No Minister

Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category

The Ayatollah Boogaloo

As the combined pressures of US sanctions and Iranian government incompetence steadily increase – including now appearing to have been hit worse by the coronavirus than almost any other nation short of China itself – the question has become how long the Iranian theocracy can last.

Sadly I think the answer is some time yet. While it’s true that there were huge, nation-wide protests in Iran in 2009 and 2019, plus many smaller regional ones, the same could be said of the Soviet Imperial project with riots in East Germany in 1953, Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968, plus numerous smaller eruptions in places like Poland. But the whole thing still did not collapse for another couple of decades.

One primary difference of course is that the people of Iran are considerably more free than Communist peoples were, on both the streets and with modern information technology. And so when their idiot government of theocrats decides to push propaganda at them – they push back.

Insulting the Little and Great Satans

Here’s a recent example, where the authorities have painted the US and Israeli flags on places like steps and footpaths so that people will walk on them – the ultimate insult in Iranian culture.

Except that the Iranian people are walking around them, as seen in videos in this link.

“Walk On By”

At a mosque in Khuzestan, Iran, a single pair of shoes sits on the American and Israeli flags placed as as a mat for shoes. Everyone else went out of their way to respect the flags — and this is among the pious.
— Mike (@Doranimated) January 16, 2020

In fact the Mullahs got so desperate that they lined up their own sad little bands of supporters for a bit of agit-prop.

This is not a sign of a strong regime.

Meantime, in the wake of these idiots shooting down a Ukranian airliner filled with many Iranians, the Iranian people got very angry and started protesting in ways not seen before.

Which is to say that the protestors began to shout slogans that they would normally be too frightened to utter in public as these videos show:

“Death to the Dictator! Death to the Dictator!” “Sepah (Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps) does crimes! The Supreme Leader defends them!” “Khamenei is a murderer! His rule is void and invalid!” “Death to the liar! Death to the Liar!”

And as a couple of the videos show the protestors have begun to encounter members of the security forces who made it clear they weren’t going to simply sweep them off the streets on behalf of the Mullahs.

<= Then this happened!

To a certain extent this Tweet was greeted with a shrug by Iranians. The Iranian regime constantly lies to the people, who understand they are being lied to, including by state media people like “Iran’s State TV Anchor“.

Nobody in Iran takes seriously claims from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Foreign Minister Zarif or President Rouhani, and the people take their cues from first-hand information, not from “official” reports.

Then there was the recent Parliamentary elections. In the West much was made of how the “hardliners” had strengthened their position v the “moderates” and how this was an example of US sanctions were creating “blowback”.

What was not so widely reported was that the reason for this was that election turnout was hopelessly low as Iranians demonstrated their contempt for the system by not voting. There’s not much point boasting about an election when that happens and while the regime knew the turnout would be very low, they pegged it at 40%, while opposition leaders said it was half as great. The opposition was more accurate. The regime had lied. Again.

Put another Qud on the Barbie

It’s also become clear that replacing General Qassem Soleimani is proving to be far more difficult than expected (as I pointed out at the time). Again contrary to initial Western reactions, which held that he was ” an easily replaceable man“:

“Analysts and officials” told the Post that “[Ismail Qaani] lacks the ambition, charisma and strong connections of his predecessor.” Indeed Suleimani’s old outfit is now in such difficult straits that “a struggle may already be underway to clip the Quds Force’s wings.”

And as Parnaz Foroutan, an Iranian journalist whose parents fled the nation in 1983, explained, Soleimani was hardly beloved by the Iranian people anyway, despite the government putting every effort into making it seem like they did – a propaganda effort once again swallowed hook, line and sinker by the likes of the NYT (“Iran is in mourning”).

Elsewhere, the regime is cracking down on violations of Sharia law, for example in Iraq, where celebrations of Valentine’s Day have become popular. Iran is trying to ban cards, chocolates and presents, and the Qom prosecutor’s office threatened to close down businesses that sell Valentine’s symbols and set up a hotline for trade union leaders to report anyone buying stuff for the holiday.

