The Iranian President’s plane incident

After contradictory controversies and leaks from conflicting sources inside and outside Iran, about the circumstances of the Iranian president’s plane accident, between the fact that the incident is related to a “conspiracy”, or that the crash of the plane is an accidental incident related to weather conditions and aircraft technologies, a report was issued by the Iranian armed forces that included the results of the “preliminary” investigation into the circumstances of the crash of the Iranian president’s helicopter, and its conclusion that after following the paths of the plane, the approaches of any “conspiracy” in the crash incident were excluded, and the causes of the accident were stated to be related to weather conditions, The report stated that “about a minute and a half before the helicopter accident, the pilot of the helicopter that was involved in the accident communicated with the other two helicopters of the flight group, and no traces of gunshot or similar wounds were observed on the body of the late president’s helicopter, and the commander of the president’s plane communicated with the two helicopters accompanying it, and that the crashed helicopter caught fire after colliding with a mountain height, and due to complications in the area, fog and low temperature, the search operation extended throughout the night, and On Monday morning (at 5 am), with the assistance of Iranian drones, the precise location was identified and the wreckage of the late president’s helicopter was found The report concluded that there were no suspicious incidents in the air traffic control conversations with the flight crew.

The report of the Iranian Armed Forces, in terms of its importance, remains an initial report Subsequent reports are expected to be issued regarding this report, which may either contradict or fully or partially agree with its contents It is worth noting that these subsequent reports will be issued by committees affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and its intelligence agencies It is also observed that the Armed Forces report may have intended to refute any accusations of negligence towards the Iranian army by emphasizing the safety of communications and monitoring, as well as the successful use of an Iranian drone to reach the site of the crashed plane This is in response to claims that a Turkish drone equipped with night vision was the one that located the plane’s crash site and reached it, in addition to denying rumors about the plane being shot down The report did not address leaks suggesting that a bomb from within the plane exploded

 

And although the hypothesis that the plane crash was an accidental incident based on weather conditions and the rugged terrain seems logical and is supported by the military report, lingering questions still support the approach that there may be an internal or external conspiracy Among these questions: the separation of the accompanying helicopters from the president’s helicopter and their different fate, the time it took to reach the plane wreckage, and the fact that the plane came from Azerbaijan, which has close security and military relations with Israel.Through it, the government of Azerbaijan granted facilities to Israel to establish military bases on Azerbaijani territory. In addition, the record of assassinations and liquidations carried out by Israel against Iranian and IRGC leaders inside and outside Iran makes the hypothesis that Israel is behind the operation a logical hypothesis, and in our assessment that saying that the Iranian arena is “infiltrated” by Israel through technical and human sources has become a reality that goes beyond mere hypotheses and analysis based on evidence and indicators.

Internally, it was clear that the Iranian leadership was confused since the start of the announcement of the plane crash through the issuance of many accounts from official or semi-official sources, characterized by inconsistency and contradiction, and it was clear that it wanted to gain time to prepare Iranian public opinion to deal with the tragedy and export a new coherent narrative, perhaps starting with the report of the Iranian army, but the Iranian narrative, whatever its essence and level of conviction in its credibility, but it is not possible to exclude a history of liquidations for Iranian presidents since the Islamic Revolution , and conflicts within the institutions of the Iranian regime may increase at most levels of leadership “between the army and the Revolutionary Guards, within the parliament, between the presidency and the office of the Supreme Leader, and between the intelligence of the Revolutionary Guards and other security services and within these services,” not to mention deep and declared differences between the hardliners and reformists, but the most prominent of these conflicts is the struggle to succeed the Supreme Leader of the Revolution (Ali Khamenei), and that Raisi is one of the most prominent candidates along with (Mojtaba) bin Ali Khamenei, who is referred to as The de facto ruler of Iran, and that he stands behind the exclusions of his rivals by assassination, imprisonment or exile, to open the way for him to be his father’s successor as Supreme Leader.

 

Despite the multiplicity of scenarios for how the Iranian leadership will overcome the crisis of losing the Iranian president, the Iranian leadership is likely to go in two directions:

First: Closing the file of controversy over the incident and its circumstances through reports that will be issued later to close the crisis file that include confirming the narrative of the accidental incident related to weather conditions, because the Iranian leadership, which has a list of drones, nuclear, missiles and space programs, is living in a state of exposure that strikes the credibility of all these programs, and because accusing Israel or America of being behind the operation will result in Iran responding to the operation, which Iran does not want at this stage.

second : Devoting time to the upcoming presidential elections under time pressure. The office of the Supreme Leader will fully focus on these elections, ensuring his continued control over the presidency with a loyal candidate However, without overshadowing the scene as was done by Raisi,as the nature of the Iranian regime under the control of the Supreme Leader does not tolerate personalities like Raisi and Qasem Soleimani.
Here, reference is made to the accumulated expertise of the Supreme Leader, his office, and his agencies in managing elections and sorting results before conducting them

IRAN – ISRAEL CONFLICT AND IMPLICATIONS

IRAN – ISRAEL CONFLICT AND IMPLICATIONS

1.. Background.In April 2024 the two old adversaries in the Middle East almost came close to igniting a devastating international conflict. It may be prudent to understand the nature of the conflict between Iran and Israel to gauge a future course . The conflict between Iran and Israel has deep historical roots that span political, ideological, religious and geopolitical dimensions. It is imperative to understand these to determine the future course of their bilateral relations :

  1. Historical Context. Iran and Israel had relatively cordial relations during the era of Shah Pelvi , prior to Iranian Revolution of 1979.After the revolution, Iran became an Islamic republic under Ayatollah Khomeini adopting anti – Israel stance and supporting Palestinian groups opposed to Israel.
  2. Religious Differences. The religious differences has contributed to tensions as Iran’s leadership has at times called for the destruction of Zionist Israel , occupying Muslim lands.
  3. Geopolitical Factors. Iran support for anti Israel groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza has fueled the conflict and led to many military confrontations.
  4. Nuclear Program. Israel possible possessing of nuclear weapons and Iranian program to build nuclear weapons also remain a contentious issue between the two rival nations.
  5. Religious Power Dynamics. Iran and Israel rivalry is also shaped by broader regional dynamics in Middle East . Iran support for provision Syria, Iraq and Yemen and Israeli continuation of Zionist policies against hapless Palestinians has further complicated the relations. US factor in mentoring and supporting Israel and its continued hostility / sanctions against Iran have also attributed to the hostilities .

2.Iran’s Attack on Israel. Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel on midnight of  April,13 in retaliation for an Israeli air strike at Iranian embassy complex in Syria, which killed Islamic Revolutionary Guards commander Brigadier General Reza Zahedi, represented the most dangerous round of conflict between the two belligerent states. The Iranian attack involved more than 350 ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and drones. The first direct Iranian attack on Israel marks a new phase in the two countries strategic rivalry. In the past Iran has opted to act against Israel through its regional networks of partners and proxies to retain deniability and minimize the risk of political or military consequences for its actions. The current Iranian attack on Israel is the first instance since the Gulf War of 1991 that Israel faced a state launched missile attack . Iran military leadership has portrayed this attack as a significant accomplishment despite Israel and its allies successfully intercepting the vast majority of the barrage . Only probably 5-7  cruise missiles were able to penetrate Israel’s multilayered air defence and target an Israeli airfield . The shift in Iranian strategy of a direct confrontation with Israel reflects that it is heading towards a strategic equilibrium with Israel despite Israel’s continued aerial, technological and intelligence supremacy. The Iranian leadership appeared to have concluded that the country’ s geo- strategic stature has improved due to better strategic military capabilities, a network of proxies and the support of Russia and China.

3.Israel’s Response .⁠Israel’s measured response to Iran’s earlier attack on April 19 , on the Isfahan region allowed the two countries to temporarily close their current round of conflict . Iranian officials have downplayed and even dismissed Israel’s response, demonstrating their willingness to avoid further escalation. The U.S. has played a major role to avoid climbing an escalation ladder by the both sides . The attack launched on the 85 the birthday of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Al Khamenei also had a message for Tehran that Israel can attack deep within Iranian territory without restraints including possibly Iranian nuclear facilities.

