Iranians hate Saudis and Egyptians. It’s the old story of Shias versus Sunnis. Khamenei now dreams of bombing Kaaba and Suez Canal! Nevertheless, a number of nations have been engaged in intense diplomatic efforts to find a solution to the escalating crisis between Qatar, protected by Iran, and a group of Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Stand-up comedian Erdoğan spoke by phone with the leaders of Qatar, Russia, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia in a bid to ease the crisis. The importance of regional peace and stability was underlined in the talks, as well as the importance of focusing on the path of diplomacy and dialogue to lower the current tension.
The Saudi-led group cut ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing the gas-rich Gulf country of supporting extremism. Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and the Maldives joined the bloc in severing relations with Qatar, accusing Doha of harboring terrorist and sectarian groups that aim to destabilize the region including the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic State, and al-Qaeda.
After the talks between corrupt terrorist Erdoğan and Putin, the Kremlin said both leaders called for dialogue and compromise. “The two presidents discussed the developments around Qatar and called on all interested countries to engage in dialogue with a view to reaching a compromise for the sake of preserving peace and stability in the Persian Gulf area,” the Kremlin said in a statement. “It was emphasized that the grave crisis in the Middle East requires well-orchestrated efforts and close coordination of the international community in fighting the terrorist threat,” it added.
Trump told us on June 6 that he warned against funding radical ideology during his trip to the Middle East and that leaders there pointed to Qatar, appearing to take credit for Arab countries’ split as his administration was trying to resolve the dispute. “During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar – look!” Trump told us.
The United Arab Emirates said on June 6 that Qatar would need to provide a guaranteed roadmap before it would consider mending ties. “We need a guaranteed roadmap to rebuild confidence after our covenants were broken,” UAE state minister for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash told us. Gargash accused Doha of turning to money and media and partisanship and extremism. Qatar has denied the allegations.
Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah left for Saudi Arabia on June 6 for talks aimed at resolving a diplomatic crisis between Qatar and other Arab nations. The emir left for the western port city of Jeddah at the head of a high-level delegation including the foreign and information ministers. The Kuwaiti ruler played a pivotal role in mediating a compromise in a 2014 diplomatic dispute between Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Gulf states.
Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, has delayed a speech planned for broadcast on Al-Jazeera at the request of the Kuwaiti ruler, the Qatari foreign minister said. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain revoked the licenses of Qatar Airways and ordered its offices to close within 48 hours.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif urged the parties to engage in dialogue to resolve their dispute.
Ayatollah Seyed Hossein Kazemeini Boroujerdi is a high-ranking prominent dissident clergyman in Iran. He has strongly called for separation of religion and state, and he condemns Islamic radicalism, fundamentalism, and terrorism. He is opposed to political Islam and the rule of Velayet-e-Faqih (Islamic custodianship over people), the theocratic system that governs Iran. Boroujerdi has many supporters and is known as Iran’s Mandela.
Boroujerdi has long advocated for the abolishment of execution, and cruel, inhumane, and degrading punishments; such as torture, stoning and whipping. He rejected anti-Semitism and advocated religious freedom. He established charities and welfare centers to help the poor and assist victims of natural disasters. He condemned personal financial gain from religious activities. His call has been welcomed by an increasing number of followers to the point that, until his arrest, his gatherings surpassed the theocracy’s organized ceremonies, by their sheer size and numbers.
Ever since Iran’s mullahs rose to power in 1979 and established an “Islamic Republic”, they have worked to consolidate power both at home and abroad. Given Iran’s growing belligerence toward its neighbors, persistent crackdowns on domestic dissidents, and frightening nuclear ambitions, foreign analysts often talk about the possibility of regime change in Tehran. But there is very little understanding of the obstacles to dethroning the mullahs — namely, that the entire power structure and most of civil society is centralized under the personal control of the Supreme Leader. In this way, Iran’s dictatorship is every bit as entrenched as North Korea’s, making the idea of traditional regime change a pipe dream.
The mullahs created a regime — an entrenched revolution — specifically designed to resist change or reform, adopting a unique theocratic structure that uses both Islamic ideology and brutal force to maintain absolute power.
The official name of this system is Velayat-e Faqih, custodianship of the clergy, and it places all religious and legal authority in the hands of the Supreme Leader. What this means, in both theory and in practice, is that the Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei, like Ruhollah Khomeini before him, plays a direct role in all the country’s affairs; and no individual, group, or committee in the country has the right to question or hold him accountable.
