Beyond the Cusp

January 1, 2018

Is It Time for the Iranian Mullahs to Go?

 

President Trump has finished one job in the Middle East which has been on the “to-do list” for over twenty years. That, of course, was recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and setting in motion moving the United States embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. One can only hope and pray that he remains in office and on-top of this momentous project assuring that it is accomplished. Should President Trump not complete the embassy move within his remaining three years and not be reelected, then the next President could simply return to signing the six-month waiver provided in the 1995 Legislation calling for this relocation and place it back in limbo. That would be sad indeed. There was a threat which came from the various leaders of the Middle East about how this move would cause the entirety of the area to erupt into uncontrolled violence. Fortunately, the only real violence was contained to Gaza and selected locations for maximum effect in the Palestinian Authority areas. Sure there were demonstrations held for a day or two, three at the most around the Middle East, but these were obviously planned and though appearing violent and potentially destructive for the camera crews, they were likely more like the riot scene on a movie set with the action peaking when the cameras went on and some coaching and practice between shots for the noon and evening news shots in the capitals of the world. Watching these in person one would likely have seen them preparing for each live broadcast, “from the Middle East where rioting is ongoing,” But have we been shown the full extent of the demonstrations in the Middle East? The answer to that is a definitive no.

 

The media alluded to demonstrations in Iran after President Trump announced the embassy move and recognition of Jerusalem and a few had scenes of demonstrators protesting against Israel and the United States. In Iran this is a normal scene as this specific set of demonstrators are well trained and ordered in their mayhem and are employed ever Friday after prayers to whip up the crowd before the government official, occasionally the Supreme Leader himself, where, “Death to America,” “Death to Israel” and “Death to the Jews,” are chanted often rhythmically almost as if there were a conductor leading the chant. Even sports stadium chants which are often put to music are less synchronized. Such demonstrations from Iran are almost professionally conducted where a core leads a large gathering of extras in that evening’s routine. What is interesting is that there are protests still ongoing throughout much of Iran despite the camera crews ignoring them and the reporters seemingly having gone home. One has to wonder why these protests are not being covered. They have their own, “Death to (the person of their choice),” being chanted so we have to assume that these protests are not news worthy because they are not targeting the correct people to support the media happy story that Trump is a tyrant who won through Russian collusion and actually Hillary should be in the White House theme. That leaves one to wonder exactly are what the Iranians are protesting, why are they protesting, and what if anything should be done about these protests.

 

Below we have included an insider’s video placed on YouTube showing the demonstrations unedited and commentary free. For those desiring commentary beyond here, below the first video we include CNN coverage followed by Al-Jazeera English. After that we will give our hopes for Iran and the world, particularly the Middle East as Iran was placed into a beneficial position with numerous options other than placing everything into military conquest across the Middle East and could have assisted the people and made life more comfortable and, in too many cases, made basic survival and life easier for the working classes.

 

And

And

 

The Iranian people rose up against the government and the stolen election in 2009 in the Green Revolution, probably with hopes that United States President Obama, who had shown some interest in assisting Iran, would take their side allowing for a reformation of power structures and the people given their freedom and the nations permitted to engage in economic reform. When the Iranian Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei and President Ahmadinejad and the others in power decided that the protests had to end, they called out their special forces known as the Basij. These Basij are a volunteer paramilitary force who operates under the command of the IRGC* and are often dressed as civilians without any identifiable uniforms. The Basij are an internal security, law enforcement and special religious or political force and morals policing which use shaming and often severe physical violence and torture as they are given great amounts of latitude with minimal oversight. This was greatly evident when they were turned loose on the 2009 Green Revolution protesters. President Obama took a strong stand on the Green Revolution, unfortunately backing the government crushing of the protests with heavy tactics resulting in the deaths of numerous protesters. The Basij came riding motorcycles initially using clubs and eventually using rifles. The visual which portrayed the violence with the most emotion grabbing heartbreak was the needless shooting death of Neda Agha-Soltan who became the image of that failed reaching of hope. We are approaching a point where we may suffer 2009 Green Revolution redux. That will be the point where the world will need to answer the same questions again, intervene and support the demonstrators or simply sit back and cry over the violence and deaths.

