“How ISIS Got Weapons From the U.S. and Used Them to Take Iraq and Syria”

Newsweek: “As much as 90 percent of ISIS’s arms and ammunition were found to have originated in Russia, China and Eastern European states. The jihadis were able to obtain much of this arsenal as a result of former President Barack Obama’s support for rebels in Syria, U.K.-based Conflict Armament Research reported after analyzing 40,000 items recovered by its investigators along ISIS front lines between July 2014 and November 2017. By purchasing ‘large numbers’ of European arms and ammunition and then diverting them to nonstate actors in Syria without notifying the sellers, the U.S. reportedly ‘violated the terms of sale and export agreed between weapon exporters…and recipients.'”

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“Iran After Protests: Change Does Come”

Washington Post: “As in the past, the current crackdowns may appear to suppress demands for change and strengthen the status quo. But evolution is essential for survival, and the system will evolve. Since the protesters come from the segments of the population that hardliners have long taken for granted, these forces may find themselves on the defensive and thus forced to heed the call of reining in the shadow state. If foreign investment flows in with greater requirements of transparency, the stranglehold of corruption on the economy could also be loosened, allowing more independent businesses to flourish again.”

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“Iran tried to block the internet to disrupt protests. It wound up disrupting daily life”

LA Times: “As authorities have tried to govern the internet, Iranians have over the years become adept at circumventing online censorship. But as more Iranians use the internet — and the internet plays a bigger role in an increasingly web-connected society — crackdowns have broader effects. For many, internet restrictions in recent weeks disrupted daily life more than the protests did.”

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“Protesters Outside Tehran’s Evin Prison Demand Release Of Prisoners”

The Iranian: “Scores of dervishes and other demonstrators were protesting outside Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, while anti-riot forces were lined up surrounding them, since Tuesday afternoon until the time of this publication, after midnight Tehran time.”

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“Iranians Can Do Without Bill Kristol’s Solidarity”

Jacobin: “Indeed, at least as early as May 2003 — when fresh plumes of smoke were still rising over Baghdad — Kristol used a Hamas-connected suicide bombing in Jerusalem and unconfirmed media reports that one of the men behind an attack on a Saudi compound was hiding in Iran to call for military intervention into the country. Besides maintaining this drumbeat of war through subsequent years, Kristol’s political group, the Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI), ran ads throughout 2012 calling for war with Iran.”

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“The top 10 ways to discredit any uprising in Iran”

By Prof. Hamid Dabashi (#2 is especially funny): “2. Place Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu behind a desk with his back to a gaudy cliche library and tape him sending a message of support and solidarity to the Iranian people and their magnificent culture and love for the Zionist brand of freedom and justice. Make sure the Israeli Orientalists teach him how to drop a few Persian words here and there, and watch Iranian demonstrators gag and throw up as they run towards the nearest mosque to join the Revolutionary Guard to defend their homeland against the Saudi-Zionist alliance and forget about any protest.”

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“Why Iran Is Protesting”

New York Times: “Unlike during the first decades of the post-revolutionary Iran, the rich now heedlessly flaunt their wealth. Until the mid-2000s, the gentlemen’s agreement among the embezzlers held that they keep a modest appearance at home and launder their money in Dubai and Toronto. In the most famous case, Mahmoud Reza Khavari, the former managing director of Bank Melli, made off with hundreds of millions of dollars and became a real estate mogul in Toronto. That generation cared about appearances and never dropped the veneer of fealty to the ideals of the 1979 revolution. Their millennial offspring, on the other hand, hardly care. Wealthy young Iranians act like a new aristocratic class unaware of the sources of their wealth. They brazenly drive Porsches and Maseratis through the streets of Tehran before the eyes of the poor and post about their wealth on Instagram. The photos travel across apps and social media and enrage the hardworking people in other cities. Iranians see pictures of the family members of the authorities drinking and hanging out on beaches around the world, while their daughters are arrested over a fallen head scarf and their sons are jailed for buying alcohol. The double standard has cultivated an enormous public humiliation.”

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Netanyahu’s Double Standard

What if his empty statement of solidarity with Iranian protesters applied to Israelis and Palestinians? See the Haaretz video here.

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“Iran protests: Social media blocked, fake news thrives”

See video here.

“Protesters in Iran are using social media to share with the world what’s happening in their country, where journalists have little or no access. But fake news is flooding the conversation and tainting the truth. A video posted on Twitter on New Year’s Eve allegedly shows Iranian forces opening fire on protesters. But it’s actually from the 2009 protests in Iran. With a quick search online you’ll find the same video posted on YouTube seven years ago in 2011.”

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A Word of Caution Re: Iran Protests

Be weary of those who are shedding crocodile tears for Iranians protesting in Iran, and talk about democracy and human rights. “Democracy” and “human rights” are talking points that certain people use as a battering ram against their enemies. In reality, many such people could care less about Iran and Iranians, and only speak in solidarity with them because they have their own political agendas.

Take, for instance, the leaked State Department memo published by Politico: “…The U.S. should use human rights as a club against its adversaries, like Iran, China and North Korea, while giving a pass to repressive allies like the Philippines, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.”

Or take the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK/MKO) organization, the leader of which blocked me on Twitter months ago after disliking my civil tweets. In other words, the MKO champions freedom and democracy in Iran but its leadership can’t handle a 140-character tweet (screenshot below).

Or take Bill Kristol, a key ideologue of the neo-conservatives who has advocated for bombing Iran, is now talking about “the Iranian people,”–to which he was taken to task by Trita Parsi.

Or Netanyahu, who posted a video of himself supporting the protests in Iran, while his government charges a 16-year-old with 12 counts for objecting to Israeli occupation forces.

Or Trump, who signed the world’s largest arms deal–to the tune of $110 billion–with the head choppers in Saudi Arabia, and who has repeatedly tried to ban Iranians from coming to the US, all of sudden cares about Iranian protesters.

Democracy, human rights, and freedom are indeed important, but question the motives of those who lack the credibility to speak about such important matters.

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