July 12, 2009

"It's the Militia or Me"

I've never believed politics should get in the way of romantic relationships. My parents are political opposites, and so are my in-laws. My wife and I have our disagreements as well as our similarities.

But sometimes, in certain contexts, politics should be an issue. Iran in 2009 is one of those places and times. I almost feel sorry for this guy in the head-cracking Basij militia, but I don't really:

For Mr. Moradani, the biggest shock during the election turmoil came in his personal life. He had recently gotten engaged to a young woman from a devout, conservative family. A week into the protests, he says, his fiancée called him with an ultimatum. If he didn't leave the Basij and stop supporting Mr. Ahmadinejad, he recalls her saying, she wouldn't marry him.

He told her that was impossible. "I suffered a real emotional blow," he says. "She said to me, 'Go beat other people's children then,' and 'I don't want to have anything to do with you,' and hung up on me."

(Hat tip: Gene at Harry's Place.)

Posted by Michael J. Totten at July 12, 2009 3:24 PM
Comments

I can't imagine making a choice like that - love of a woman you desire or serve a brutal Islamist terror-supporting regime. This was a gift to the woman and her family; she was about to hitch herself to a tool.

Posted by: Li'l Mamzer Author Profile Page at July 12, 2009 6:02 PM

It is not a "brutal Islamic terror-supporting regime"! It is a "brutal terror-supporting regime!" There is a big difference between Islamic and what few fanatics Muslim do.

Honestly, if I am a woman I will not marry someone who terrorizes, beats people just because they are expressing their opinion on the fake election!

Posted by: GK Author Profile Page at July 12, 2009 7:09 PM
It is not a "brutal Islamic terror-supporting regime"! It is a "brutal terror-supporting regime!" There is a big difference between Islamic and what few fanatics Muslim do.

I didn't write that.
I wrote 'Islamist', and I refer you to the Wiki definition:

"an Islamic militant, anti-democratic movement, bearing a holistic vision of Islam whose final aim is the restoration of the caliphate"
Posted by: Li'l Mamzer Author Profile Page at July 12, 2009 7:26 PM

GK

further elaboration:

Islamism "(emphasizes) the enforcement of sharia (Islamic law); of pan-Islamic political unity; and of the elimination of non-Muslim, particularly western, military, economic, political, social, or cultural influences in the Muslim world, which they believe to be incompatible with Islam."

That doesn't describe the regime in Tehran?

Posted by: Li'l Mamzer Author Profile Page at July 12, 2009 7:33 PM

GK: It is not a "brutal Islamic terror-supporting regime"! It is a "brutal terror-supporting regime!"

It is an Islamic regime, Khaled. That's what it calls itself: the Islamic Republic of Iran.

We all understand it is not representative of the Iranian people. That's why the Basij militia is cracking so many heads in the streets.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at July 12, 2009 9:02 PM

You know, to be honest I don't really feel sorry for him either.

GK,

It is not a "brutal Islamic terror-supporting regime"! It is a "brutal terror-supporting regime!"

You are right. But it is by definition an Islamic regime, and it is without a doubt "brutal". So it would still qualify as a brutal Islamic regime, even if it didn't sponsor terrorism.

There is a big difference between Islamic and what few fanatics Muslim do.

I think the most logical counter-argument is that there is a difference between Islamic and what a few moderate Muslims do, eh? Those few fanatics seem to have pretty widespread support in the middle east. When that changes, we can start considering them a fringe element. Right? I mean, I personally know a couple of moderate Muslims who support some of those fanatics. And, I don't really know what to make of that. shrug

Posted by: programmmer_craig Author Profile Page at July 13, 2009 12:20 AM

It is not a "brutal Islamic terror-supporting regime"! It is a "brutal terror-supporting regime!".

As long as it is Islamic Republic of Iran former will stay true. And Basij and RG are exactly it, tools in the hands of "brutal Islamic terror-supporting regime".
Every time infidel or bad Muslim is killed in the name of Allah by "brutal terror-supporting regime" it is "brutal Islamic terror-supporting regime".

There is a big difference between Islamic and what few fanatics Muslim do.

Not to me. I do not know nor care what Islam represents. I judge Islam based on deeds of its followers who claim to act in the name of their believes.
If you wish to prove me wrong, then, please, show how mainstream Muslims are battling those "few fanatic Muslims". I mean real opposition with actual results.

Posted by: leo Author Profile Page at July 13, 2009 5:32 AM

..please, show how mainstream Muslims are battling those "few fanatic Muslims". I mean real opposition with actual results.

That's what we're talking about here - Muslim protesters in Iran are chanting: "Death to the turbans," "Down with the dictator," and "We want democracy." They're dying for their beliefs.

Posted by: maryatexitzero Author Profile Page at July 13, 2009 7:15 AM

I thought about it before I posted my previous reply. Unfortunately I do not see it directed against extreme Islam, although I am not sure, and most importantly I do not see it to be a majority protest as initially claimed.

Posted by: leo Author Profile Page at July 13, 2009 8:00 AM

The fact that there are still protests (and the fact that these protests can still be organized) proves that the majority of Iranians are opposed to the regime. Like most authoritarians, the mullahs maintain power by paying a large network of people to spy on their neighbors. If protest organizers are still out on the streets, this spy network is (most likely) down.

Also, there's this **

Yesterday, the most senior contemporary Shi'ite cleric, Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, issued a fatwa against the regime, essentially declaring it illegitimate.

