Video: Under fire, Iranian protesters storm Basij complex; Rumor: Revolutionary Guard deployed?

posted at 4:49 pm on June 17, 2009 by Allahpundit

Two clips, the first the assault on the Basij and the second from god knows where, to illustrate how much this already looks like a war. There’s nothing to be gained strategically by an unarmed mob attacking a single paramilitary station — except, of course, the pure, sweet justice that comes with revenge in the name of thousands of innocents these brownshirts have tormented for decades. Imagine the hate you’d have to feel to try to break into a building where men with machine guns are waiting for you. As a great man once said, if this be treason, make the most of it.

Don’t be fooled by the Iranian media blackout into thinking the protests are dwindling, either. Quite the contrary, as this new YouTube clip proves. In fact, the blackout isn’t even being enforced: Robert Fisk, to his credit, is on the streets of Tehran talking to the wounded and watching the confrontations. Even so, as inspiring as it all is, I can’t figure out how the movement could conceivably overthrow the real power in Iran, the Revolutionary Guard. Getting rid of Khamenei is easy and potentially even legal if Rafsanjani can round up enough mullah movers and shakers. Once he’s out, a new election could be ordered and Ahmadinejad would go too. But what about the Guard? They control … everything, basically:

This hostility overflowed during the 2005 presidential race, with the defeat of former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a cleric widely considered corrupt, by Mr. Ahmadinejad, a former officer in the Revolutionary Guards.

In Mr. Ahmadinejad, the public saw a man who repudiated the profligacy of the clerical class, a man who was ascetic, humble and devout. And he capitalized on that image to consolidate power and to promote his brothers in arms. Fourteen of the 21 cabinet ministers he has appointed are former members of the guards or its associated paramilitary, the Basij. Several, including Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, are veterans of notorious units thought to have supported terrorist operations in the 1980s.

This creeping militarization has not been restricted to the central government: provincial governors, press commissars, film directors, intelligence officers and business leaders are increasingly former members of the guard. The elite force controls much of the economy either directly — the Basij has rights to oil extraction — or through proxy companies like Khatam al Anbiya, which dominates construction throughout Iran.

So powerful is the Guard that an Iranian expert writing at TNR speculates that if Khamenei is forced to call them out to suppress the protests, they might just remove him themselves and rule the country by Islamic military dictatorship a la Pakistan. How do the protesters deal with that? Their only hope is that the Iranian military (which is separate from, and parallel to, the IRGC) would side with them — which would mean an all-out civil war between the country’s two military pillars, with the nuclear program in Revolutionary Guard control speeding ahead. What could go wrong?

Curiously, Amir Taheri claims that the Guard has thus far refused orders to mobilize against the protesters, which makes no sense if they’re looking for an opportunity to expand their power within the regime. Either Taheri’s wrong or the IRGC is biding its time in hopes that the protests will dissipate or a new Supreme Leader will be installed and things can go back to normal. Exit question: If the Guard takes control or Iran ends up in civil war, what does The One do? He’ll have no one left to negotiate with.

Update: If I’m willing to post gossip plucked from Twitter, I guess I’m willing to post Debkafile items too. Big grain of salt:

Wednesday afternoon, June 17, armored convoys of Revolutionary Guard forces began rolling into Tehran from three directions to prevent supporters of the opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi assembling on the fifth day after the disputed presidential election, DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources report.

Special IRGC forces and police units are being flown in. Hundreds of opposition activities have been arrested, including some economic experts who criticized president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s policies in recent months, after three reformist politicians, including a former Vice President and adviser to former president Mohammed Khatami, were detained Tuesday…

DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources report the confrontation between the regime and Iran’s protest movement is closer than ever to a bloody climax. Thursday, June 18, may be critical. This will depend on Mousavi proving able to call up masses of supporters in the face of ominous signs that large military forces are assembling in Tehran to shoot them down.

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

Loxodonta on June 17, 2009 at 5:56 PM

I will self ban myself for 24 hours. Sorry Ed.

portlandon on June 17, 2009 at 5:58 PM

Lizza said a derogatory slang word for an african american, and the final cut (The Wall/Roger Waters) was just being Itself.

portlandon on June 17, 2009 at 5:49 PM

Appreciate it. I often wish AP or Ed would just make a short post when banning someone in part to serve as a warning to others and also to show that they do weed out people like that.

Esthier on June 17, 2009 at 5:58 PM

I feel like fedexing a few pallets of guns and ammo to those defenseless people.

feedercattle on June 17, 2009 at 5:39 PM

Who know who might be sending in some guns and ammo. Might be some people from a few countries who might like to see Dinnerjacket find an island somewhere and retire.

