Military Review

Is Iran waiting for the fate of Syria?

Mass riots in Iran once again made the world think: is everything so smooth in this country, the last regional power of the Middle East, able to act independently and without regard for the United States? Someone has already read the fate of Syria, Iraq or Libya to Iran, forgetting that the centuries-old Persian power is still a slightly different case.

In fact, Iran and Syria, fortunately, have little in common. It is clear that in Iran, the American intelligence agency also made a hand in the protests, even if indirectly (although the director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, denies this in every way). But in Iran, unlike Syria, there is still a much stronger statehood, which, moreover, is based on the rule of the national and religious majority.

Unlike many other states of the Middle East, Iran is not a political "remake". If Iraq, Syria, Jordan and even Saudi Arabia in its present form have arisen as a result of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, then Iran has a thousand-year tradition of statehood with approximately the same borders. Until the beginning of the twentieth century, the country was ruled by Turkic dynasties of origin, which did not prevent them from adopting Persian and Persian identity.

The active participation of the Turkic tribes of southern Azerbaijan in the management of Persia led to the fact that the Azerbaijanis, who are, in fact, the largest national minority of the country, played and play a huge role in the governance of the country. Currently living in Iran from 12-15 to 20-30 million Azerbaijanis. Such a difference in the estimates of the number is explained by the fact that many Iranian Azerbaijanis perceived the Iranian national identity so much that they identify themselves, first of all, as Iranians, and not as Azerbaijanis. For example, the current great Iranian Ayatollah, Ali Khamenei, is Azerbaijani by birth. There are a lot of Azerbaijanis among the representatives of the highest military, political, and economic elite of modern Iran, and overwhelmingly, they do not feel at all disadvantaged.

If in Shah Iran, emphasis was placed on Persian identity, in connection with which the Shah government made every effort to eliminate national differences between individual groups of the country’s population (and, first of all, sought to “persist” Azerbaijani and Kurdish groups), after the Islamic revolution The first plan was a common Iranian identity, sealed by religious and political foundations. This allowed to consolidate around the ideas of the Islamic revolution representatives of almost all ethnic groups in the country and, above all, of course, Iranian Azerbaijanis. Despite the fact that there are separate political groups of an autonomist nature abroad, in general Iranian Azerbaijanis cannot be viewed as an opposition minority or even as a minority, they are so integrated into the political and religious life of the country and play such a serious role in it. In this regard, the Persians as the main people of the country are also joined by the less numerous Iranian-speaking peoples - Talysh, Gilians, Masendaran, Lurs and Bakhtiars. There have never been any serious problems in Iran with the Turkic-speaking peoples - Iranian Turkmen, Qashqais, Afshars and some other groups.

Is Iran waiting for the fate of Syria?

One of the potentially problematic ethnic groups of the multinational Iranian population is the Kurds. Of course, unlike Turkey, Syria or Iraq, Iranian Kurds are much less politicized, but, nevertheless, Kurdish national liberation organizations have been active in Iran since Shah times. Kurdish tribes, whose total number in Iran reaches 5,5-6 million people, inhabit the islands of Ilam and Kermanshah and Western Azerbaijan. A separate and very large enclave of the Kurdish population is located in another part of the country - in the north-east of Iran, in the North Khorasan ostan. Here, on the border with modern Turkmenistan, the Safavid Shah Abbas resettled warlike Kurds to defend the Persian borders from the Turkmen nomadic tribes. The Kurds are the most multi-confessional inhabitants of Iran. Among the Iranian Kurds are dominated by Sunnis, many Shiites, there are followers of such interesting religious groups as the Ali-Ilahi.

In the 1940-s under the auspices of the Soviet Union on the lands of Iranian Kurdistan was created so-called. Mehabad Republic Then, during the existence of the shah of Iran, the government pursued a policy of assimilation of all the Iranian-and-Turkic groups of the population. The Kurds were no exception. When the Islamic Revolution took place and a political regime, opposing the United States, became established in Iran, Washington began to seek to play the Kurdish card in Iran. If in Turkey, NATO structures opposed the Kurdish national movement, then the national movement of Iranian Kurds met with full support in the West. This is how PJAK (Kurd. Partiya Jiyana Azad a Kurdistanê) appeared in Iran - the Party of Free Life in Kurdistan, which political scientists consider to be the Iranian version of the Kurdistan Workers' Party. There is nothing strange in this, since the party is guided by the ideas of Abdullah Ocalan and is ideologically related to the Turkish and Syrian Kurdish movements. Whatever it was, but this organization in 2004 year formed its militarized wing - Self-defense of Eastern Kurdistan, which is trying to wage a sluggish guerrilla war against Iranian security officials in remote areas of Iranian Kurdistan. However, most Iranian Kurds do not participate in this fight.

