The Revolution Will Be Twittered

by

The Islamic regime that rules today’s Persia is not very different from the Israeli regime that oppresses the Jews of the Holy Land. Both regimes hide behind a sham of democracy while in reality an unelected elite runs the show. Both regimes are deeply unpopular with substantial segments of the population. Both regimes censor the opposition and use police brutality to stifle dissent. It is true that the Israeli regime is somewhat freer and is more artful in portraying itself as a “democracy”. But ultimately the differences between the two are largely cosmetic.

Therefore, it is educational to consider the differences between the Israeli regime’s success in Gush Katif and the current predicament of Teheran’s ayatollahs. In both cases, the regime undertook a heinous action against its own people. But, unlike the lemmings of the Holy Land, the Persian people refused to take the regime’s actions lying down. As of tonight, there have been large-scale riots and demonstrations in virtually every large city in Iran. These actions have the three major components necessary for a successful show of force against a totalitarian police state.

There is a loyal opposition protesting quietly.

The quet protestors

The quiet protesters

There is a raucous opposition protesting loudly.

Protest in Azadi Square

Protest in Azadi Square

Moussavi at a protest

Moussavi at a protest

But above all, there are the youth willing to kill and die for the cause, willing to match the police blow for blow and to pay the butcher’s bill.

Police Deploy

Police Deploy

Police Attack

The youth counterattack is led by a strike subunit

The youth counterattack is led by a uniformed strike subunit

Police pushed back with loss of equipment

Police pushed back with loss of equipment

Youth storm a Basijj compound near Azadi Square
The Basijj repel the attack with gunfire, but the youth are defiant

The Basijj repel the attack with gunfire, but the youth are defiant

The butcher's bill

The butcher's bill

Casualty evacuation and care must be planned in advance

Casualty evacuation and care must be planned in advance

By using the power of modern communications, these youth have succeeded in putting out a flood of propaganda to compete with the propaganda of the regime. The regime tried to stop them by shutting down SMS and cutting off specific internet sites, but to no avail. The communications of the opposition cannot be shut down without shutting down the country, for only by completely shutting down the internet can the regime turn off every analogue to Twitter and You Tube. And so the regime is overwhelmed both by the volume of propaganda put out by the opposition and by the speed of the opposition’s decision loop. The youth who oppose the government are communicating in real time, competing on an even footing or even outcompeting the regime’s orders process with its hierarchies of telephone and radio calls.

It is these youth that have terrified the regime by forcing it to choose between backing down and putting tanks on the streets. Today’s announcement by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei that the Council of Guardians will undertake a formal review of the election results shows that the regime fears to put the tanks on the streets, because once the tanks are on the streets, all pretense of democracy is over. Once the tanks are on the streets and the red wine is served for true, the youth will trade their clubs and molotovs for bombs and submachineguns. And an ever-growing segment of the people will hide them, help them or at least look the other way. Every one of the student leaders at Teheran’s universities has likely read his Marighella and the regime knows it.

But worse yet, there is always the possibility that the soldiers will not shoot. Or that the Revolutionary Guard will shoot but the Army will not. It is probable that, if pushed to the wall, Iran’s ayatollahs will ultimately put the tanks on the streets. It is probable that the soldiers will shoot. But first the regime will seek a compromise with the opposition. It remains to be seen whether the opposition succeeds in taking advantage of this opening to secure real concessions.

At Gush Katif, at Amona and during the current round of antisemitic atrocities, the Jews of the Holy Land have refrained from forcing the Israeli regime into the choice between rolling out the tanks and backing down. Instead of seeking to kill and be killed in defense of the Land, the Holy Torah and the honor of Hashem, the Jews waved orange ribbons and passively absorbed the brutality of the police. And thus the regime won. Until the Jews force the Israeli regime into making the choice between tanks and compromise, the Jews will continue to go from defeat to defeat.

