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Armed Forces Mutiny Reports

(UPDATE: Please read this POST regarding the image below. It clarifies the circumstances of the event pictured, and is a key example of how much of the information we receive takes time to decipher because most of it is coming to us over a period of days and weeks from opposition protesters who use social networking sites to broadcast their stories. We are not getting information from trained journalists who try to tell the story impartially. This leaves too much room for people to manipulate the message they wish to send.)

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We heard wide reports of mutiny yesterday and saw numerous photos and videos of Basij and police forces surrendering to the protesters and joining them. Unconfirmed reports from numerous reliable sources seem to point to a major tipping point in what began as a spontaneous popular protest following a highly contested election, and now is looking more and more like a power struggle at the top, including Iran’s armed forces. Many have contended all along that a military coup took place the night of the election, when Ahmadinejad consolidated power between himself and the Supreme Leader, with loyal support from Revolutionary Guards and Basiji. It was not clear, however, to what extent that maneuver had been successful. Much of the power struggle that followed lay in political battles, that went somewhat dormant, between Rafsanjani, who chairs the Expediency Council and the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamanei.

It seems the coup is entering it’s second phase, wherein an armed counter coup movement is alleged to be emerging under the hand of Rafsanjani and the Artesh, Iran’s army, who’s loyalty to the state, many say more than just wavered over the past week. One source has what he claims are leaked documents laying out the plot, and military orders to stand down against protesters. Below are some of his comments, which seem to be supported by an increasing number of Iran analysts.

Screen shot 2009-12-29 at 8.18.11“A massive meltdown of loyalty and trust is underway among all branches of armed forces & commanders. All reports of past few days indicate Ayatollah Montazeri’s death has not only accelerated meltdown of regime but has shifted popular demand towards dismantlement of the very concept of Islamic Jurists Guardianship (Islamic Republic). It is no longer a “Green” movement. Montazeri’s death, and subsequent insults and attacks from the Supreme Leader’s camp have enraged the soul of Iranians. A full scale nationwide revolt is underway. Based on all evidence and reports from our reliable sources, Armed Forces mutiny is a fact, just as retreating Government units leaving smaller cities to protesters is, as they are called back to Tehran to keep the government and Supreme leader safe at any cost. The country is headed towards a massive collision of masses with small but fortified remaining Government forces.”

I would read these words with caution until further information surfaces, as there is of course the distinct possibility that this is a propagandist tactic aimed at demoralizing sectors of the armed forces and instilling fear in the Supreme Leader and the hard-line faction supporting him. All revolutionary movements manipulate the press to further their cause. Iran’s decision to cut out international media has succeeded in passing the mouthpiece to the opposition movement, for they are the ones telling their story to the world now, however they wish to tell it.

Rumors of high level commands given to the army (Artesh) to stand down against the protests and disarm government-supporting militias began to surface following Grand Ayatollah Montazeri’s highly symbolic death on December 20, but these cannot be validated in any tangible manner. Photographic evidence of Basij such as the one above seem to show that defections occurred, but to what extent and on what level is not yet clear.

One thing most analysts seem to agree on is that a major turning point in the course of Iran’s history is unfolding before us presently. The use of brute force against unarmed citizens on Iran’s holiest day, Ashura, has called into question the very legitimacy of the Islamic Republic’s spiritual and moral authority, the only political lever they have left in their pocket. Now many fear the standoff may escalate to violent conflict with various terrorist and rebel factions likely to play a role.

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