The common denominator for all dictatorships is that a ruling minority maintains its grip on power by controlling all crucial sectors such as territory, wealth, weapons and the media. In Iran, there is another dimension to this reality as the religious dictatorship misuses religion to mobilise its supporter and deceive ordinary citizens, Al Arabiya writes.
The regime in Tehran has secured its grip on power through repression, terrorism, persecution, assassination, intimidation and by hiding demagogic policies behind a moderate mask. Its motto during the last four decades to justify these malignant policies has been “preserve, safeguard and export the Islamic Revolution”.
During the recent nationwide uprising, the unprivileged class who lives below the poverty line, whose support the regime had hitherto taken for granted, joined the anti-regime protests. This proves that the theocracy’s hegemony over the society has started crumbling and its senior officials have been trying desperately ever since to reinstate it.
In this regard, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has increased the number of special patrols across the country so that they are seen 24/7 in major cities, both the Intelligence Ministry (MOIS) and the IRGC have tortured a number of arrested protesters to death, increased pressure on political prisoners, human rights defenders and women’s rights activists and deceiving people with empty promises and propounding failed theories by one of the leaders of the deadwood Green Movement, who suddenly is free to express his opinion after seven years of house arrest.
Notwithstanding these efforts, they will not be able to balance the power in favour of the regime and turn its fortune. Considering the changed balance of power both inside and outside Iran and the worsening of its economic crisis, one should expect the nationwide anti-regime demonstrations to continue beyond the Persia New Year. Iranian activists have also carried on the struggle by writing anti-regime graffiti on the walls and nightly attacks on offices belonging to the IRGC’s Basij-force in small cities.
Meanwhile, on February 1st, Defa Press reported that the deputy head of Iran’s elite Quds Force said, “Today, thanks to the blessing of Imam Khomeini’s wish, a new and more expansive chapter of resistance has been opened and the international Basij of Islam’s warriors has been created. The spiritual combatants of God’s prophet have come together from different countries. They will reach Jerusalem one day as well and the promise of Supreme Leader will come true.”
Esmail Qaani added in his speech in Iran’s holy city of Qom last night, “everyday have a new conquest and move one earthwork forward.” He also emphasized that the IRGC now, “defends the Islamic Republic of Iran’s regime thousands of kilometers beyond Iran’s borders and help the oppressed.”
According to an article in Track Persia, “IRGC officials have for decades talked about the creation of an ‘international Basij force’ or ‘axis of resistance’ to fight against the United States and its regional allies, particularly Israel. In his remarks, Qaani was referring to Afghan, Pakistani, Lebanese, Iranian and Iraqi Shiite militiamen fighting under Quds Force’s leadership in Syria and the broader region. He mentioned that Damascus has become the epicenter of the ‘international Basij’ as Shiites from different countries come there to fight. Qaani has previously pointed out that the Shiite militia groups in Syria and Iraq will fight in other regional conflicts once ISIS is defeated. Israel tops the list of their next target.”
IRGC Chief Commander Major General Ali Jafari, last July, said of the effectiveness of the “international Islamic Basij” before a gathering of Iran’s Basij commanders in Tehran: “Today, we must declare that one of the orders of Imam [Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of Islamic Republic], which is the formation of an international Islamic Basij, has been materialized.”
Said to be the IRGC, the Quds Force is responsible for external operations. Major General Qassem Soleimani is its leader. The Quds Force has been implementing Iran’s power strategies in the region — from South and Central Asia to the Middle East, North Africa and Latin America.
The Quds Forceis alleged to have provided assistance to, and at times directly commanded, several militia and terrorist groups in the region. The U.S. Department of Treasury designated the Quds Force in 2007, for providing “material support to the Taliban, Lebanese Hizballah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC).”