Had the privilege of attending another event featuring 'the columnist to the world' Mark Steyn again last night. Mr. Steyn is on a tour promoting his new book 'The Undocumented Mark Steyn.'
I posted a bit more info about the event live on my Twitter: twitter.com/WinstonCDN. However out of many things Mark Steyn mentioned in his hour long interview/chat, two quotes will always stay with me:
1- "A free people should be able to defend itself against aggression or government tyranny."
2- "When a tolerant society tolerates the most intolerant values (i.e Islamism, Jihadism... etc) it is bound to fail."
Every time I speak with my friends inside of Iran I can sense the depth of hate that ordinary Iranians have for their oppressors.
A few days ago I was speaking to a trusted buddy of mine who was full of boiling rage against the regime's systematic destruction of Iran's natural resources. Iran is going through one of its worst draughts in history and many rivers, lakes and national parks are suffering from it.
People blame the Islamic regime for these problems, and other social and economic ills. Yet they can't help unshackled themselves from the yoke of the Ayatollahs. The hate for this cruel regime runs deep.
I still believe that given the right amount of financial, moral and political support we can overthrow the murderous Iranian regime. And we must do so. This regime must go.
Recently I have been pondering about the similarities between the Iranian and Russian cultures. And it seems, to me as an Iranian, that the modern Iranian culture has been heavily influenced by the Russian culture. From our food and the way we make our tea to weird superstitions we hold on to, everything seems to be influenced by the Russians.
It makes sense that the immediate European neighbor to Iran in the north has been such an influential in shaping Iran's modern culture.
The Iranian regime is once again trying to procure the Russian made S-300 air defense missiles, even after they had claimed that their Islamic revolutionary engineers could manufacture the S-300 system in Iran without any foreign assistance. Turns out, those bogus claims weren't true.
The Iranian Air Defense Forces have some modern air defense systems such as the Russian built Tor M-1 and legacy air defense systems such as US made I-Hawk MIM-23, or Russian built SAM-6 and S-200 systems.
Almost all of these air defense systems are designed to deal with low to medium altitude targets, save for the legacy S-200 of which Iran has a handful. It must be noted that some of Syria's Sa-17 air defense systems have found their way to Iran through Lebanon's terrorist group Hezbollah which upon arrival, were given a new paint scheme and an Arabic name 'Raad.' Some analysts have rightly speculated that Iran has been the actual financier of these expensive purchases by the Syrians in the first place.
Iran's plans to obtain the sophisticated S-300 missile system stems from the regime's desire to protect its nuclear facilities from a possible US or Israeli air strike. The original deal was suspended by the Russian government out of respect for the United Nations' embargoes on the Iranians.
So far their attempts at procuring S-300 have been futile. They must know that S-300 will not stop the Israeli Air Force or the United States Air Force from penetrating the Iranian air space in order to bomb the regime's nuclear weapons facilities.
On January 5th, 1995 the entire senior commanders of the regular Iranian Air Force (HQ's general staff) were killed in a suspicious plane crash near the city of Isfahan. Among the dead were several generals including the Iranian Air Force's commander Gen. Mansour Sattari (above photos), the air force's deputy commanders Gen. Yassini, Gen. Ardestani and a few other high ranking officers. The cause of the crash is still unknown. The IRIAF's board of inquiry never released its findings, if they found any. Some attributed the cause of crash to be 'pilot error' as some recalled the pilot being a 'flight training school reject' who was about to be dismissed. But why give the control of a VIP aircraft with a dozen VIP passengers to a 'flight school reject' then?
The Iranian regime is known to be hostile to the regular Iranian armed forces (Air Force, Army and Navy). The first round of mass purges came right after the Ayatollahs' seizure of power in February 1979. At the time, they mercilessly executed almost all the Shah's armed forces generals and those who were deemed anti-revolutionary. It is believed that upwards of 9000 military service-members were executed between February 1979 and October 1980, while hundreds were let go under bogus circumstances. Among those who were killed, there were dozens of highly trained fighter pilots, technicians and war planners whose absence left Iran almost defense-less against the Iraqi onslaught during the coming 8 year long war.
