IRAN PROTEST CRISIS: Everything you need to know
Decemberr 30th, 2017 - Fort Russ news -
- Analysis by Joaquin Flores, Chief Editor, FRN - Support Flores' Patreon Today!
Protest in Kermanshah, 12-29-17
Across the websites of the Associated Press, Reuters, and the U.S establishment's own 'Twitter' and 'Facebook', news stories covering apparent violence in Iran and a radical change in the demands of protests have today sprang up, with a tone of extreme urgency.
So what's the problem? And why are Iranians protesting?
Problematic, however, has been any way to independently verify these claims. The Iranian government has generally been clear that there are two unrelated types of protests going on, simultaneously. However, these claims can only be juxtaposed to claims from Iranian 'activists' associated with the radical reformist Green Movement, originally of former Iranian PM Mousavi. But today are themselves divided, and a branch exists today aiding in organizing the smaller protests and 'stunts', which is organized in connection with US support.
But the other branch was actually reeled in, absorbed, tamed, and redirected by Rouhani under the auspices of the Ayatollah Khamenei. At the same time, this had the effect of bringing elements of radical reformism closer to vectors of power than they had been since the mid 1990's.
The elected government's official view, as reported internationally and by Iranian state media, is actually supportive of the legitimate demands of the mainstream protests. They have already announced this to the protesters, and are working at the level of civil society intervention to de-escalate the protests and usher in a series of new policies and programs aimed at ameliorating some of the legitimate concerns. Meanwhile, government supporters have also turned out en mass to counter the international image being projected by Western media.
With official unemployment at 12% and negative economic growth for a number of years until the 2016 GDP boom that saw 12% growth, without these gains properly trickling down, and a whole period of inflation which hasn't been recovered from yet (as sellers saw what price maximums were possible), what we are also seeing in Iran are real people protesting about real problems.
To be clear - the government of Iran is not blaming the legitimate protesters as 'Western agents'. They have said that the protests, correctly, are chiefly related to inflation and other economic related concerns. Rouhani himself has publicly stated that he shares precisely these concerns.
Are Iran's problems its own doing? Or are there global factors at play?
It isn't so easy simply to dismiss these complaints from the mainstream of protesters, and dismissively point instead to the economic encirclement the west has placed upon Iran. Iran is nevertheless still a class society with a wide and growing disparity between income groups. There are Iranian billionaires, private owners of firms and joint stock companies, who while operating within the parameters of Iranian sovereignty, also acquire their economic success on the backs of countless Iranians. Their wealth and stature in Iranian society grew significantly under Rafsanjani's tenure.
That some of these firms themselves are, or had been, the subject of sanctions, is not entirely relevant to the fact that the economic policies of some of the reformists have led to the enrichment of a few at the expense of many. And this is the discourse we are seeing and hearing from Iranians today. What therefore is being presented in Western media, is an inversion of reality.
If anything, a plurality of protesters would likely want to see a return to the policies of Ahmadinejad. Unemployment, for instance, was lowest under his administration. He also placed price controls, and subsidized other goods, in response to the spiraling inflation caused by western imposed sanctions.
Is there anything more we should say about this?
Indeed, opposition to the privatizing and anti-social policies of Rafsanjani, is where the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran comes from. Rafsanjani, president in the late 80's through mid 90's, was of course not entirely unsuccessful in any number of projects important to Iran, including increasing ties with post-Soviet central Asian countries. But significant to the average Iranian laborer or small shop keeper, were his anti-popular measures. So the economic leftism of the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran is a response to this, and Ahmadinejad rose to prominence in large part through this movement, which he leads.
All this leads to only one conclusion - the Western media is manufacturing a story, with little basis in Iran's reality and recent history.
So there is something very clear now we must understand about the legitimate mass protests, however, which is that they have nothing substantively to do with the solution set proposed by the Green Movement or, for example, the National Trust party of Karroubi (another prominent reformist). Western media would have you believe that all of this, what you are seeing, is homogeneous in its message, and reformist or even Green, in nature.
Now, understanding the political composition of the mass protests is not so easy - some of course are critical of Rouhani for not being reformist enough, and not open enough. They may parallel some of the demands and concerns of both wings of the Green Movement, or of Karroubi's National Trust.
What's the history here?
