The Coalition of Iranian Opposition Groups.

 

Press Release

Subject: Announcing the Coalition of Iranian Opposition Groups.

July 1, 2018

On June 30, 2018 Iranians from across the world, free from the yoke of the mullahs, joined in Paris, in an annual event “Free Iran; The Alternative” hosted by the National Council of Resistance of Iran. A bomb threat occurred at the event seemingly planned by a regime diplomat from Austria. US Representatives were Rudi Giuliani, Newt Gingrich and John Bolton who spoke in support of the Iranian Opposition Movement.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran is an Iranian political organization based in France and chaired by Maryam Rajavi, the widow of Masoud Rajavi, the founder of the NCRI. The organization has appearance of a broad-based coalition, however many analysts consider NCRI and Islamic Marxist People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK) to be synonymous and an umbrella organization for Iranian opposition groups. The NCRI represents a very small group/percentage of Iranian dissidents and appears to lack very little support inside Iran. NCRI presents itself is an umbrella organization of Iranian dissident groups that shared a common opposition to the Ayatollah Khomeini and the Islamic Republic of Iran. It was founded in Paris in 1981 by Masoud Rajavi, the leader of the MEK/PMOI/MKO, and Abol-Hassan Banisadr. Since 1983, it has been exclusively controlled by the MEK… The NCRI’s United States operation was listed previously as a foreign terrorist organization but was removed from that list by the State Department four years ago.

The purpose of this press release is to redirect the focus and attention of the US Representatives and the State Department to the new broader Coalition of Iranian Opposition Groups that conducted their first meeting on June 9th that convened at George Washington University. The Coalition represented the many and varied cultural groups that comprise the Iranian population such as representatives of Iranian Kurds, Azeris, Baluchies and Arabs. The conference attracted a significant number of highly regarded former US officials and former senior military personnel. Dr Alireza Nourizadeh, the director of Centre for Iran and Arab Studies and Executive Director of Iran Farda TV opened the conference stating the primary goal of this first meeting of Iran’s opposition group would be to unite all opposition parties against the Islamic Republic under the overarching framework of One Flag, One Nation, One Iran. “The conference in its essence was the first stepping stone to demonstrate the unity and solidarity of different Iranian opposition groups against the Islamic Republic. All participants stressed the shared values of unity and equality and joining forces to protect Iran’s territorial as well as national integrity and dignity”, emphasized Dr Nourizadeh. Dr Shahrokh Mireskandari, a co-organizer of the conference, also addressed the gathering by stressing that the conference would be a focal point in realizing the fragile situation that the Islamic Republic is gripped with and pointed out the importance of improving human rights in Iran, mending bridges between Iranian people and the US as well as furthering efforts aimed at positive role of Iran in the region. For many decades, the quest for democracy in Iran has been overshadowed by the perceived notion of Iran’s potential disintegration should all citizens’ fully exercise their socio-political and cultural rights.

The other main message of the conference was to ensure that all ethnic Iranian opposition groups agreed to pursue the common goal of removing the current discriminatory constitution and replace it with a free and fair national constitution guaranteeing every Iranian citizens’ right regardless of their ethnicity, religion or orientation under one umbrella. President Trump’s pulling out from Iran’s nuclear deal dubbed as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Actions (JCPOA), along with Iran’s increasing regional interferences and support of terrorist groups, has brought the US administration to a realization that the Islamic Republic in its current form and shape has two options, only: Either to fundamentally change behavior on a verifiable basis or be removed from power so an inclusive and national transitional government could be introduced by all Iranians ending the tyranny of the Islamic Republic. The conference also recognized the legitimacy of working with powerful international partners to build up a global consensus against the Islamic Republic while safeguarding that such collaboration would ensure Iran’s national integrity and dignity. It is recommended that President Trump and Secretary Pompeo focus its support for the new Coalition as it represents a very broad support of the multiple Iranian Opposition groups and not just the NCRI.

 

Contact: Paul E Vallely MG, US Army (Ret) Chairman, Stand Up America US Foundation Chairman – Legacy National Security Advisory Group Co – Trustee , Soldiers Memorial Fund Foundation

E-Mail: standupamericausa1@gmail.com

Web/Blog: www.standupamericaus.org

Phone (c): 406 890-4201

Skype: paulvallely

 

 

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The Coalition of Iranian Opposition Groups Press Release

 

All right triangles are congruent.

The Coalition of Iranian Opposition Groups Press Release

Monday, July 02, 2018

The first meeting of the Coalition of Iranian Opposition Groups for the first time convened in George Washington University on June 9.

In addition to Iranian opposition groups, the conference also attracted a significant number of highly regarded former US politicians and former senior military personnel some of whom advising the White House. In the conference and for the first time, representatives of Iranian Kurds, Azeris, Baluchies and Arabs took part.

Dr Alireza Nourizadeh, the director of Centre for Iran and Arab Studies and Executive Director of Iran Farda TV opened the conference stating the primary goal of this first meeting of Iran’s opposition group would be to unite all opposition parties against the Islamic Republic under the overarching framework of One Flag, One Nation, One Iran.

“The conference in its essence, was the first stepping stone to demonstrate the unity and solidarity of different Iranian opposition groups against the Islamic Republic. All participants stressed on the shared values of unity and equality and joining forces to protect Iran’s territorial as well as national integrity and dignity”, emphasized Dr Nourizadeh.

Dr Shahrokh Mireskandari, a co-organizer of the conference, also addressed the gathering by stressing that the conference would be a focal point in realizing the fragile situation that the Islamic Republic is gripped with and pointed out the importance of improving human rights in Iran, mending bridges between Iranian people and the US as well as furthering efforts aimed at positive role of Iran in the region.