The second round of mass executions came in 1983-84 when several senior naval and ground forces officers were charged with 'membership in Tudeh (communist party of Iran) party' and summarily executed. Many claim that these men's main crime was protesting the regime's plans to expand the war and seize Iraqi territory. These senior officers believed the war's objective of ejecting Iraq from Iran's territory had been achieved and it was time to settle for peace.
But these mass executions and death squads are the official purges we know about. And the Iranian regime is actually proud of its work in 'cleansing the earth from corrupt individuals'. The notion of 'eradicating the corrupt from the face of the earth is very common in Iran. Being 'corrupt' or 'Mofsed' is also a charge that the regime lays on any one who might be deemed counter-revolutionary or un-islamic.
And then there are purges we do not know about or haven't heard much about. The first of these came in September of 1981. The then commander of the Iranian AF Javad Fakouri along with the Chief of Staff of Iran's armed forces General Fallahi, Defense Minister Namjou (all western oriented senior officers) died in a mysterious crash aboard a C-130 Hercules transport plane, while returning from an inspection tour of the Iranian military gains in the war against Saddam's army. Again, no official cause of the crash was ever released.
Through these violent mass executions and lay offs, the new Islamic regime solidified its control over what was dubbed the Shah's "Taghuti" Armed Forces.
As mentioned earlier, the entire command and general staff of the regular Iranian Air Force (IRIAF) was decimated in a mysterious 'Lockheed JetStarII' plane crash (similar to the above aircraft).
Gen. Sattari (a ground radar control officer by training) had become commander of the Iranian AF in 1986 at a time when the air force was under enormous pressure, and lacked any serious capability during the last phase of the war with Iraq. He'd become famous for introducing I-HAWK air defense missile batteries as battlefield mobile air defense systems. Through personal innovation and initiative, he single handedly was responsible for downing dozens of Iraqi aircraft. His connections with the current president of Iran (Hassan Rouhani) who was chief of civil and military defense at the time paid off in 1986, and he was appointed the commander of the air force. Though not known for being pro-Shah or remotely western, he had an independent streak that led him to be distrusted by the regime. He had grand plans to modernize the battered air force and pushed to purchase new aircraft (MiG-29s, Sukhoi-24, F-7 Chengdu… etc) and wished to strengthen the weakened air arm under his command. He retained many of the US trained pilots and technicians. He fought tooth and nail to have many of the western trained personnel be returned to active duty since their expertise were needed to maintain the western aircraft.
Those plans were not favored by a regime that regards the regular army as 'Taghuti' and relies on the 'Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)' to protect the Islamic revolution. Not to mention using the IRGC as a check against the regular military. (IRGC has seized or established grounds/bases near every major regular military base in Iran).
Once those senior commanders (read obstacles) were killed, the regime went into one of its mass purges again. Dismissal rates increased, dissident personnel were thrown in jail, any one who voiced his concern against rampant corruption was jailed, cronyism grew larger as the new commander of the IRIAF Gen. Baghae'e (known as 'Choopan' or herder, for his love of goats, cows and sheep) turned the air force bases around the country into herding grounds, and started using the air force's conscript soldiers as slave laborers in the regime's oil and gas projects through out the country. He basically did what he was told to do: keep an important branch of the regular military weak and incompetent.
At the time of the 'JetStarII crash' in Isfahan in January of 1995, many within the air force community believed the cause of the incident was 'a package' given to a crew member as a gift. Did the 'gift' explode mid-air causing the loss of cabin pressure and subsequent loss of life and aircraft in the process? No one knows. But the history of military purges in Iran tells me that the regime did not want General Sattari and co to run the regular air force.
What better way to dismiss these men in a mysterious mid-air crash than to risk upsetting 1/3rd of Iran's mostly pro-western US trained regular military?
Gen. Sattari (red box) inspecting "Bushehr's 6th tactical fighter base" in southern Iran in early 1990s.
