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.

Summary of the current Iraqi situation

The crisis situation in Iraq continues without a real way out of the current crisis, which brings the scene back to square one with the continuation of the existence of many proposed scenarios, which in total predict the existence of a real crisis. In this summary, we will try to summarize what is happening in the country today with several points:

1- Demonstrators stormed the Green Zone and the Republican Palace, and what happened during the storming of a clash between the armed factions, which showed the depth of the dispute between all the militias, and the breaking of the bone, so to speak, is only a simplified picture of the depth of the real dispute.

2- The resignation of the Shiite authority, Kazem Al-Haeri, in what was announced in the resignation statement, that it came because of his old age and illness. In fact, the resignation shook the political street entity, especially the Sadrist movement, headed by the leader of the movement Muqtada Al-Sadr, where the legitimate cover of the leader of the movement was derived from the presence of the Haeri authority, of course,

Al-Haeri’s resignation came to belittle the status of Najaf and the movement’s leader Muqtada Al-Sadr and direct his supporters to follow the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, especially after Al-Haeri recommended his followers to imitate the Sistani’s reference.

3- After more than ten months have passed since the elections without any signs of political consensus, which will lead us, sooner or later, to the collapse of the parliamentary system and the re-election, which will bring us back to the main point of contention.

4- The timing of the appearance of the audio leaks of many politicians and what was revealed in those recordings of two very important things for the Iraqi street. The first matter is the size of the real dispute between politicians of the same sect if the phrase is correct to use. The other matter is the extent of corruption practiced by the political class over the resources of the Iraqi people And they are betting on the silence of the people, which I do not think will last long after today.

Of course, the observer of the Iraqi affairs knows that the leaks that have been published are really intended to show the weakness of the current political class. The important question here is who owns all these recordings and ordered their publication.

5- The continuation of the political position of the coordination framework to proceed with the formation of the government without the participation of the Sadrist movement, which drew attention to the demonstrations that took place on the first of this month, which were not as large as the announcement circulated before.

6- The resignation of Parliament Speaker Muhammad al-Halbousi, which in fact is a political maneuver with a redirection of attention to Parliament, whose matter has not yet been decided, and a kind of personal propaganda that the Speaker of Parliament currently needs.

7- The statements of the UN envoy to Iraq, Plasschaert, who declared the failure of the political class to manage the country in the required manner and to get out of the crisis

The solution and the anvil of division

The current situation in the country continues to deteriorate and reach a point of no return amidst many initiatives that are presented daily, which, so to speak, are patchwork solutions to address a worsening crisis left by the occupation 19 years ago, after supporters of the Sadrist movement went out to demonstrate and sit in at the end of last month, and we are witnessing  day after day a real blockage in the political scene in the country, which has become worn out in an unprecedented way,since the first day of the October Revolution, the political parties in the country have breathed their last.

Today, the gap between the political classes has reached a point of no return. For example, the Shiite political parties have reached a bone-breaking stage, amid an unprecedented case of the leader of the Sadrist movement, who came out with a reformist tone that transcended sectarian boundaries, and as we see today, the popularity of the leader of the Sadrist movement has grown. Significantly since the start of the demonstrations in the areas west of Baghdad and the north, that is, specifically between the Sunni provinces and Kurdish circles, which makes politicians really feel the danger of this situation, which has become a threat to their presence in the country.

As for the Sunni politicians, the moves are clear to establish a Sunni current outside the system of the current parliament speaker, Muhammad al-Halbousi, and this current’s attempt to control the House of Representatives.

With regard to Kurdish politicians, they are currently trying to appear more coherently than ever, at least in the media, in an attempt to monitor the situation and upcoming developments in a somewhat cautious manner.

Returning to Baghdad, the initiative put forward by Prime Minister Al-Kazemi failed amid the Sadrist movement’s refusal to attend, which constitutes the real basis for the solution. As for the Sadrist movement, until this moment, the true direction is unknown, which makes the current reading of the situation completely unclear.