  1. ⁠Geo- Political Purview.The New Age of Global Threats.For decades, the West enjoyed the fruits of the post-Cold War “peace dividend”. This era In the Middle East, all is changed – changed utterly. Iran’s “Operation True Promise”, launched on 13 April, represented the first direct attack on Israel by another state since Iraq’s missile strikes in 1991 during the first Gulf War. The decades-long shadow war between Tehran and Tel Aviv – conducted via proxies and espionage and assassination– has burst into the open. The consequences for the region, and the world, could be severe.

Iran’s attack was prompted by Israel’s bombing of its diplomatic compound in Damascus on 1 April, which killed two senior members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

But Iran’s retaliation was more than a token reprisal. There are contradictory views , some suppose that Iran did not intend it to cause significant harm to Israel while the other view point is that firing of more than 300 missiles and drones was meant to gain a strategic ascendancy over Israel and cause considerable damage to its war fighting potential.The regime launched more than 300 drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles. For Israel, this was both a military and diplomatic triumph. In the aftermath of the 7 October 2023 Hamas  attack, the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, there was overwhelming international solidarity with the country. But in recent months, as the death toll from the war in Gaza has grown to more than 35000 people including innocent children and women, this support has wavered. On 26 March, the UN Security Council voted for the first time in favor of an immediate ceasefire after the US opted to abstain. The killing of seven aid workers in Gaza on 1 April, which Israel described as a “grave mistake”, saw Western skepticism reach new heights.

The risk is that both sides become trapped in a pattern of escalation that culminates in what analysts have long feared: an all-out war between Israel and Iran. This is not a conflict that the world can watch passively. Israel is an undeclared nuclear weapons state; Iran has never been closer to enriching weapons-grade uranium. “The Middle East is quieter today than it has been in two decades,” declared Jake Sullivan, the US national security adviser, the week before the 7 October massacre. Now, the region has rarely appeared more combustible.

5 . Genesis.An analysis of the Iranian attack and Israeli retaliation is imperative to draw some conclusions. Israeli targeting of Iranian Consulate in Syria on April, 1 in which an elide Iranian National Guard commander Zahedi who was responsible for relationship with Hafiz Asad of Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon along with few others was killed , was according to previous Israeli pattern of targeting Iranian assets in Syria. In the past in response,Iran has been targeting Israel through its proxies but April, 13 retaliation at the level of the state can be attributed to a number of factors and compulsions. The first and foremost was the resentment within the powerful Iranian Guards, clamoring for a revenge, the second is to satisfy the public outrage and the last important factor is Iran’s geopolitical prominence , its rapprochement with Saudi Arabia and a message to its proxies in Hamas, Houthi’s and Hezbollah that Iran can react with massive retaliation. There were two factors which could have been instrumental in a controlled aggression by Iran . First was the US factor and Iranian efforts to reopen Iran- USA Nuclear dialogue and a possible lifting of US sanctions which is hurting Iranian economy and the second important factor that if Iran- Israel enter into a prolonged war, it could take away the world focus from Israeli atrocities in Gaza and erode the growing international support in USA, UK and Europe . These were the cogent reasons that Iran divulged its timings of attack , fully aware of Israeli , US and other allies abilities to intercept and destroy most of the slow armed drones and missiles. Israel has 14 batteries of’ Iron Dome’ shield deployed to protect its air space . The other allies states to Israel like US, UK , France, Jordan and Saudi Arabia also contributed in destroying Iranian missiles and drones, route That is the reason that out of almost 350 missiles and drones fired, 99 % were destroyed and only 5 Ballistic missiles were able to hit Iran’s prime target Nevatim Air Base in Southern Israel where F-35s were stationed . According to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu , only a little damage was caused to the Air Base . The retaliation by Israel on April, 19, targeted Isfahan which has major military , missile and nuclear infrastructure. The damage was bare minimum. In fact, Iranian leadership denied any Israeli attack on their soil. Israeli luke warm response was also most likely an outcome of domestic pressures to retaliate at the same time not opening another front because of ongoing war in Gaza, controlled by tacit  US indulgence . Israeli gambit was to entice an Iranian response with which they can deal with at the timings and environments of its own choosing in future and to highlight to the world the danger which a possible nuclear Iran posses to the world peace .

  1. Conclusions.In the Middle East as elsewhere, we have entered a new age of geopolitical danger. A revanchist Russia is waging relentless war in Ukraine. An expansionist China, now equipped with the world’s biggest navy, is threatening Taiwan. An increasingly isolationist US may elect Donald Trump as president this November.For decades, the West enjoyed the fruits of the “peace dividend”: the decrease in defence spending that followed the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. On the positive side, Iran and Israel have learned from their experience.In the matrix of the present conflict they both communicated their intentions accurately, they realized that they could de escalate without losing face and they both had a scare that could re- establish a mutual deterrence .Israel over decades has been able to neutralize most of the Arab states hostile to its existence and has even formalised diplomatic and economic relations with them. The state with extreme right wing regime in control continues to pursue its Zionist policies against the hapless Palestinians and states opposing its hegemony and even for US in pursuing its agenda. Iran may therefore emerge as the most potent ‘ enemy’ for Israel given its leverage over Hamas, Hezbollah, Houthi’s of Yemen and its strategic partnership with Russia and China .While there may not be an immediate threat of a major war in Middle East in the foreseeable future but the era of a peaceful region may be definitely over.

 

 

The region and the world “the next stage”

The region and the world “the next stage”

It is no secret to the honorable reader that our region in particular and many regions in the world in general, even if the media does not shed light on it, are going through a period of great change that will result in a new reality different from what it was in previous decades. The year 2024 has begun and the world is witnessing many wars, conflicts and major economic dilemmas. , which appeared last year and which will appear this year, and attempts to form large international alliances based on the principle that my enemy’s enemy is my friend. This theory often fails due to its lack of harmony between the components of the alliance.

Below we pose a group of questions that we leave to the honorable reader to think about and answer:

1- What would happen if the doors of voluntary immigration were opened for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and then in the West Bank in light of the bad humanitarian conditions that the Palestinian interior is going through and the area of confrontation expanded to include the West Bank and Ramallah as well? Will we witness a new Nakba that is greater than the previous one? Will we witness a new reality inside Palestine and neighboring countries that will be imposed because of this migration???

2- What if the situation develops in the Red Sea, specifically in the Bab al-Mandeb Strait, and leads to the cessation of commercial movement through it, without mentioning whether the matter is artificial or not artificial? What is the extent of its impact on the countries concerned and the extent of its impact on the difficult economic reality of the countries concerned?
Finally, what is the extent of its impact on the Western military buildup already taking place in the region?

3-What if the conflict develops and the Strait of Hormuz, which is under Iranian control, is closed??? Returning to the second question, will the region really be Between the hammer and the anvil?

4- Will Iran declare itself a nuclear power, and will the current ambiguous situation and the changes occurring be exploited to reveal this matter so that dots are drawn, especially since the Iranian nuclear file has been absent from the media for more than a year?

5- Will the Iranian forces opposing the regime be able to coordinate their movements to open several internal fronts at the same time?

6- If we look at the assassination operations inside Iran in terms of their quality and professional method of implementation and planning of operations, what is the extent of the security penetration inside Iran and what is the true effectiveness of the Iranian security services? Did these breakthroughs predict the existence of actual movements to impose a new reality on the Iranian scene??

7- Are the countries of the region capable of engaging in a real war in light of the difficult economic, political and military conditions that most of these countries are going through, and in light of some of these countries achieving gains that they could lose in the event of a war breaking out in the region?

8- Some countries in the region are going through a bad economic situation that portends a real catastrophe. Will they be able to continue, especially since these countries are real human and military pillars in the region??