Here, Sattari seen climbing out of a Chinese made 'F-7M Chengdu' training aircraft. Since he was not a pilot by trade, he took it upon himself to learn how to fly different airplanes as the commander of Iran's air force. The tradition dictates that the commander of the IRIAF to be a fighter pilot.
In February 19th, 2003 hundreds of military personnel (this time mostly IRGC officers) died in what was the largest aircraft crash in Iran's history. The cause of the crash remains unclear. Many have suggested that the regime loaded the plane with dissatisfied IRGC personnel and then blew it up. But who knows?! A tyranny is capable of anything.
What do I think of the deal between Obama and the Iranian regime over the regime's nuclear program? I think it is horrible. I think it is a cop out. An easy way for Obama to shirk responsibility yet again. Who in their right minds could see the day when the President of the United States would be the Iranian Mullahs' primary protector and ally?
So in that sense, I think, Obama has managed to prop up the Iranian regime. And he has de-moralized an army of pro-freedom Iranians who a few years ago took to the streets again hoping to get rid of the Mullahs.
It is a bad deal for the American people, for the Israelis and for the Iranian people. But the question remains: What's it with the US democrats' love for tyrants and mass murderers? Can any one answer that?
In the early morning hours of January 26th, 2012 an Iranian F-14A (serial 3-6062 seen above) was scrambled to intercept a 'UFO' near the port city of Bushehr in south of Iran. Less than 5 minutes into the flight, the mighty 'Tomcat' disappeared from the ground control radar. The pilot and RIO (seen below) both lost their lives in the crash.
So far the Iranian regime has attributed the cause of this terrible incident to some unknown technical failures. But that was not the case. The '3-6062' F-14 was one of the best maintained aircraft in the Iranian Air Force's inventory assigned to critical 'QRA' duties in the important port city of Bushehr where Iran's sole nuclear reactor is also located.
But what was the cause of this mysterious crash? The Iranian regime has not revealed much beyond its official line that the crash was due to technical issues. But now it can reliably be said that the 'Revolutionary Guards' air defense near Bushehr 6th tactical air base shot this valuable 'Tomcat' down. The regular air force officers I spoke with over the past week claim that the IRGC's air defense personnel are "totally unfamiliar" with the type of aircraft flying for their own country. One of them told me that the 'IRGC' AAA personnel fire at anything that might scare them. Although my guess is that they fire at all high speed flying objects out of fear of getting reprimanded for not actually fighting.
This story exposes an existing gap between the regular armed forces and their more radical revolutionary guards' comrades. A gap that could be exploited during a coalition air strike to de-fang the Iranian regime and its nuclear weapons facilities.
According to eye witness accounts, an Iranian 'F-4E Phantom II' of the 61st Tactical Fighter Squadron crashed on Bushehr air base's runway 31L this past Monday, 23 Sept. The cause of the accident according to my sources is mentioned as "a violent tire burst" that forced the aircraft off the runway. As a result, the crew attempted to eject which resulted in the unfortunate death of the F-4 pilot Major Rezaee and injuring WSO Capt. Salimi (shown in the above photo).
Bushehr is home to two squadrons of F-4E Phantom IIs, and one permanent detachment of F-14A Tomcats originally out of the 8th Isfahan Tactical Air Base. Bushehr is also the same base where the drone harassing F-4E had flown from, which was later intercepted by a USAF F-22 Raptor.
This is the second such incident at this very same air base. Back in January 2012, an F-14A crashed at night immediately after take-off killing the pilot and RIO. Needless to say, the port city of Bushehr is also home to the Iranian regime's sole nuclear power reactor built by the Russians.
The 'Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force' was the second largest operator of the F-4 and RF-4E Phantoms after Germany. The service has managed to keep the US built type fly-worthy by obtaining spare parts from the global black markets, or through indigenous aircraft industries. It is said to have around 65 flyable F-4E Phantom II aircraft mainly based at 3rd Hamedan, 6th Bushehr and 9th Bandar Abbas tactical fighter bases, with a few aging F-4D aircraft based in Chahbahar 10th AB.
