One thing that many Americans find hard to understand is what it is like to live under a dictatorship. Why would they know? After all, America has always been a democracy, since its inception. They have no experience of living in a dictatorship.
If you conduct a poll in America for example, most people will give straight answers reflecting what they really think about an issue. They have no reason to fear the consequences of their opinion and don’t have to look over their shoulder for expressing their views.
Call someone on the telephone out of the blue, in a country like Iran however, and say to them you are conducting an opinion poll, and ask them a question like, ‘Are you in favour of your government’s nuclear program?’, the respondent will either have a heart attack from fear there and then or, if they care for their own well being, as most people do, answer ‘Yes, of course I do!”.
How would you react if you found out a public opinion poll of how Iranians feel towards an issue was conducted by an office led by the Supreme Leader’s personal physician’s, US educated son, and another shady former Iranian student who has studied under his supervision?
Well if you had even only a double digit IQ, you will probably say the fabricated poll was not worth the paper it was written on. And if you saw the poll’s results were something along the lines of the following you’d think the same:
Hizballah activists continue to operate freely in Germany and serve as senior employees of a German government-funded theater project intended to aid refugees in the country, according to the Berliner Zeitung daily and reported by the Jerusalem Post.
Two directors of the Refugee Club Impulse (RCI), sisters Nadia and Maryam Grassman, were central organizers of the annual pro-Iran/pro-Hizballah al-Quds Day rally in 2015 featuring “anti-Semitic slogans” and calls for “the abolition of Israel.”
Video and photographic evidence showed Nadia chanting on a loudspeaker while Maryam disseminated fliers and posters and collected donations during the anti-Semitic rally. It is uncertain whether the donations were intended to fund Hizballah’s terrorist operations in Syria and against Israel.
The RCI is expected to receive €100,000 ($113,260 USD) from the German government for the refugee project. Public taxpayer money has been transferred to the organization for several years.
There are roughly 250 active Hizballah operatives in Berlin and a total of 950 Hizballah members throughout Germany, according to a 2014 Berlin intelligence report summarized by the Jerusalem Post. Though the number of Hizballah supporters is believed to be far higher in Germany than listed in the report.
Iran warned the US on Monday that any attempt to encroach on the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile program would constitute the crossing of a “red line.”
“The US calculations about the Islamic Republic and the Iranian nation are fully incorrect,” Iranian Deputy Chief of Staff Brig-Gen Maassoud Jazzayeri was quoted by the Fars News Agency as saying.
“The White House should know that defense capacities and missile power, specially at the present juncture where plots and threats are galore, is among the Iranian nation’s red lines and a backup for the country’s national security and we don’t allow anyone to violate it,” Jazzayeri said.
President Obama is looking at the fires he lit in the Middle East and North Africa, and desperately hoping to salvage something, anything, from the conflagration before he leaves office. Israel will be pushed to provide at least one “victory.”
Iran has come closer to nuclear weapons competence in the past eight years. And Obama’s abandonment of dissidents and pro-democracy advocates in Cuba, Venezuela, China, Turkey and Iran paves the way for waves of repression and bloodshed around the world.
It is estimated that more than 17,000 civilians were killed in Iraq in 2014, four times as many as 2012, after the U.S. withdrew its combat forces. This is a far cry from 2011, when Obama announced the U.S. was leaving a “sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq.”
He needs to find a “success.” Cue the Middle East “peace process.”
WASHINGTON — When Donald Trump made his entrance to the packed Verizon Center on Monday night, the applause from the 18,000 AIPAC conference participants was polite, even warm, but certainly not overwhelming. There was a half roar from the higher reaches of the stadium, and a few isolated cheers.
Unlike the previous speaker, Paul Ryan, Trump did not bound onto the stage. He approached the microphone slowly, even hesitantly. Was the indomitable Republican front-runner perhaps a little nervous about addressing what CNN had described as arguably his most challenging audience?
As it quickly turned out, not a bit.
Trump delivered a river of emphatically pro-Israel sound bites to a crowd that applauded with increasing enthusiasm as he progressed. Soon he was having to pause for brief standing ovations. Then he was giving the thumbs-up signal. Now he was waiting, lips pursed, shoulders shrugging, palms out, as if to say: You know I’m right, and I’m the only one with the guts to say it.