The Green's spiritual leader, who was also a leader of the 1979 Revolution, but later fell out of favor in the mid 80's for reasons we will mention now, is Montazeri. Montazeri himself was demoted and finally pushed out of leadership circles for having liberal criticisms of the Iranian Revolution, and also opposed the regionalization or exporting of the revolution.
So these are themes from the 80's, which still in some prominent ways are dominating the internal debate within Iranian society today.
So who is protesting?
The vast majority of protesters are either not particularly partisan, or they are - contrary to how the western media blitzkrieg over the last 48 hours has painted it - sympathetic to Ahmadinejad's criticisms of reformist economic and foreign policy, insofar as this is a policy which has favored an increased polarization of the distribution of wealth and opportunities in the Islamic Republic. So their chief issues are economic concerns, corruption, and distribution of wealth and human services. There is enough sophistication in Iran to understand that in terms of regional politics, everything Iran does in Syria and Iraq is an important move to counter and contain Israel. This is a 'popular militancy' that is carried on from the revolution of 1979 itself.
So to understand Rouhani, he has pursued a very similar foreign policy - in effect - as the conservatives and 'revolution exporters', as seen in the way that Iran today supports Shiite brigades in Iraq and Syria, and also has their own special forces fighting there in Syria and Iraq, as well as very close support and funding for Hezbollah in Lebanon. Again, these are contrary to what both the Green movement reformists, National Trust reformists, and run-of-the-mill moderate reformists want.
But the economic policy pursued by Rouhani - with a following proviso - has been that of the reformists. That policy has been to have warm economic relations with the west. While there are some divisions there about whether Europe or the US would be a better partner, nevertheless this has been pursued, and for that we saw the government of Rouhani enter into the anti-nuclear agreement that was supposed to be the pathway out of sanctions - one that has, with mixed results, generally worked.
And internally, that policy, again, favors the individual rights of owners and bosses against the middling and lower classes.
Yet the proviso we must insert here, is that the economic policy of the reformists, in their eyes, isn't responsible for the economic crisis - they view and criticize Rouhani for not in fact succeeding in opening up ties as much as they could be.
Sanctions is a somewhat misleading framework to understand an underlying fact, which is that there is no mechanism or impetus to force seller and buyers in two countries to come to terms, and there are plenty of mechanisms within a country hostile to Iran to nudge its firms not to trade with Iran, even if 'sanctions' are not in place. In this way, we can understand the significance of sanctions, but also understand all of the more complex realities that may fall under that general concept, while not being in fact 'sanctions' per se.
Membership in the WTO, for example, would work to overcome the problem of this de facto category of sanctions, but the US has blocked Iran's entrance since reformists pushed for its application in 1996. But just a few months back in September 2017, Iran announced it was officially withdrawing its application. This was a major turning point, and a very 'anti-reformist' move by the ostensibly reformist Rouhani.
Two unrelated protest movements happening
In other words, there are at least two sets of protests going on, and while they are mirroring some similar talking points and general descriptions of grievances, their solutions are wildly at odds. We should note that in the north-west of the country, where there have been numerous but small protests, among the demands are a mixture of populist and left economic demands, with greater autonomy demands which mirror the reformists - the later of which the US would very much support as it creates opportunities and pretexts, the likes we have seen in places as far and away from each other as the former Yugoslavia and Syria re the Kurdish question.
To understand this: imagine genuine socialists and genuine libertarians both protesting in the U.S about the failures of the public education system, with socialists urging greatly more funding, and libertarians urging that the system be abolished -- literally opposite solutions to the same identified problem.
That's how we might better understand what we are seeing today with the various protests in Iran.
CIA and Soros stunts, and Astroturfing
With the more radical wing of the Green Movement (et al, and similar), we see them pulling off various stunts. These are stunts, and not protests as such, because they involve at most several dozen 'activists' using camera angles, and unpopular chants, to simulate a larger protest with, what we are told are, popular radical chants.
This simulation of reality is only possible using a combination of western media hyperventilated coverage surrounding demonstrably isolated events carried out by less than a dozen individuals. A 'twitter storm', is being used - this is a centrally planned weaponized information method - and is essentially what one would conceive it to be, by its designation.
These are astroturf, not grass-roots type demonstrations.
