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The Hollow Regime
Bragging in Tehran.


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Michael Ledeen

The Iranian regime has two fundamental instruments of power, whether at home or abroad: terror and deception. Both are dramatically on display. This past Sunday, 30 people were executed for a variety of alleged “crimes,” and a number of whom lost their lives because they dared to criticize the regime. This wave of executions in the world’s second-most active killer of its own citizens (China tops the list) coincides with the anniversary of the resumption of public hangings last August, which was viewed as “sending a message” to would-be critics and anyone in the West who might be tempted to support Iranian dissidents. This weekend’s victims were convicted of drug trafficking and disruptions of public order, and so far as I can tell the mass executions mark a new grisly watershed in the mullahs’ ongoing terror war against their own people.

This dramatic carnage surely bespeaks a profound insecurity in Tehran. It documents the fear that dominates the rulers’ nightmares, the fear of their own people, who are the greatest threat to the survival of the mullahcracy.

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Many of the pundits, in public print and in the oxymoronically mislabeled “Intelligence Community,” would have us believe that the regime is stable, and that the Iranian people have given up their hopes for freedom. But the mullahs’ decision to carry out mass executions gives the lie to that analysis, as does the recent attack on a Revolutionary Guards convoy in the country’s capital city. The RG are the pretorian guard of the regime, and if they cannot protect an armed column (apparently carrying arms to Hezbollah for the next campaign against Israel), they cannot protect anything. No wonder the Supreme Leader and his viziers are worried.

This assault against the symbol of the mullahs’ power is only the latest such event, and news of it arrived slowly in the West. But there have been several other attacks, including a bomb in a prominent mosque, and other RG units in areas of ethnic repression such as Baluchistan and the Arab zones near the Iraqi border.

The RG are also doing badly on foreign battlefields. In Iraq, its agents and officers are now routinely killed and arrested — often without putting up a fight — by Coalition and Iraqi security forces. This report from the U.S. Armed Forces Press Service is typical:

. . . coalition forces captured two suspected Special Groups leaders in Baghdad today. These key leaders were taken in the Rusafa district of Baghdad.

Coalition and Iraqi forces continued operations over the weekend discovering a number of arms caches, capturing al-Qaida terrorists, discovering roadside bombs and attacking terror and criminal networks.

In Rusafa, coalition forces used intelligence information to locate and capture an Iranian-trained senior leader of Special Groups criminals. The agent of Iran is responsible for attacks against Iraqi security and coalition forces as well as kidnappings and smuggling of weapons from Iran to Iraq. He was captured without incident.

Coalition forces also captured another Special Groups criminal in a separate Rusafa district operation. He is a senior leader responsible for supplying weapons, money and logistical support to subordinate Special Groups commanders. He also provides fighters as reinforcements to areas in need — making his role crucial for sustained operations by Special Groups in the area. He, also, was captured without incident.

The Special Groups took another hit when Iraqi special operations forces detained two other criminals in Baghdad, July 24 and 25. . . . One of those detained was associated with improvised rocket-assisted mortar attacks. The other man is reportedly responsible for weapons trafficking from Iran into Diyala.

The mullahs know that the domestic and foreign fronts are linked, for Iran’s humiliating defeat in Iraq is greatly encouraging to the dissidents at home. Khamenei, Ahmadinejad, and the others are doing everything in their power to deceive Iranians (perhaps including themselves) into believing that they are winning in Iraq and Afghanistan, that the Coalition is teetering, and that all opposition to the regime is hopeless.



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