It’s not unusual for the Kurds living under Iranian rule to riot in protest of one abuse or another. They are indeed living under a de facto occupation. This is the only reasonable impression that one gets when considering how Kurdish-majority provinces are administered. Whether the current riots in Mahabad will mushroom into a larger movement remains as an open question for now.
Similarly, when calls emerge from certain quarters addressing “both sides” of a conflict and appealing for calm, even when one side has been using overwhelming violence from the get-go while the other remained committed to nonviolent tactics with few exceptions, we can all be sure that a ruse is in the work.
Conflict in the Middle East will have consequences far beyond its borders, especially in Europe.
This is a very important article by Nicholas Blanford and can help us predict the future patterns of conflict in the region. The key quote in it for me, the one that explains how “geopolitical concerns” are understood by Iran’s leaders at this stage and, consequently, how other players are bound to understand them as swell, is this:
In February 2014, Mehdi Taeb, a senior Iranian cleric, underlined the importance of Syria to Iran in stark terms, saying it is a “strategic province for us.” “If the enemy attacks us and wants to take either Syria or [the Iranian province of] Khuzestan, the priority is to keep Syria,” he said. “If we keep Syria, we can get Khuzestan back too, but if we lose Syria, we cannot keep Tehran.”
Assad’s grip over Damascus has become tenuous at best. Rebels are able to conduct bombings and attacks even in the most secured areas aided by informants embedded within Assad’s own security establishment. The battle of Damascus is set to begin at earnest soon, in what promises to be a very bloody development.