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Does America Have a Plan Once Iran’s Supreme Leader Dies?

A police motorcycle burns during protests in the Iranian capital Tehran. Photo: Reuters/File

Since 1989, the unwavering grip of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, has cast a long shadow over the Middle East, surviving the terms of six US presidents.

This period has been characterized by a strategic game of political chess, with Iran often playing a destabilizing role in the region. US presidents, CIA directors, and the broader US intelligence community have kept a diligent watch over Iran’s maneuvers. The 1979 revolution, which fundamentally transformed the societal and political landscape of Iran, marked the beginning of an era that the White House has monitored with acute vigilance, particularly the actions and evil intentions of Tehran’s mullah regime.

In the ever-shifting sands of US politics, marked by bipartisan candidates and fluctuating party influences, the question of which party will lead the nation next remains open. Amidst this uncertainty, Iran’s strategic posture and internal dynamics consistently emerge as points of contention and discussion among both Democrats and Republicans. Democratic presidents such as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden have sought engagement strategies with Tehran’s clerical leadership, aiming to temper Iran’s regional ambitions through diplomacy and dialogue. However, these efforts have often been met with limited success, mired by complex geopolitical realities and Iran’s intricate internal politics.

In contrast, Republican presidents have typically favored a more hard-line approach, symbolizing a show of strength and resolve. Yet, despite their tougher stance, the idea of directly instigating regime change in Iran has remained a complex issue, often sidestepped in Washington D.C.’s political discussions. This hesitance reflects the complexities and potential repercussions of altering Iran’s power structure, a task fraught with unpredictable outcomes.

Throughout this era, spanning over three decades, all six US presidents have closely observed the significant nationwide anti-regime protests in Iran, indicative of widespread public dissent against Khamenei’s authoritarian rule. This sustained observation underscores the geopolitical significance of Iran in US foreign policy. Meanwhile, the American democratic process has seen six presidents come and go, each elected through the people’s mandate — a stark contrast to the narrative in Iran, where Khamenei has wielded power under the guise of divine right, unchallenged and unyielding.

The impending post-Khamenei era in Iran teeters on the brink of uncertainty. The absence of a clear and widely accepted successor poses a significant challenge. The proposition of installing Mojtaba Khamenei, Khamenei’s son, or Ebrahim Raisi is seen by many as an outright affront to the Iranian public, reminiscent of dynastic successions in Islamic history. Such a move could precipitate the further unraveling of Iranian society, already seething with deep-rooted animosity towards the Mullah regime.

Since the Islamic Marxist revolt in 1979, Iran has undergone a transformation marked by increasing corruption and societal decay. The once revered notion of religion has been co-opted as a tool for amassing wealth and consolidating power. This period has been punctuated by heinous crimes committed in the name of preserving power. The Islamic caliphate’s history is a testament to the continuous struggle for power and dominance, often marred by violence and internal purges.

The current Shia mullah’s regime in Iran reflects aspects of the historical Islamic caliphates, spanning a 1,400-year legacy, with Khomeini’s movement marking the beginning of a new era of authoritarianism. The destructive ideology of Khomeinism, with its roots in savagery and criminality, ascended to power through manipulation rather than democratic means. Since 1979, Iran has been governed by a regime where the Supreme Leader interferes in all state affairs, placing himself above the law. The concept of Wilayat al-Faqih, central to this governance model, lacks any genuine legal or moral foundation.

Iran today stands precariously at the brink of social unrest and potential upheaval. The government’s response to dissent has been characterized by brutal suppression, relying on religious authority and force to maintain control. The regime’s legitimacy is increasingly questioned, with social media playing a pivotal role in exposing its fragilities.

As we contemplate the future, the question of whether the Islamic Republic will collapse during Khamenei’s lifetime looms large. The current level of suppression, coupled with disorganized opposition and remnants of the 1979 revolt, makes such an outcome uncertain. None of them are serious for the White House. Yet, upon Khamenei’s death, the Iranian populace might become uncontrollable, driven by pent-up frustration, and a lack of respect for the regime. Is there any plan in Washington?

During Khamenei’s eventual funeral ceremonies, the government is likely to engage in extensive propaganda and displays of power, focusing on introducing the third caliph. However, the fear of a public uprising looms large. Iran’s internal situation is catastrophic, resembling a nation plundered and awaiting an imminent economic tsunami. The government flounders, devoid of competence and direction.