For many decades, the quest for democracy in Iran has been overshadowed by the perceived notion of Iran’s potential disintegration should all citizens’ fully exercise their socio-political and cultural rights. The other main message of the conference was, to ensure that all ethnic Iranian opposition groups agreed to pursue the common goal of removing the current discriminatory constitution and replace it with a free and fair national constitution guarantying every Iranian citizens’ right regardless of their ethnicity, religion or orientation under one umbrella.

President Trump’s pulling out from Iran’s nuclear deal dubbed as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Actions (JCPOA), along with Iran’s increasing regional interferences and support of terrorist groups has brought the the US administration to a realisation that the Islamic Republic in its current form and shape has two options, only:
Either to fundamentally change behaviour on a verifiable basis or be removed from power so an inclusive and national transitional government could be introduced by all Iranians ending the tyranny of the Islamic Republic.

The conference also, recognized the legitimacy of working with powerful international partners to build up a global consensus against the Islamic Republic while safeguarding that such collaboration would ensure Iran’s national integrity and dignity.

Below is the list of speakers at the conference:

1. Rt. Major General Richard Secord
2. Rt. Major General Paul Vallely
3. Colonel Mike Stevens, Senior Middle East Analyst
4. Dr Alireza Nourizadeh, Centre for Iran and Arab
5. Dr Shahrokh Mireskandari, Lawyer and Political Activist
6. Mr George Cave, Former State Department Advisor
7. Mr Abdullah Mohtadi, Secretary General of Iran’ Komoleh Party of Kurdistan
8. Ms. Katayoun Yazdani, Philanthropist
9. Dr Shahria Ahy, Senior Political Adviser
10. Joe Kauffman, Republican nominee for Congress from Florida
11. Ms Sherry Raz, Institute for Open Middle East
12. Dr Zia Sadr, Distinguished Azeri writer
13. Mr Houshang Kordestani, Iran National Front
14. Dr Reza Hosseinbor, United Baluchistan Front
15. Dr Karim Abdian, Politcal Adviser, Ahvaz SDemocratic Party
16. Mr Fariborz Bakhtiary, Iran Tribes Council
17. Naser Boladai, Baluch People Party

 

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Shanghai Summit May Prove More Important Than The Trump-Kim Meeting


Shanghai Summit May Prove More Important Than The Trump-Kim Meeting

LAWRENCE SELLIN

Retired Colonel, U.S. Army Reserve

10:53 PM 06/12/2018

Overshadowed in the U.S. media by the Singapore meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the 2018 Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit, held in Qingdoa, China on June 9–10, may have far greater strategic significance.

Established in 2001, the SCO is a Eurasian political, economic, and security organization, which now has eight member states; China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and India. Aspiring member states include; Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, Mongolia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey.

In his opening remarks, chairman of the meeting, Chinese President Xi Jinping offered several specific proposals reflecting China’s strategic objectives.

First, President Xi recommended that Eurasian countries focus on China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) “to build a powerful engine to achieve common development and prosperity.” It is understandable why he would do so.

BRI is China’s blueprint for global dominance is a development plan: a program of infrastructure projects and a network of commercial agreements designed to link the world directly to the Chinese economy through inter-connected land-based and maritime routes. The area initially targeted by Beijing, Eurasia, represents two-thirds of the world’s population and one-half of the worldwide Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

BRI is soft power projection with an underlying hard power component: a comprehensive China-centered economic, financial and geopolitical web with far-reaching, cascading consequences affecting American national interests. It is not just resource acquisition or utilization of China’s industrial over-capacity, but its projects are specifically designed to ensure economic and, eventually, military dominance.

The linchpin of BRI is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the backbone of which is a transportation route that connects China to the Pakistani ports of Gwadar and Karachi on the Arabian Sea. It is why China’s “all-weather ally”, Pakistan, has been dutifully working to hasten U.S. exit from Afghanistan through its support of the Taliban and the Haqqani network, as well as maintaining Pakistan’s stranglehold on the supply of our troops to landlocked Afghanistan.

Second, in order to “facilitate peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan,” President Xi said, “we need to give full play to the role of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group,” which recently held a meeting in Beijing including Russia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. The SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group will likely become the vehicle to remove the U.S. from Afghanistan.

Third, President Xi emphasized the need “to expand partnership networks of international cooperation,” particularly “by engaging in dialogue with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and other international financial institutions.“

Not only was the IMF present at this year’s SCO Summit, but it was the first time the World Bank was seated with the inner circle of SCO members. In addition, China offered to extend its “debt trap” practice by announcing an additional $4.7 billion in potential loans through the SCO Inter-bank Consortium. No doubt additional cash will be needed by BRI countries like Pakistan, which devalued its currency for the third time since December and could explain the presence of the IMF and the World Bank at the SCO Summit. International financial institutions may provide supplementary monetary resources to support China’s global ambitions.

In contrast, it would be surprising if anything comparably significant arose from the Trump-Kim meeting in Singapore. Since before the Korean War, North Korea has had the same two objectives: survival of the regime and reunification of the Korean peninsula under North Korean rule. It is difficult to imagine any major U.S. proposal not ultimately contributing to the extinction of North Korea and the Kim dynasty.

Only time will tell, but the U.S. may again become the victim of North Korean subterfuge, while its mentor, China, quietly orchestrates a major strategic shift.

Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is a retired colonel with 29 years of service in the US Army Reserve and a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Article

 

“Iran first submitted an official application for SCO observer status on 25 February 2005. Iran’s interest in upgrading its SCO observer status to full membership dates back to March 2008, when it first applied for upgrading its status. Not surprisingly, beset by rhetoric about a possible Israeli attack against its nuclear facilities and the ongoing disintegration of neighboring Iraq, Iran’s quest for SCO full membership can be seen as an additional layer of international diplomatic “life insurance.” On Nov. 12, 2011, Iranian Supreme National Security Council’s Secretary Assistant Ali Bageri reiterated that Iran was again seeking full SCO membership, telling journalists in Moscow, “We have already submitted a relevant application.”

Security agenda is a top SCO priority, with many of its policy documents delineating joint approaches to terrorism, separatism, and extremism threats. The main coordinating bodies for security cooperation are the Secretariat of the SCO in Beijing and the Regional Counterterrorist Structure based in Tashkent. Russia and China share a commonality with their fellow SCO members about rising Islamic militancy in Eurasia, but after that their security concerns diverge, with Russia primarily looking westward toward NATO’s eastward expansion, while beyond Xinjiang, China’s security concerns are largely to the east, in the South China Sea and most notably, over U.S. policy toward Taiwan and possible disruptions of Chinese maritime energy imports from the Middle East by U.S. Navy ships based in the western Pacific.”

Article

The SCO Celebrations after the rendering of the U.S. telecommunications infrastructure and defense apparatus:

August 18-25, 2005China-Russia held their first joint anti-terror military exercises code-named “Peace Mission-2005.” The one-week maneuver involved 10,000 troops from the two countries.  Also called Sino-Russian wargames.

August 9-17, 2007: SCO joint military exercises (Sino-Russian Wargames) code-named ‘Peace Mission-2007’ included 6 SCO member countries and took place in the Ural mountain region of Russia and China.  It was the SCO’s largest to date.

Article

 

 

How realistic is regime change in Iran? How and when Can it happen?

 

How realistic is regime change in Iran? How and when Can it happen?

By

MG Paul Vallely, US Army (Ret)

We have a President and Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo who are committed to regime change in Tehran, Iran sooner rather than later!

If many of the preconditions for regime change are in place, is the time right in the near future? To this the answer is yes, if, a realistic strategy and foreign policy is developed. And it will certainly require a well-organized and funded coalition that can draw from all supporters inside and outside of Iran for a new, free democratic Iran.

Without underestimating the power in the hands of the mullahs, the truth is that Iran today. Iran is passing through “the deepest crisis the nation has experienced in decades” and is further isolating the country from its neighbors and other nations. A new future must come into being for the younger generations as well as the older generations. Policies since the late 70s have produced nothing but grief for much of Iran’s population. A number of protests took place recently in Iran that received almost no attention anywhere other than inside the country itself. These events occurred in peripheral cities that suffer from rising unemployment, lack of infrastructure, increases in the cost of living, extreme climatic conditions, and air pollution. These cities are marginalized in Iran’s public discourse, which is reflected in an allocation of resources that is not commensurate with the needs of the residents – most of whom are classified as “ethnic minorities”. In those residents’ eyes, government policy is negligent and inattentive to their distress. Large-scale violent demonstrations took place recently in the Iranian city of Kazerun, which is under the jurisdiction of the Fars Province. They were the collective response of residents to publication of a plan for a new administrative division of Fars that intends to remove two densely populated areas from the jurisdiction of the Kazerun municipality and grant them independent status (a sub-province called Koh-Chenar). Underlying the protests is the plight of many residents of the province who have long suffered from difficult working and living conditions. The administrative partition proposal served as a spark that ignited flames of frustration over government neglect.

The fall in value of the Iranian currency—despite rising oil revenues—and the massive increase in the rate of unemployment over the past decade signal an economic crisis already heralded by double-digit inflation. In some cases, the government has been unable to pay its employees—including over 600,000 teachers—on time. We understand that there is a great transfer of money out of Iran, much of it coming to the US and other countries. Money laundering in South America has been validated. So, the question is, “What is happening in Iran? At the start of the new Iranian year, it was having difficulty financing over half of its projects, forcing hundreds of private contractors into bankruptcy. Meanwhile, fear of an international crisis over the nuclear issue, and the possibility of new sanctions imposed by the U.S., have put a damper on the economy’s

Pompeo left open the possibility of a new deal, but one based on 12 conditions—including a full halt to all uranium enrichment, withdrawal of Iranian forces from Syria, and an end to support for groups like Hezbollah, the Houthis, and Shiite militias in Iraq—that the current regime would never support. The idea may seem to be that the U.S. will simply continue to ramp up the pressure until the regime capitulates. Any plan must not follow and be close to the neoconservative impulses of the George W. Bush administration people. Or for that manner, follow any of the Obama failed policies that had no specific strategy to assist the Iranian people in their quest for freedom and democracy. Pompeo argued that recent economic protests in Iran are evidence of public anger at a regime that “reaps a harvest of suffering and death in the Middle East at the expense of its own people.”

In a brief question-and-answer postlude with Heritage Foundation President Kay Cole James, Pompeo came even closer to calling for an uprising, saying, “At the end of the day, the Iranian people will decide the timeline. At the end of the day, the Iranian people will get to make a choice about their leadership. If they make the decision quickly, that would be wonderful. If they choose not to do so, we will stay hard at this until we achieve the outcomes that I set forward today.”

Given that there’s almost no chance of Iran meeting the Trump administration’s conditions, the hope seems to be that the Iranian people will take matters into their own hands. This is an enormously risky strategy. Many Iranians who are highly critical of their government’s policies are also resistant to foreign interference in their domestic politics. The regime already depicts anti-government demonstrations as American-inspired regime-change efforts. Pompeo just endorsed that depiction.