9- Where is Iraq headed in light of the “deliberate” presence of a corrupt political class, militias that share and plunder the country’s resources, widespread administrative corruption in the joints of the state, and resonant anti-corruption and corrupt slogans launched by the paid media, and we have not seen a single real corrupt person brought to trial or held accountable?
What is the interpretation of the honorable reader for the appearance of the leader of a formation that is supposed to be under the authority of the state and who speaks disparagingly of the army and members of the armed forces!?
Will the strategic projects launched by the government see the light or will they be similar to the previous ones?

10- What if conditions were created to implement the law of self-determination for many areas in several countries in the region, would we witness a completely new Middle East?

11- What will be the reality of agricultural and livestock wealth in Egypt after the completion of filling the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and in light of the terrifying economic situation that Egypt is currently experiencing?

12- Where is the situation in Sudan heading in light of the current conflict over power, which has exhausted what remains of the country in light of the tragic situation? and It is worth noting that there is a recent supply of weapons to both sides of the conflict in Sudan to ensure the continuation of this conflict

13- What will the conditions be in the countries of southwest Africa in light of the threats of new terrorist organizations migrating to the brown continent and their reception by incubators prepared in advance there??

14- What is the meaning of striking previously destroyed sites at Hodeidah Airport in the military strike of the Guardian of Prosperity coalition, which is completely questionable?

15- The various security companies, noting their large numbers and frequent recruitment of individuals in several countries, what is their real purpose?

16- What are the implications of the Iranian bombing on Erbil and Pakistan?
Will this be the beginning of the spark for a frank confrontation?

17- Will the Taliban enter the confrontation line with Iran, which is considered one of the worst nightmares of the Iranian Republic??

18- What is the honorable reader’s opinion about the difference in response between Pakistan and Iraq to the Iranian strikes?

19- What will be the fate of Lebanon in general and the south in particular if Israel insists on opening this front?

20- In conclusion, how long will the Sunni puppets participating in the political process continue trying to live the leadership complex?

God knows best the intent.

Private military companies threaten Africa

The African continent suffered from decades of civil wars and fighting that tore its countries and obstructed growth in it, and even led to the pensions and starvation of these peoples, and in the last years a new factor appeared that makes the danger that threatens Africa worse.

The parties of the conflict and the competing factions have resorted to private military companies that provide logistical services, recruit mercenaries, and fight with a party against the other in exchange for money, and each party is strengthened by it  on the other.

So it was necessary to introduce these mercenary companies and the relations between them and foreign countries and their interests with them.

Perhaps the most prominent of these companies is (Wagner):

It is a Russian paramilitary organization, which some described as a private military company (or a private agency for military contracting), which its contractors believed to have participated in various conflicts around the world, including the war in Syria alongside the Syrian government as well as in Ukraine in the period between 2014 and 2015 alongside the separatist forces in the region of Donbas

Others, including the reports of the New York Times, believe that Wagner is actually an  independent unit that belongs to the Russian Ministry of Defense and/or the main intelligence directorate , that the Russian government uses in conflicts that require denial, where its forces are trained in the facilities of the Ministry of Defense. It is believed that it is owned by businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, who has close links to Russian President Vladimir Putin, even he is called  “Putin’s Chef” because of his work in the field of serving food at the dinner attended by Vladimir Putin with prominent foreign figures. Prigozhin denied his relationship with Wagner until September 2022 Where he admitted that he participated in the establishment of the group.

Wagner has participated ini conflicts in different countries in Africa, including Libya, Sudan, the Central African Republic and Mozambique. And soon we will see it in other African countries and in more fierce battles.

  • In Libya, it was reported that the Wagner Group supported the Libyan National Army in its struggle against the national reconciliation government recognized by the United Nations. In Sudan, it was reported that the Wagner Group provided support to ousted President Omar al -Bashir and helped in training the Sudanese security forces. In the Central African Republic, the Wagner Group has participated in providing military assistance to the government and participated in combat operations against various rebel groups. In Mozambique, the Wagner Group was accused of helping the Mozambician government in its efforts to combat rebellion in the northern region of the country, especially in Cabo Delgado Province.
  • It is worth noting that the participation of the Wagner Group in these countries is often controversial and raised concerns about its activities, transparency and accountability. Several reports have linked the Wagner Group to human rights violations and violations of international law in these regions.
  • Reports and investigations indicate that the Wagner Group works with the knowledge of the Russian government and its implicit approval, and it is often seen as a tool for the advancement of Russian interests abroad without direct participation from the Russian army. The Wagner Group is believed to have participated in operations in countries where Russia has strategic interests. The Wagner group is known to employ individuals as private military contractors, and they are often referred to as mercenaries. The majority of its members are said to be Russian citizens of military backgrounds, including veterans of the Russian armed forces and other security agencies. However, there were reports on the Wagner group that recruited individuals from other countries as well, such as Belarus, Ukraine and Serbia, among other countries.
  • The exact sources of the weapons of the Vagner Group and the supply of ammunition are not always clear due to the secret nature of the organization. However, there were various reports and allegations indicating several possible ways that the group gets its weapons:

Russian military surplus: Some reports indicate that the Wagner Group has the ability to access excess weapons from the Russian army. This can include retired or old equipment that the Russian armed forces no longer use but still work.

Arms Manufacturers: The Wagner Group may get weapons and ammunition through various weapons manufacturers and dealers. It can be obtained from different countries, including Russia and other countries that produce and export military equipment.

informal channels: There were allegations that the Wagner Group is getting weapons through unofficial channels, which could involve smuggling weapons or dealing with private arms dealers.

local sources: In some conflict areas, the Wagner Group may obtain weapons and ammunition from local militias, rebel groups or other armed entities.

  • The operations and activities of the Wagner Group have raised concerns about its role in conflict areas and potential violations of international law and human rights. As a private military company, its activities are often protected from public audit, which makes it difficult to understand the entire range
  • The process of employing the Wagner Group and similar entities is often secret, and the details of the exact size of the Vagner Group, its structure and operations are often secret. As a private military company, its operations and members are not subject to the same level of transparency and accountability, such as the regular military forces, which raises concerns about its activities and potential human rights violations in conflict areas.
  • Besides the Russian Wagner group associated with the Russian government, there were many other mercenary groups involved in civil wars and conflicts in Africa. Mercenaries are private members or military companies that provide services to achieve financial gains to fight in conflicts on behalf of one of the parties concerned. They were employed by various governments, rebel groups or private entities to support their interests in various African conflicts.

Some examples of other mercenary groups that participated in the conflicts in Africa include the following:

Executive Outcome: This Private military company  has worked in South Africa during the 1990s and participated in conflicts in Angola and Sierra Leone.

Sandline International: Another private military company from the United Kingdom, Sandline International, participated in conflicts in Sierra Leone.

Frontier Services Group (FSG): Although it is not a strict mercenary group, FSG, a private security company based in Hong Kong founded by Eric Prince, participated in various African countries, and provides security and logistical services.

SARCEN International: This private military company from Uganda participated in Somalia operations and other African countries.

Northbridge Services Group: This private military company was active in providing security services in various African countries.

S.T.T.E.P International Ltd: Founded by the former Executive Outcome employees, and this South African company has participated in the control of illegal fishing and fighting rebellion in Africa.

  • Mercenary participation in conflicts can be very controversial and raises concerns about accountability, transparency and potential human rights violations. International law generally does not encourage the use of mercenaries, and efforts have been made to regulate and prevent their activities in conflict areas. However, some conflicts in Africa have seen the existence of such groups despite these concerns.

Connecting these mercenary armies to different countries confirms their interests in controlling mineral resources in Africa by launching a proxy war.

The African Union, as the representative body of 55 African countries, has a decisive role that it plays both to stop employing private armies by countries and with foreign countries that support them. There is also a need for the United Nations and global forces to exercise their influence over the sponsorships of private armies in raising unrest in Africa.

This requires international legislation and monitoring to control these new instability weapons.