This critical period may represent a turning point in Iran’s contemporary history. Yet, the Iranian opposition, fragmented and lacking a unified vision, is ill-prepared to offer a viable alternative. Despite this, figures like Prince Reza Pahlavi hold significant sway, particularly among younger generations, owing to the enduring credibility of the Pahlavi name in Iran’s modern history. However, there appears to be no inclination from the White House to engage with him.

In closing, Iran stands at a crossroads, with its people holding the key to any substantial change. The unfolding narrative of succession and the potential downfall of the Mullahs’ Republic pose profound questions about Iran’s future and its impact on global politics. The coming months may shed more light on the potential paths Iran may take, in a landscape rife with uncertainty and anticipation. It is likely that briefings in the White House will be extensively focused on developments in Iran.

Erfan Fard is a counter-terrorism analyst and Middle East Studies researcher based in Washington, DC. He is in Middle Eastern regional security affairs with a particular focus on Iran, counter terrorism, IRGC, MOIS and ethnic conflicts in MENA. He graduated in International Security Studies (London M. University, UK), and in International Relations (CSU-LA). Erfan is a Jewish Kurd of Iran, and he is fluent in Persian, Kurdish, Arabic and English. / Follow him from this twitter account @EQFARD / The newly published book of Erfan Fard is: “The Black Shabbat” (Israel, the target of terrorist), which has been published in the USA.

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The detailed plans for a Canadian law that regulates hate speech online are seen as a ‘good start’ by Jewish groups

Jewish groups and others concerned about the rise of hate speech online welcomed the introduction of a new government bill on Feb. 26. And while the parliamentary process for it to become law is only beginning, it’s a good start according to advocacy groups who have called for the government to regulate certain types of […]

The post The detailed plans for a Canadian law that regulates hate speech online are seen as a ‘good start’ by Jewish groups appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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‘You Jew!’: UC Berkeley Mob Attacks Jews During Event With IDF Soldier, University Pledges Investigation

Mob of anti-Zionists attempting to infiltrate event with Ran Bar-Yoshafat at University of California, Berkeley on February 27, 2024. Photo: Screenshot/Twitter

A mob of hundreds pro-Palestinian students and non-students shut down an event Monday evening at University of California-Berkeley featuring an Israeli soldier, forcing Jewish students to flee to a secret safe room as the protestors overwhelmed campus police

Footage of the incident shared by the outlet shows a serried mass of anti-Zionist agitators banging on the doors of the Zellerbach Library while an event featuring Israeli reservist Ran Bar-Yoshafat —who visited the university to discuss his military service during Hamas’ massacre across southern Israel on Oct. 7 — took place inside. The mob then stormed the building — breaking glass windows in the process, according reports in the Daily Wire — and forced school officials to evacuate Jewish students to a secret safe-room.

“What happened last night was deeply concerning and a violation of some of our most important rules and values as a university, including freedom of speech, respect for diversity, and the ties that bind us together as a community,” UC Berkeley assistant vice chancellor for communications and public affairs Dan Mogulof told The Algemeiner on Tuesday during a phone interview. “What we saw last night has no recent precedent. More than an estimated 200 protesters showed up at the venue and gained unauthorized entry into the building. There has never been anything like what occurred last night.”

Mogulof pledged that the university will launch an investigation into the incident.

“We do not and will not ignore violations of our rules and values,” he said. “When we have events like this, we always have two priorities. One, to do everything in our power so the event goes forward and the other is to do everything in our power to protect the safety and well being of our students and members of the public, and given the size of the crowd, and the violence of the crowd, we were unable to do both, even with 20 police officers. The event had to be cancelled, so that we could evacuate the building and support the safety of the students.”

During the infiltration of Zellerbach, one of the mob — which was assembled by Bears for Palestine, which had earlier proclaimed its intention to cancel the event — spit on a Jewish student and called him a “Jew,” pejoratively.

“You know what I was screamed at? ‘Jew, you Jew, you Jew,’ literally right to my face,” the student who was attacked said to a friend. “Some woman — then she spit at me.”

Shaya Keyvanfar, a student, told The Algemeiner that her sister was spit and that the incident was unlike any she had ever witnessed.

“Once the doors were closed, the protesters somehow found a side door and pushed it open, and a few of them managed to get in, and once they did, they tried to open the door for the rest of them,” Keyvanfar said. “It was really scary. They were pounding on the windows outside — they broke one — they spit at my sister and others. They called someone a dirty Jew. It was eerie.”

Keyvanfar added that it may be difficult to identify the culprits because anti-Zionists activists wear masks to conceal their identities.

Security concerns plagued the event all week, according to the Daily Wire, and after arriving on campus Bar-Yoshafat was required to conceal his identity. Prior to that, the location of the event was changed to various locations to prevent violence.

