Sunday, December 27, 2009

Iranian Protests - Brutal Suppression of Protests on Shia Mourning Day of Ashura

Gateway Pundit posted this shocking video of a group of Iranian protesters rescuing several men as they were being hung by the brutal Iranian regime. Doug Ross posted the graphic still photographs that capture the sheer brutality of a regime desperate to contain a rebellion that refuses to be contained:

Iran News Now has a lengthy live blog post filled with videos and still shots from the streets of Iran as the Iranian people protested on the Shia mourning day of Ashura. At the conclusion of the blog post, there is a summary of events leading up to the events in Iran on December 27, 2009. Could this be the tipping point:

This year’s Ashura proves to be a very potent one in Iran, with anticipation built-up over six months of protests since the rigged Iran election in which Ahmadinejad was declared the winner by the regime, with the blessing of the so-called Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei.

Protests for Ashura were already planned by the opposition in multiple cities, when last week, the dissendent cleric, Grand Ayatollah Montazeri passed away. Montazeri was positioned by the founder of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, to succeed Khomeini as Supreme Leader, but he had a falling out with Khomeini over the mass execution of dissidents in the late 80s. Khamenei (not the same as Khomeini!) became the Supreme Leader instead. But Khamenei lacked the religious credentials of Montazeri, so in an attempt to silence him, Khamenei had Montazeri placed under house arrest, and severely limited Montazeri’s ability to continue his religious teachings (though he managed to do so anyway). After the rigged elections, Montazeri was very vocal against the excesses of Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, stating that the government of Ahmadinejad was illegitimate.

When Montazeri passed away last week, millions of people took to the streets in mourning, mixing chants of mourning with anti-governmnt slogans. The government was virtually helpless in stopping the processions. Khamenei made the mistake of issuing a half-assed statement of condolence over the passing of Montazeri, in which he said that Montazeri had paid for “failing an important test”, a reference to his moderate views and vocal dissent. This caused tremendous anger in Iran, where most people view Montazeri as a stalwart supporter of the opposition seeking more freedoms for the people, and as a staunch dissident against Khamenei.

The brutal government-sanctioned crackdowns since the elections in June, in which we saw Neda Agha Soltan shot to death by a Basiji, along with thousands savagely attacked by the regime, combined with atrocities such as beatings, rape, torture and murder of protesters was cause enough for people to unleash their angst against the regime during Ashura. Add to that the fact that it is the seventh day after Montazeri’s passing and you have an extremely potent mix. This could be the tipping point.

Aljazeera is reporting that the nephew of Mir Hussein Mousavi is among those killed in the protests. While the final count of those who died in protest of the Iranian regime widely believed to have been elected through fraudulent means. It is clear from the widespread coverage of the insurgency on the internet that Iranian police have lost control of the streets in at least some sections of Iran.

The Obama administration appears to have learned some lessons from the days of silence that followed the insurgency immediately following the election in June. Shortly after 3PM Eastern, the administration condemned the brutal repression of the protests by the Iranian thugs Obama had hoped to negotiate with:

"We strongly condemn the violent and unjust suppression of civilians in Iran seeking to exercise their universal rights," National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said in a statement.

"Hope and history are on the side of those who peacefully seek their universal rights, and so is the United States.

"Governing through fear and violence is never just, and as President Obama said in Oslo -- it is telling when governments fear the aspirations of their own people more than the power of any other nation."

In the same report from AFP:

On June 15, Obama, who came to office vowing to engage the Islamic Republic, said he was "deeply troubled" by violence in Iran, but warned he did not want the United States to become a "political football" in the post-election crisis.

In subsequent days, Obama hardened the US line as violence escalated and critics accused him of giving insufficient backing to anti-government demonstrators.

Obama has given Iran until the end of this year to respond to an international offer to defuse the nuclear showdown or face tough new sanctions.

Will update with news as it develops. Follow developments at Memeorandum

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