The economy is not in great shape, as this story from The Asia Times noted:

One average salary pays for a small apartment outside the center, utilities, enough calories to keep body and soul together, and bus fare, which is subsidized. Throw in cell phone service, clothing, fruits and vegetables, and one or two meat meals a month, and an Iranian couple will require two average salaries. 

In turn that has led to Iranian family life getting hammered.


The decline in absolute numbers of births is unprecedented outside of wartime, and it should be noted that the number of Iranian women of child-bearing age increased slightly over the same period, so the collapsing birth rate clearly reflects decisions not to have kids.

As a result, over the next two decades Iran is going to face a demographic crisis possibly worse than anywhere else: even worse than Japan and China, but without their strengths.

The same article points out other aspects of government incompetence, with water mis-management the worst of any industrialised nation and 97% of the country facing drought conditions.

And in the wake of Soleimani’s death it’s become clear that a lot of Arab Shiite Muslims are actually not very happy about Iran “leading” them, as explained by Hanin Ghaddar, a Lebanese expat and an analyst for the Washington Institute for Near East policy:

In Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, and inside Iran itself—the countries that fall along the Shia Crescent—the people have realized that the enemy is within. It’s their own governments that have allowed the Iranian regime to take over the state and its institutions…. The Shia Crescent…is finally turning against the Iranian regime and its proxies.

[It] started when the Iraqis—mostly in Shia towns and cities—started to chant “Iran, out out, Iraq free, free,” and when the Lebanese took to the streets with one unifying slogan: “All of you means all of you.” This nightmare became a serious challenge when Iraqi protestors set Iranian consulates on fire and when Lebanese protestors included [Hezbollah chief] Hassan Nasrallah among the failed Lebanese political figures, and blamed Hezbollah for Lebanon’s calamities.

In the face of all this the regime has responded the only way it knows how: brutal crack-downs and propaganda cranked up. However the former is creating blowback and the latter – like the sad flag-stomping efforts – show that the Mullahs suffer from the same gross stupidities that have always arisen from a regime that has barely any understanding of the outside world.


On February 9, the Islamic Republic of Iran failed for the third (or maybe the fourth) time to place a rocket in orbit around the earth.

Not only that, but as part of this launch the regime’s Minister of Information, Mohammed-Javad Azari-Jahromi, unveiled what he claimed was a model of an Iranian spacesuit. In reality, it was a twenty-dollar American kids’ costume that had the American flag removed and the regime’s flag stitched in its place. I don’t think the word “farcical” covers it.

Missile launches, the economy, the currency, dozens of people trampled to death during Soleimani’s funeral, water, birth rates, kickback from Shiites around the Arab world….

It’s just one giant and growing clusterfuck by the Mullahs.

And now they’re being hit by the coronavirus, and the Mullahs aren’t coping very well (I know, right?), with so many dead that the huge burial pits are visible from space:


At the Behesht-e Masoumeh complex in Qom, about 80 miles south of Tehran, the excavation of a new section of the graveyard began as early as Feb. 21, satellite images show, and then rapidly expanded as the virus spread. 

By the end of the month, two large trenches — their lengths totaling 100 yards — were visible at the site from space.

The official toll as of February 28 was 34 deaths.

Oom is a very religious part of the nation and to show how faithful they are they’ve shown videos of pro-regime people urging their children to kiss and lick the shrines. FFS! That link also includes a video selfie of a nurse begging people to stay in their homes because “…since this morning 100 people have died before my eyes”.

Given the nature of the country, its close ties with China and its increasing dependency on them, perhaps this should not be a surprise. I doubt the Iranian Mullahs would have acted to cut flights between Iran and China. Naturally it’s tough to get information out of the regime but opposition groups estimate that over 3,600 people have died from the virus to date, and there’s no sign that it’s peaked yet. The situation is so dire that Iran is asking the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for help for the first time in 60 years.

Following Britain’s loss of the American colonies a friend of Adam Smith asked him if this meant that Britain would be ruined if things went on like this, to which Smith famously replied:

“Be assured young friend, that there is a great deal of ruin in a nation”

What he meant by that is that it takes an awful lot of bungling by political leaders to truly destroy a nation.