For example, in this stunt, above, we see just a handful of individuals, yet this is among the very popular tweets that went viral, and helped to create a perception of a nation wide crisis and total melt-down of social order (there has not been).
فیلم مربوط به تظاهرات امروز مردم شاهروده که شعار میدن «ما آریایی هستیم عرب نمیپرستیم» و «نه غزه نه لبنان جانم فدای ایران»
طرفدارای روحانی احتمالاً خواهند گفت اینها بسیجی بودن و رفتن سه تیغه کردن و شعار ساختارشکن میدن تا مردم گول بخورن و روحانی کبیر تخریب بشه!
خجالت بکشید pic.twitter.com/YMUnYT23LF
— کچل موفرفری (@kachalmooferfer) December 28, 2017
Here, above, we see a 'protest' calling for regime change. Seems like serious stuff, until your eyes adjust to the way the camera is framed, and realize that all the people doing this stunt are in fact just those in the frame.
Protesters in Zanjan humiliatingly attack security forces, chasing them off. pic.twitter.com/WxOpyVzVKz
— Borzou Daragahi (@borzou) December 30, 2017
In this one, above, we see a US state department shill interpreting events in the standard way that the Color-Spring tactic attempts to. They want to goad, to provoke the police into making a kind of public attack, a sort of realized crack down - the sort they are already saying is happening, but don't have any real proof yet to show.
Would any sane person, who didn't want to antagonize or inflame the situation, frame what we are seeing here, in this way? Are the security forces being 'chased off'? They are armed, the protesters are not. We see them moving. Are they moving in somewhere, or moving out of it? We do not know from the actual footage. Are they being attacked? We counted three to four, of what look like, toilet paper rolls, or similar light white objects, being lobbed by what can't be more than one or two provocateurs.
Is Daragahi suggesting that the security forces should avoid this imaginary 'humiliation', and instead repress the demonstrators? Orders from central government have been clear - treat all of these with as light a hand as possible. If protesters seem to be irrationally targeting local police, there to generally maintain order, then its better to relocate or withdraw those police rather than have them actually employ their obviously superior force potential, and give reality and proof to, what are until now, imaginary accusations of a serious crack-down going on in Iran (there isn't one).
Protesters burn government offices in the Ahvaz Province #Iranpic.twitter.com/ot9syDMFH0
— Michael Horowitz (@michaelh992) December 30, 2017
In this final example, we have another case of the text of a tweet making 'news', but the content of the actual video is telling another story. Far from a 'government office' being burned, it appears to be an out-door bonfire, in a plaza or on the street, perhaps in front of a government office, and perhaps simply in that proximity, or perhaps nowhere near that.
Therefore, similar reports of government buildings being 'occupied' should be treated with skepticism, even if they are accompanied by 'video'. We must remember to use our own brains, when we use our own eyes, to look at purported events.
Other video clips circulating on twitter, are remixes and image inversions, of cell phone recorded events from 2009.
Astro-turfed demonstrations, placed explosives elsewhere, and perhaps next snipers creating chaos in one of the seven countries on the Pentagon's regime change list of 2001, have one thing in common: it's signature most likely being "CIA".
On the other hand, at least an equal number of people have turned out in today and yesterday's pro-government demonstrations, photo below.
Finally to contextualize the reality of any Western media purported 'crackdown' - what we are seeing in Iran today is only a fraction of what we saw in terms of seriousness or size, in 2009. In 2009, about 200 protesters were ultimately arrested. We might compare this to the 'open' and 'pluralist' United States, were Occupy Wall Street protests saw a police-state figure of over 8,000 arrested.
Joaquin Flores is Editor-in-Chief of Fort Russ News, as well as the Director of the Belgrade based think-tank, the Center for Syncretic Studies. He was educated at California State University, Los Angeles, in the field of International Relations. He previously served as Chief Negotiator and Internal Organizer in several jurisdictions for the SEIU labor union in California. Flores has twenty years experience in community, labor, and anti-war organizing. Flores has appeared innumerable times on Iran's 'PressTV' and Russia's 'RT' news to share his expert opinion and analysis on current geopolitical matters. http://www.fort-russ.com/2017/12/iran-protest-crisis-everything-you-need.html
Published on Jan 1, 2018
With the recent escalation of protests, is Iran heading for it's own revolution, similar to what has happened in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Syria? If so, let's hope that it ends peacefully, and not in a bloody civil war.