All things are possible. All things are possible.

freeus on June 17, 2009 at 5:58 PM

Sort of makes me wonder if some Iraqis would like to return the favor, and export a few guns and IEDs into Iran…

Ragspierre on June 17, 2009 at 5:01 PM

Interesting thought.
Means, Motive and Opportunity for mossad?

diogenes on June 17, 2009 at 5:59 PM

LSUMama on June 17, 2009 at 5:53 PM

You’re right to point out that Hillary is a calculating person, very manipulative. Her silence roars, but she’s chesting her cards at the moment. People expect her to sabotage Obama; she’s biding her time and collecting what she needs to claw out his eyes.

But America is really screwing itself in the Middle East by not pronouncing something along the lines that Reagan announced for human rights during the Polish uprising, or something parallel to what Merkel has stated for Iran.

maverick muse on June 17, 2009 at 6:00 PM

Fight on, brothers and sisters.

thebrokenrattle on June 17, 2009 at 6:00 PM

Exit question: If the Guard takes control or Iran ends up in civil war, what does The One do?

Vote Present of course.

Rip Ford on June 17, 2009 at 6:02 PM

Esthier on June 17, 2009 at 5:58 PM

Ed did.

He also reminds everyone not to repeat offensive, unacceptable vocabulary in responses castigating violators.

maverick muse on June 17, 2009 at 6:02 PM

JiangxiDad on June 17, 2009

I think you make very good points about Obama’s handling of all this. Scary, but good points. The thing is, when it comes to international relations, citizens have so little power. Even Congress has traditionally only rarely exercised limited power. So, other than continuing to gird my loins and state my contempt for his policies, I don’t know what I can do.

And frankly, this is why I often feel the only hope I have about Obama is his repeated demonstrations of incompetence. That he will indeed unravel before extraordinary damage is done.

Loxodonta on June 17, 2009 at 6:04 PM

Even so, as inspiring as it all is, I can’t figure out how the movement could conceivably overthrow the real power in Iran, the Revolutionary Guard.

It depends on whether some in the Revolutionary Guard start having qualms about killing too many of their own people. Some of them might be happy to “maintain” order, but if there’s general civil disobedience, they might not want to be branded as mass-murderers. If they feel that a tipping point has been reached, they might start siding with the protesters.

It happened with the mass protests in Eastern Europe in 1989. It happened in the Philippines. It didn’t work in Tienanmen Square. In Iran, it’s anybody’s guess.

Steve Z on June 17, 2009 at 6:04 PM

But America is really screwing itself in the Middle East by not pronouncing something along the lines that Reagan announced for human rights during the Polish uprising, or something parallel to what Merkel has stated for Iran.

maverick muse on June 17, 2009 at 6:00 PM
Obama has already stated he had no problem with a nuclear Iran. He should step away from that statement at a minumum.

fourdeucer on June 17, 2009 at 6:05 PM

He also reminds everyone not to repeat offensive, unacceptable vocabulary in responses castigating violators.

maverick muse on June 17, 2009 at 6:02 PM

Yeah but just in that thread. For those who weren’t there then, it’s all still new.

Esthier on June 17, 2009 at 6:05 PM

LSUMama on June 17, 2009 at 5:53 PM

You’re right to point out that Hillary is a calculating person, very manipulative. Her silence roars, but she’s chesting her cards at the moment. People expect her to sabotage Obama; she’s biding her time and collecting what she needs to claw out his eyes.

maverick muse on June 17, 2009 at 6:00 PM

I think you give Shrillary far too much credit. She’s just not that smart. Not even close.

I will say that I am amazed that she ever showed her face in public after that ‘reset’ button fiasco. She has no shame and feels no embarrassment, which is why she and Bill make such a perfect couple.

progressoverpeace on June 17, 2009 at 6:06 PM

Of course this is Bush’s fault. He had the audacity to introduce true democracy to Iraq.

John the Libertarian on June 17, 2009 at 6:15 PM

But America is really screwing itself in the Middle East by not pronouncing something along the lines that Reagan announced for human rights during the Polish uprising, or something parallel to what Merkel has stated for Iran.

maverick muse on June 17, 2009 at 6:00 PM
Obama has already stated he had no problem with a nuclear Iran. He should step away from that statement at a minumum.

fourdeucer on June 17, 2009 at 6:05 PM

You should read some of the rationalizations by the Left basically saying Obama’s doing the right thing by not getting involved and how much worse things would have been had McCain been elected because he wanted to bomb these people… I kid you not.

TheBigOldDog on June 17, 2009 at 6:17 PM

Of course this is Bush’s fault. He had the audacity to introduce true democracy to Iraq.