Despite the voluminous and biased reporting about the conclusions that should be drawn from Iran’s recent Majles (Consultative Assembly) elections, the results signify next to nothing. Hundreds of candidates are disqualified from running by the Council of Guardians (COG) if they are judged to be opposed to the current Islamic regime, or on grounds of “moral turpitude” and other reasons that would be irrelevant in a true democracy. When given the limited choice from a thoroughly vetted set of pro-regime candidates, all of whom favor Islamic rule, the people will always vote for the more “liberal” of the alternatives. This is hardly surprising in a country where the existing martial, theocratic order remains highly unpopular.
Whatever the balance in the Majles between hardliners and those members who may be a bit more flexible on some economic and social issues, it matters little. There will always be a significant number of deputies who are former IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) men, and who will hector a President’s cabinet members and political allies about decisions which run afoul of “deep state” institutions.
On Thursday, Iran celebrated the 37th anniversary of its Islamic revolution with great fanfare. To mark the success of the reign of the mullahs, which began in 1979 with the return of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini from exile, Iranians took to the streets to chant “Death to America, Death to Israel,” while waving banners hailing the current despot-cleric, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Normally, this occasion involves a march to the defunct US Embassy, the site of the hostage-taking of American diplomats, to bask in the defeat of the Great Satan at the hands of students loyal to Khomeini.
This year, however, the regime in Tehran had additional and more recent reasons to gloat. The first was the lifting of international sanctions, made possible by Iran’s intransigence during nuclear negotiations. Understanding full well that US President Barack Obama would stoop to any low necessary to achieve a deal with the world’s greatest state sponsor of terrorism, the Iranian hegemons got what they didn’t even have to bargain for.
Washington Post editor-in-chief Marty Baron says that moving forward, the Iranian government’s treatment of Post correspondent Jason Rezaian—who was imprisoned for nearly two years on trumped-up charges before his release last month—will definitely affect how his paper covers Iran. “Right now we’re not in a position to be able to put a correspondent there,” Baron told the Voice of America. “We’ve had no discussions with the Iranian government about having another correspondent there, and we would need some good assurances from the government that a correspondent there would not be arrested, as Jason was.”
If Baron sticks to his guns, the Post probably won’t have a reporter in Iran for quite a while—proving that, from the Iranian government’s point of view, holding Rezaian hostage was a smart move. By jailing Rezaian, the regime shaped how every Western media organization with a correspondent or even a stringer on the ground covered Iran for two years—or the entire duration of the public debate over the Iran Deal. If you wanted to keep your reporter from being tortured in Evin prison, you’d better not print news that made the Iranian government angry.
Baron also noted that there are factions within the regime itself. In the standard reading, there are moderates, like President Hassan Rouhani, and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who oppose hardliners, like the Revolutionary Guard Corps and the office of the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. In this reading, the hardliners are responsible for every bad thing that Iran ever does—from funding terrorism to detaining American sailors. The hardliners do bad things because they’re bad guys and because they’re competing with the moderates. They tossed an American journalist in jail to show the Rouhani clique who really calls the shots, which is why Western journalists were so sympathetic to the moderates and took their side against the hardliners. Except it wasn’t the hardliners who put Rezaian in jail, it was the moderates—because that’s how they won the hearts and minds and terrified the imaginations of the Western media, which played a key role in buttressing their position.
According to Islamic sources, one of the signs of yawm al-qiyamah (Judgment Day) and redemption is the appearance of the False Messiah, masih dajjal, sent by Satan in the guise of the True Messiah. He is charismatic and powerful, his skin is the color of bronze, his hair is curly and his eyes flash fire. He pretends to do good deeds, drawing people to him and making them blindly follow him.
According to the tradition, the False Messiah sows disaster around the world, marking the stage before redemption. The Qur’an says, “You may love something that is bad for you and hate something that is good for you,” a convenient way of cajoling people into doing things they might find distasteful, such as blowing themselves up.
When U.S. President Barack Obama began his presidency and bowed down before the Islamists at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, we thought he would bring redemption to the Arab world. But his meddling in the Middle East has led to the final dissolution of most of the Arab states. The United States has muscled through a “nuclear deal” that the Iranians will not sign. How could one even expect Iran to sign anything with a country they call “the Great Satan?” Would you?
Reformist-backed cleric Hassan Rouhani has won Iran’s presidential election, securing just over 50% of the vote and so avoiding the need for a run-off.
Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf was well behind in second place.
Turnout was estimated at 72.2% among the 50 million Iranians who were eligible to vote to choose a successor to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was ineligible to stand again.
Mr Rouhani has pledged greater engagement with Western powers.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is scheduled to ratify the vote on 3 August.
The new president will then take the oath in parliament.
Ayatollah Khamenei congratulated Mr Rouhani on his victory.