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Escobar on the Hojjatiyeh behind Iran’s Pasdaran Clique

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Pepe Escobar writing in the Asia Times had a very interesting article on Iran’s hardline faction, centered in the Pasdaran and security services, and the religious group behind them, the Hojjatiyeh, a term which I had not previously heard ( hat tip to Russ Wellen):

Requiem for a revolution 

An iron-clad cast
The key man to watch is Major General Mohammad-Ali Jafari. In 2006, he became the IRGC’s top commander. At the time he was already thinking in terms of the enemy within, not an external enemy. He was actively working on how to prevent a velvet revolution.
It’s essential to remember that only a few days before the election, Brigadier General Yadollah Javani – the IRGC’s political director – was already accusing Mousavi of starting a “green revolution”. He said the Guards “will suffocate it before it is even born”.The IRGC has always been about repression. They literally killed – or supported the killing of – all secular political groups in Iran during the 1980s, especially from the left. After the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, died in 1989 they split into two sides. One side thought Iran needed a (slight) opening; they were afraid of a popular counter-revolution. Today, they are mostly reformist leaders or reform sympathizers.

The other side was, and remains, ultra-conservative. They include the already mentioned Jafari and Javani, as well as Ahmadinejad and his current Minister of Interior, Sadegh Mahsouli, the man who oversaw the election.

The religious strand runs parallel and overlaps with the military strand – this is always about a military dictatorship of the mullahtariat. So one must refer to the Hojjatiyeh, an ultra-sectarian group founded in the 1950s. Khomeini banned them in 1983. But they were back in force during the 1990s. Their spiritual leader is Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, known as “the crocodile” in Iran. Two weeks before the elections, Yazdi issued a fatwa legitimizing any means necessary to keep Ahmadinejad in power.

That was the green light to steal the elections. It’s essential to remember that Ahmadinejad replaced no less than 10,000 key government bureaucrats with his cronies in these past four years. These people were in charge of the maze of official organizations involved in the election and the vote counting.

Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi believes that Iran’s supreme leader is chosen by Allah – when Allah tells the 86 members of the Council of Experts to find the leader. That’s how Khamenei was “found” in 1989 – even though he was (and remains) a minor scholar, and never a marja (source of imitation). What Yazdi wants is an oukoumat islami – a hardline Islamic government sanctioned by none other than Allah.

An informative piece. Read the rest here.

Escobar is also the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving Into Liquid War and Obama Does Globalistan, published by Nimble Books.

The Handbook of 5GW

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009


Just scanned the rough draft of The Handbook of 5GW: A Fifth Generation of War?, in which I will have a modest contribution ( which needs some work, in my view).

The book will be controversial.

Published by Nimble Books and edited by Dan of tdaxp.

More as the project develops.

Excerpts from Threats in the Age of Obama – Part I.

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009


I thought I might give readers a taste of what is inside Threats in the Age of Obama in a series of excerpts from the featured authors. Here is Part I. :

Matt Armstrong

“Arming for a Second War of Ideas”:

….Today, the U.S. must expand its horizon and realize there are more adversaries than “violent extremists,” “Islamists”, or other derivative labels for Al-Qaeda, Taliban, and associated movements from the Middle East to South Asia. Narrowly defining America’s adversaries is myopic and dangerous.

We need an effective and flexible arsenal of persuasion in the global information environment and global economic environment that goes beyond ideological support for terrorism and insurgency and into protecting broader interests, from the economy to global health to reconstruction and stabilization efforts. The new arsenalof persuasion must be adept against all adversaries in the entire global information environment.

Dr. Christopher Corpora 

“The Tangled Relationship Between Organized Crime,Terrorism and Proliferation”:

….The present threats to global security and stability increasingly come from non-state actors who are motivated to resist and undermine international conventions and sovereign rule to pursue bounded interests. Is it accurate or useful to analyze and assess these threats framed around the dominant resistant expressions-terrorists, traffickers, pirates and smugglers-or is there another way to understand and explain the activities associated with resistant non-state actors? What is the cost of continuing to assess these actors and activities in analytic “silos” of old security paradigms? How does this impact strategies and policies to addressthese nontraditional and often nonconventional threats? How would a multi-disciplinary set of theories and analytics assist in building a fuller understanding of these activities?

Art Hutchinson

“Preparing the Mind to See”:

….The goal of a metacognitive, mental model modification effort might be limited in scope. (“How should I change my newsgathering habits to generate higher returns for my retirement portfolio next quarter?”) Or it might be sweepingly complex. (“How can we get decision-makers across multiple organizations to develop a shared, richly-nuanced framework for dynamically assessing how non-Western worldviews may challenge our physical security, economic resilience and liberal, democratic values over the next 50 years?”)

Bob Gourley

“The Future of Cyberspace Security: The Law of the Rodeo“:

Predictions of the future of technology are increasingly starting to sound like science fiction, with powerful computing grids giving incredible computational power to users and with autonomous robots becoming closer and closer to being in our daily lives vice just in computer science departments. Infotech, nanotech and biotech are fueling each other and each of those three dominate fields are generating more and more benefits that impact the other, propelling us even faster into a new world. Depending on your point of view the increasing pace of science and technology can be good or bad. As for me, I’m an optimist, and I know we humans will find a way to ensure technology serves our best interests

More to come as I shine a spotlight on the other authors in Threats in the Age of Obama, published by Nimble Books.

New Book – Threats in the Age of Obama

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009


I am both excited and very pleased to announce the release of Threats in the Age of Obama by Nimble Books

Edited by my friend Michael Tanji, a former senior member of the intelligence community, the volume is a 224 page  A-Z anthology on the cutting edge security challenges faced by the United States in the 21st century and the strategic thinking required to deal with them. Tanji recruited an impressive stable of experts, many with high level USG and private sector experience, in intelligence, cyberwarfare, terrorism, pandemics, nuclear proliferation, human terrain, information operations, public diplomacy, foreign policy and national security. It was a high honor for me to be included among the authors, who are:

Dan tdaxp, Christopher Albon, Matt Armstrong, Matthew Burton, Molly Cernicek, Christopher Corpora, Shane Deichman, Adam Elkus, Matt Devost, Bob Gourley, Art Hutchinson, Tom Karako, Carolyn Leddy, Samuel Liles, Adrian Martin, Gunnar Peterson, Cheryl Rofer, Mark Safranski, Steve Schippert, Tim Stevens, and Shlok Vaidya. And last, but really first, editor, contributor and chief cat-herder, Michael Tanji.

“….If you are on a mission to change the way government works, particularly in the national security arena, this is one a place where some independent and intellectually diverse thinking is to be found. In these essays, we offer our view of some of the more pressing threats the Obama administration will have to deal with in these early days of the 21st century.”

If support the idea that the national security establishment needs to embrace change, then this is the book for you.

Tsuen Takk !

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009


 I would like to say “thanks” to whomever is associated with the Royal Norwegian Navy that placed a bulk order for copies of The John Boyd Roundtable: Debating Science, Strategy, and War through The Norwegian Library House. Much appreciated!

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