Why does the Islamic Republic behave as it does? The answer is that, as the spearhead of a revolutionary cause, it can do no other. The Islamic Republic is unlike any of the regimes in its environment, or indeed anywhere in the world. Either it will become like them—i.e., a nation-state—or it will force them to become like itself. As a normal nation-state, Iran would have few major problems with its neighbors or with others. As the embodiment of the Islamic Revolution, it is genetically programmed to clash not only with those of its neighbors who do not wish to emulate its political system but also with other powers as Iran continues as a threat to regional stability and world peace.

As the Islamic Republic continues to behave as it does it will be impossible for others, including the United States, to consider it a partner, let alone a friend or ally. This does not exclude talks, or even periods of relative détente, as happened with the USSR during the cold war. But just as the Soviet Union remained an enemy of the free world right up to the end, so the Islamic Republic will remain an enemy until it once more becomes a responsible nation-state.

How, then, should one deal with Iran in its current phase? There are several options. The most obvious is to do nothing. Among the attractions of this option is that, at least theoretically, it would deny the Islamic Republic the chance to cast itself as the grand defender of Islam against the depredations of the “infidel” camp led by the United States. It would also allow internal tensions in Iran to come to the forefront.

A robust and coordinated American posture on the economic, diplomatic, political, and moral fronts is creating forceful pressure on the current leadership and inspire new courage in its opponents, this coalition being an example. There is no denying that the mechanics of regime change are a delicate and often highly chancy matter, and that the historical record offers examples of failure as well as of success. But there is also no denying that the game is worth the candle. Accelerating the collapse and replacement of this aberrant tyranny, a curse to the Iranian people and to the world, will strike a blow against anti-Western and anti-democratic forces all over the globe, safeguard America’s strategic interests in the Middle East and beyond, and add another radiant page to the almanac of American support for the cause of freedom.

But the risk in the do-nothing option is clear. Interpreting it yet another sign of weakness on the part of its adversaries, the Islamic Republic may hasten its program to “export the revolution” around the Middle East and, more importantly, develop a credible arsenal of nuclear weapons. The result would be an even bigger challenge to the regional balance of power and to the world.

An alternative to the do-nothing option is the one favored, today as yesterday, by the apostles of dialogue: namely, to reach an accommodation with the Islamic Republic on its terms, in the hope that this will somehow, in time, help to modify its behavior. What matters, they say, is to engage the Islamic Republic as a partner in international arrangement that, over an unspecified period, will end up imposing restraints on its overall behavior.

The risk here is equally obvious. Having won an initial concession from the “infidels,” the leadership would instantly and reflexively demand more. After all, dreams of conquering the world in the name of Islam, just as Hitler aimed to do in the name of the Aryan master race and the USSR in the name of Communism.

Proponents of “dialogue” like to cite the “Nixon in China” moment as a model for dealing with the Islamic Republic. But they forget two facts. The first is that, during Nixon’s presidency, the initiative for normalizing relations came not from the United States but from China, which was then trying to recast itself as a nation-state among nation-states. The Islamic Republic is not in that position, or anywhere near it. In fact, precisely because it bases its legitimacy as a revolutionary power on the teachings of Islam, something it does not fully control in doctrinal terms, it cannot abandon its revolutionary pretensions as easily as did the Maoists in Beijing, who “owned” their own ideology and could alter it at will.

There remains another option: regime change. The very mention of this term drives some people up the wall, inspiring images of an American invasion, a native insurgency, suicide bombers, and worse. But military intervention and pre-emptive war are not the only means of achieving regime change. Covert, information warfare or as I like to call it, strategic Psychological operations. and intelligence operations will be critical.

What matters is to be intellectually clear about the issue at hand. The U.S. and Middle East will not be safe if Iran, a key country in a region of vital importance to the world economy and to international stability, remains the embodiment of the Khomeini’s cause. Nor can the U.S. allow the Khomeini’s movement, itself a version of global Islamism, to achieve further political or diplomatic gains at the expense of the Western democracies.

The most immediate action by Tehran would be to strengthen the mullahs and demoralize all those inside Iran who have a different vision of their country’s future and an active desire to bring it about. In 1937 and 1938, many professional army officers in Germany, realizing that Hitler was leading their nation to disaster, had begun to discuss possible ways of getting rid of him. But the Munich “peace” accords negotiated by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain handed Hitler a diplomatic triumph and, with it, a degree of international legitimacy that, from then on, any would-be putschists could hardly ignore.

In the Middle East, this story has been repeated many times. The West helped Gamal Abdel Nasser transform the Suez fiasco into a political triumph, thereby encouraging an even bigger and, for Egypt, more disastrous, war in 1967. The 1991 ceasefire that allowed Saddam Hussein to remain in power in Baghdad, interpreted by him as a signal of American weakness, emboldened him quickly to eliminate his domestic opponents and to begin preparations for a bigger war against the “infidel.” After the first al-Qaeda attack on New York’s World Trade Center in 1993, President Clinton dispatched a string of envoys to Afghanistan to strike a bargain with Mullah Muhammad Omar and the Taliban. Not only, to quote the Taliban foreign minister, was this seen as “a sign of weakness by the Crusader-Zionists,” and one that immensely enhanced the prestige of al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, but it discouraged the anti-Taliban forces, many of whom concluded there was no point in fighting a foe backed by the world’s only superpower.