#Update102- An hour ago protesters were attacked by Basij(IRGC) Forces in #Kermanshah but people resisted, took one hostage, took his trousers off and let him go.
This is going to be a tactic against IRGC Forces all over the country when protesters get attacked.#IranProtests
The Basij militiaman, a paramilitary storm trooper of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, was reportedly swinging an electric shock baton when the crowd of angry protesters closed in around him.
“They got a Basij, hold him!” one man shouted as the demonstrators pulled away the militiaman’s baton and knocked him to the ground in the largely Kurdish city of Kermanshah.
But rather than beat the man to death, the crowd struck a different kind of blow against Iran’s authoritarian regime: they stripped him of his trousers and sent him stumbling and humiliated into the cold night.
“The protesters wanted to show that they are peaceful but that they are not weak and they are not afraid,” tweeted Iranian reporter Raman Ghavami.
Reports are emerging that the whole city of Kermanshah is now protesting the regime, chanting “down with the dictator” and “death to Khamenei!”
Can Trump do a better job than Bush and Obama when it comes to maintaining MIC revenue and TPTB's agenda? Is NK and Iran, the 2 remaining members of the "Axis of Evil" group Bush told us about, our next big revenue generator and economy prop?
‘Nothing but lies & deceit’ in exchange for US billions: Trump blasts Pakistan in first 2018 tweets RT
Published on Jan 2, 2018
US President Donald Trump apparently decided not to start the New Year with a clean slate, opting to re-ignite old disputes instead. In his first 2018 tweets, the US leader hit out at Iran and Pakistan.
Are these protests in Iran spontaneous, or are they the result of another regime change operation? This week on The Corbett Report James explores the past, present and future of US and Israeli involvement in Iran, and the attempts to foment unrest in the country.
US to spend 0,15% of estimated needed funds on rebuilding Iraq RT
Published on Jan 10, 2018
The US embassy in Iraq has announced $150mn is to be spent rebuilding cities left devastated in the war on Islamic Sate. But that's only a fraction of what the US has earmarked for its continued military operations there.
How about the US and it's allies can fight Iran's mullahs by proxy in 100 shithole countries for the next 100 years, or they can support the permanent removal of the mullahs themselves? End result being Iran run by Persians again.
Neocons wouldn't want this because a lot of endless wars will stop and others won't be started. Israel won't want this because they will lose a boogyman they use to beg for money. Russia and china won't want this because they get oil dirt cheap from Iran. Etc. Many belligerent assholes are using "the boogyman Iran" for their own purposes.
Life Under The Shah: What Iran Looked Like Before The Islamic Revolution
Today, Iran seems like a hotbed of fundamentalism. But it wasn't always that way, as evidenced by these photos of life in Iran under the Shah
“The world is not divided between East and West. You are American, I am Iranian, we don’t know each other, but we talk and we understand each other perfectly.
The difference between you and your government is much bigger than the difference between you and me. And the difference between me and my government is much bigger than the difference between me and you. And our governments are very much the same.”
And yet–at least upon first glance–modern-day Iran couldn’t seem any more dissimilar to the United States. But as these images suggest, there once was a time when the streets of Tehran mirrored those of, say, L.A., and national leaders would engage in discourse that consisted of more than sighs, sanctions and spats. So just what exactly changed?
When trying to understand why the world looks the way it does today, it's often helpful to start with the Cold War.
The case of Iran is no exception. Beginning in the 20th century, Iran had been ruled by the Shah monarchy, which funded its decadent lifestyle through oil--mainly through concessions to Great Britain, which relied heavily upon the oil during both World Wars--while allowing the majority of Iranians to live a life defined by poverty. Over time, Iranians grew tired of working to see wealth literally extracted from beneath their feet, and a man named Mohammad Mossadegh rose to power.
Mossadegh was elected as Prime Minister in 1951 and, like so many in the Middle East who were voted into power at the time, engaged in a sweeping number of "pro-poor" democratic reforms, which included the nationalization of Iranian oil.