 

Neda Agha-Soltan Shot by Basij Militias in 2009 Green Revolution in Iran

Neda Agha-Soltan Shot by Basij Militias in 2009 Green Revolution in Iran

 

The coming days and weeks may be the first true test of President Trump and his foreign policies. Thusfar President Trump has been a mixed bag on foreign policy sometimes appearing to simply repeat the last item any of his advisors had whispered in his ear. That leaves for a mixture of views so disjointed that finding a common strand becomes challenging. His most steady positions have been his support of Israel and meeting his promise to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem, demanding that the Europeans actually carry their weight and meet their obligations to NATO and other treaties, and that the United Nations actually commit to the functions it was intended to attend and perform functions beyond, or preferably instead, sanctioning Israel as if they were the world’s sole problem. President Trump has shown Tweet-support for the Iranian demonstrators. We have included his #IranProtests Tweet (see image below). Of course, pressing the little bird on your phone posting #IranProtests is great but is not actual foreign policy. Fortunately, the State Department has also come out in support of the Iranian protesters. That is also a huge turnaround from their 2009 position when they were in lockstep with President Obama and selling out the farm to please the Iranian Mullahs. The problem comes when we look at what the Iranian power structure will most likely do when they grow tired and have had enough of these demonstrations. Their track record makes guessing their next move unfortunately all too easy.

 

President Trump’s #IranProtests Tweets

President Trump’s #IranProtests Tweets

 

If only the world were so easy that a simple tweet including any # with name of problem would solve things. The news panned President Trump’s #IranProtests tweet as minimal and next to useless, a long call different than they reacted over an earlier White House Tweet. Anyone remember the drooling over the sentiment and great power of a tweet back a few years. You remember the Tweet of the century, or so one would have thought. We will include a picture to help you below. That’s right, we are talking about the picture of Michelle Obama with the seriously forlorn look holding her #BringBackOurGirls little sign when Boko Haram kidnapped an entire school of young Nigerian girls. That tweet sign was supposed to force the return of the girls because how could the terrorists resist such pressure. We claimed that tweet was worthless and we feel that President Trump’s #IranProtests might be a nice soft way of stating where he stands, but Tweets are not solutions, not when Michelle Obama did one and not now with Trump doing one. Perhaps a short, prime time speech on the Iran protests and the United States support of people seeking freedom and a governance which addresses their needs first rather than waging wars across the Middle East from Syria to Yemen.

 

Michelle Obama holds a sign with the #BringBackOurGirls hash tag

 

The Iranian regime will, at some point in the not too distant future, turn on the protesters with ever-increasing violence. When this begins, President Trump will need to take a stand and do so with something a whole lot of a bit stronger than another #IranProtests sent from the Presidential I-phone. That is when Donald Trump will need to call up that Presidential Donald he boasted we would see once he was in the White House. He has made some impressive and very poignant speeches when abroad but this time he is going to need to make one of those style speeches from the White House quite possibly with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Norman Mattis (former four-star Marine General), Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff Joseph Dunford (an active four-star Marine General) and the White House Chief of Staff John Francis Kelly (former four-star Marine General) with the retired Generals wearing their dress uniforms just for effect and to make the statement in a manner which the Mullahs, even Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Khamenei will understand. The Middle East is where the strong horse is respected and all others eat sand, some literally. Many Americans will protest making such a gaudy show of the President surrounded by so many men of military bearing, but sometimes one must speak in the language your target audience, in this case, the Iranian leadership all religious, political and military will fully understand. Targeting the speech and framing the message, as seriously as intended is what matters. Would it help the President if the media were to take him seriously and not instead find every nit-picky thing to berate and weaken the speech and its effect as they have done in the past would be working against the demonstrators and their hopes as well as the President. We would hope that the media would take the speech and its intent and enhance its seriousness and weight as backing for the Iranian people, but perhaps we hope for too much.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

* IRGC = Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps

 

May 16, 2014

The Hashtag Solution, A Solution for the Modern Age?

Even Michelle Obama joined in the recent new world technique of using social media as the solution to every problem joining the possibly many-millions to go to Twitter and post the #BringBackOurGirls as a protest against the Boko Haram kidnapping of close to three-hundred school girls in Nigeria. The people who joined in this protest were supporting the modern method of societal condemnation as a means to address a serious problem, and such an approach could likely have effects on many social and societal problems, but will not work anywhere near as well on a terrorist groups such as Boko Haram who firstly are not that likely to honestly care about a Twitter campaign even if they were to be on-line and actually even see it. This little phenomenon seems to be more wishes than substance and might serve to make some people feel empowered as they were capable of committing an act against this heinous criminal act of terrorism and perhaps for the reason that there was not much more that they could have been empowered to do, such an act is noteworthy. Unfortunately, in the real world where bullets and machetes are far more powerful than hashtags and terrorists in some remote parts of the world from those of us whose world revolves around hashtags and the like, this demonstration will have little effect on a desperate situation. But we would like to credit those who participated in this demonstration of solidarity with the plight of the Nigerian people in general and their kidnapped school girls in  particular and hope that the one result that might prove positive from their efforts comes to fruition, the nations with the military and enforcement resources and manpower take these wishes as further reason to take actual steps to end the reign of terror which has been perpetrated by Boko Haram over the past decades once and for all. Should that result and the #BringBackOurGirls be credited with having given any impetus to these actions, then hurrah for Twitter and social media’s now proven greater power. The one thing that has become evident is that those who are in positions to address this tragedy apparently needed some prodding, and that brings us to the reality that needs to be changed.