However, since then various nations have proven that it can be done – most recently Zimbabwe and Venezuela. As well as they’ve survived these last forty years the Islamic Republic of Iran and its thug Mullah leaders are facing an increasingly dangerous series of broad-spectrum failures. They could be the next to breach Smith’s assurance.

Written by Tom Hunter

March 15, 2020 at 11:03 am

Posted in China, Middle East, USA

Tagged with , , , ,

Fun and Truth

I’ve never been a fan of Twitter as it seems to encourage the worst of human discourse. And I really wish Trump would stop using it in the manner that he does.
Having said that, it was one of his primary weapons in becoming POTUS, and certainly enables him to get around the traditional gatekeepers of the MSM, and this does seem to be the way of the political world now, judging by AOC’s success from the Democrat side.
But there are moments when Twitter works and Trump is genuinely funny as he trolls the living shit out of his enemies, and this is one of those:
As usual Trump picks at the key weakness of his opponents. In this case it’s Iran’s technical competence and their paranoia, both real and fake, about the secret machinations of the Great Satan inside the Iranian nation. But he’s also keeping Iran’s ballistic missile program in front of the public.
One of the “tells” that the Iranians continue to push toward getting an atomic bomb at some point, is that missile program. If you want to deliver high explosive warheads to a target, there are far more accurate ways of doing so, and this has been the case for so many decades that the last time ballistic missiles were used for such purposes was Saddam’s Scud attacks during the First Gulf War, and the Nazi V2 attacks in WWII, almost fifty years earlier. Niether of which were very effective, tactically or strategically.
With their inherent inaccuracies – in an age when combatants want to be precise enough to drop a bomb through a window from 10,000m up in the sky, and when the technology for this is easily obtainable – ballistic missiles nowadays are useful for only one thing: carrying nuclear warheads.
==================
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, Twitter’s design that forces people to shorten and sharpen up a message, has resulted in this pointed and effective comment about that other great electoral upheaval of 2016 – BREXIT:

If the “serious scholars” are political scientists, then I can’t see that last point even being introduced for discussion, despite there being so many parallels between the great religious upheavals of the past and what seems to be happening now across Western secular society.

Historians with a theological background will have a better chance of explaining it.

Written by Tom Hunter

August 30, 2019 at 11:18 pm

And The Parish Council Gathered………

………. for it’s August meeting.

Two clerics killed in eastern Turkey in armed attack amid imams debate

I wonder if they confirmed the minutes of their July meeting?

Written by adolffinkensen

August 18, 2018 at 7:30 am

Posted in Islam, Middle East

Guessing Game

Now that the dust has settled over Mr Assad’s Sarin storage facility, a few cautious observations and a guess or two..

  1. I wonder if Mr Putin could put sixty or so cruise missiles onto a target half way around the world, with pin point accuracy at short notice.  I doubt it.
  2. I wonder what Mr Assad thinks about Putin’s much vaunted state of the art air defense system?  He’ll ask for his money back.
  3. I wonder what will the next move be?  

I see the US has an aircraft carrier strike group patrolling in the South China Sea.  So my guess is during the next two weeks, the little fat Nork will fire off another ICBM in the direction of the USA upon which the US Navy with shoot the bloody thing down over international waters.  Trump will call the missile launch an act of war and China will quietly close the fat Nork down.

Looking behind the obvious it appears Mr Putin’s military does quite well against civilian aircraft from Malaysia but when it’s time for the real deal one has to wonder if they would simply fail.

Is Putin all piss and no wind, just like Saddam?.

Written by adolffinkensen

April 9, 2017 at 11:05 pm

Here They Go Again

The Telegraph reports on Islamic State’s experiments with and intentions for chemical weapons.

“Islamic State has moved its chemical weapons operation to densely populated residential areas and is testing homemade chlorine and mustard gas on its prisoners, residents of the Iraqi city of Mosul have claimed.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) is reported to have set up laboratories in built-up neighbourhoods in the heart of its so-called caliphate to avoid being targeted by coalition air strikes.”

What a bugger for the Democrats.  If Crooked Clinton wins in November she might for the second time find herself voting for an invasion of Iraq.  Of course later she will claim she was for it before she was against it.

Written by adolffinkensen

May 23, 2016 at 3:02 am

Posted in Islam, Middle East

Tagged with ,