Great Britain, which depended on cheap and easy access to these oil reserves and was fearful of what the Soviet Union might do if they got their hands on them, would not have any of it, and made it so that the Iranian economy would plummet and Mossadegh would inevitably be overthrown. That did happen, but not for nearly as long as Great Britain would have liked. Mossadegh did resign, but reassumed the position of Prime Minister after days of protest.
At the time, the United States had supported Mossadegh's election, as then the phrase of the day (at least on paper) was a nation's "right to self-determination". And yet, the United States' relationship with its Western ally--or more generally, fear of the ubiquitous communist threat--proved to be stronger.
In 1953, the CIA led a coup against Mossadegh--Operation AJAX--and eventually overthrew the leader, as well as the promise of Iranian democracy. The Shah re-assumed its control, the West had its predictable oil supply and cozy relations with Iran, and as these images suggest, life for most seemed to be pretty comfortable--however superficially.
What these photos don't show, though, is the resentment that many Iranians felt toward the United States and its hypocrisy when it comes to self-determination and democracy. This anti-Western resentment would incubate in fundamentalist fringes over the next several years and culminate in the 1979 Iranian Revolution, which would overthrow the Shah monarchy. Except this time, their proposed replacement was not a man of democratic reform like Mossadegh.
It was Ruhollah Mostafavi Moosavi Khomeini, whose hatred of the West would dictate his every political move, even at the expense of the Iranian people. Once in power, Khomeini expelled virtually every hint of Western modernity for an Iranian "authenticity" as defined by an absolute zealot, and the West has since been left with a monolithic, fundamentalist regime more difficult to negotiate with than Mossadegh ever was.
In spite of the Ayatollah, the illusion of political choice, and the still-cold relations between Iran and the West today, these photos show that another Iran is possible. For more on life under the Shah, check out this video from 1973:
Published on Jan 17, 2018
Why is the US building more military bases on Syrian territory without permission? Why is it funding and training a 30,000 strong border guard for Syria's borders with Turkey and Iraq? With ISIS defeated, does the White House really believe it has legal authority to keep US troops in Syria to "deter Iran"?
Edged out of Syrian peace process, US responds w/ anxiety, finger-pointing RT America
Published on Jan 24, 2018
As US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed stabilization of war-torn Syria, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley blasted Russia for thwarting US efforts to blame chemical attacks on Damascus. RT America’s Anya Parampil joins “News with Ed” with the details.
US has ‘zero intelligence’ on Syrian conflict – fmr CIA officer RT America
Published on Jan 24, 2018
Former CIA officer and terror expert Philip Giraldi join “News with Ed” to discuss the lack of credible intelligence in reports of chemical attacks in rebel-held areas in Syria. Washington’s condemnation of Russia’s policy in Syria amounts to “pushing all the buttons it can” to remain relevant, he said.
BAKU - As ISIS has scattered from the conventional battlespace in Syria, the focus has shifted to other parts of the country. The army of al-Assad, backed by Iran and Russia, have confined the rebel militias to pockets all over the country. The most significant rebel concentration is near the city of Idlib, where Turkish-backed militias and Islamist groups are held up.
The war has continued by these parameters, but it has taken a different form. Nearly all the opposition figures who started the anti-government movement are no longer around and goals for regime change have vanished as well. This new phase in the war has little to do with al-Assad, ideology, international law, or even Jihadist groups. Instead, every belligerent wants a piece of influence in Syria, which effectively means the dismemberment of the state.
Turkish allegations of Saudi, Emirati and Egyptian support for the outlawed Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) threatens to turn Turkey’s military offensive against Syrian Kurds aligned with the PKK into a regional imbroglio. The threat is magnified by Iranian assertions that low-intensity warfare is heating up in areas of the Islamic republic populated by ethnic minorities, including the Kurds in the northwest and the Baloch on the border with Pakistan.
Taken together, the two developments raise the specter of a potentially debilitating escalation of the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran as well as an aggravation of the eight-month-old Gulf crisis that has pitted Saudi Arabia and its allies against Qatar, the latter which has forged close ties to Turkey.
Image via al-Masdar News.
The United Arab Emirates and Egypt rather than Saudi Arabia have taken the lead in criticizing Turkey’s incursion into Syria designed to remove US-backed Kurds from the border region and create a 30-kilometer deep buffer zone. UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said the incursion by a non-Arab state signaled that Arab states would be marginalized if they failed to develop a national security strategy.
