Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Failure of Iranian Theocracy Takes Extremists and Fundamentalists by Surprise

June 25th | By: Michael van der Galien

khameneiThe best part of the crisis in Iran, is that extremists and fundamentalists everywhere are panicking. They thought that the Iranian regime would remain in place for years, perhaps decades to come. Tehran has been supporting them - think of Hizbullah, Hamas but also dozens of other fundamentalist and extremist* organizations, newspapers, groups, etc. - since the very start of the Iranian Islamic Revolution back in 1979. They rely heavily on the Mullah’s for spiritual and material support. If Khamenei is removed from power, and replaced by a group of reform-minded clerics and politicians, they have a major problem.

And they know it. Which is why both Hamas and Hizbullah sent fighters to Iran a week ago or so. Reports say that Iranians are aware of this, and even talk to Basij militia members before they beat them up, to find out whether they speak Farsi or Arabic. If it is the latter, they can count on no mercy whatsoever. And rightly so.

The Jerusalem Post published an incredibly fascinating article about this matter. From it:

"Iran spends billions of dollars in different regions for various causes. Iran is the second-largest source of funds in the world, exceeded only by Saudi Arabia, for Islamic causes. From Somalia to Lebanon’s Hizbullah, from Hamas to the Egyptian Shiite movement, Iranian support - whether through direct funding or military and training - will be jeopardized if the theocrats are unseated. So would Iran’s support as a major donor to various proactive Muslim organizations in Europe, North America, and South America. The Iranian government’s role in supporting, training and facilitating the Sudanese Holocaust in Darfur is significant, with only the Chinese playing a larger role."

And that’s exactly why people such as Abdel Bari Atwan, editor of the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi, a pan-Arab newspaper, writes article after article in which he defends the regime, and criticizes the protesters. He fears they will rid themselves of their oppressors, because them doing so would weaken the entire fundamentalist and extremist movement considerably.

"It is certain that those groups and organizations that might expect their funding to be in danger would start lobbying various governments to turn a blind eye to events in Iran. Whether Western politicians have any stomach for this type of lobbying at this point is another topic of discussion. Indeed the global Muslim theocracy movement is in danger at the hands of the Iranian people not only financially, but also in terms of the legitimacy of theocracy as a political system.

It is too early to say what the long-term impact will be, but it is certain that there has been at least a negative psychological impact on the legitimacy of theocracy as a result of the Iranian protests. There may be those who will try to spin the story and claim that the people of Iran still support theocracy and their beef is only with the election and Ahmadinejad. One can say with certainty that for the first few days the Iranian people tried to manage this evolution leaving some wiggle room for the supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei. But as of last Friday the gloves were off. With Ayatollah Khamenei showing no restraint, people started chanting “death to Khamenei”, a sign of the realization that they could even go further and let the world know what they really want: the abolition of theocracy in Iran.

Whether the brave people of Iran are successful in their aspirations to live without theocratic rule is unknown. However, it can be said with certainty that their efforts have changed the face of the theocracy movement not only within Iran, but also globally."

To me, that’s the most significant effect of the crisis in Iran.

The Mullahs have proved that their ideology is not merely radical, but also weak and opposed by the majority of Iranians. They rule by the point of a gun, as every extremist group has to. They don’t have support. When push comes to shove, they stand alone. And that is how it will always be. That’s a major setback for fundamentalists everywhere, and that’s also why it’s so important that world news organizations and blogs show this truth - that the Mullahs have failed because their ideology is both wicked and weak - to everyone out there.

*Fundamentalist and extremist are not per definition the same. Extremists do not merely wish to live according to a fundamentalist interpretation of their religion, they also want others to do so, and are even willing to use violence to reach their goal.

Source: PoliGazette

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