On the other hand, the Iranian leadership is taking all possible measures to ensure that the majority of the country's Kurdish population remains loyal to Tehran. First, the socio-economic situation in the Kurdish areas of the country that were once among the most backward provinces of Iran is gradually improving. Especially large funds are invested by the Iranian government in the fight against unemployment. Indeed, very often it is the absence of any kind of work and income that makes young people (and young people among Kurds, by virtue of high birth rates, have a lot) to join radical organizations. In addition, the government is investing in the construction of roads and enterprises in Iranian Kurdistan, which also contributes to improving not only the standard of living of the population, but also the controllability of the region.

Secondly, the official Tehran demonstrates a desire for dialogue with Iraqi Kurdistan, emphasizing that the problems of the Kurdish people are not alien to them. Although, of course, it is clear that Iran as a whole has a very negative attitude towards the concept of creating a Kurdish state in the Middle East, knowing full well the danger of these plans for the territorial integrity of the Iranian state itself.

Naturally, the United States, in attempts to destabilize the political situation in Iran, can rely on individual Kurdish groups as well. Of course, the American special services are well aware that the hands of some relatively few Kurdish radicals cannot change the durable regime of the Islamic Republic, but against the background of speeches by radicals in Iranian cities, the attacks of radicals in Kurdistan may be just the way. Moreover, the United States already has an established tradition of interaction with the same Iraqi Kurds in neighboring Iraqi Kurdistan. At the same time, unlike in Turkey or Syria, in Iran, radical movements do not enjoy broad support from ordinary Kurds living in the country's western provinces. That is, it will be very difficult to deploy a large-scale armed movement against the government in this territory.

Another nation among which national-liberation organizations have been active for a long time is Iranian Baluchs. They inhabit the remains of Sistan and Baluchistan in the south-east of the country, the most remote and underdeveloped Iranian province. Unlike the 90% of the population of Iran, the Balochi are Sunni. They are closely associated with their tribesmen living in neighboring Afghanistan and Pakistan. In fact, it is a conglomeration of tribes that control vast territories along the coast of the Indian Ocean and inland to Afghanistan and Iran. The Baluchs still retain tribal divisions, most of them engaged in traditional nomadic and semi-nomadic cattle breeding, while many do not disdain to smuggle drugs and weapons. The socio-economic situation of the population of Baluchistan is even more difficult than in Iranian Kurdistan, although the government here too is trying to be active in solving the social problems of the local population.

In Balochistan, stretching to the lands of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, state borders are very transparent. This allows the Baluchs to easily cross them for both criminal and political purposes. Back in 1980, the Baloch liberation movement under the leadership of Abdul Aziz Mollazadeh appeared in Iranian Balochistan, which was actively sponsored by Iraqi special services (according to the well-known principle “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”). With the help of the Baloch resistance, Saddam Hussein wanted to, if not crush Iran, then seriously weaken it. But this goal was not achieved by the Iraqi leader.

But the Iranian secret services successfully defeated the Baloch liberation movement, but it was replaced by a much more dangerous movement - Jundall, Warriors of Allah. This organization launched an armed struggle against the Iranian authorities about fifteen years ago, managing to destroy several hundred Iranian police and military personnel during this time. The damage from the activities of the Jundalli Iranian authorities are much greater than from the Kurdish radicals in the west of the country.

Thus, the organization conducted a series of high-profile terrorist acts, such as October 18 2009, blew up a whole group of high-ranking officers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps who arrived in Pishin to meet with the sheikhs of Iranian Balochistan tribes. During this terrorist attack, in particular, the Deputy Commander of the Land Forces of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps of Iran General Nur-Ali Shushtari and the Commander of the Corps in Sistan and Baluchistan provinces, General Rajab Ali Mohammadzade, were killed. All these attacks have led to the fact that in Tehran are very interested in the situation in a remote province. In addition to funds for its socio-economic development, military contingents were significantly strengthened, including the units of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps stationed in Sistan and Balochistan. The central government even opened a military school for the local population in order to train personnel for the local security forces from among the Baluchi themselves.

For Iran, Baluchistan is a very strategically very important region, since it is here that one of the key highways for communication with China and the countries of South Asia must pass. Therefore, it is quite clear to whom the destabilization of Balochistan is beneficial. Washington will play the Baloch card further, knowing full well that this is one of the most effective tools in the fight not only against Iran, but also against developing Iranian-Chinese economic relations.

However, neither the Kurdish nor the Baluch movements, of course, do not “pull” on the role of serious forces in the US struggle against Iran. Thus, in Syria, the United States emphasized the Arab-Sunni majority, who was displeased, including for objective reasons, with the policies of Bashar al-Assad and his Alawite entourage. In Iran, the situation is somewhat different. Shiites in power make up 90% of the country's population, and in turn, of these 90%, most fully share the Iranian political identity. There is no such contradiction, as in Syria (Sunni Arabs against Alawites, Kurds against central government), and there cannot be. On the other hand, one can hardly seriously count on Maidan, that is, to overthrow the government as a result of the performance of students from the capital and westernized strata of the population. In Iran, too much power and too powerful power structures, moreover, the main part of the population is more likely to support power than to distance itself from it, as the pro-Western intelligentsia does.

