiites, but I believe that conservative Shiite views of Islamic v. western law is that it is similar to those of Sunnis.]

  2. kevino Says:

    BTW I think your analysis of the enforcers, is correct. I’ll go a step further: if the middle class (working class) joins the revolution as they did in the “Green Revolution”, I think that the Mullahs will lose. As you say, there aren’t enough to get the job done if more people join the revolution.

  3. neo-neocon Says:


    “Heaven on earth” was short for “an earthly path towards heaven” and/or “a holy place on earth where people behave right.”

  4. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “In doing so, you desire to rob Allah of His right to be obeyed and you wish to usurp that right for yourselves. “Legislation is not but for Allah” (Yusuf 40).”

    If Allah has a ‘right’ to be obeyed, then “free will” is a cruel joke. Not that that contradiction is a problem for Islam. As Allah is the cruelest of gods.

  5. AesopFan Says:

    The only thing I am willing to predict is that a LOT of people will die before this is over.

    Will Israel take advantage to hit the Iranian nuke facilities, or would that just drive the rebels and mullahs back together (such as they ever were, which never seemed to me to be very close after the initial days following the deposition of the Shah).

    Will US support for the rebels hurt or hinder them? Opinion, to say the least, is divided. I come down on the side of “helping” because the rebels hate the mullahs more than they do the USA (if most of the country ever did really hate the US, which I don’t think is as true as the hardliners East and West want us to believe).

    Do the mullahs really believe it’s their job to deliver The End of the World on Allah’s behalf, or was that just a line they ran to keep the allegiance of the True Believers, as so many politicians always do?

    That there are True Believers willing to destroy the world if they think it’s necessary is undoubtable, but how much power do they really have? I bet the IRCG is more interested in holding onto their secular goodies than torching them for ANY reason.

  6. Gringo Says:

    I’m not holding my breath for regime change. The mullahs are close to completing four decades in power.

  7. AesopFan Says:

    Coincidentally, I’m reading through Isaiah each morning, and today was Chapter 13:
    9 Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.

    10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.

    11 And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.
    19 ¶ And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.

    20 It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there.
    * *
    Of course, Babylon is in Iraq (near Baghdad), not Iran, and it’s been desolate for millennia now, but scholars generally take “Babylon” to stand for any irreligious or unrighteous regime.
    If you aren’t a Muslim, Tehran’s mullahs certainly qualify.
    If you are a Muslim, you could decide that they aren’t the “correct” interpreters (imams) and thus deserve to be deposed.
    Or you can just decide to overthrow them for the secular reasons the rebels give, and take your chances with Allah later.

  8. parker Says:

    Giving the mullahs pallets of greenbacks and allowing hezbollah (if true) to smuggle cocaine into the USA is certainly guaranteed to bolster the power of the repressive regime in Iran. The messiah has much blood on his hands.

  9. kevino Says:

    RE: neo: “Heaven on earth” was short for “an earthly path towards heaven” and/or “a holy place on earth where people behave right.”
    I’ll have to ask a muslim friend, but I don’t think that the first definition idea will work. From what I understand, there isn’t an earthly path, per se: it’s an internal struggle. (Although they seem to dwell on temptation.) The second idea is, I think, closer: the country and legal system should reflect that which is defined by law.

    RE: Geoffrey Britain: the “right” to be obeyed
    That is interesting. I missed that. I wonder if the author’s meaning is mangled in translation. (I’ll have to ask.)

  10. AesopFan Says:

    The usual voice of factual detail and analytic sanity from J. E. Dyer: all of it needs to be read, so I won’t quote any of it.


  11. Ann Says:

    Interesting piece in the Los Angeles Times — “Young, working-class and fed up: Iran’s deadly protests driven by a new crop of dissenters”; some excerpts:

    [A]nalysts say the protests — which began in the provinces before reaching Tehran — are being driven by working-class Iranians who are expressing an anger that seems sharper than in the last major political uprising in 2009. Demonstrators have chanted, “Death to the dictator,” meaning Iran’s supreme leader, and some have even called for a return to the monarchy that ruled before the 1979 Islamic Revolution that brought the clerical establishment to power. …

    “If 2009 was a very middle-class rebellion, this is much cruder than that and much angrier than that. This is simpler folk, people who are basically fighting to make a living every day and have very basic demands.” …

    “The fact that many of the protesters don’t have the experience [of 2009] means they are willing in different ways to try it again,” Parsi said. “The demands are sharper because they’ve been cut to the bone economically much more than in 2009.” …

    At the same time, access to satellite television and the internet — although subject to controls — has raised the expectations of Iranians who live in areas outside Tehran and challenged the theocracy’s ability to shape public opinion.

    Several years ago, Iranians nationwide were enthralled by a documentary series by a London-based satellite channel that lionized former monarch Reza Shah Pahlavi, whose son was deposed in the Islamic Revolution.

    That last bit about the TV program is especially interesting.

