A Significant Sign in Iran?

There are reports coming from Twitter that the Iranian regime is using Arabic-speaking paramilitary troops to put down the demonstrations over the latest election. 

If true, this report is a significant sign that the regime’s power has grown shaky. Using foreign troops with no native loyalties save to the leader that employs them is an age old practice of threatened leaders. The use of foreign troops would indicate that the Iranian regime no longer trusts it’s own native forces to suppress the people. 

The current election squabble is clearly a power struggle within the ruling oligarchy. The people of Iran have grown increasingly dissatisfied with the oligarchy’s regime. One faction in the oligarchy has decided to deploy that dissatisfaction against its opposing faction. Regardless of who wins, the oligarchy will have lost membership. Once-powerful insiders will find themselves as outsiders.

Such a contracting oligarchy has fewer and fewer people it can trust within the military and security forces, so they resort to importing troops they can trust. 

Things might be looking up.

10 thoughts on “A Significant Sign in Iran?”

  1. They could be Arabic speaking Iranians, i.e. from the Southwest. Still, using non-Farsi speakers in Teheran reminds me of the Chinese using troops who did not speak Beijing-dialect Chinese, so the protesters could not communicate with the troops. Not a sign of confidence. Also, probably as sign that the regime has studied prior successful and unsuccessful revolts and is acting prudently.

  2. Lexington Green,

    They could be Arabic speaking Iranians, i.e. from the Southwest.

    Possible, but unlikely. The Arabic speakers have historically been persecuted by the Persian speaking majority and the current regime has had to put down several incipient rebellions there. I doubt the regime would use troops from that area in such a critical task.

    An even more intriguing possibility is that they are Al-Queda or Taliban who sought shelter in Iran from America. If that were true it would indicate that things are really, really bad for the regime.

  3. Lex,

    If there are any truth to the rumors that some Iranian Mullah factions are trying to get more reliable security forces from ARAB STATES — Read Syra, Hezbolah an Hamas — for this intra-Mullah conflict, there are a lot of things that fall out.
    The really important implication is no one faction of the many and varied Iranian Regime Security Forces are big enough to both bully the Iranian Military into putting down the Iranian public and guard their faction of Mullahs from rival Mullah’s Regime security force factions at the same time.
    That is why Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’sMullah faction want Arabs. They represent additional mecenary forces outside local politics who can be brought in to do the needed killing.
    Again, IMO, unrest in Iran will continue until either the regime falls or enough of the Mullah factions resolve to share power and gather a coalition big enough to put down the public and rival mullahs at the same time.
    The latter will happen, IMO.
    See this article at strategypage as to why:
    Why “People Power” Will Fail in Iran
    March 15, 2006:
    “People Power” is not a 1980s invention. Back in the 1930s, Indian democracy activists mobilized millions of people against the British colonial government. But it was admitted that, while such a movement worked against the British, it would not have worked if the colonial occupiers had been, say, German. Not today’s Politically Correct Germans, but the rather more savage, pre-World War II variety. Old school Germans, who massacred Africans protesting colonial rule, and killed millions of civilians during World War II, would not have been as accommodating to peaceful demonstrators as were the British (with a few bloody exceptions.) The old school defenders of the Islamic tyrants in Iran appear ready to carry out some sustained killings to keep their masters in power.
    Al Jazeera is reporting that the killing has started:

  4. For some time it was a question of when things will erupt in Iran not whether. Getting rid of the Mad Mullahs would certainly be a good thing for Iran and the rest of the world. But “things might be looking up” is a tad premature for two reasons, both very obvious: a bloody civil war is not something to wish on any country; and we do not know who will replace them if they do go.

  5. Regardless of what is happening Americans, including our govt, should publicly support the opponents of this illegitimate regime.

    However, I think optimism is unwarranted. Dictatorships that have crumbled in the face of what we now call “people power,” have done so because the dictators didn’t have the will to crush regime opponents mercilessly. The Iranian mullahs appear to be more in the category of Saddam Hussein, the North Koreans, the Castros and Mugabe. It may be that they will retain control long beyond the point at which foreign theorists expect them to fall.

    We should have been helping to destabilize the regime. Bush dropped the ball on this issue, perhaps because he was juggling too many others. Obama is MIA. I wish the Iranian people good luck. They will need it because they are on their own.

  6. “I think optimism is unwarranted.”

    I have heard reports from South Korea about the refugees that escape from that vile dictatorship to the north. Not only are they shocked beyond measure to find that life isn’t what their former Glorious Leader claimed, but some of them simply can’t handle it and have emotional problems for the rest of their lives. Sixty years of mind control and brainwashing was so effective, that just about anyone over 30 is a basket case when that particular rug is yanked out from under their feet.

    As I said below, Iran is a theocratic dictatorship. The people we see protesting on the news are not protesting against the Supreme Leader, but the guy he chose to stay in power.

    So let us enter science fiction territory, and say that Ahmadinejad loses his position in favor of Mousavi. So what? The entire country is still under the thumb of the Supreme Leader, an ayatollah. He still controls everything! Unless he goes, and the Iranians abolish the post of Supreme Leader, nothing can change.

    And that is where my example of mind control and propaganda comes to the fore. As I have been pointing out, the Supreme Leader is also a religious leader. One of the highest. No Muslim in Iran is going to raise their hand against his divine personage.

    Like Shannon said, this is an internal squabble between factions. A lot of people figured that Ahmadinejad was on his way out, so they aligned with Mousavi in the expectation that they would get government goodies as long as they were on the winning side. When their schlub didn’t get the gold ring, they got violent.

    Reminds me of that woman who said voting for Obama would mean he’d pay her rent and fill her car with gas.

    Nothing is going to happen. There isn’t going to be any change. The rhetoric might get harder or softer, maybe, but no matter which puppet is in the Presidential palace, the Supreme Leader pulls the strings. Anyone who thinks this is the birth pains of a real democracy is hopelessly naive.


  7. I think one item people forget is how YOUNG the average population in Iran is today. While Americans remember the 1979 takeover, that was about 30 years ago, while probably half the population is under 25, so they don’t remember this at all.

    They likely don’t really even remember the Iran / Iraq war, and have a hard time understanding that event in context of what is happening in Iraq today.

    From the perspective of someone young in Iran today, they see their current government as bullying and meddlesome. While Islam may have seemed like a less corrupt mode than what the Shah offered, now they can see TV and the Internet and the world outside Iran, and from their perspective it has to seem a lot freer and open and inviting.

    I am in no way saying that the current Iranian government won’t use brutal force to crush the opposition, and they will likely succeed. In the longer term, this just alienates the young people even more, unless they can keep out the view of outside influences that the web and TV provide, which is likely impossible.

    Another problem in Iran from the government’s perspective is the relatively high education level, and the fact that so many women are educated, while they are discriminated against to a great degree.

    It is hard to say what this current government offers them except for rhetoric and crackdowns; there clearly is a giant generation gap that is lopsided, while the outside world is available for viewing and a rather educated populace that can see the facts for what they are.

    The government should have stuck with a more illiterate option; after all it doesn’t take much sense to just pump out the oil with the help of friendly sanction-skirting Western firms. Educating these people just to keep them down is an inefficiency that the “old school” Germans wouldn’t have bothered with.

  8. Carl From Chicago,

    I think one item people forget is how YOUNG the average population in Iran is today.

    I think that is a very good point. We have a natural tendency to project our own demographic assumptions on other peoples.

    Of course, this cuts both ways. As James pointed out above, we shouldn’t assume that people who oppose the outcome of this “election” oppose the basic regime itself or that if they do oppose the regime that they are our friends otherwise.

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