Is it possible to see a new security company with Arab fighters joining the list of security companies fighting terrorism ??? …

Hezbollah in Nigeria

 Iran has been keen to link the Shiite minorities – wherever they are – ideologically with the project of the Guardianship of the Faqih, which aims to find arms that work in its interest, which will allow it to expand and influence the political stability of those countries.

  Iran seeks to extend its influence to most countries of the world of special strategic importance, with rich resources, especially countries in which there is a “Shiite” sectarian base.

Iran has worked to extend the arms of Iranian governmental and non-governmental organizations under social, cultural and economic headings.

  This task is carried out by the Ahl al-Bayt World Assembly, which is directly supervised by Supreme Leader Khamenei, and in cooperation with the intelligence service “Etela’at”. And the intelligence of the Revolutionary Guards through the Quds Force, these diverse forces with united means, reveal the nature of Iranian goals.

In this context, African countries were not far from Iranian ambition, as Iran worked to spread the Shiite sect in its Safavid version, similar to what is happening in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and some Arab Gulf countries.

The Shiites did not have a noticeable presence as a sect in Nigeria before the Islamic Revolution in Iran 1979. Years later, Nigeria became known to Shiites at the hands of Ibrahim Zakzaky, who became the Secretary-General of the Muslim Students Association in Nigeria “1977-1978”, as his activity increased during that period, which qualified him to hold several positions. Sensitive in the “Muslim Student Union” at the university, and he made good use of this opportunity, as Zakzaky demonstrated to his colleagues and friends inside the university his goals that focus on the need for reform in the country, support for the oppressed, unity among the Islamic nation, and a return to the authentic approach of Islam, influenced by the slogans of the Islamic Revolution in Iran.

  In 1980, Sheikh Zakzaky traveled to Iran in response to an invitation addressed to him, where he met for the first time with Khomeini, and then became a reference for the Khomeini tradition in the Ahl al-Bayt School in Nigeria.

After his return from Tehran, Zakzaky founded the Islamic Movement or the “Islamic Organization” in Nigeria in the early 1980s, to become a body that gathers his supporters and the Nigerian Shiites.

Over time throughout the 1980s, the Zakzaky Group expanded to include tens of thousands of members.

The influence of Shiites has grown in Nigeria, and the scope of the Shiite movement has expanded to the point where their influence is described as a “state within a state” due to the high number of their gatherings in the country and the presence of many associations, foremost of which is the “Islamic Movement” organization in Nigeria, which was founded by Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky.

The movement takes the city of Zaria (ZARIYA) as the headquarters of the movement’s leadership, where each leading member of the movement supervises a number of movement delegates in the regions and states within Nigeria.

As for the states and regions, it is divided into departments and circles, then the councils, and each of them is headed by a delegate or agent who is responsible before the leadership council, just as the state is under the leadership of one agent in his capacity as the direct supervisor of all the movement’s delegates and agents in cities, governorates, residential neighborhoods, and villages. located within the state’s geographic boundaries.

On the other hand, there are other departments of institutions, bodies, and organizations that were founded by Zakzaky’s orders or at the suggestion of some members of the movement, for humanitarian or sectarian goals, or social and media services, etc. The directors of those institutions are subject to the supervision of those movement leaders and according to the sequence mentioned above.

   movement institutions

The “Shia” Islamic movement established a number of educational and humanitarian institutions inside and outside Nigeria, which work in different fields and levels, and each local administration has independent bodies, and the most important of these institutions are:

1: The Martyrs Foundation

This foundation was established on January 1, 1992 in the city of Zaria. It is a humanitarian organization that takes care of the children of martyrs and sponsors orphans and widows.

2: Al-Zahra Charitable Foundation

This institution was established in 2010, to be the nucleus for the rest of the movement’s institutions, especially those working in the field of social and humanitarian services, such as digging wells, building water canals, freeing prisoners, and helping widows and the needy.

3: Health Foundation

The Foundation is an association of doctors and nurses affiliated with the Islamic Movement who work in the medical field in the public or private sector.

4: Media institutions

  The Islamic Movement in Nigeria has media outlets that publish its activities in local languages as well as in English, foremost of which is the daily newspaper “Al-Mizan”, which is published in the Hausa language, as it is considered the striking media force of the Shiite Islamic Movement in Niger. It publishes articles of Shiite clerics, headed by Zakzaky, follows up on their activities inside and outside the country, and is interested in publishing news about Iran.

In addition to the “Al-Mizan” newspaper, here is the “Al-Mujahid” newspaper published in English. They also succeeded, in light of the state of agreement between them and the government, in buying broadcast hours on radio and television in order to broadcast through them their programs that carry their ideas.

There is a website for the Islamic Movement in many languages, foremost of which is the local language “Hausa”, and the English, French and Persian languages.

The organization sponsors a large network of schools, hospitals, and cultural and social centers in northern and southern Nigeria, in addition to economic institutions such as the “Trade Forum”. It also organizes poetry and prose competitions in which prizes are presented to the winners, and it also provides scholarships for young people to study in institutes and universities in Iran.

It also organizes mass demonstrations on various Shiite occasions, such as Ashura and the last Friday of Ramadan, which Tehran has made an international day (for Jerusalem). The organization considers its religious processions and political demonstrations among its important activities as “a means to spread the message of the movement among the people,” although some of these events involved clashes with the police, which resulted in loss of life and property.

military arm

The Islamic Movement, led by Zakzaky, formed a military militia calling itself the Mahdi Army.

   This group has a number of armed men trained in Iran, and they have previously attacked the army and security men, as well as launched attacks against Sunni Muslims in several northern cities in an attempt to ignite a sectarian war in the country. The number of militia members is more than 3,000 Nigerian fighters.

Nigeria has become the starting point for spreading the Shiite sect in African countries, as many merchants come to it, in light of the Shiites’ involvement in trade and their establishment of a trade forum to enhance their economic influence to facilitate the process of spreading their doctrine among the incoming merchants.

With the expansion of the Shiite sect, fundamental differences began to emerge between them, which led to the division of the Shiites into two parts. The first part: the “Zakzaky” group, which is hostile to the Nigerian state and describes it as a tyrant, and its supporters have fought many violent clashes with the authority over decades.

While the second section is led by two of the most important followers of Zakzaky previously, namely: Hamza I and Saleh Zaria, both of whom received the sciences of Shiism in Iran, and they defected from Zakzaky, after they considered him ignorant of Sharia sciences, and they expressed a desire to engage in various state institutions, and their activity spread among the youth in universities.

   Iran has supported “Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky,” whom the Iranian media described as “the leader of the Nigerian Shiites,” under the supervision of Section “7000 – Africa Corps,” which is handled by an officer in the Revolutionary Guards, “Sayyid Ali Akbar Tabatabai,” who holds a passport under the name Taha Musabi.

Observers believe that Iran is seeking, behind the support of Zakzaky and his group, to establish a military militia similar to Hezbollah in Lebanon, to be a tool of pressure on the Nigerian governments, to implement the demands and goals of Iranian policy on the African continent in general and in Nigeria in particular, given its economic and strategic importance, as the most important oil producing countries in the brown continent.

Among the Iranian goals is also the establishment of a political party whose primary goal is to reach power in Nigeria, or to become one of the most important arms of the ruling institutions or to participate in governance, and at the very least it will be the largest opposition party, while ensuring the passage of Iranian politics in Nigeria.

Economic support and social and relief work were among the most important methods that led to the penetration of Iran in Nigeria. Poor families also send their children to learn in schools supported by Iran in Nigeria, which led to the implantation of the Shiite sect in the minds of young people, and they are taught in a number of schools the Persian language. In May 2009, the Iranian Cultural Attaché held a conference at the University of Lagos entitled “What are the challenges in learning the Persian language and its culture in Nigerian society?” Some outstanding students are also selected to be sent to Iran to receive the sciences of the doctrine there and return to spread it in the country and work as teachers in these schools.

terrorist activities:

In December 2010, Western diplomatic sources revealed that the Iranian arms shipment smuggled to Nigeria, which included 13 containers containing construction materials, concealed weapons and cannons sent by the Quds Force and discovered by the Nigerian authorities in the port of Apapa in Lagos, may have been destined for local militias operating in Nigeria and abroad. Such as the “Hisbah” organization that imposes Islamic law in Kano province in the north of the country, the “Baku Haram” organization that is active in the north, and the “Liberation of the Niger Delta” movement that fights for control of oil revenues in the north.