 

Where many might label First Lady Michelle Obama’s joining the social media efforts of the #BringBackOurGirls Twitter campaign as being useless, but had her actions also have caused her to pressure her slightly more strategically positioned husband, the United States President and Commander in Chief over the full might and capabilities of the United States military and intelligence communities, to actions which could go much further in bring this tragedy to a more acceptable end but through the lack of such actions it appears they have thus far not been so ordered. Just over a month ago the world mobilized unbelievable resources to seek over a far wider area including much of the Indian Ocean for an airliner which had fallen off tracking radars and transponders had failed or been switched off yet in this situation where the search area was considerable smaller almost no resources available to the many nations of the world were brought to bear. That asks the big question of why, were the apparent lives of the two-hundred-thirty-nine passengers and crew of the Malaysian jetliner more precious or more important than the slightly larger number of Nigerian school girls? Why was it completely understandable and logical to invest multiple-millions of resources looking for the possible, no matter how remote, survivors of a lost plane and not as understandable or logical to seek and free these innocent school girls in Nigeria? It is not as if there are not at least a half-dozen nations with Special Forces troops who are trained explicitly for just this sort of missions, saving abductees and kidnap victims from terrorists and criminals. Some nations such as the United States, Britain, Russia and Israel have what are touted as some of the best of the best at rescuing hostages held by terrorists who would likely have honorably volunteered to take on such a mission and would feel denied if their commanders refused to even suggest they be given the support and opportunity to save these innocent lives. I realize that there may be troops and special tactical units in the process at this moment working to save these young women and if there are we wish them G0d’s speed and blessings on their tasks at hand. But even if troops have not been tasked to assist, could not those nations with highly advanced surveillance aircraft and satellites have at the very least offered their use to at the very least pinpoint the probably location of these innocent victims thus providing some valuable information to those willing to risk it and take on this rescue mission? Surely locating young women held hostage by an internationally recognized terrorist group would take precedence over gathering meta-data of every electronic communication on the planet, and maybe those records could be combed to seek a clue, at least then it might serve a less nefarious purpose.

 

Then there are probably the most egregious factoids which have come to light about this entire situation which relate to the history of the Western nations with Boko Haram. The worst is that the United States State Department and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decided after other heinous assaults in Nigeria including the murdering of over fifty young men at a boarding school where many were killed in their sleep and others trapped within the school and burned to death yet there general consensus was not to label Boko Haram as a terrorist groups as doing so might actually give them a better standing allowing them to recruit more followers. The United States was not alone in refusing to label Boko Haram as a terrorist organization as neither had any other nations so labeled the group outside of Nigeria and the surrounding nations who were victim to their actions. This reluctance to call terror by its name and recognize terrorism when and where it rears its ugly violence appears to be a growing problem in the United States and much of Europe and even beyond. It often appears that the people in power and in the positions to make such determinations honestly believe that if they do not call terror by its name and identify terror wherever they find it then there will be less of a need to combat terror as it can be claimed that it is not as endemic a problem or as pervasive as it really had become. This is just another epidemic of see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, and never ever speak evil’s name and then maybe we can all go happily on ignoring the evil and it will not touch our lives. Somehow I can only believe that such an attitude will only lead to many more victims and a far more serious and possibly eventually an insurmountable problem simply because our leaders chose to ignore a festering problem and simply pretend it did not exist. This has never worked in the past and has inevitably produced some of the more horrific problems which have required enormous amounts of efforts and resources to finally defeat once the problem metastasized and left the world no choice but to excise it. That leaves one last question, what will be the final price this time and how many are the leaders of the world willing to sacrifice in their blinding will to pretend that all is well with the world and terrorism has been defeated and no longer poses a problem anywhere or in any measure. Such beliefs are beyond any rational thinking and are the refuge of those unwilling to take a stand on principles and protect the civilized world, the same civilized world they actually believe they are sparing the troubles and difficulties which confronting terrorism would cause. They honestly believe that by refusing to fight terrorism with equal or greater force will eventually defeat terrorism as the purveyors of terror will not continue to have the willpower to continue their fight to subjugate the world to their vision of a perfect world. The one thing history has proven repeatedly is that those with a vision of a perfect world, no matter how hellish their view, will never give up or surrender and must be opposed and beaten into submission and the longer the rest of the world allows such nightmares to continue and grow stronger, the worse the final conflagration necessary to eradicate that nightmare. Winston Churchill said it best stating, “Still if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed, if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not so costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance for survival. There may be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no chance of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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