John the Libertarian on June 17, 2009 at 6:15 PM

Again, you don’t know how far off you are from the kind of stuff the Left is actually saying right now all over the Net…These poeple truly are dumb as rocks.

TheBigOldDog on June 17, 2009 at 6:18 PM

You’re right to point out that Hillary is a calculating person, very manipulative. Her silence roars, but she’s chesting her cards at the moment. People expect her to sabotage Obama; she’s biding her time and collecting what she needs to claw out his eyes.

maverick muse on June 17, 2009 at 6:00 PM

I wish you were right. But they are unified on their goals in the ME.

JiangxiDad & progressoverpeace – both of you, your insight(s) are so on point on this issue, is is scary.

batterup on June 17, 2009 at 6:20 PM

What’s Robert Fisk doing? Entertaining the “anti-Zionist” troops?

RobCon on June 17, 2009 at 6:26 PM

Someone needs to purchase a dictionary for all working in this Administration. To even remotely think the word “debate” is applicable in this situation is beyond ignorant and sophomoric. This is suppose to be the United States of America’s State Department where using the wrong word could possibly start WW III.

I recall all the laughs and smirks on the part of the Democrats, and the media when Bush would mispronounce a word. He was the “stupidest” present evah! Well in these times, and in this situation, using the word “debate” is light years worse than anything Bush ever said!

With that being said, can you imagine fighting over there under the conditions in these videos, and hearing the State Department has labeled it a “debate”? It is like saying all the people in the videos were square dancing!

I think guns could come from the Mossad, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and a few other places. This has only lasted 5 days. If it goes for two weeks…

And I would like to know how many of these rebels are going to remember it was the West who were helping them regarding Twitter and video feeds in order to get the real story out? Might be a good reason to do it. Perhaps we could be demoted to just the Little Satan?

freeus on June 17, 2009 at 6:27 PM

maverick muse on June 17, 2009 at 5:54 PM

Some 40 years ago, I knew several Iranian exchange students. Each was either beautiful or handsome, and all were very smart and serious, yet as pleasant, friendly and generous to all around them as anyone might want. I have no idea whatever happened to them. But I suppose that connection might influence my hope that some good will finally come out of this for the Iranian people, instead of yet another tyranny.

Loxodonta on June 17, 2009 at 6:28 PM

Exit question: If the Guard takes control or Iran ends up in civil war, what does The One do? He’ll have no one left to negotiate with.

You underestimate the One’s ability to find someone to grovel to.

aikidoka on June 17, 2009 at 6:31 PM

You should read some of the rationalizations by the Left basically saying Obama’s doing the right thing by not getting involved and how much worse things would have been had McCain been elected because he wanted to bomb these people… I kid you not.

TheBigOldDog on June 17, 2009 at 6:17 PM
I already have a hard time sleeping and keeping food down.

fourdeucer on June 17, 2009 at 6:32 PM

One is tempted to say that words can not discribe this debacle, but that is untrue. There are words if we will listen;

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

If you still don’t understand that after seeing what is happening in these videos, it is likely that you choose not to understand.

MikeA on June 17, 2009 at 6:39 PM

So far, I have not yet seen evidence that this is a revolution FOR Liberty, but a vengeful one against the current tyrants. Has anyone seen or read anything that might suggest otherwise?

Loxodonta on June 17, 2009 at 5:44 PM

It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get.
- Confucius

MB4 on June 17, 2009 at 6:40 PM

firstly, I can’t imagine how on earth AP pumped out another amazing post on this topic like this, the guy is a machine.

Second, I am really struck between the differences I see in Iranian video vs Palestinian video. The Pals are notorious for staging & propaganda in their hand held video and even to stringers who film for the networks.. The Iranian video is raw and real, and disturbing – The difference is light years.

Lastly, this is very moving stuff even for an Israeli, I do not understand what the President is doing, he needs to put the pedal to the metal and help these people loudly. The west has been waiting for an opening, by removing regime change from the table to suit his foolish philosophies (even if the change is purely internal) he is abdicating basic American values and ideals and eroding America badly in the eyes of foreigners everywhere.

No one can know what the outcomes will be, but surely Iranians like all people (whether these are Israel’s enemies or not) deserve something different than this.

saus on June 17, 2009 at 6:46 PM

People thought the Soviet military would never allow the USSR to fall either. But it happened.

Terrye on June 17, 2009 at 6:48 PM

Let’s all thank Al Gore for inventing the internet and allowing us to watch these videos.

Ha.

jazz_piano on June 17, 2009 at 6:50 PM

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Thank you saus. But your wish for Obama to do something to help these citizens of Iran assumes that he would be on their side if he were to act. From what we can see from the track record, he probably hopes they are all killed so that other people, like us Americans, won’t get the idea that fighting back might work. At every turn so far when faced with a decision to do the right thing or the expedient thing for his own edification, he has taken the low road.