Nigerian sources had said that some of these weapons were destined for Senegal, specifically for the “Democratic Forces in Casamas” movement, which is active in the rebel areas in Senegal, south of Gambia.

According to the sources, the shipment was part of the Iranian strategy to enhance its influence and presence on the African continent, as part of the major mission given to the “African Corps” in the Quds Force, and said that two officers of the Revolutionary Guards, “Azim Aghajani and Tabatabaei” were responsible for the operation, who After discovering the shipment, they rushed to resort to the Iranian embassy in Lagos, and it said that the dismissed foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, succeeded in concluding a deal after exerting great pressure on the Nigerian authorities, to include Tabatabai, who entered Nigeria with a diplomatic passport, to his returning delegation, in exchange for handing over the lower-ranking one to the Nigerian authorities. The sources said that the former may know precisely the details of Iran’s secret activities in Africa.

  In February 2013, the Nigerian Intelligence Service announced the discovery of a military cell, which it said was receiving instructions from Iranian elements, and was aiming to attack Israeli and Western targets in Nigeria. A spokesman for the agency, Marilyn Ogar, said at the time that the group also planned to assassinate the former military ruler of Nigeria. Ibrahim Babangida.

Reuters also revealed in late May of the same year that the Nigerian security services found in a house in the northern city of Kano weapons stored by Lebanese citizens and were planned to be used in launching attacks on Israeli and Western targets.

The head of the Kano State Security Department, Bassi Etang, described the house as harboring a terrorist cell linked to the Lebanese Hezbollah. Another army statement stated that the weapons included anti-tank missiles, rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank mines, anti-personnel and other dangerous weapons. Later investigations indicated that there was a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador. In Nigeria, one of the defendants, Ahmed Rawda, admitted this during his trial session in Abuja.

   In May 2013, the Nigerian authorities convicted Aghajani and his Nigerian partner and sentenced them to 5 years in prison.

Following the attack of the Nigerian army, on December 12, 2015, on the headquarters of the Islamic Movement and the arrest of Sheikh Zakzaky, Iran officially protested to the state of Nigeria against the attack launched by the army against a small group of Shiites in the town of Zaria (north of the country), and what increased the controversy, the position of the Iranian president , which reflects the position of the Supreme Leader and the regime in Iran, where he made direct contact with his Nigerian counterpart, Muhammad Bukhari, asking him to establish a fact-finding committee on the Zaria incident.

This was followed by a call by the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, to his Nigerian counterpart, Jeffrey Onyeama, to request that his government move “immediately and seriously to avoid violence” against Shiites in Nigeria. Tehran also summoned the Nigerian chargé d’affaires to the headquarters of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, which seriously demanded that the Nigerian authorities determine the dimensions of the accident, treat the injured, and compensate for the losses and damages as soon as possible, as reported by the official Iranian news agency, Al-Khabar.

The Iranian official position seemed to be talking about an Iranian community in Nigeria and not about a group of Nigerian Muslim citizens who profess the Shiite sect and who were confronted by the security forces for attempting to stir up riots and disturb security after they targeted a convoy carrying Nigerian Chief of Staff Yusef Buratai in an attempt to assassinate him.

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This incident would have passed unnoticed had it not been for Iran’s statements, which are considered blatant interference in Nigeria’s private affairs, and they did not rule out that Tehran was behind the escalation that took place against the background of this incident, as dozens gathered in front of the Nigerian embassy in Tehran to protest against the “massacre against the Shiites.” , While another demonstration was organized that included hundreds of students at a university in the Nigerian capital.

The Secretary-General of the Islamic Group in Nigeria revealed the Iranian activity in his country, pointing out that it had trained 3,000 Nigerian youths to join the ongoing conflict in Syria and to join Assad’s forces and the rest of the militias fighting on his side, including Hezbollah.

Dawood Omran, the group’s secretary-general, stated that the fighters that Tehran seeks to send to Syria have undergone the necessary qualification to engage in battles, under the supervision of the Iranian embassy in Abuja and the consulate in Lagos, and called on his country’s government to confront those moves that represent a flagrant challenge and infringement of Nigerian sovereignty and outside the legal framework

He explained that Iran has many projects funded by millions of dollars to convert Muslims in Nigeria, stressing that this policy is implemented by four Iranian institutions at the forefront of which (the Islamic Organization or the Islamic Movement), which is led by Ibrahim al-Zakzaky, who is considered the Sheikh of the Shiites in Nigeria, and through him Iran finances its activities and he has thousands of followers.

 

The relationship with the Lebanese Hezbollah:

Perhaps the presence of the Lebanese Hezbollah in Nigeria preceded the direct Iranian presence, through the Lebanese communities residing in Nigeria and West Africa.

The Lebanese Hezbollah has economic projects in Nigeria and West Africa, where it runs economic institutions, which are outlets for money laundering across Africa. Recently, the US Treasury Department revealed a network to finance and support the Lebanese Hezbollah, centered in Nigeria, consisting of three people who are active in trade and have supermarkets, hotels, and investment companies. Which they use as a front to cover up suspicious actions, including fundraising, recruitment and monitoring for the benefit of the Lebanese Hezbollah.

Among the names mentioned in the American report are Mustafa Fawaz, a member of an organization affiliated with Hezbollah. He was arrested in Nigeria in 2013 and admitted his affiliation with the party. He also admitted the names of others belonging to the network. As for the second member, his brother Fawzi Fawaz is also a member of the party and has handled foreign relations. in Abuja.

The Nigerian authorities arrested him in possession of heavy weapons, and investigations showed his involvement in various terrorist activities. The third person is Abdullah Tahinah, a prominent member of the Hezbollah group in Nigeria who collects donations for the party. The US Treasury states that he underwent military courses in Lebanon before moving to this African country.

 

 

 

 

The Saudi-Iranian rapprochement and its regional implications:

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Iran had a hostile relationship that extended for long periods, the most important of which was the religious orientation at the forefront of the political scene in both countries, followed by several political and expansionist factors, as the effects of hostility began to become evident during the Iranian revolution in 1979. Both nation-states represent the two main Islamic sects, the Shiites. And the Sunnis, which contributed to fueling the dispute between the two countries. Both countries have supported opposing sides in various conflicts, including in Syria during its civil war and in Yemen as well as Iraq, Lebanon and Bahrain.

The Arab Spring in 2011 caused political instability across the Middle East against the status quo. Iran and Saudi Arabia took advantage of this unrest to expand their influence, particularly in Syria, Bahrain and Yemen. In Bahrain, where Shiites protested against the Sunni royal family, Saudi Arabia sent troops to quell the uprising and blamed Iran for fomenting the unrest. After the outbreak of the Syrian war in 2011. In Syria, Iran supported President Bashar al-Assad and provided him with military forces and financing to fight Sunni rebels. Saudi Arabia initially supported the rebel groups but later joined a US-led coalition formed to fight ISIS since 2014. When conflict between the Houthis and the government began in 2015 in Yemen, Saudi Arabia launched an intervention in hopes of restoring a government that had been toppled by the Houthi rebels – Iran’s allies.

In 2016, after a stampede in Mecca, Saudi Arabia executed prominent Shiite leader Nimr al-Nimr, a critic of the Saudi government. Rising tensions between the two countries escalated when a mob of Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran and the Saudi consulate in Mashhad. The embassy building was set on fire with Molotov cocktails and petrol bombs. Another territorial rupture occurred in June 2017 when Saudi Arabia and its allies in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a blockade on Qatar. The pretext was that Qatar was very close to Iran and supported terrorism, allegations Doha denied. These links were later fixed in early 2021.