We should also not forget many of the real questions that were directed to the Sadrist movement, because the service ministries during the past years had been in the current’s pocket, so where is the fight against corruption and the corrupt?!

Perhaps the real question that can be asked in view of what happened in the previous days, what if the demonstrations that took place were led by the October youth, would it have been possible for them to enter the House of Representatives and the celebration square and hold their sit-in there, or would they have faced death by the third party, as happened in Nasiriyah, Baghdad and others from the provinces.

As for returning to the Arab environment, which always appears with patchwork solutions to contain the current political class without considering the history of its ties, which is impossible to return to the embrace of the Arab, as they call it.

In conclusion, the use of the religious turban to lure people with resonant statements and trying to play with the people’s emotions will not continue and will be revealed sooner or later, which will lead to the uprooting of this distorted process of various shades.

Note: The Center will soon publish a study on the unprecedented events and developments in the Iraqi arena during the past days, and we will review the causes and results and a vision for the future.

Iraq and Biden’s visit

Biden’s visit to the Middle East comes as an embodiment of the consistent American strategic policy for our region, which he summarized as follows:

1/ Israel’s security

2/ Control and domination of oil, gas and energy sources in the region

3 / Minimizing (not ending) the Iranian role in the Arab region

Later, other objectives can be added to this strategic policy according to the development of the situation in the world and the region, which are:

1/ Putting pressure on the Arab Gulf states to increase their oil production and reduce their prices to compensate for the shortage of Russian oil and gas due to the Russian-Ukrainian war, which America is striving to prolong its duration to drain and destroy Russia

2/ The American fear of Russian and Chinese expansion in the region and filled with the American vacuum, which Biden admitted, saying, “We made a mistake when we neglected the Middle East.”

We will discuss in this study from Biden’s visit its impact on Iraq’s crisis situation along the line, and here we must mention the most important thing in this visit is what Biden personally announced linking Iraq to the electrical system of the Arab Gulf states through Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and here I want to clarify the following:-

1/ Why does America not obligate its major companies to reconstruct, rehabilitate and build the electrical stations that were destroyed by its military forces and missiles during its abhorrent, illegal, immoral occupation, contrary to the independence and sovereignty of states and contrary to human rights!!!! Instead of linking us once to Iran and at other times to the neighboring countries and the Gulf

2/ Why doesn’t America allow major companies from other countries to build and rehabilitate electrical stations in Iraq like what these companies did in Egypt!!!

3 / What will be secured from the Gulf connection is 1500 megawatts, while Iraq’s actual need exceeds (20) thousand megawatts, and thus it will be a temporary prosthetic solution and a media gain that is nothing but

4 / The Iraqi agreement on the electrical connection took place 4 years ago and did not advance a single step and remained ink on paper, because the economic, security and political decision is in the hands of Iran, which opposes and prevents any Iraqi rapprochement with the Arabs

5 / The connection requires infrastructure that can only be secured by exceptional efforts and continuous and continuous work from one year to a year and a half at least.

The most important question remains

Will Iran and its tails remain idle, and it is the one who considers Iraq’s need for electric power its important market and lung from which it breathes in order to obtain billions and to circumvent the international sanctions imposed on it, even if they are in fact formal sanctions?

In order to reach the truth and understand the Iraqi situation, in light of the violent waves of wishes for change in Iraq, it is necessary to answer the following questions:-

1/ Is America really dissatisfied or upset with what is happening in Iraq?? She is the one who founded and supervised the failed political process in it!! She is the one who has supported and supported the political parties and personalities of this process until now!!

2/ Does America really want a developed, prosperous, stable, sovereign, independent and democratic Iraq that will be a model in the Middle East….

We leave the answer to these questions for the days, and the silent majority has the final say in the end.

Thualfuqar Center for Strategic Studies, Research and Human Rights .... Thualfuqar center is a private, independent research institution concerned with public affairs in Iraq and the effects of its regional and international environment.

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