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 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.

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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