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Mohammad Bagheri, Major General in Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (By Tasnim News Agency, CC BY 4.0 Wikimedia Commons)

After a week of violent demonstrations against the regime, over twenty protesters have been killed and hundreds more carted off to Iran's notorious prisons. There some them may be executed and others tortured. Iran's chief of Staff, Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, has declared that the sudden wave of protests has been suppressed - game over. However, his declaration may be wishful thinking according to Analyst Menashe Amir. Skyrocketing prices, rampant unemployment, and a failing economy run by Islamist fanatics will continue to fuel public unrest whether the Ayatollahs like it or not. Iran's young, educated, and ambitious generation face a bleak future and feel they have nothing to lose. Take for example this anguished and telling plea by a single mother whose husband was killed fighting abroad. In the midst of a demonstration she declared: 

'I have three children and no job. My husband was killed fighting in the army. I have no money and have been forced into prostitution in order to feed my children. No one helps me!'

A huge part of Iran's national wealth has been allocated for advancing the theocracy's drive to dominate neighboring Arab Sunni states.

This is not an uncommon case. Hundreds of thousands of Iranian women have been forced into the same plight. Moreover, many young Iranians who are well educated, ambitious, and not Shiite fanatics are fed up with how the Ayatollahs have been running the country. A huge part of Iran's national wealth has been allocated for advancing the theocracy's drive to dominate neighboring Arab Sunni states. Then there's the massive spending on the nuclear weapons project and ICBMs to turn Iran into a nuclear power. Add to this the sanctions that have dealt a body blow to the Iranian economy for years. Moreover, the nuclear deal of 2015 and the easing of sanctions have led to expectations by the Iranian people that their low standard of living would finally improve. However, this has not been the case, the regime has different plans for channeling the inflow of funds to its grandiose Islamist goals abroad. Just look at the map:

  • Lebanon: Iran pours money into Hezbollah, its Shiite proxy that rules the country with the largest army, and threatens Israel with an arsenal of over 100,000 rockets and missiles paid by Tehran. 
  • Syria: For years Iranian military forces have been fighting on behalf of President Bashar Assad. Iran is now planning on turning southern Syria into its forward base against the Jewish state. 
  • Iraq: Iran has expanded its presence in its neighboring state that is now run by a Shiite Government, courtesy of Barack Obama. 
  • Yemen and beyond: Iran is also funding the Houthi rebels in Yemen with the ultimate goal of toppling the Sunni kingdom of neighboring Saudi Arabia. 

All these projects do not come cheap.

Prominent expert on Iran, Menashe Amir

So many Iranians, possibly the silent majority, are asking: 'What about us?' The protests have shown this segment of the population is no longer willing to remain silent. On the other hand, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his cohorts control the military, and in particular the Revolutionary Guards, a powerful military force whose young Islamist fighters enjoy a guaranteed paycheck, and possibly a motorcycle to boot. They are sent to crack down on the secular-minded demonstrators.  Naturally, there is no love lost between these two opposing sectors of the population. In addition, the civil service Islamist loyalists get preference for jobs and promotions. 

Analyst Amir does not rule out the possibility of what has and is transpiring in neighboring Syria, where a despotic regime turned its own army in a horrific war, that included chemical weapons, against its own people in order to remain in power. The Iranian leaders also, along with Russia, participated in this bloodbath. Over 500,000 Syrians have been killed and Amir's nightmare is this could also happen in Iran. 

And who is to blame for the mounting unrest in Iran? Who else but 'the Big and the Little Satans' - the U.S. and Israel. On this score, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has ridiculed the Iranian claim that Israel has played a role in the unrest. President Trump and his UN Ambassador Nikki Halley have expressed support for the demonstrators whereas the West Europeans, as usual, are sitting on the fence. 

Look for the Iranian cauldron to again 'burn and bubble' in the future.

Isracast Outlook: Borrowing from the Bard - look for the Iranian cauldron to again 'burn and bubble' in the future. 

While the Israeli police investigations continue to swirl around Prime Minister Netanyahu, the Likud party is still standing firmly behind him. 'Innocent until proven guilty' is the motto, and rightly so. Nonetheless, the possibility of an early election is making its impact in the Knesset where the coalition parties are vying for support from their traditional voters. Some of them are egregious. 

Take, for example, defense Minister Lieberman's proposal to impose the death penalty for Palestinian terrorists who murder Israelis. The idea is this would deter potential terrorists. However, the Shabak Internal Security Service, that is responsible for fighting terrorism, is opposed to the idea arguing it will be counter-productive. Moreover, simple logic poses the question, how do you deter a terrorist who is a suicide killer in the first place? Bibi, who should know better, supported the bill in order to garner sup[port from Right-wingers.

Then there's the bill by the ultra-orthodox parties that would force the closure of all stores in Tel Aviv, where the overwhelming majority of citizens want them to remain open. This is another 'hutzpa' by the Haredim who try to dictate to secular Jews how to live while most of them live on the dole and refuse to serve in the IDF. The Likud central council also passed a resolution supporting the extension of Israeli law to the settlements on the West Bank- Bibi wisely refused to participate in the meeting. The PM is smart enough to realize that now is not the time to ire President Trump with such a controversial step. 

On this score, Trump is not only cutting US funding for UNESCO due to its repeated and dastardly bashing of the Jewish state but has also warned it will cut its lion's share to UNRWA, the special UN aid organization set up to fund the Palestinian refugees. This in response to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's decision to sever all peace ties with the US after Trump announced Washington's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. 

Israel's Foreign Ministry leaked the idea that this was not a good idea because it could spark wide-scale Palestinian rioting in Gaza and the West Bank that would spill over into Israel. However, Ron Prosor, a highly respected former Israeli Ambassador to the UN, criticized this official Israeli position. Prosor contended that UNRWA is a special UN body set up to maintain the refugee status of the Palestinians and as such it opposes any Palestinian move to resolve the crisis and the end the refugee situation. UNRWA, which employs Palestinians, also indoctrinates Palestinian children to join the struggle to annihilate the Jewish state. The former Israeli diplomat told Israel Radio that the time has come to disband UNRWA and provide another channel for aiding Palestinians. He also noted that of all the various refugees in the world, UNRWA is the only separate UN organization. This was a result of pressure by the pro-Islamic bloc of more than fifty states at the UN. 



Political Analyst David Essing



David Essing

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