Khamenei exercises his authority through a morass of official-sounding bureaucratic organs, including the “Guardian Council”, “Expediency Council”, “Supreme Council of Leader, “Supreme National Security Council”, “Strategic Council of Foreign Policy”, and of course a “Council of Cultural Revolution”. What one must understand is that the membership of every single one of these organizations is personally approved by the Supreme Leader. Indeed, any individual, or coalition of individuals who might serve as a check on his absolute power is, in fact, completely beholden to Khamenei’s whims, making him the most complete and powerful dictator on the planet — perhaps exceeding even Kim Jong-un in unrivaled control of North Korea.
The Guardian Council is the Khamenei’s most important instrument; it has titular oversight of both the executive and legislative branches. All candidates for presidential or parliamentary election must be approved by this council, allowing him to exert his personal control over the outcome of elections. Likewise, all acts of parliament and new legislation must be confirmed by the Guardian Council.
Even decisions of the Guardian Council are subject to the Grand Ayatollah’s veto; he reserves the right to reject legislation or winning candidates. And some decisions, like senior judicial appointments, do not go through the Council at all. Meanwhile, the entire domestic and foreign financial system is controlled through a parallel system of committees and “foundations” which are likewise under Khamenei’s personal control.
While the Khamenei is the commander-in-chief of all the armed forces, his most feared weapon is the parallel army founded by his predecessor: the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Fiercely loyal to the Supreme Leader and brutally ruthless, the IRGC is lethally efficient in protecting the regime at home and exporting the “revolution” abroad, in places as varied as Yemen and South America.
As commander-in-chief of all armed forces Khamenei appoints the joint chiefs of staff, commander of the IRGC, and senior commanders of the army and all security forces, making the possibility of a military coup extremely unlikely.
Iranian civil society is an illusion; all of the government and by extension most of the private sector are mere extensions of the Grand Ayatollah’s personal will. Velayat-e Faqih is the only state ideology; the only differences of opinion are about how it should be implemented.
Therefore, elections in this regime are not indicative of any form of democracy. Instead, they are merely a process of choosing among individuals vetted by the Supreme Leader. There are no factions based upon ideological differences, there is mere jockeying for position and the personal favor of the Supreme Leader.
Traditional regime change in Iran is inconceivable. The Western obsession of labeling the regime’s factions as reformists or hardliners is laughable. There is but one regime, and it has no interest in reform. This regime will only change if the entire Supreme Leadership structure, along with all its linked organs, especially the IRGC, are annulled and dissolved. Otherwise, whether the president is the “hardliner” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or the reformist Hassan Rouhani, the regime’s policies will remain the same.
Western governments’ policy of providing concessions to the Iranian regime in order to empower reformist factions is based on a fantasy, a fantasy which the Iranian regime deliberately encourages in order to fool naïve foreign leaders into easing sanctions and turning a blind eye to the nuclear program. In reality, Western concessions are strengthening Khamenei, further reducing the possibility of change, and increasing the likelihood of outright war.
Iran is using new methods of recruiting and training children through its paramilitary militia group, Basij, one of the five branches of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The children, as young as eight years old, are trained to hate the US and Israel and to attack their enemies in the West, as well as to oppose Western values.
One of Iran’s tactics has been to air promotional video clips on its state media outlets to seduce children. The training and teachings inspire hatred in these young children, through rampant anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism, and focus on damaging the national security of the Unites States (“the Great Satan”) and Israel (“the Little Satan”).
At Mashad’s theme park, “City of Games for Revolutionary Children,” children are trained to engage in wars against the US and Israel. They fire bullets through US and Israeli flags or at effigies such as that of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
After registering, children don military uniforms and split up into groups of 8-10. They are accompanied by a ‘commander’ whom they pledge to obey. They then go through 12 activity stations, which include simulations of the Iran-Iraq war, a ‘Revolution chamber,’ defending various holy shrines, and traversing a minefield with barbed wire. Along the way, they are told about the directives of the Imam (Ayatollah Ruhollah) Khomeini and Supreme Leader Khamenei.
Iran is not only seducing children, but has actually repeatedly used children in wars, for example, assigning them tasks such as clearing minefields. Iran’s actions are a direct violation of international humanitarian law that is defined as a war crime by the International Criminal Court. According to the United Nations: Human rights law declares 18 as the minimum legal age for recruitment and use of children in hostilities. Recruiting and using children under the age of 15 as soldiers is prohibited under international humanitarian law – treaty and custom – and is defined as a war crime by the International Criminal Court. Parties to conflict that recruit and use children are listed by the Secretary-General in the annexes of his annual report on children and armed conflict.