Category Archives: Regional & International Politics

What Victory? Whose Victory?

Many people are rushing to remind us these days of the Soviet contributions to the Allied victory in WWII. Most of these people of course conveniently forget to mention that Stalin had signed a pact Hitler that allowed them to divide Poland between them, and that he turned against Germany only after Hitler broke the pact and invaded Russia. The same experts also forget to mention that Stalin, and long before the German invasion, had already killed more Soviet citizens than Hitler’s forces would later do. Indeed, ever since the Bolshevik Revolution, Russia’s “victories” have always come at the expense of her peoples’ basic freedoms and their hopes for a dignified existence.

Bolshevik (1920), by Boris Kustodiev
Bolshevik (1920), by Boris Kustodiev

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The Kurds of Iran

Angry over the death of a chambermaid threatened with rape, ethnic Kurds in Mahabad burned the hotel where she had worked, witnesses and reports said.

Source: Riot Erupts in Iran’s Kurdish Capital Over Woman’s Death - NYTimes.com

It's not unusual for the Kurds living under Iranian rule to riot in protest of one abuse or another. They are indeed living under a de facto occupation. This is the only reasonable impression that one gets when considering how Kurdish-majority provinces are administered. Whether the current riots in Mahabad will mushroom into a larger movement remains as an open question for now.

Mahabad is a town with a population of 280,000 people, majority of them of Kurdish background (Al-Jazeera)
Mahabad is a town with a population of 280,000 people, majority of them of Kurdish background (Al-Jazeera)

 

Deal or No Deal

According to Jo Biden, in his dinner remarks to participants in the Washington Institute’ Soref Symposium yesterday, Iran can enrich enough uranium to build several nukes within 2-3 months. The proposed deal with its leaders will prevent this development, he said, by rolling the clock back on some components, and allowing for inspections and for a breakout notice of at least one year.

VP Joseph Biden addressing participants in the Washington Institute for Near East Policy's Soref Symposium at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, DC on April 301, 2015, 7:30 pm. (Photo by Ammar Abdulhamid)
VP Joseph Biden addressing participants in the Washington Institute for Near East Policy's Soref Symposium at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, DC on April 301, 2015, 7:30 pm. (Photo by Ammar Abdulhamid)

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Of Geopolitics & Communal Identity

Conflict in the Middle East will have consequences far beyond its borders, especially in Europe.

This is a very important article by Nicholas Blanford and can help us predict the future patterns of conflict in the region. The key quote in it for me, the one that explains how “geopolitical concerns” are understood by Iran’s leaders at this stage and, consequently, how other players are bound to understand them as swell, is this:

In February 2014, Mehdi Taeb, a senior Iranian cleric, underlined the importance of Syria to Iran in stark terms, saying it is a “strategic province for us.”  “If the enemy attacks us and wants to take either Syria or [the Iranian province of] Khuzestan, the priority is to keep Syria,” he said. “If we keep Syria, we can get Khuzestan back too, but if we lose Syria, we cannot keep Tehran.”

"Syria is our strategic province," said Mehdi Taeb, the cleric in charge of the Revolutionary Guards' Cyber Warfare Unit in February 2014.
"Syria is our strategic province," said Mehdi Taeb, the cleric in charge of the Revolutionary Guards' Cyber Warfare Unit in February 2014.

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