  12. Frog Says:

    What happens in Islam, and the entire globe, either is or is not the Will of Allah. Listen to the Muslims: “If Allah wills it”.
    They bow and scrape and murmur as prayers snippets from the Koran in Arabic five times daily, even if they know no Arabic.
    I have done some friendly discussion (disguised interrogation) with a not very bright young Anglo supermarket girl here who wears the hijab and who must be employed by Albertson’s lest there be any B-b-b-bias. She is pleasantly open and informative as I in my stealth show innocent interest in how it works. She knows zero Arabic, but has memorized the murmurs and murmurs away, though I think she must do that on her prayer rug in the stockroom.

    What are the Shias to think if the mullahs are overthrown? They will simply renew their struggle to re-impose the Caliphate of Corruption that is Iran today.

  13. CapnRusty Says:

    2009 Neda Soltan bled to death in the street; 72 others were murdered by the regime. Obama said nothing. The protest failed. Tyranny lived on. Neda’s grave was later defaced by the government.

    2018 President Trump said the United States and the world are watching the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime.

    2004 Natan Sharansky was asked “Were there any particular Reagan moments that you can recall being sources of strength or encouragement to you and your colleagues?”

    “I have to laugh. People who take freedom for granted, Ronald Reagan for granted, always ask such questions. Of course! It was the great brilliant moment when we learned that Ronald Reagan had proclaimed the Soviet Union an Evil Empire before the entire world. There was a long list of all the Western leaders who had lined up to condemn the evil Reagan for daring to call the great Soviet Union an evil empire right next to the front-page story about this dangerous, terrible man who wanted to take the world back to the dark days of the Cold War. This was the moment. It was the brightest, most glorious day. Finally a spade had been called a spade. Finally, Orwell’s Newspeak was dead. President Reagan had from that moment made it impossible for anyone in the West to continue closing their eyes to the real nature of the Soviet Union.

    “It was one of the most important, freedom-affirming declarations, and we all instantly knew it. For us, that was the moment that really marked the end for them, and the beginning for us. The lie had been exposed and could never, ever be untold now. This was the end of Lenin’s “Great October Bolshevik Revolution” and the beginning of a new revolution, a freedom revolution — Reagan’s Revolution.”

  14. AesopFan Says:

    Legal Insurrection pulls together the threads teased out by Ann and CapnRusty.
    Read the post by William Jacobson, then a post linked by one of his commenters.



  15. AesopFan Says:

    PS Natan Sharansky’s books should be required reading for anyone commenting on the Middle East.
    Looks like the 1980s are getting their foreign policy back after all.

  16. AesopFan Says:

    John Ringo mentions this in his post, and a commenter there helpfully supplied the link:


    “Last weekend, I made my annual pilgrimage to Chattanooga for LibertyCon. In addition to the expected geekery and humor, I happened to catch John Ringo hold a 300-person auditorium spellbound with a personal recollection from his childhood.

    To understand it, you need to know that John Ringo’s father was a civil engineer who worked on major assignments overseas. John grew up in 23 foreign countries, attending classes at fourteen different schools. This story took place in Iran, before the fall of the Shah.”

    (read the story that follows; it loses too much context to be excerpted)

  17. Chang Yee Fong Says:

    Actually Ringo just commented on the current situation in Iran.


    He recommends this page also for Middle East news direct from them instead of filtered by american media.


  18. AesopFan Says:

    Chang Yee Fong Says:
    January 3rd, 2018 at 9:55 pm
    * *
    I had posted that Ringo link just a bit earlier, but thanks for the second one. It is hard to understand what’s happening when it has to be mediated through so many third- and fourth-hand parties.

  19. AesopFan Says:

    Here is another good discussion, from some observers somewhat closer to the action. I suspect the author has been “sitting on” the substance of this post for awhile, waiting for a reason to publish it.


    He brings up a point I was not aware of, but am not surprised at: sanctions are undercut by our own allies.
    Maybe we ought to let SK deal with NK on their own?

    “Many European and Japanese big-name companies are staying away from Iran because the missile and terrorism sanctions persist—and to avoid displeasing the United States. They should. But the South Koreans whom we defend with our own troops totally ignore U.S. interests in regard to Iran and have therefore emerged as the lead suppliers of machinery and tooling for the pasdaran weapon factories. Nor do they hesitate to sell equipment that can be adapted to military use in a minute or less, as in the case of the airfield instrument landing system and portable ILS/VOR signal analyzer that the Korea Airports Corp. has just agreed to supply to Iran’s Tolid Malzomat Bargh.

    There is no need to laboriously negotiate a new set of sanctions against Iran—strict, swift, and public enforcement of the restrictions that are already on the books is enough. Every time a South Korean regime-related deal is detected, the offenders need a quick reminder they will be excluded from the United States if they persist. In this, as in everything else, it is just a matter of getting serious in our focus on Iran.

    Obama was serious in his courtship of the ayatollahs’ regime. Trump should do the same to bring the regime to an end, faster.”