The history of relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran is one of increasing mutual suspicion. However, both countries may have realized that their rivalry hurt them more than their enemy, both politically and economically. Neither side could gain any real superiority over the other and perhaps this realization prompted them to seek a new stage in their relationship. In April 2021, Iran and Saudi Arabia held their first direct talks in Baghdad, likely with the tacit approval of the United States. Between April and September 2022, four rounds of talks were held, most of them mediated by Iraq and Oman but with no tangible result.

In March 2023, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to re-establish relations after four days of previously unannounced talks in Beijing. Tehran and Riyadh agreed to “resume diplomatic relations between them and reopen their embassies and missions within a period not exceeding two months.” This decision could have both regional and international implications as it marks a new phase in their relationship. The decisive indicator for the beginning of the new relations will be the efforts made in settling outstanding regional issues between the two powers. The most important factor emerging from the normalization of relations between the two arch-rivals is the mediation of China and the shifting of the balance of power in the Middle East from a US-centric to a now Chinese-dominated one. Many Western officials and analysts have expressed concern about both Beijing’s role and the risk that the Iranian government can use restored relations with Saudi Arabia to bypass intense US and European pressure related to its nuclear programs, suppression of domestic protests, and support for Russia in Ukraine. Although the China-brokered deal faces significant challenges, it could have significant implications for regional stability. It could lead to a reduction in tensions between the two countries and possibly pave the way for cooperation on regional issues such as the conflicts in Syria and Yemen. The deal indicates that both sides have made some progress in addressing critical areas of dispute. Saudi Arabia long ago restored normalized diplomatic relations based on an Iranian commitment to escalatory steps in Yemen. Restoring relations could be a prelude for Riyadh to even formally withdraw from Yemen.

However, it is important to note that there are still many challenges that must be overcome for this relationship to improve significantly and herald meaningful stability in the region. It is expected that this convergence may take some time to reach the stage of restoring confidence. Saudi Arabia in particular is likely to view the deal more as a hedging mechanism to protect itself from Iranian attacks than as a true strategic realignment. Iran’s leaders, for their part, want Riyadh to withdraw its support for the exiled Iranian opposition, thwarting mounting Western pressure by diversifying its relations with other Gulf monarchies. Saudi Arabia has been the only major steadfast. Finally, Tehran wants to neutralize potential Israeli cooperation with Arab states for a military attack on Iran. . It remains to be seen how much Iran can use Saudi Arabia to offset the sanctions – given that Riyadh is still pushing Europe and the US to put more pressure on Iran.

The deal signals China’s increased involvement in geopolitical challenges in the Middle East.

Chinese leaders understand that instability threatens important interests, particularly in the energy field. Riyadh, in turn, sees Beijing as an increasingly credible partner in countering US disengagement, but also as the only country with real leverage over Iran, which Saudi Arabia expects to exploit. China’s role in facilitating this agreement constituted a kind of real concern for Washington. This was largely intended by Saudi leaders, who hoped that the threat of growing Chinese influence would upgrade American security guarantees. There are wide prospects and fears for some, of the rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Time will ultimately tell the final lines but it is certainly a diplomatic, not a military, path.

Iran part five, Iran as it is today

Iran part five, Iran as it is today

  1. Iran became an Islamic state in 1979 and spread its influence in the Middle East by supporting extremism conducive to its regional ambitions. In May 2018, the Trump administration withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by six world powers and Iran. The rationale put forward by the US administration was that the deal had not been sufficiently implemented by Iran with regard to its nuclear program or addressed its missile program, which represents the biggest challenge. In addition to human rights violations and support for terrorism, the factor that contributed to this decision was also the extremist friendly relations between the administration Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Washington reimposed sanctions as part of its “maximum pressure” campaign to change Tehran’s behaviour. In January 2020, Iran recalculated its strategy after an American strike killed the commander of the Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, who is considered the most prominent figure in conflict management in Iran’s strategies in Iraq and Syria.

  1. In 2021, the new US administration led by President Biden launched a new diplomatic initiative to bring both Tehran and Washington into full compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. The indirect talks began in the last months of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s term and have continued under current President Ebrahim Raisi, He is a hardline cleric who took office in August 2021 but negotiations reached an impasse by the end of 2022.
  2. In September 2022, strong discontent with the clerics’ strict policies, continued economic deprivation and human rights abuses, erupted across Iran. The pretext was the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish girl who was detained for indecent dress. The demonstrations quickly developed into one of the largest in recent years, which explicitly called for the overthrow of the Supreme Leader and the end of the Islamic Republic. Similar protests were organized in support of the Iranian mass movement in various capitals of the Western world. Iranian security forces responded with fierce force towards suppressing these protests.
  3. On March 9, in a major diplomatic overture, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to restore relations and reopen embassies after seven years of severing relations. The agreement came after Chinese-brokered talks in Beijing. Riyadh severed ties with Tehran after Iranian protesters attacked the Saudi diplomatic mission in Iran in 2016 following the Saudi execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr. The deal is likely to have wide implications for the Iran nuclear deal and the civil war in Yemen, where the two sides are locked in a proxy war. The deal finalized in China also reflects Saudi Arabia’s new tendency to conduct a foreign policy independent of the West. In fact, surprisingly, talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran regarding potential reconciliation have been going on for years, mainly in Iraq. The resumption of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia bodes well for Muslim nations and could herald peace in troubled regions as both sides are engaged in proxy wars. However, the deal could have implications for US-led efforts to isolate Iran economically through sanctions. The deal will also cause anxiety among many Israeli politicians who have sought global isolation for their arch-rival, Iran

Iran – Part Four. Economy

Iran – Part Four. Economy

The economy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is a mixed economy with a large state-owned sector which is the largest in the Middle East in terms of GDP. It ranks 21st in the world in terms of purchasing power parity. Roughly 60% of Iran’s economy is centrally controlled and dominated by the oil and gas sectors. Iran has 10% of the world’s proven oil reserves and 15% of gas reserves.

The revolution in Iran did not have an economic strategy or a clear vision for the development and organization of the Iranian economy, in addition to its distance from the workers and farmers class, despite the fact that it proposed some economic policies that could be called the Islamic economic development strategy.

The major shift in politics after the revolution can be described as urbanist and elite-centric to rural-biased and populist. The pro-revolutionary approach to the rural areas and the poor left its mark by building infrastructure that eliminated the rural-urban divide, a relic of Iran’s feudal past. The expansion of basic services such as electricity, clean drinking water, health and education after the revolution sharply reduced poverty and the general 1990 to the late 2000s, Iran’s economy was on an upward trajectory. But it began to decline after world powers imposed crippling sanctions in an effort to get Iran’s leaders to agree to curb their nuclear programme. The 2015 nuclear deal with the United States brought relief, but less than three years later, US President Donald Trump abandoned the deal and reimposed sanctions that halted most of Iran’s oil exports. Iran’s economy is trying its gradual recovery from a decade-long slump that saw two rounds of economic sanctions. Oil prices and the Covid-19 pandemic were the main factor in it. Despite adjustments that partially offset the impact of external shocks, the economy remains constrained by widespread inefficiencies and price distortions. The economic recovery mainly started in mid-2020, driven by the oil sector. The challenges of climate change in Iran have also hurt growth, especially in the labor-intensive agricultural and industrial sectors, in the wake of higher temperatures and lower rainfall. These factors limit the pace of recovery and the dynamism of the economy in forecasts.