“I just felt really bad for these kids because they were scared,” Bar-Yoshafat told Daily Wire. “Girls were crying from being attacked, and I think the kid that was spat on was just so shocked. I don’t think the students anticipated so many people being violent, they thought they would just chant outside.”

During Tuesday’s interview with The Algemeiner Mogulof stressed that the university “understands now that we are in new territory” and called the incident a “black mark” on its reputation. He also explained that UC Berkeley launched an antisemitism awareness program in 2019, which included panels and talks with esteemed scholars of Jewish history such as Deborah Lipstadt, because it takes the issue of campus antisemitism seriously.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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Prominent Pro-Hamas Activist in Australia Arrested on Kidnapping and Torture Charges

Australian pro-Hamas activist Laura Allam. Photo: X/Twitter

Australian police on Monday announced the arrest of a prominent pro-Hamas advocate accused of orchestrating the kidnapping and torture of a man whose perceived offense was to work for a Jewish employer.

Melbourne resident Laura Allam was charged with kidnapping, armed robbery, illegal detention, assault and battery against the 31-year-old man, who has not been named by authorities. Working with an accomplice who has also been arrested and charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment, armed robbery, threats to kill, intention to cause injury, recklessly causing injury, unlawful assault and assault with weapon, the 28-year-old Allam is  understood to have targeted the man solely because his employer is Jewish.

According to a statement from police in the State of Victoria, the brutal assault occurred on the night of Feb. 16 in the Melbourne suburb of St. Albans. “It’s alleged a man was pulled from a car near the intersection of Gladstone and Cleveland streets about 9.30pm,” the statement noted. “He was then allegedly placed in another car and assaulted and robbed before being released in Braybrook.” The victim required extensive treatment in hospital for injuries sustained in the “horrific kidnapping and torture.”

Allam is a prominent member of Australia’s large Lebanese community and the CEO of the Al Jannah Foundation, which bills itself as an Islamic humanitarian organization. While Allam’s social media profiles specify that she is still running the organization, an entry on the Australian register of companies notes that the foundation ceased operations in July 2023, less than three years after it was formally incorporated. The foundation’s website additionally lists a number of projects that it is raising money for — including addressing food shortages in Lebanon and child health challenges — that apparently remain unfunded.

In the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas pogrom in southern Israel, Allam dedicated most of her time to attacking Israel on social media as well as spreading false information on her TikTok account, which had 20,000 followers before being closed down, as well as X/Twitter and Instagram. One post on Feb. 5 promoted the fabricated claim that a British Royal Navy warship dispatched to the Gulf to combat attacks on shipping by Houthi terrorists in Yemen had “broken down off the coasts of England.”

Her barbs against Israel on social media included a post that declared “good riddance” over an image of four Israeli soldiers killed while serving in Gaza. On Oct. 8 — the day after the Hamas pogrom which resulted in the murder of more than 1,200 people and the kidnapping of over 200 amid atrocities that included mass rape and bodily mutilation — Allam told her followers that she had “woken up to some great news from our beloved Palestine.” Other posts spoke of “a jihad of martyrdom or victory” and lauded attempts to “avenge the martyrs in Jenin and Gaza.”

Allam discussed her arrest in her final post on her Instagram account before it was closed down. Reproduced on the pro-Israel blog Israellycool, Allam’s post boasted of her “selflessness” and her commitment to “remaining quiet — for now,” going on to declare that “[T]here are words that burn the wildest flames in the deepest pits of my heart and will only ever be extinguished when Allah takes the ‘haqq’ (truth) from every single oppressor to walk this earth.”

“This seems to be an admission as to her involvement, yet amazingly no apology for her actions,” Israellycool observed in an accompanying commentary. “In fact, she speaks as if the incident somehow passively ‘occurred’ – as opposed to her actively doing something terrible.”

In its coverage of Allam’s arrest on Monday, Melbourne’s Herald Sun news outlet reported on “an extraordinary suppression order relating to her case prevents the Herald Sun from running Ms Allam’s image, referencing some ethnic groups or providing certain detail about her advocacy activities.” However, several posts on X/Twitter shared her photograph, her name and her other affiliations.

Allam made the news earlier this month after she spoke at a pro-Hamas protest at the Australian parliament in Canberra alongside three senators from the left-wing Green Party. Responding to the event, Sky News Australia host Andrew Bolt highlighted Allam’s Islamist loyalties, saying, “[T]hat’s one of the people now sharing a stage with the Greens. The Greens may not have known of Allam’s past, but this is who they find next to them in their gutter.”

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