Sunday, January 10, 2010

Amil Imani: Empowering Iranians to Dislodge the Mullahs

After the fraudulent June 12, 2009 presidential elections in Iran, Iranians poured into the streets by the millions, chanting, "Where is my vote?"

The thunderous protests were the birth pangs of the Green Movement.

That was six months ago, and the movement has rapidly evolved into a massive force aiming to sweep aside the current regime.

Street slogans have changed from "where is my vote?" to "death to the dictator," in direct reference to Ahmadinejad and the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei.

Longstanding slogans vilifying the U.S. and Israel have been drowned out by slogans against the supporters of the Islamic regime, such as Russia and China.

The brutal Ahmadinejad-Khamenei gang has its back against the wall. Every major Iranian city, its universities, and many workplaces are festooned with graffiti against the leaders of the regime.

The supreme leader, previously presumed above the law of the land, is now loudly proclaimed by the masses as a murderer who has lost the legitimacy of his office. In fact, the very office of the Supreme Guide and the Islamic Republic is soundly rejected by the masses clamoring for an Iranian Republic to replace the Islamic one.

All signs point to an early demise of the Islamic Republic -- and the establishment of a secular democracy completely divorced from Islam.

On December 27, 2009, the day of Ashoura, the world watched in amazement as the masses of brave, fed up people confronted the security forces and hired Basij members of the Islamic Republic and shook its very foundation -- an early indication of the people's determination to bring the mullahcracy to its knees.

It was a day of victory for the people of Iran over the fundamentalists who have had a stranglehold on them for more than three decades. The peaceful protest against the regime by millions throughout the land is a clear signal that the Islamic theocracy is in the midst of an irreversible downfall.

The overwhelming majority of the people are no longer willing to settle for a vote recount or a less repressive Islamic rule. They are determined to establish a fully secular democracy with complete separation of mosque and state.

The Islamic Republic's response to the legitimate, peaceful demands of the people has been to implement an iron fist: beatings of the demonstrators (both men and women), arrests, torture and rape in secret compounds, and even shooting in the streets -- the standard stock of dictatorships, but also the surest way of swelling and solidifying the dissenters' ranks.

The recent uprisings of the people are reminiscent of the 1979 revolution that ended the monarchy in Iran.

A fragmented state led by brutal yet indecisive men is suddenly faced by a fed up and determined opposition. To be sure, the regime still has all the guns and resources, along with unlimited ruthlessness, to prolong its life.

Yet there is no question that the Islamic Republic's demise is a foregone conclusion. It is crumbling from within as well. The previously solid oppressive rule is solid no longer. Deep cracks are popping up in the system and among the contending factions.

Realistically speaking, there is perhaps 10-15 percent of the population that still supports the clerical system to various degrees. Many in this group are government employees, mullahs, and hired elements such as Basiji.

Also, the regime has some backers among the poor, the less educated, and the deeply religious. Yet the alienation from the regime spans the entire spectrum of the Iranian society, with the intelligentsia and the university students leading the determined opposition. Ahmadinejad and Ali Khamenei are greatly despised by the overwhelming majority of Iranians. The two and their functionaries are in deep trouble with the masses, who are going to take them to task before very long.

It is noteworthy that the government exercises maximum brutality on the one hand and is forced to retreat in some respects in other areas. For instance, in response to the unrelenting pressure exerted by the people demanding accountability for the post-election atrocities, the government recently admitted to some of the crimes committed in various prisons by charging twelve jailers with torture and the death of prisoners.

This admission is hugely significant. The mullahs are retreating by punishing their own followers in the hope of placating the populace.

It is not going to work. Unbeknownst to them, the admission reinforces the determination of the protesters and fuels their fire. It also serves to discourage their own followers from carrying out orders of torture and killing in the future. The perpetrators feel that they may be the next sacrificial lambs for the top echelons.

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