The World Bank predicted that Iran’s GDP growth would drop to less than 2 percent in 2024. The past year witnessed a significant rise in inflation rates and a historic decline in the value of the Iranian rial. The protests that followed the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini amplified the creaking in the country’s economy. According to statistics, more than half of the population lives below the poverty line due to high prices. The country’s debt-to-GDP ratio rose to 45% in 2020 and the unemployment rate is more than 14%. To increase revenues, Iran has increased its oil exports to China to more than 1.2 million barrels per day. Sanctions have actually caused Iran to warm up with Western competitors such as China and Russia. In a major development, China announced an investment of 400 billion US dollars in the Iranian energy sector, spread over 25 years. Iran and Russia are said to be in talks about introducing a stable currency, backed by gold, to bypass Western sanctions in cross-border transactions.

Risks to Iran’s economic outlook remain significant. Intense climate change challenges as well as energy shortages and hyperinflation can greatly affect future economic prospects, and pose a potential threat to social tensions. Other downside risks relate to a renewed outbreak of COVID-19, a further slowdown in global demand and an increase in geopolitical tensions. Projected growth prospects could be stronger if economic sanctions are lifted. Higher oil prices could also further improve fiscal and external balances.

Iran – Part III. After the Islamic Revolution

Iran – Part III. After the Islamic Revolution

  1. In 1979, the country formerly known as Persia became the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Islamic Revolution opposed the Western secular policies of the authoritarian Shah of Iran, Reza Pahlavi, and after his overthrow the country is run by an authoritarian Islamic theocracy. The head of state is the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, who exercises ideological and political control over the state, controls the armed forces and makes decisions on security and important issues of foreign policy.

The head of government and executive power is the president, who is elected by popular vote for a four-year term and cannot serve more than two consecutive terms. There were regular elections in Iran after the Islamic Revolution and until the last presidential elections in June 2021 thirteen elections were held. The president’s power is curtailed by the Supreme Leader’s decisions, and the influence of Islamic clerics and conservatives in Iran’s coercive apparatus and judiciary.

Immediately after the Islamic Revolution, in November 1979, 52 American diplomats and citizens were taken hostage after a group of Iranian university students took control of the embassy in Tehran. A diplomatic confrontation followed for 444 days until the hostages were released on January 20, 1981. This crisis led to the severing of US-Iranian relations and the imposition of sanctions on Iran.

Since the Shah’s era, Iraqi-Iranian relations have witnessed border problems related to border demarcation, smuggling operations, sheep grazing, and so on. (We would like to draw attention to the fact that the smuggling route across the Iraqi-Iranian borders, especially across the borders of Diyala Governorate, is an old route and has evolved over time.) Things stabilized during the rule of President Abd al-Rahman Aref after his visit to Tehran in 1967, and after the 1968 revolution, things returned to a state of progress and decline.

In September 1980, relations witnessed a rapid escalation of border demarcation problems, accompanied by Iranian bombing of some border areas, especially in Diyala governorate, which led to Iraq launching a massive attack towards the Iranian borders. The Iran-Iraq war had multiple causes and included religious divisions, border disputes, and political differences. The protracted fighting continued for eight years and ended in 1988 with a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a cease-fire, although normal diplomatic relations were resumed and troops were withdrawn in August 1990. The war was one of the most devastating conflicts of the late 20th century. Casualties on both sides are estimated at 500,000 with Iran suffering even greater losses. The war added to the spread of Iranian influence and ideology in neighboring countries.

After the Islamic Revolution, to enhance its ideology and influence, Iran supported armed organizations in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Hamas who are working against Israel. The United States designated Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism in January 1984.

In 2015, Iran signed a nuclear deal negotiated with the six major world powers to benefit from uranium enrichment leading to a nuclear weapon. The United States canceled this agreement under the Trump administration in May 2018 arguing that the deal did not adequately limit Tehran’s nuclear program or address its missile program, human rights abuses, and support for terrorism. Washington reimposed sanctions as part of “maximum pressure” to change Tehran’s behaviour. In January 2020, Iran recalculated its strategy after a US strike killed Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani. In 2021, the Biden administration launched a new diplomatic effort to get both Tehran and Washington to fully comply with the 2015 nuclear deal. The indirect talks began in the final months of former President Hassan Rouhani and have continued under current President Ebrahim Raisi, a hardline cleric who took office in August 2021, but negotiations collapsed in the fall of 2022.

In September 2022, protests erupted across Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman who was being held for indecent clothing. Unrest has been boiling over the years against the imposition of strict Islamic laws, the ongoing economic crisis, lack of freedom of expression, violation of women’s rights etc. and the death of the girl sparked the process.

The largest demonstrations in decades quickly evolved into calls for the overthrow of the supreme leader and an end to the Islamic Republic. Security forces responded with lethal force, killing at least 234 people, including 29 children. There were previous instances of unrest in Iran in 2009 when millions of people took to the streets after a disputed presidential election in 2017, and in 2019 due to economic hardship but the current unrest is the real revolution against the policies of the Islamic regime.

Needless to say, these protests have been fueled by Israel and other Western countries hostile to the power in Iran. The stalemate continues today and it is likely that the situation will not return to normal and there will be a regime change in Iran.

Iran – Part Two. Islamic revolution

In continuation of the discussion about the Islamic Republic of Iran, we will discuss in this part the Islamic Revolution with several focal points that formed the current face of the regime in Iran and contributed to the formation of the current political features in the region, and it is :

1- The Iranian Revolution of 1979, or the Iranian coup, was a series of events that led to the overthrow of the Pahlavi dynasty and is considered the pivotal year in the contemporary era for refocusing attention away from the Cold War era. The revolution affected the overthrow of authoritarian regimes in dozens of countries over the decades that followed, and unlike most other uprisings that toppled dictators, the outcome of the Iranian struggle was not the establishment of a liberal democracy but rather a new form of expansionist authoritarian regime in the region whose effects extended beyond the borders of the Islamic Republic. intellectually and politically.

  1. After the Iranian coup d’état in 1953, Reza Shah Pahlavi allied with the United States and the Western bloc to consolidate his rule in that period, and relied heavily on American support to remain in power for another 26 years. This led to the launch of the “White Revolution” and the dismissal of Parliament in 1963. It was the White Revolution that cheered many up and constituted a vigorous modernization program that overturned the wealth and influence of the landowners and clergy, further disrupted rural economies, and prompted rapid urbanization and Westernization which sparked series of concerns about democracy and human rights,

The program was economically successful, but the benefits in practice were not evenly distributed.

Opposition to the Shah’s policies intensified in the 1970s due to heavy government spending, high inflation, diminished iranian prchase power and low living standards.In addition to the economic problems and the increase in social and political repression by the Shah’s regime and the marginalization of the opposition parties, followed by political arrests and censorship on a large scale.

This feeling of disenfranchisement led to the movement of diverse segments of society, including secular thinkers, Shiite scholars and figures from the rural economic community on one platform under the populist influence of Ayatollah Khomeini. who was a former professor of philosophy in Ghavam, and was exiled in 1964 after he spoke frankly against the Shah’s alleged reforms at the time,

In the midst of the civil unrest, members of the National Front and the Tudeh Party also joined the scholars in broad opposition to the Shah’s regime.

Khomeini continued to preach in exile about the evils of the Pahlavi regime, accusing the Shah of irreligiosity and submission to foreign powers.

Which was reinforced at that time by the Shah’s dependence on the United States, his close relations with Israel and the Unstudied economic policies of his regime, which contributed to fueling the power of opposition discourse among the masses. The most widespread and most common slogan that united the various revolutionary parties and their supporters was “Let him (the Shah) go and then let it be a flood”.

 

  1. In January 1978, thousands of young students from religious schools took to the streets due to slanderous statements directed at Khomeini in a Tehran newspaper. They were joined by thousands of unemployed youth, accompanied with the shah being exhausted from cancer and stunned by the sudden escalation of open hostilities against him, he wavered between concessions and repression.

At that time many protesters were killed by government forces which led to martial law on 8 September and further killings.

In that period and during his exile, Khomeini coordinated the escalation of opposition, first from Iraq and after 1978 from France – demanding the Shah to step down.

In January 1979, the Shah and his family fled Iran, and the regency council established to run the country failed to function or control civil strife.

