Iran’s Gonna Pop

Interesting news from Persia; The Baazaris; the class of people who make money in and run the indispensable bazaars of Teheran and other major cities in Iran have turned against the Iranian regime.

The regime, bankrupt after redistributing the wealth in Iran to pay their political machine cronies (sounds like Washington huh?) desperately needs money to pay the thuggish revolutionary guard. They tried to impose a 70% tax hike on the bazaar merchants, and the merchants announced a strike. Predictably, this paralyzed the city of Teheran, which is the largest part of Iran’s population and economy. The Mullahs and Ahmadinejad backed down, but the Bazaaris stayed on strike. This is extremely bad news for the Iranian authorities.

To give some perspective; the 78-79 festivities started with a student revolt that looked in some ways quite similar to the recent Green revolution, with similarly young, idealistic Persians demanding freedom. This revolt was easily put down by the state apparatus, as was the Green revolution, but then, the Bazaaris got involved. They joined up with the clerics, the socialist/communists, and the students and suddenly all those unprofessional rabble rousers had real muscle. You could compare the Bazaaris to the unions, but they are even more important to the Iranian economy and tend conservative; they don’t like change and they don’t like anything that gets in the way of business. With out of control inflation, redistributionist policies, cronies getting hand out contracts from the government and now this tax hike to pay for it all, this regime has finally gotten in the way of business.

Now, all the elements are in place that were there in 1979 except for one thing; a single, populist leader in exile waiting in Paris (he had been in Iraq, but had made too much trouble there) who represents all the frustrations the Persian people have with the regime. We don’t see an Ayatollah Khomeini waiting in the wings to take power. That may be a very good thing though, since he became a strong man and set up a brutal theocracy. If multiple factions have to fight out who gets what after the fall of the Mullahs, maybe they will develop some kind of checks and balances or pluralistic system. If it were some African state, I wouldn’t bet on it, but this is Iran, and they have done things like that before.

In 1905, the Constitutional Revolution in Iran started with the merchants closing the bazaar. This led to huge changes in the state and the constitution that Iran still (theoretically) holds to. In 1891, it was the bazaaris who began the protests against the tobacco tax that led to the tobacco revolt. Again, a big time political event. Notice a pattern here?

The heart of Iran, it is said by some, is in the bazaar. If the bazaar merchants are now siding with the Green movement youths, the Mullah’s regime is probably finished.

I would predict that something significant will happen in the next few months; either a Tiananmen Square type resurgence of the regime backed by naked force, or a much bigger, more organized, more powerful, and far more effective version of the Green protests we have seen up till now, probably ending with the toppling of the Mullahs.

Well, my prediction is out there, tell me if you think I’m wrong. I have been saying something in the Middle East was going to blow up for a while now, I just thought it would be because of the pressure Iran is putting on the rest of the Middle East, but if it collapses due to internal problems before the region reaches a boiling point, that could save us the inevitable bloodletting that was going to occur.

One more thing; don’t be surprised if the Tiananmen Square scenario happens and it involves military or financial aid from China. China has invested a lot in the current Iranian regime and all bets are off if it changes. They have a good thing going with Iran and want its oil. They have backed up other clients, like Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, keeping tyrants in power who serve their interests. Iran is a big and difficult to control, sophisticated and educated population, so they won’t be easily cowed, but don’t be too surprised if China sends Iran the necessary military aid to do just that.

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Update;

Caroline Glick has written in her piece for Jerusalem Post; “A War On Whose Terms?” (07/13/2010) that

As is its wont, the regime has chosen to defend itself against this threat by repressing its internal enemies and attacking its external enemies. In an article last month in Forbes, Reza Kahlili, a former CIA spy in the IRGC who maintains connections inside the regime, claimed that the IRGC has set up concentration camps throughout the country in anticipation of mass arrests in any future opposition campaign against the regime.

(Link to her article here)

This looks like the “Tiananmen” option I mentioned. It could also get fairly ugly pretty fast. We have to remember we are talking about the Middle East here.

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~ by Jubal Biggs on July 18, 2010.

One Response to “Iran’s Gonna Pop”

  1. […] Iran’s Gonna Pop July 2010 4 […]

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