That is the effect that reaching an accommodation with the regime will have on Iran’s own democrats and reformers. And it will have the same weakening effect on the growing democratic movement elsewhere in the Middle East. Some signs of this are already visible. For example, the fragile consensus belatedly formed around the idea of a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians is under pressure from a new “one-state” formula propagated by the “defiance front” led by Iran and including Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Libya, and the Sudan. In Lebanon, Hezbollah and its allies have been encouraged by Tehran to pursue a systematic bullying of the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. In Syria, the pro-reform camp has been defeated, and the Baathist regime, a vicious menace, has entered into an unprecedented dependence on Tehran. Even major powers like Russia, China, France, and Germany calibrate their relations with the Islamic Republic with reference to how they suspect Washington will, or will not, be acting.

By contrast, in opting for regime change, the U.S. would send a strong signal to the democratic movement inside Iran, as well as throughout the Middle East, that the Bush Doctrine remains intact and that the movement is doomed. Such a policy would also encourage Iran’s neighbors, and other powers concerned about aggressive Khomeini’s, to resist the political and diplomatic demarches of the Islamic Republic without fear of being caught out by a surprise deal between Tehran and Washington.

At home in the United States, a policy and strategy of regime change vis-à-vis the Islamic Republic would have the immense advantage of moral and political clarity. If backed by the requisite political will, it could open the way for a truly bipartisan approach toward dealing with a regime now identified as the United States’ most determined and potentially dangerous adversary in the region. For it is hard to imagine a democratic and pro-Western Middle East being built without Iran, the largest piece in any emerging jigsaw puzzle.

Abroad, a U.S. policy of regime change would give heart to all those rightly worried by the alliance that Ahmadinejad is trying to build with thugs and lunatics like North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, and the Castro brothers in Cuba. Even today, Tehran is the ideological capital of international terrorism, with more than 60 groups from all continents gathering there each February for a global terror-fest. A triumphant Ahmadinejad, armed with nuclear weapons, would only boost the international terrorist movement, thus further undermining the security of the United States and its allies. That alone is a powerful argument for regime change.

The short answer is yes. Without underestimating the power still held by the mullahs over the Iranian people, let alone their ability to wreak devastating havoc in places near and far, several factors suggest that, like other revolutionary regimes before them, their condition is more fragile than may at first appear.

One sign is the loss of regime legitimacy. The Islamic Republic owed its initial legitimacy to the revolution of 1979. Since then, successive Khomeini’s administrations have systematically dismantled the vast, multiform coalition that made the revolution possible. The Khomeini’s have massacred their former leftist allies, driven their nationalist partners into exile, and purged even many Islamists from positions of power, leaving their own base fractured and attenuated.

The regime’s early legitimacy also derived from referendums and elections held regularly since 1979. In the past two decades, however, each new election has been more “arranged” than the last, while the authoritarian habit of approving candidates in advance has become a routine part of the exercise. Many Iranians saw last year’s presidential election, in which Ahmadinejad was declared a surprise winner, as the last straw: credited with just 12 percent of the electorate’s vote in the first round, he ended up being named the winner in the second round with an incredible 60 percent of the vote.

Still another source of the regime’s legitimacy was its message of “social justice” and its promise to improve the life of the poor. This, too, has been subverted by reality. Today, more than 40 percent of Iran’s 70 million people live below the poverty line, compared with 27 percent before the Khomeini’s seized power. In 1977, Iran’s GDP per head per annum was the same as Spain’s. Today, Spain’s GDP is four times higher than Iran’s in real dollar terms. As the gap between rich and poor has widened to an unprecedented degree, the corruption of the ruling mullahs, and their ostentatious way of life, have made a mockery of slogans like “Islamic solidarity.”

A second sign is the presence of a major split within the ruling establishment itself. The list of former Khomeini’s who have distanced themselves from today’s regime reads like a who’s who of the original revolutionary elite. It includes former “student” leaders who raided the U.S. embassy in 1979, former commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and dozens of former cabinet ministers and members of the Islamic Majlis (parliament). Most have adopted a passive stance vis-à-vis the regime, but a surprising number have clearly switched sides, becoming active dissidents and thereby risking imprisonment, exile, or even death. Any decline in the regime’s international stature could deepen this split within the establishment, helping to isolate the most hardline Khomeini’s.

A third harbinger is that the regime’s coercive forces have become increasingly reluctant to defend it against the people. Since 2002, the regular army, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and the professional police have refused to crush workers’ strikes, student demonstrations, and other manifestations of anti-regime protest. In many instances, the mullahs have been forced to deploy other, often unofficial, means, including the so-called Ansar Hezbollah (“Supporters of the Party of God”) and the Based Butadiene (“Mobilization of the Dispossessed”).

A fourth sign is the emergence of alternative sources of moral authority in Iranian society. Even in religious matters, more and more Iranians look for guidance to non-official or even anti-official mullahs, including the clergy in Iraq. (Admittedly, this is partly since the present “Supreme Guide,” Ali Khamenei, is a mid-ranking mullah who would never be accepted by senior Shiite clergy as a first among equals.)

As for non-religious matters, there was a time when the regime enjoyed the support of the overwhelming majority of Iran’s “creators of culture.” Today, not a single prominent Iranian poet, writer, filmmaker, composer, or artist endorses the Khomeini’s; most have become dissidents whose work is either censored or banned. Opposition intellectuals, clerics, trade-union leaders, feminists, and students are emerging as new sources of moral authority.

Finally, there are at least the outlines, although no more than the outlines, of a strategic, political alternative. Like nature, society abhors a vacuum. In the case of Iran, that vacuum cannot be filled by the dozen or so groups in exile, although each could have a role in shaping a broad national alternative. What is still needed is an internal political opposition that can act as the nucleus of a future government.