A crowd of more than a million people demonstrated in Tehran, proving a wide appeal to Khomeini, who arrived in Iran on February 1.

Ten days later, the Iranian armed forces declared their neutrality, practically overthrowing the Shah’s regime.

 

  1. On April 1, through a overwhelming ruling in the referendum, Khomeini declared Iran an Islamic Republic.

The clergy moved immediately to exclude their former intellectual left-wing nationalist ally from the position of power in the new regime and imposed a return to conservative social values.

The Family Protection Law (1967 and amended in 1975), which provided guarantees and rights for women in marriage, was declared invalid.

Revolutionary gangs stationed in mosques, known as komitehs, patrolled the streets to enforce Islamic codes of dress and behavior and administer impromptu justice to the imposed revolution.

The militias and the clergy did their best to suppress Western cultural influence. In the face of this persecution, many of the elites educated in the West fled the country.

These anti-Western sentiments eventually led to the taking of 66 hostages at the US Embassy in November 1979 by a group of Iranian protesters who demanded the extradition of the Shah, who was at the time undergoing medical treatment in America.

The Assembly of Experts formed by Khomeini ( al-Khabeerjan), dominated by the clergy, approved a new constitution through a referendum that gives broad powers to the leader, the first of which was Khomeini himself.

 

 

  1. From early 1979 to 1983, Iran remained in a “revolutionary crisis mode”.

After the autocratic monarchy was overthrown, the economy and the apparatus of government collapsed and the military and secular forces were in disarray.

However, by 1983, Khomeini and his supporters had crushed the rival factions, defeated the local insurgency and consolidated their power.

The major events that shaped the crisis and its revolution were the Iran hostage crisis, the Iran-Iraq war, and the presidency of Abu al-Hasan Bani Sadr through the elections.

There is a widespread belief that what began as an authentic, anti-dictatorial popular revolt soon turned into an Islamic fundamentalist takeover of power.

Khomeini was more of a spiritual leader than a ruler. Khomeini in the mid-1970s had never held public office, walking out of Iran for a decade and telling interviewees that “religious figures don’t want to rule.”

The most important bodies of the Iranian Revolution were the Revolutionary Council, the Revolutionary Guards, the Revolutionary Courts, the Islamic Republican Party, and the Revolutionary Committees.

At its core, the Iranian Revolution of February 1979 was a revolt of society against the state, which represented not just an ordinary dictatorship but an absolutist and arbitrary regime that lacked political legitimacy and social base in almost all parts of society and subsequently ended with a more tyrannical and dictatorial regime than before with boundless expansionist ambitions.

     IRAN- PART I – HISTORY AND PRE REVOLUTION ERA

Iran is one of the oldest citadel of world civilization.It is located in Western Asia and is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west,Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northeast, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmenistan to the north , by Afghanistan and Pakistan to the east and by the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf to the south.It covers an area of 1.64 million square kilometers making it the 17th largest country and a population of 86 million. Historically a multi-ethnic country , Iran remains a pluralistic society comprising numerous ethnic, linguistic and religious groups with the largest of these being Persians, Azeris, Kurds, Mazandaranis, and Lurs.. It has large reserves of fossil fuels, which includes second largest natural gas supply and third largest proven oil reserves .It’s geo strategic location makes it a  middle power and a major stake holder in the Middle East. It is a founding member of the United Nations, the ECO , the OIC and the OPEC.

Iran’s political history dates back to fourth millennium BC with the formation of Elamite kingdoms. It was first unified by Medes, an ancient Iranian people in the seventh century BC and reached its territorial height in the sixth century BC, when Cyrus the Great founded the Achaemenid Persian Empire, which became one of the largest empires in the history. It fell to Alexander the Great in the fourth century BC and was subsequently divided into many Hellenistic states, notable amongst which was the Sassanid Empire, a major world power for next four centuries.Arab Muslims conquered Sassanid Empire in seventh century which led to the Islamization of Iran. In the 15th century the native Safavids established a unified Iranian state and converted the country to Shia Islam. Under the reign of Nader Shah in the 18th century, Iran presided over the most powerful military in the world though by the 19th century conflicts with Russian Empire led to significant territorial losses, forcing the abdication of the ruler Reza Shah and accession to the throne by his son, Raza Pahlavi in September, 1941.

During Raza Shah reign , the Iranian oil industry was briefly nationalized under the democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddegh. He became enormously popular in Iran after he nationalized its petroleum industry and oil reserves. He was deposed in 1953 Iranian coup d etat , an Anglo- American covert operation that marked the the first instance of the United States overthrowing a foreign government during Cold War. Under Reza Pahlavi Iran marked the anniversary of 2,500 years of continuous monarchy since the founding of the Persian empire by Cyrus. He also introduced the White Revolution, a series of economic, social and political reforms with the proclaimed intention of transforming Iran into a global power and modernizing the nation by nationalizing certain industries and granting women suffrage. The result of this program was a rapid modernization and economic growth at an unprecedented rate , fueled by Iran’s vast petroleum reserves.

A secular Muslim, Reza Shah gradually lost support from the Shia clergy of Iran as well as the working class, particularly due to his strong policy of modernization and secularization , conflict with the traditional class of merchants, relations with Israel and corruption issues surrounding himself , his family and the ruling elite.Various additional controversial policies were enacted , including the banning of the communist Tudeh Party and a general suppression of political dissent by Iran’s intelligence agency , SAVAK. According to official figures, Iran had 2,200 political prisoners in 1978. Other major factors contributing to strong opposition to the Shah among certain groups within Iran were US and UK support for his regime, clashes with Islamists and an increased communist activity. By 1979, political unrest transformed into a revolution which on January, 17 forced him to leave Iran .Soon thereafter, the Iranian monarchy was abolished and Iran was declared an Islamic republic.

 

The current situation in Iraq and the safety valve of the political process!

The current situation in Iraq and the safety valve of the political process!

What the country is experiencing today from a real and unprecedented political battle between the parties of the distorted political process calls us to stop and take a real and objective look at what is going on in the country and extract certain points through which we can extrapolate the future that awaits the people of the country.
First of all, the real follower of the events that took place during the last period, including demonstrations, demands, resignations of political currents, and the departure of young people to the squares and streets, demanding a “homeland” in which they can at least live, and all the uproar that followed that occurred and then looking at the reality now, it is really shocking because the obvious that does not accept There is no doubt that the matter of Iraq is not in the hands of the Iraqis, nor in the hands of the politicians and their parties, even and the evidence for that despite all the suffering we have mentioned, all the existing political parties, without excluding any party, return to us, to come out with a copy that is the worst among governments since 2003. Judgments on the current government formation, and here we cannot now mention the popular proverb that says “the same bowl, the same pigeon.” The same people who were involved in displacement, the fall of cities into the hands of terrorist groups, the endless corruption cases, the prisons full of innocents, the dilapidated infrastructure and lost sovereignty among neighboring countries, are returning themselves to form a government It is expected from them to get the country out of countless crises.
As for the safety valve of the political process, what is meant by it is, without a hint, the leader of the Sadrist movement, who really acts as an outlet for the popular pressure that is generated from time to time, as we have seen in previous times and this time as well. Al-Sadr and his leader to absorb this anger with resonant slogans and then hand the country over to the politicians to complete their accepted approach.

In conclusion, and only as a reminder with regard to the Al-Kazemi government:
1- An abject failure in managing service and security files, until the government’s greatest achievement was paving some streets as electoral propaganda for some politicians.

2-Failure to implement the economic agreements on the ground that were signed with neighboring countries in the resonant summits that were held. Here we leave the question open what is the fate of these investment agreements!!???

3- The devaluation of the dinar and its direct impact on the citizen.

4- Not to hold any corrupt accountable, and not to open any real corruption file since the first day

5- The arrival of special job grades to 6000 degrees, representing 40% of the budget, salaries, unemployment and job slack eliminating a large part of the Iraqi social fabric.

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