Notably Egypt, for its part, condemned the incursion as a "fresh violation of Syrian sovereignty" that was intended to "undermine the existing efforts for political solutions and counter-terrorism efforts in Syria."
Despite Saudi silence, Yeni Safak, a newspaper closely aligned with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), charged that a $1 billion Saudi contribution to the reconstruction of Raqqa, the now Syrian Kurdish-controlled former capital of the Islamic State, was evidence of the kingdom’s involvement in what it termed a "dirty game." Analysts suggest that Saudi Arabia may have opted to refrain from comment in the hope that it could exploit the fact that Iran, a main backer of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, has refused to support the incursion.
Nevertheless, Saudi, UAE and Egyptian support for the Syrian Kurds would jive with suggestions that the Gulf states are looking at ways of undermining regimes in Tehran and Damascus by stirring unrest among their ethnic minorities.
Iran’s Intelligence Ministry, according to recent reports in state media, said it had recently seized two large caches of weapons and explosives in separate operations in Kurdish areas in the west of the country and a Baloch region on the eastern border with Pakistan. It said the Kurdish cache seized in the town of Marivan included bomb-making material, electronic detonators, and rocket propelled grenades while the one in the east contained two dozen remote-controlled bombs.
The ministry further accused Saudi Arabia of providing the weapons but offered no evidence to back up its claim. The ministry has blamed the kingdom for a number of weapons seizures in the past year. And Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard said earlier this month that it had captured explosives and suicide vests in the south-eastern province of Sistan and Baluchistan that had been smuggled in by a jihadist group that operates out of the neighboring Pakistan region of Balochistan. Separately, a Guard commander said that three Guards and three Islamic State militants had been killed in a clash in western Iran.
Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman vowed last year that the battle between his kingdom and the Islamic republic would be fought “inside Iran, not in Saudi Arabia.” Former Saudi intelligence chief and ambassador to Britain and the United States, Prince Turki al-Faisal, told a rally of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), a controversial Iranian opposition group that “I, too, want the fall of the regime.”
At the same time a Saudi think tank, the Arabian Gulf Center for Iranian Studies (AGCIS), believed to be backed by Prince Mohammed, called in a study published last year for Saudi support for a low-level Baloch insurgency in Iran. In the study, published by the Riyadh-based the Arabian Gulf Centre for Iranian Studies, Mohammed Hassan Husseinbor, a Washington-based Baloch lawyer, researcher and activist, argued that the “Saudis could persuade Pakistan to soften its opposition to any potential Saudi support for the Iranian Baluch… The Arab-Baluch alliance is deeply rooted in the history of the Gulf region and their opposition to Persian domination.”
Pointing to the vast expanses of Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan Province, Mr. Husseinbor went on to say that “it would be a formidable challenge, if not impossible, for the Iranian government to protect such long distances…in the face of widespread Baluch opposition, particularly if this opposition is supported by Iran’s regional adversaries and world powers.”
Iran's minority politics. Source: John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies, Harvard University
Futhermore, Washington’s conservative Hudson Institute, which prides itself on the Trump administration having adopted many of its policy recommendations, last year organized a seminar which featured speakers that included Baloch, Iranian Arab, Iranian Kurdish and Iranian Azerbaijani nationalists.
And to top it all off Pakistani militants have claimed that Saudi Arabia had in the last year stepped up funding of militant madrassas or religious seminaries in Balochistan that allegedly serve as havens for anti-Iranian fighters.
The specter of ethnic proxy wars in Iran, Pakistan, and Syria threatens to further destabilize the greater Middle East and complicate Chinese plans to develop the Pakistani deep-sea port of Gwadar, a crown jewel of China’s Belt and Road initiative.
Fuelling ethnic tensions further risks Iran responding in kind. Saudi Arabia has long accused Iran of instigating low-level violence and protests in its predominantly Shiite oil-rich Eastern Province as well as in Bahrain. It also risks aggravating war in Yemen, regionalizing the Turkish-Kurdish confrontation in Syria, and pushing the Middle East ever closer to the brink.
Ethnic tensions, my ass. "Ethnic tensions" have been in play across the entire world since the first cave man from one clan ran into another cave man from another clan. this is, and has always been about $$$, resources, and turf.