** From an article in the American Thinker titled "Iranian Ayatollah Montazeri Issues Fatwa Against the Regime" that was caught in Movable Type's spam filter

Posted by: maryatexitzero Author Profile Page at July 13, 2009 8:23 AM

"The fact that there are still protests (and the fact that these protests can still be organized) proves that the majority of Iranians are opposed to the regime."

Not in the least. It proves that there are Iranians who are opposed to the regime and they can mount organized protest. Whether they are a majority or not remains to be seen.

Posted by: leo Author Profile Page at July 13, 2009 10:46 AM

.....Nuanced word games are the proper place for the politically insecure, or, in this case, religiously insecure. Maybe, both.
Folks, don't waste your time sniping at each other over "Islamic"..."Islamist". This is the equivalent of theologians of another persuasion arguing over the exact number of angels climbing onto the head of a pin. This was a medieval past-time after hours in the monk's commons room. We've all had these fruitless, circular exchanges.
I agree with my newest friend, "leo", who's more interested in what the "moderate-Muslims-Islamists-Islamic" adherents are doing to combat, in concrete terms, not lip service, this appalling and insane slaughter. What kind of civization is this current one which has evolved somehow, incredibly, from the Alexandrian library?
Surely those ancient archivists are incredulous.

Posted by: Morningside Author Profile Page at July 13, 2009 11:07 AM

If you guys want to see an example of Muslims actively fighting, rather than passively disapproving of, violent Islamist radicals, look at Iraq. Iraq is a very conservative society. It's not like West Beirut or North Tehran. Yet Iraq's violent radicals were vomited out by the society. Iraq remains a dysfunctional mess and it might even get worse in the short and medium term, but I've seen for myself what I just described, and I've been writing about it for years.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at July 13, 2009 11:15 AM

MJT, you are absolutely right about Iraq. But the Arab world seems to have disowned Iraq, so I'm not sure what that proves. I'm with leo on this one... actions speak louder than words, and in the case of Islam we (non-Muslims) don't even hear the right words, very often.

If Christians were slaughtering people in the name of their religion, and the bulk of "Christendom" seemed proud of that, would the world be expected to just say "Oh well!" and go on about their business? Somehow, I can't see that being the reaction. What makes Islam special?

Posted by: programmmer_craig Author Profile Page at July 13, 2009 11:51 AM

But, Michael Totten, I give the credit for what you've obviously seen and written about to our western, alien Armed Services for creating that tipping point precipitating that same vomiting you've witnessed.
There seems to be a need for such tipping points created by external sources....they don't seem to arise out of Islam (-ic, ism, etc.) itself. I want there to be more nausea from inside their own boundaries, more such vomiting.

Posted by: Morningside Author Profile Page at July 13, 2009 11:51 AM

Morningside: I want there to be more nausea from inside their own boundaries, more such vomiting.

The same thing happened in Algeria without any "interference" from the West. (150,000 people killed in the civil war ignited by Salafi Islamists.) Do you want more examples?

Obviously, this is still a huge problem, but it's not like there isn't any resistance. Most victims of Islamists, after all, are Muslims, not "infidels."

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at July 13, 2009 12:16 PM

MJT:

"If you guys want to see an example of Muslims actively fighting, rather than passively disapproving of, violent Islamist radicals, look at Iraq."

I held high hopes for Anbar Awakening and I still believe that it very important movement. But I do not see it as fundamental. Anbaries, as I call them, are simply fighting for their skin. I do not believe their mentality has evolved by much. Should circumstances change they will go back to their old ways without giving it another thought.
My bet is on Iran. Unrest, which is today, may no yield positive result, but it will be the last election Ayatollahs will ever fix or even control in any meaningful way. Country has changed and for the better.

Posted by: leo Author Profile Page at July 13, 2009 3:09 PM

...."Most victims of Islamists, after all, are Muslims, not "infidels."

MJT...I truly did not know that, ...then my ignorance and/or mis-information on this contemporary situation I blame on our media, because my unorganized readings over these past few years of the history (maybe therein lies the source of some sort of division?) of that area emphasize things like Spain, Tours, Vienna, and their sweeping into Jerusalem. I thought North Africa and the Balkans were merely en route to Europe.
(....separately, I'll look into this in more detail, because I'm convinced that we owe it to ourselves to realize that we've got a major, threatening, long term adversary here, and whether
or not we get out of West Asia later or sooner will not change this Islamic/-ist paranoia about America and the West).

Posted by: Morningside Author Profile Page at July 13, 2009 3:50 PM

MJT..suggest further independent reading on this..use < charlesgriffith@alumni.sewanee.edu >

Posted by: Morningside Author Profile Page at July 13, 2009 4:06 PM

Not in the least. It proves that there are Iranians who are opposed to the regime and they can mount organized protest.

Well, I've never been to Iran, so I'm not sure what the persistence of the protests really means. Since the regime is definitely authoritarian, I'd guess that the persistence is proof that a majority of Iranians are opposed to the mullahs.

But that's just a guess. leo, if you've been to Iran, and if you've personally seen what it's like to live under the thumb of the mullahs, then you're statement would be more valid than mine.

If you've never been to Iran, then you're also just guessing.

Posted by: maryatexitzero Author Profile Page at July 13, 2009 8:53 PM

Mary, you've won.

Posted by: leo Author Profile Page at July 14, 2009 4:25 AM
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