Unfortunately, such a nucleus cannot be created so long as the fear exists that the U.S. and its allies might reach an accommodation with the regime and leave Iranian dissidents in the lurch. And that fear has roots. In the years 1999-2000, President Khatami succeeded in splitting the opposition by boasting of the terms of his forthcoming “grand bargain” with President Clinton. His message was ingeniously twofold: the deal would help solve the nation’s economic problems and open the way for less repressive measures in social life and culture, but it would include a stipulation that America would never help opponents of the Khomeini’s regime. Although, as we have seen, the “grand bargain” itself came to naught, the message and its implications have hardly been forgotten.

With a clear compass, the litmus test for any policy toward Iran will likewise be clear: does this activity, program, or initiative help or hinder regime change? Under that general guideline, any number of specific policies can be envisioned, some of them already in place. For instance, the adoption of a regime-change strategy does not preclude American participation in diplomatic initiatives focused on issues, such as the current efforts to engage the Islamic Republic in the matter of its nuclear ambitions. But the crucial criterion is that process must not be allowed to become a substitute for policy. In the hope of winning concessions from the mullahs, Germany, France, and the UK, the three EU partners in the talks, have chosen to ignore the question of the sanctions already envisaged under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty for the regime’s repeated violations of its provisions; the U.S., by contrast, can and should press for their application.

Above all, the United States should be, as the President stated in his address to the UN, resolutely on the side of the Iranian people. Programmatically, two things are needed here: assuring Iranians in no uncertain terms that the U.S. will never endorse or grant legitimacy to the current despotic regime, and helping to expose the Islamic Republic’s repressive policies, human-rights violations, rampant corruption, and wanton subsidization of some of the worst terror groups on the face of the earth. Funding Iranian opposition groups, if needed, is one way to accomplish this. More important and ultimately perhaps more effective is for the U.S. to use its immense bully pulpit to publicize the Iranian people’s struggle for freedom.

A more robust and coordinated American posture on the economic, diplomatic, political, and moral fronts would create forceful pressure on the current leadership and inspire new courage in its opponents. There is no denying that the mechanics of regime change are a delicate and often highly chancy matter, and that the historical record offers examples of failure as well as of success. But there is also no denying that the game is worth the candle. Accelerating the collapse and replacement of this aberrant tyranny, a curse to the Iranian people and to the world, will strike a blow against anti-Western and anti-democratic forces all over the globe, safeguard America’s strategic interests in the Middle East and beyond, and add another radiant page to the almanac of American support for the cause of freedom.

  • Iran: The Hollowing-Out of the Regime. Iran is ripe for regime change. Change may come in weeks, months or years, depending on chance events and particularly on whether the local authorities and their security forces, at least in some areas, get tired of killing people.

 

  • What is likely to push such developments forward? The answer is that the new American policy, whether by chance or intent, may be as good as anything.

The regime is dead, and no resuscitation is possible and it will be up to the Iranian people to make this happen. The country is yours to take. Your country will not be served on a silver platter. You need to be active….All of you need to unite!

 

 

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MG Paul Vallely on Donald Trump’s Iran Policy and the U.S. Military

MG Paul Vallely on Donald Trump’s Iran Policy and the U.S. Military

 

I wonder what they missed.

 

Treaty with Iran Spells Disaster for the Middle East, and for the US.

By MG Paul Vallely, U.S. Army (ret.)

A speech from 7-11-2015

 

Over the past 12 years, I have had the honor of being a member of the Iran Policy Planning Group and have been engaging with the Iran Opposition who defected from Iran after the Shah fell. My heart and soul yearned with them for the tyrannical government under the ayatollahs to be replaced by a democratic government. But that has been a failure thus far as we all know. All we have seen is an evil and radical Islamic regime gain in strength over the years; supporting international terrorism, torture, and murdering its own people and others throughout the world. Can you only imagine what chaos and turmoil will occur with much stronger, bolder, and expanded Iranian Armed Forces – armed with nukes that can reach any target by air, land, and sea launched systems?

Aiding and abetting an enemy of the United States (and Iran is our avowed enemy), is a treasonous offense under the Constitution.

From 2009 to the present, Obama, with the guidance of Valerie Jarrett, has been involved in clandestine negotiations with Iran, the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.  Americans will recall that on November 4, 1979 Iran “Declared War on the United States” when it invaded the US Embassy in Tehran and took all the Americans in the Embassy as hostages. Iran feared Ronald Reagan and his peace through strength and released our hostages very soon after Reagan was elected.  Since then, for over 35 years, Iran has been killing thousands of Americans and expanding its hegemony throughout the Middle East and the world.

For 6 years, while Iran was employing Iranian manufactured Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) to kill and maim (for life), thousands of members of the US Armed Forces, Obama has been involved in secret back channel negotiations in Oman, not negotiating to stop Iran from employing Iranian manufactured IEDs to kill members of the US Armed Forces, or in negotiations to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

For over 3 years, Obama has continued to lie to the American people, by saying first Hillary Clinton and then John Kerry have been engaged in negotiations to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons; nothing could be further from the truth.   Obama has only been interested in normalizing diplomatic relations with Iran, regardless of the cost to the lives of US military personnel in combat over a 6 year period, regardless whether it resulted in giving Iran nuclear weapons to put atop its intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The treacherous activity with Iran began with Hillary Clinton, and continues with John Kerry.  The Obama’s clandestine activitities have been covered up for 6 years by the left of center, liberal media establishment, and the members of the US Congress who have been kept informed of those step-by-step negotiations.

Obama chose to decouple his negotiations concerning Iran’s development of nuclear weapons from Iran’s aggressive behavior in the Middle East that was killing members of the US Armed Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.   Obama, Valerie Jarrett, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry backtracked on virtually every demand that would have curbed Iran’s nuclear weapons development program and on international inspection regime that would have detected Iran’s continued violations of every agreement it ever entered into.