Some of the 61st TFS pilots
This deadly incident did not receive any media coverage inside of Iran as it coincided with the regime's "Sacred Defense Week" festivities commemorating the beginning of the 8 year long Iraq-Iran war of the 1980s.
Truth is that I am on the fence when it comes to Syria. On one hand, I believe, President Bush should have decimated Assad's regime for its role in Iraq's insurgency from 2003 to 2009. By not attacking Syria's terrorist regime back then, America showed that it is not very serious about taking on real Jihadists. Also, Iran's IED factories should have been bombed during the same period. Those IEDs and EFPs killed and maimed thousands of Iraqis and Americans. And as such, by being unserious, any attack to punish Bashar Assad is meaningless. Especially when a community organizer is running the show.
On the other hand, I believe, America's credibility is on the line. And world order is sacrosanct. No tyrant should get away with murdering its citizens. And yes, I believe that the United States is the world police. In fact, America is the warden of the global mental sanitarium. And that ungodly role requires America to smack down tinpot dictators and Jihadists once in a while.
It is a tough sell. I really want Assad and his minions to be punished. Above all, I don't mind if Iran's regime is punished as well. But will politico-in-chief Hussein Obama be able to do what's right? I highly doubt it. I also don't blame the ignorant majority of members of the US Congress for their refusal to vote "Yes" on Obama's AUMF (Authorization to Use Military Force) next week. Why should they vote "Yes" for an Anti-American president's proposal, when the US president himself is unwilling to take responsibility for his deeds. He passed the 'buck' to the congress, so in case of any potential policy failures, he will be able to blame clueless Republicans for his own failures again.
One thing is certain and that is the undeniable fact that Obama's incompetence combined with his real world inexperience finally made the US a 'laughingstock' on the world stage. And I don't think pinprick attacks against Syrian dictator Assad would change that.
I am not being cynical. I am actually being a fair foreign observer of events. This happens when a serious nation elects a clown and commits suicide en masse. The next 40 months of this idiot's presidency will be pure torture.
Syrian regime should have been bombed to smithereens when they were aiding international Jihadi terrorists in Iraq kill and maim US and coalition troops in Fallujah, Tal Afar, Baghdad and Ramadi in 2005-2006.
I never understood how President Bush allowed the nasty Iranian and Syrian regimes to continue killing Americans, and then get away with it. Quite perplexing to say the least.
I hope Assad's house is bombed and he is killed for the suffering he has inflicted on his own people, and for all those free dough and oil he has been receiving from the Iranian regime. The dough and oil that rightfully belong to the impoverished people of Iran.
On the other hand, dropping some bombs on Assad's butt would send a clear message to Iran's regime as well, however late this is.
Time to remove Bashar Assad from power. I hope Obama doesn't just lob a few missiles to get the useless US media/critics off his back.
The anti-Semitism current in the middle-east, and chiefly in Iran makes me vomit. There will be no bright future for any of those miserable nations if they cling on to their Jew-hatred. I find it very repulsive when so many Iranians hold anti-Jewish sentiments, or they feel brave enough to express them. Ugh!
Needless to say that the regime played its cards very well again. Despite media reports, the turn out was not that amazing. Most of my friends reported to me that they and their families/friends stayed home and did not participate in the sham elections. Alas, the regime managed to choose the candidate it really wanted: Rouhani.
It does not matter who's won. The ultimate goal for the sane Iranian people and the western governments should be the overthrow of the Iranian regime. Period!
Iran's supreme dictator Khamenei decided to appoint a so-called "moderate" to fool the naive westerners and reduce the pressure on his dying regime. And unfortunately 35 million Iranians decided to play his game.
One positive thing out of the whole thing: The Iranian people still have the capacity or the ability to come out to the streets in the thousands as we saw over this past weekend. Too bad this energy cannot be channeled to topple the current regime entirely.
Great Q/A with Michael Rubin on the 2013 elections here.