MikeA on June 17, 2009 at 6:50 PM

Sorry, quoted myself. Hey, maybe that’s how Obama does it.

MikeA on June 17, 2009 at 6:52 PM

I don’t understand the general reaction here. Nobody really knows who the good guys are in Iran, if there are any at all.

JiangxiDad on June 17, 2009

This is a good time to remind ourselves Iranians are not Arabs and they are one of the very few countries that spontaneously held a candlelight vigil right after 9/11 with thousands, perhaps millions, marching in the streets in unity with us.

They are a great nation led by a maniacal bunch with tens of thousands of terrorist supporters closely resembling the Taliban. The real Persia is being suppressed.

One can only hope. I just wish Obama would speak to them. Give them hope as they rush unarmed against brown shirt fascists.

patrick neid on June 17, 2009 at 7:10 PM

It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get.
- Confucius

MB4 on June 17, 2009 at 6:40 PM

And yet, even after 1500 years of bad things, that radical statement, containing such a gem of wisdom, hidden cross-ways in a corner, has yet to be destroyed by hate.

With so much working against it, how does love achieve such good things?

Loxodonta on June 17, 2009 at 7:11 PM

freeus on June 17, 2009 at 6:27 PM

Jordan wouldn’t dare displease its masters.
Iraq is a little busy (officially)
The Saudis. . . plenty of money… no love lost for Ahmadman or the Ayatollah, but that king will not side against fellow mohammedans.

I smell an Elliot Ness moment. When rival mob bosses are at war, the prudent man waits for the calm and takes out the NOW weaker “winner”

Blacksmith8 on June 17, 2009 at 7:20 PM

It wasn’t courage to storm that building, it was stupidity and mob behavior. And what did they expect? They set the building on fire with people with guns inside. Of course they are going to shoot.

Blake on June 17, 2009 at 8:30 PM

Obama is giving his puppy and extra Chew-eez.

Film at 11.

profitsbeard on June 17, 2009 at 8:33 PM

Nobody really knows who the good guys are in Iran, if there are any at all.

JiangxiDad on June 17, 2009

You can’t see any good guys in Iran? Really?

How about those who led a no-kidding candlelight memorial for the fallen on 9/11 instead of dancing in the streets celebrating the brutal murder of thousands – you know, unlike most of the Arab world did?

How about the people who are throwing themselves against the private army of a madman and his Islamic string-pullers in a bid for freedom?

How about those who are taking pictures and videos of atrocities by the Iranian government that could get them shot?

You are an IDIOT!

Dark-Star on June 17, 2009 at 10:19 PM

The losers at Daily Kos are acting like all conservatives wanted to bomb these young people protesting and how if McCain had won, they would all be supporting Dinner Jacket. They really do think the world revolves around Obama.

Speedwagon82 on June 17, 2009 at 10:39 PM

You can’t see any good guys in Iran? Really?

How about those who led a no-kidding candlelight memorial for the fallen on 9/11 instead of dancing in the streets celebrating the brutal murder of thousands – you know, unlike most of the Arab world did?

How about the people who are throwing themselves against the private army of a madman and his Islamic string-pullers in a bid for freedom?

How about those who are taking pictures and videos of atrocities by the Iranian government that could get them shot?

You are an IDIOT!

Dark-Star on June 17, 2009 at 10:19 PM

I’m a lot of things, some crappy, but idiot isn’t usually one of them. I don’t know which pol or group wants to forgo the bomb, make peace with Israel, apologize for storming our embassy and taking Americans hostage, stop proliferating arms, stop killing soldiers in Iraq and Afghan, and tell Obama to shove it up his bum hole. When you find those guys, lemme know. Until then, piss off.

JiangxiDad on June 17, 2009 at 10:59 PM

Another reason for attacking a IIRG building would be to capture the weapons stored there.

MarkTheGreat on June 18, 2009 at 8:15 AM

Another reason for attacking a IIRG building would be to capture the weapons stored there.

MarkTheGreat on June 18, 2009 at 8:15 AM

Sounds like a plan to me.

Attack an armory… Pick up guns…. Use guns to attack another armory… Pick up more guns.

Kinda what the revolutionaries had to do in 1776.

The losers at Daily Kos are acting like all conservatives wanted to bomb these young people protesting and how if McCain had won, they would all be supporting Dinner Jacket. They really do think the world revolves around Obama.

Speedwagon82 on June 17, 2009 at 10:39 PM

Seriously… what are they smoking?

Did they eat paint chips as children?

Chaz706 on June 18, 2009 at 8:51 AM

Comment pages: 1 2