The American people should know that Obama plans to give Iran $150 billion of US taxpayers money (that Iran will use to continue destabilize the Middle East), will lift economic sanctions that were imposed on Iran for going forward in the development of nuclear weapons, will enter into a formal agreement that will permit Iran to develop nuclear weapons, will allow Iran to keep 4 innocent Americans in prison (a US Marine, a Christian pastor, a retired FBI Agent, and a journalist), and for that agreement Obama will get ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!  I take that back, Iran will be allowed to continue to kill and maim members of the US Armed Forces in Afghanistan with their IEDs

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, stuck to his red lines, whereas, Obama made concession after concession on virtually every Iranian demand, such as excluding inspections by the UN’s IAEA inspectors to ensure Iran is not developing of nuclear weapons at military facilities.  It really didn’t matter to Obama, since preventing the development of nuclear weapons was never the purpose of the negotiations—the goal of negotiations that began in 2009 has always been to focus on normalizing diplomatic relations with Iran, just like with Cuba,

Obama will soon authorize Iran to develop nuclear weapons, not with an international treaty required by the US Constitution that would require a 2/3rd approval of the US Senate, but by another of his unconstitutional Executive Orders.  In doing so, Obama will have initiated a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, may be responsible for forcing Israel to take action in self-defense to strike Iran’s nuclear weapons manufacturing facilities, and his ineptness will probably set the stages for escalating events into the beginning of World War III.

In 1815, the European powers met here to establish the post-Napoleonic order and through a balance of power arrangement bring peace to the continent. Obama surely appreciates the historical echo, since 200 years later he, too, means to create a peaceful order in an especially volatile part of the world by balancing the regional powers—Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Iran—to ensure that none of them gets too large a piece of the pie and frightens the others into making war. The Iran nuclear talks are important because Obama, a U.S. diplomat circularly explained here last week, “believes a peaceful Iran could be .  .  . the key to peace.”

The difference between 1815 and 2015 is that Napoleon had to be defeated at Waterloo before the peace forged by the Congress of Vienna could hold, lasting nearly a century. The Islamic Republic of Iran, on the other hand, is on the march throughout the Middle East, controlling four Arab capitals, and waging war from the eastern Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf. Nonetheless, over the last two and a half years of negotiations with Iran, the Obama administration has offered Tehran virtually every concession it sought, which only spiked its appetite for more. Most recently, the Iranians have demanded that Western powers lift the U.N. arms embargo, a demand that could hardly be less subtle—we want weapons, the Iranians are saying, to make war.

The purpose of the Congress of Vienna was to create order. In contrast, the talks with Iran have jeopardized the order of the Middle East that the United States has maintained for more than half a century. The nuclear talks have legitimized and further emboldened a revolutionary regime. The White House’s string of concessions—from sanctions relief to acknowledgment of Iran’s right to enrich uranium—is tantamount to bankrolling Napoleon and arming him. The peace that Obama believes his diplomats are negotiating in the Austrian capital increases the likelihood of war.

The Iran nuclear talks were never exclusively about the clerical regime’s nuclear program. The administration has repeatedly insisted that a firewall separates the nuclear file from all other issues we might have with Iran—the Syrian civil war, the future of Iraq, Iran’s support for terrorism—but from the very beginning of his presidential term, Obama’s engagement with Iran meant everything was up for grabs. The White House believed the two governments had to learn to trust each other and was therefore quietly willing to do favors for the mullahs.

The White House and Iran had “secret dealings” starting in 2009, when the two sides discussed a number of issues—like the three American hikers detained by the Iranians, eventually exchanged for four Iranians held in American prisons. So what if the administration was letting Iran set the terms of engagement by equating college kids, backpackers, with felons who were clearly working for the regime’s intelligence services? The point was to build confidence with the Iranian regime. Eventually they’d settle the nuclear issue and discuss a number of other matters important to both parties.

There were other secret overtures, like Obama’s letters to supreme leader Ali Khamenei. But much more important were the White House’s public shows of confidence-building. The White House gave the regime room to crack down on the Green Movement that took to the streets in June 2009 to protest likely fraudulent elections. And it also left alone Tehran’s friends, like Bashar al-Assad, who is still the president of Syria even though Obama demanded he step aside four years ago.

Further, and this was perhaps the most important aspect of engagement with Iran, the administration showed that it could control and even beat up on Tehran’s enemies, like Israel. The administration not only made a habit of excoriating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it also repeatedly leaked sensitive items, as if it were messaging Tehran directly. Among others, the White House leaked the Stuxnet exploit that had damaged Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, it leaked the fact that Israel was using Azerbaijan’s air space, it leaked Israeli strikes on Iranian arms convoys heading to Hezbollah. It boasted that it had deterred Netanyahu from striking Iranian nuclear facilities. Of course these leaks were damaging to Israel’s security interests, but the real point was to show Iran that Obama was sincere about wanting to bring them into the international community. They could trust him.

Indeed, maybe Iran could even be made to understand that it didn’t need a nuclear weapons program if it saw Washington as an honest broker. This White House, after all, didn’t automatically come down on the side of Iran’s nemeses in Riyadh and Jerusalem.

Obama may once have meant what he said about preventing a bomb, and the administration’s ostensible red lines were in keeping with decades of American policy opposing proliferation: The Iranians were going to have to dismantle their entire program; there would be no enrichment at all; they would have to ship their enriched uranium to Russia; Fordow would have to be shut; the ballistic missile program was a threat that would have to be addressed; Tehran would have to come clean about its past nuclear activities, to satisfy concerns regarding the program’s possible military dimensions.

