From the Iran Roundup at Enduring America located at:
ITEM: “[In 2009,] the Leader [Khamenei] asked Rahim Safavi [former commander of the Guards] whether he would be prepared to run over people with tanks if they took to streets to revolt. He said yes and the Leader gave him the order.”–former Revolutionary Guards commander Saeed Qassem in a letter to dissident filmmaker Mohammad Reza Nourizad.
Qassem’s other charges and allegations:
— there are still many generals and members of staff within the Revolutionary Guards who are opposed to these crimes and are waiting to join the people.”
— Iran’s nuclear programme is peaceful as a “sheer lie”.
— Ayatollah Khamenei was personally involved in the strict house arrest imposed on 2009 Presidential candidate and opposition figure Mir Hossein Mousavi in February 2011.
–(There are) “germs of corruption” in the Guards and in those overseeing Iran’s economy and politics
OBSERVATION: None of this should come as a surprise to Iranians since it is self-evident that so many crimes could not happen, including those committed by plainclothes thugs who attacked the mosques and homes of clerics and other critics, without Khamenei’s approval. The Supreme Leader found perfect tools in Jafari and Ahmadinejad, ready and willing to murder, but neither man would have dared UNLESS Khamenei gave the “Go get ’em” signal. What’s nice is to have it confirmed from such a source.
QUESTIONS TO PONDER: Does anyone think the General’s anger is unique among officers and men in the IRCG? Does anyone think defections won’t match or exceed those in Syria if a conflict starts? Does anyone doubt Khamenei (run ’em over with tanks) will not attempt the same crimes as Assad? Does anyone suspect the recent “unexpected” deaths of a half-dozen or more IRCG generals in their fifties was murder (recall Khamenei’s old penchant for death squads and innoculations to feign heart attacks (as in Khoumeini’s son). The Moral Exemplar is indeed capable of any crime. I personally believe Iran is even more for defections that Syria and that the ripeness continues to mature with each passing day. Divisions among insiders are also far more advanced. Khamenei has aliented everyone and keeps making it worse.
ITEM: Speaking of divisions, the Wall Street Journal reports major splits among regime insiders about supporting Assad, as EA reports while excluding a bigger excerpt than you’ll find at the WSJ which requiires a subsciption (You’d also be aiding the anti-Obama campaign since WSJ is owned by Rupert Murdoch of Fox News). As usual, Khamenei is the center of the hard-line faction, another indicator of what you can expect from him whenever the uprising starts (surely not long after Assad’s fall).
ITEM:With the price of chicken in Tehran reportedly reaching 8000 Toman per kilogramme (about $3 per pound), Khodnevis offers a tongue-in-cheek photograph and article, “Revolutionary People Defy Sanctions in Tight Enemy-breaking queues for 4650 Toman Chicken”.
If you haven’t read yesterday’s post in which EA’s James Miller argued that the Syria regime is in a state of collapse I strongly recommend starting there because today’s developments offer further suppport for his thesis. Link:
One of the key areas on the very doorstep of the regime, has been heavily shelled today.
From the Guardian’s daily roundup:
Activists in the Kfar Souseh neighbourhood of Damascus said the forces of President Bashar al-Assad were firing mortar rounds into orchards on the outskirts of the city, apparently trying to flush out rebels taking cover there.
The al-Lawan and Basateen districts of Kfar Souseh are a semi-residential area of olive and fruit groves lying astride a major interchange on the capital’s Hafez al-Assad southern bypass highway.
“I woke up this morning and saw helicopters flying over the area. Then I started hearing the mortars. There were about six or seven of them in the past half hour. And now I just heard another one hit. We can see fire and smoke coming from one of the fields nearby,” said anti-government activist Hazem al-Aqad.
“People are terrified, families are getting in their cars and rushing as fast as they can to other areas. About 200 people in my area have left so far,” he told Reuters on Skype.
A Damascus activist named Lina said the shelling had begun at 9:45 a.m. “This is the first time they have shelled Kfar Souseh, (though) they tried to break into it before,” she said.
A third activist source said: “The FSA (rebel Free Syrian Army) are going in and out of the Basateen area in Kfar Souseh. The army has suffered some heavy losses.
What’s important in an attack like this isn’t who takes and hold ground. Attempting to do so would play into the hands of Assad’s military and allow him a crushing victory. The trick is to attack, inflict humiliating damage and fade away The key effect lies in the effect is to shake the confidence of regime insiders and supporters, increasing perceptions of a sinking ship. That accelerates the pace at which the regime crumbles.
Who can now believe regime claims that “Things are under control!” and “We are winning the conflict?!” That’s how you do it, folks. Iranians can learn from Syrians.
From the Syria roundup at Enduring America located at:
ITEM: More mortar fire and fighting in Damascus – now the Local Coordinating Committees report heavy fighting near a military barracks in Sayyedeh Zeinab.
Again, this report suggests that the Free Syrian Army is on the offensive, either as a response to an ongoing series of arrest campaigns that have been taking place in the capital for days, or as a preemptive attack on Assad’s defenses.
ITEM: there is a very curious video, reportedly shows smoke rising near the military airport in Mezzeh (map and link at EA). This video suggests that some sort of attack, or counter attack, has been launched on the Syrian military stationed in the capital.
ITEM: The Institute for the Study of War, a US based think tank, has posted an 8 page assessment of the current situation in Syria which echoes Miller’s assessment of the situation. It too concludes that large portions of the country are now under insurgent control, and that while Assad maintains control over the capital, his authority is being threatened.