23 Sivan 5769

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2 Responses to “The Revolution Will Be Twittered”

  1. Velvel Says:

    Well, it looks like the Iranian mullahs quelled the rebellion quite handily. Many were killed jailed and beaten to a pulp. And all over what? So the fake reformist (Who is ALSO loyal to the supreme leader khomeini, just like ahmedinejad is) could be elected instead? I do not sympathize with these muslim fanatic iranians, nor do I care what happens with their revolution except that I hope we are left with the more honest enemy rather than the more clever enemy and more discord and chaos in the enemy country. And I don’t see how the Jewish people can draw any lessons from this endeavor except to see how the Israeli govt plans to deal with the expulsion process, how they plan to kick us out, how they will jam the communications etc and how they will also use brute force against us. And so what? What do we do now about it?

  2. Vienna Mike Says:

    Au contraire, Velvel, there is much to learn. Moussavi is the former head of Iran’s secret police and a founder of Hezbollah. The game he is playing is extraordinarily skilled. So far, he seems to have mostly accomplished his goals. My information is sadly limited. Nonetheless, it appears that:

    1) The protests have substantially delegitimized the regime among vast sectors of the population. The protesters were successful in causing the regime to roll out the tanks in a few places, even.

    2)The religious hierarchy in Qom has been split down the middle and there are increasing questions regarding Khamenei’s qualifications as an Islamic scholar and thus his legitimacy to lead (his original promotion to ayatollah was a whitewash, he was a hojat of no particular distinction and likely to stay that way until Khomeinin cooked the books).

    3)There are rumblings in the security forces and some commanders of the Revolutionary Guard were arrested for refusing orders to attack protesters.

    For a kickoff to a War of Symbols, this is not bad at all.

    I am not certain about the level of damage sustained by the strike units of the various anti-regime movements and it is difficult to discern their precise re-equipment policy, but it seems to me that they were not as badly damaged as it seems. I expect them to rebuild along Marighella lines, as they are mostly urban to begin with. Moussavi himself seems to be going with a Marighella-flavored approach, with an insurgency composed of a huge number of independent and semi-independent cells operating separately from the legitimate political party he is setting up, but drawing on its pool for recruits, initial propaganda and probably also know-how and funds, transferred through cut-outs and intermediaries.

    So far, the valuable lessons learned are:

    1) The tactical utility of Twitter and its analogues is tremendous, but groundwork needs to be laid in advance to portal around the regime’s efforts to disrupt the service by blocking access at the national level. In addition to twitter, the resistance core units need a tactical communication system that is more difficult to jam and may even be difficult to detect. I would experiment with a portable-station RONJA-like laser backbone deployed between hidden command centers. With practice, it should be possible to maneuver off this backbone using radio or even messengers for the final link to the forward edge of action. Eventually, the enemy will shut down this system also, but in the meantime, even more can be done than can be done with Twitter. And don’t forget that the Israeli economy is much more net-dependent than the Iranian, so the cost to the regime of bringing down the internet in order to shut down protester communications will be much higher. Not to mention that the Holy Land is positively crawling with reporters.

    2) The proliferation of media recording devices in civilian hands makes it tremendously easy to stage incidents, apply propaganda and snowball protests. For example, note that the uniformed strike forces are present in the early fighting around the university, but by the time the Basijj compound is being stormed the next day, the uniforms are absent. The bulk of the action and associated casualties seem to be borne by incensed civilians, which is as it should be. Once you put good propaganda out there, it goes viral with unbelievable speed. Multiple civilian records of incidents, real or staged, make the propaganda appear far more truthful than at any time previously. Conversely, a useful real incident can be turned into a massive propaganda coup almost overnight if you react quickly by disseminating footage and producing associated websites to commemorate the incident.

    Where things go from here remains to be seen. I too hope that Moussavi loses. He is much more dangerous than Ahmadinejahd, Khamenei and Yazidi. But it will be interesting to watch either way.

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