It is unlikely that the hopes of the USA will be justified for the betrayal of a part of the Iranian generals. Unlike Libya or Iraq, the military elite in Iran is more reliable and patriotic, especially since there are actually two armies - the armed forces proper and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which also includes all kinds of armed forces and very efficient units. But the most important thing is that Iran is an established civilization that will try to solve its internal problems without resorting to the intervention of third states.
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  1. Sonet
    Sonet 10 January 2018 16: 03 New
    The Americans are not stupid, they know that they cannot drown the boat themselves — they make the boat swing itself, so that later it rolls over.
  2. solzh
    solzh 10 January 2018 16: 16 New
    The Iranian authorities will do everything in their power and even more to prevent the Syrian scenario on their land.
    1. Alber
      Alber 10 January 2018 21: 04 New
      Quote: solzh
      The Iranian authorities will do everything in their power and even more to prevent the Syrian scenario on their land.

      the main thing is not to allow close Zionists, explicit and hidden (crypto Jews). such as Gulen in Turkey, who created his pseudo-Islamic religion and balamutil Turkish people
  3. Strashila
    Strashila 10 January 2018 16: 18 New
    "Shiites in power make up 90% of the country's population, in turn, of these 90%, most share the common Iranian political identity." ... nothing says ... the question of the volume and precision of financing ... in Libya and Iraq goals were achieved when people close to the rulers were bought ... in Syria, they failed to complete this process and it stood. There are always those who want to steer ... the main thing is to find and interest them.
    1. aybolyt678
      aybolyt678 11 January 2018 05: 52 New
      Quote: Strashila
      in Syria, this process could not be completed and it stood.

      And it will sway a lot - we go there to the videoconferencing.
  4. Sergey-8848
    Sergey-8848 10 January 2018 19: 15 New
    For the CIA - in this state the number of renegades and others .... - For a long time it will not be enough for a coup. If the authorities themselves do not mess up, then let them rule.
  5. flicker
    flicker 10 January 2018 20: 17 New
    Well, as it were, you can swing almost any state.
    But as correctly noted in the article "Iran is an established civilization" existing for many centuries, valuing its history and culture and capable of self-preservation.
  6. 16112014nk
    16112014nk 10 January 2018 20: 25 New
    ... the most important thing - Iran is an established civilization ...
    Most importantly, there is no US embassy in Iran.
    1. 7gor
      7gor 11 January 2018 00: 40 New
      The most important thing is that there is no US embassy in Iran ........... It won’t make it any easier! All the efforts of the states, called America, are aimed at destabilizing our peace! It’s not funny to curry soldier
  7. Scorpio05
    Scorpio05 10 January 2018 21: 32 New
    Very informative article. I would like to thank the author for an interesting and objective article. Trends in general, but not in all of course, are correctly described. As, in a way, an interested person who knows the subject firsthand, I would like to clarify that the Kashkays and Afshars are essentially the same Turkic Azerbaijanis, simply named in the census of Iran by the name of the tribe, rather even a tribe or clan. Sometimes they did the same with the Shahsevens and others. What if you wish can be done with other Azerbaijanis: byatami, kajars, rumlo and so on. But there are practically no differences between them in any sense. Many government figures, scientists and politicians from both North Azerbaijan and South Azerbaijan (Iran) belong to various such genera. For example, the prominent scientist of Soviet Azerbaijan, academician Miraly Qashqai, as can be seen from the surname, was from Qashqai. In Northern Azerbaijan, that is, in the former Soviet, there are settlements called Afshar, etc.
  8. Sergeant71
    Sergeant71 10 January 2018 23: 12 New
    Definitely, Iran is not waiting for the fate of Syria. These states are too different. 1. The country is almost mono-ethnic. 2. One religion. 3. There is no problem with Kurdish separatism that is ruining Syria and Iraq. 4. The country is away from potential gas pipelines to Europe. 5. A sufficiently strong army and economy.
    Conclusion. They won’t fool themselves, they will begin to play the first or second roles in the Near and Middle East.
    1. protoss
      protoss 11 January 2018 01: 07 New
      Have you read the article? from which suddenly "mono-ethnic country"?
  9. 7gor
    7gor 11 January 2018 00: 34 New
    Burn in hell to provocateurs am ! The Caspian Sea is my home! We decided to go from the flank! ... I express deep concern repeat
  10. Dalailama
    Dalailama 11 January 2018 05: 56 New
    you will not wait
  11. Mihail55
    Mihail55 12 January 2018 04: 56 New
    Time passed, the great empires collapsed - Rome, Byzantium, Ottoman and others, and Persia LIVES! The example of US sanctions is indicative! Iran is an independent state, and there are not so many of them in the world. Like it or not. The presence of different peoples within this state does not interfere with its development. Despite the many differences with them, maybe we should learn something from them?
  12. Bulrumeb
    Bulrumeb 12 January 2018 14: 19 New
    Washington began to seek to play the Kurdish card in Iran.

    Where there are Kurds, there is an eternal mess and a headache for the authorities.