  20. Geoffrey Britain Says:


    I was unaware of S. Korea’s duplicity. As far as I’m concerned that cancels all U.S. obligations to S. Korea. We should publicly announce that if they allow even one more screw to be sold to Iran, we’ll immediately pull out of S. Korea and end all aid.

  21. AesopFan Says:

    GB: I would like to see some confirmation before US takes any action, but I can’t see why the Tablet writer would lie about it. However, the thickets of diplomacy are not made for us peons to traverse; maybe Trump & Co. are already on the case…and then again, maybe he only learns about these things when he reads the news.

  22. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    That link to John Ringo’s facebook post is highly informative. Thanks guys.

  23. Geoffrey Britain Says:


    If I were President and first learned from the media of anything as substantive and basic as a purported ally repeatedly assisting a declared enemy (Death to America! Death to the Great Satan!)… resignations from the intelligence chiefs would be on my desk that day and the DOJ would be looking into charges of treason. Even if not technically guilty of treason, that charge against them would be in the history books. Their duplicity would be on record.

  24. Tuvea Says:

    Thanks to everyone who provided links.

    Here in flyover land the corporate media is much more concerned about how President Trump didn’t really want to win.

  25. Barry Meislin Says:

    “…how President Trump didn’t really want to win.”

    Indeed, with this and the Bannon-Trump brouhaha (if, in fact, there is any), the MSM and the Obama crowd have found—at least, so they hope—a useful distraction for events in Iran.

    Subtle, they ain’t….

  26. Mike K Says:

    David Goldman has pointed out several of the issues driving the revolt. One is water. Several large rivers have gone dry because of poor policies. Basically, 92% of Iran’s water is used for agriculture, which is low tech. Water could be better conserved but that would send peasants to the cities where unemployment is 30%.
    Second, the budget deficit equals the money spent on Hezbollah and in Syria. There is no good solution.
    Massive corruption, aggravated by the Obama cash shipment, is another factor. About half the banks in Iran are insolvent.

  27. Chang Yee Fong Says:


    Sorry my bad I saw your last post on John Ringo’s Children in the Snow story and didn’t fully read your earlier post. On me.

    Geoffrey Britain

    In the world of international diplomacy things are very very complicated in South Korea now.

    The big thing right now is obviously North Korea and their nukes, however on top of that South Korea’s current President only just came to power less than a year ago due to arguably the largest public scandal the country has ever faced in it’s history.


    On top of that consider this fact. Due to the history of relationship between South Korea and Iran going back decades way before the Nuclear Ban.


    And the relationship between Iran and North Korea.


    Oftentimes when the North and the South weren’t suppose to talk they used Iran as a back channel to talk to each other. In short back to my original point it’s very very very complicated and now (maybe never) is not the time to collect scalps.

  28. Frog Says:

    Mike K:
    Are you sure ag in Iran is low tech?
    US ag is extremely high-tech. Extremely.
    There is very little more important than having enough to eat.

  29. Sergey Says:

    Spengler believes that Iran will completely collapse soon no matter what. The water is running out, and demography is awful.

  30. AesopFan Says:

    Frog Says:
    January 3rd, 2018 at 7:09 pm
    What happens in Islam, and the entire globe, either is or is not the Will of Allah. Listen to the Muslims: “If Allah wills it”.
    * *
    So, it was Allah’s will that Trump was elected President to shut down the heretic imams claiming to act for Allah?

  31. AesopFan Says:

    Geoffrey Britain Says:
    January 4th, 2018 at 12:06 am

    If I were President and first learned from the media of anything as substantive and basic…
    * * *
    I was thinking about Obama’s well-worn refrain; if it was true, then his staff should indeed have been treated as you recommend. I don’t believe for a minute that any of his complaints were true, so of course no one was punished for letting him be blind-sided.
    That doesn’t mean they weren’t treasonous on other accounts.
    However, with the variable ideologies and fluid allegiances in the Trump administration, there is no way to know what some of the bureaucrats are not telling him, for one reason or another.

  32. AesopFan Says:

    Chang Yee Fong Says:
    January 4th, 2018 at 12:14 pm
    * *
    Thanks for your interesting and valuable additions to the conversation. I only know what I read in the papers 😉 — and there is a tremendous amount that doesn’t reach them, or gets suppressed before it reaches us.
    I knew the North was working with Iran, but had no idea the South was doing the same. Using the mullahs as a back channel has some … interesting … implications.
    Diplomacy should never be about collecting scalps, only about completing missions.
    However, there is nothing undiplomatic about rewarding friends and punishing — well, not enemies exactly, but Mr. Trump’s recent actions in re Israel / Jerusalem and the Pakistani foreign aid should prove instructive to all observers.

  33. Gringo Says:

    The narrative on Mossadegh and the 1953 coup doesn’t precisely describe what happened.
    Helian Unbound blog: Mossadegh, Iran, and the CIA’s Electric Kool-Aid Acid Coup.

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