But there is a very simple reason why the administration started to cave on all these issues with the Joint Plan of Action in November 2013, and why it continues to cave in Vienna today. Even before the Iranians began to talk publicly with the administration about the nuclear program, they saw that the negotiations had already been decided in their favor. When Obama declined to strike Assad in September 2013 and enforce his prohibition against the use of chemical weapons, the nuclear negotiations with Iran were effectively over. If he wouldn’t lob a few missiles into the Syrian desert to protect his own prestige, he certainly wasn’t going to order strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities and risk a larger war. The Iranians had nothing to lose by sitting with the Americans and could in fact earn more each time they threatened to walk away.

For nearly two years then, the Iran nuclear talks have been something like a puppet show. Neither side is really negotiating about Iran’s nuclear program since that’s already been decided. And besides, from Obama’s perspective, the nuclear file wasn’t the major issue—the larger point was the regional order and the new balance of power he was building.

The real subject of the nuclear talks is the role that Iran will play in that order. The White House seems to be hoping that if it keeps feeding Tehran concessions, the Iranians will finally see it is in their interest to help stabilize the Middle East. Obama is counting on Iran to be a cornerstone of a regional peace similar to what the Congress of Vienna built in 1815. The more likely result is that he will be party to unleashing the evil monster.

How realistic is regime change in Iran? How and when Can it happen?

By
MG Paul Vallely, US Army (Ret)

We have a President and Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo who are committed to regime change in Tehran, Iran sooner rather than later!

If any of the preconditions for regime change are in place, is the time right in the near future? To this, the answer is yes, if, a realistic strategy and foreign policy is developed. And it will certainly require a well-organized and funded coalition that can draw from all supporters inside and outside of Iran for a new, free democratic Iran.

Without underestimating the power in the hands of the mullahs, the truth is that Iran today. Iran is passing through “the deepest crisis the nation has experienced in decades” and is further isolating the country from its neighbors and other nations. A new future must come into being for the younger generations as well as the older generations. Policies since the late 70s have produced nothing but grief for much of Iran’s population. A number of protests took place recently in Iran that received almost no attention anywhere other than inside the country itself. These events occurred in peripheral cities that suffer from rising unemployment, lack of infrastructure, increases in the cost of living, extreme climatic conditions, and air pollution. These cities are marginalized in Iran’s public discourse, which is reflected in an allocation of resources that is not commensurate with the needs of the residents – most of whom are classified as “ethnic minorities”. In those residents’ eyes, government policy is negligent and inattentive to their distress. Large-scale violent demonstrations took place recently in the Iranian city of Kazerun, which is under the jurisdiction of the Fars Province. They were the collective response of residents to the publication of a plan for a new administrative division of Fars that intends to remove two densely populated areas from the jurisdiction of the Kazerun municipality and grant them independent status (a sub-province called Koh-Chenar). Underlying the protests is the plight of many residents of the province who have long suffered from difficult working and living conditions. The administrative partition proposal served as a spark that ignited flames of frustration over government neglect.

The fall in the value of the Iranian currency—despite rising oil revenues—and the massive increase in the rate of unemployment over the past decade signal an economic crisis already heralded by double-digit inflation. In some cases, the government has been unable to pay its employees—including over 600,000 teachers—on time. We understand that there is a great transfer of money out of Iran, much of it coming to the US and other countries. Money laundering in South America has been validated. So, the question is, “What is happening in Iran? At the start of the new Iranian year, it was having difficulty financing over half of its projects, forcing hundreds of private contractors into bankruptcy. Meanwhile, fear of an international crisis over the nuclear issue, and the possibility of new sanctions imposed by the U.S. have put a damper on Iran’s economy.

Pompeo left open the possibility of a new deal, but one based on 12 conditions—including a full halt to all uranium enrichment, withdrawal of Iranian forces from Syria, and an end to support for groups like Hezbollah, the Houthis, and Shiite militias in Iraq—that the current regime would never support. The idea may seem to be that the U.S. will simply continue to ramp up the pressure until the regime capitulates. Any plan must not follow and be close to the neoconservative impulses of the George W. Bush administration people. Or for that manner, follow any of the Obama failed policies that had no specific strategy to assist the Iranian people in their quest for freedom and democracy. Pompeo argued that recent economic protests in Iran are evidence of public anger at a regime that “reaps a harvest of suffering and death in the Middle East at the expense of its own people.”

In a brief question-and-answer postlude with Heritage Foundation President Kay Cole James, Pompeo came even closer to calling for an uprising, saying, “At the end of the day, the Iranian people will decide the timeline. At the end of the day, the Iranian people will get to make a choice about their leadership. If they make the decision quickly, that would be wonderful. If they choose not to do so, we will stay hard at this until we achieve the outcomes that I set forward today.”

Given that there’s almost no chance of Iran meeting the Trump administration’s conditions, the hope seems to be that the Iranian people will take matters into their own hands. This is an enormously risky strategy. Many Iranians who are highly critical of their government’s policies are also resistant to foreign interference in their domestic politics. The regime already depicts anti-government demonstrations as American-inspired regime-change efforts. Pompeo just endorsed that depiction.

Why does the Islamic Republic behave as it does? The answer is that, as the spearhead of a revolutionary cause, it can do no other. The Islamic Republic is unlike any of the regimes in its environment, or indeed anywhere in the world. Either it will become like them—i.e., a nation-state—or it will force them to become like itself. As a normal nation-state, Iran would have few major problems with its neighbors or with others. As the embodiment of the Islamic Revolution, it is genetically programmed to clash not only with those of its neighbors who do not wish to emulate its political system but also with other powers as Iran continues as a threat to regional stability and world peace.

 

 

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