Iran: Cash For Blood Campaign Collapses


June 8,2008: When the Mahdi Army began attacking British troops more frequently two years ago, the British conducted an intelligence effort to find out why. They discovered that Iran was paying members of the Mahdi Army up to $300 a month to make these attacks (which caused over a hundred British casualties). The Iranian connection was kept secret by the British until recently, since the recent defeat of the Mahdi Army is likely to bring the Iranian "cash for blood" campaign to light anyway.

Iranians are concerned with more mundane matters. The inflation and unemployment, despite constantly rising oil prices (from $11 a barrel a decade ago, to 12 times that today), has turned popular opinion against the government. This has been helped along by the new government campaign to eliminate "un-Islamic behavior" (this includes satellite TV, public displays of affection by men and women, fashionable clothing for women, having fun in general), and disillusionment with the government campaign to build nuclear weapons (which is now seen more as another government stunt to divert peoples attention from all the government screw-ups.) The activities of the religious police are all the more annoying in the face of rising drug addiction and more mundane crimes (like robbery, rape and murder). The American success in Iraq and Afghanistan has also been noted, and there're more jokes hear in the streets about arranging an American invasion.

Fighting in the north, against Kurdish separatists, heats up. In the last two weeks, at least eight Revolutionary Guards were killed fighting the PKK. In the same area, two border police were killed by landmines laid by the PKK, and another four died in gun battles with PKK fighters crossing the border from camps in Iraq. This is a source of friction between Iran and Iraq, because the Iraqi government cannot force the Kurdish government in the north to shut down the PKK camps. Iran is reluctant to, like Turkey, send troops into Iraq to deal with the PKK camps. Iran fears this sort of thing would give the Americans an excuse to strike back, and do serious damage to the Iranian armed forces. This is particularly scary in light of recent Israeli comments about how "inevitable" it is that Iran will have to be attacked to destroy the nuclear weapons development sites. Israel believes that the West is willing to tolerate Iran having nuclear weapons, secure in the knowledge that, historically, Iran has not done anything big and stupid. Lots of lesser crimes, like supporting terrorism in Lebanon, Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen and so forth. But nothing like nuking anyone. Israel is not as trusting, given the constant threats Iranian leaders make to "destroy Israel."

June 1, 2008: Despite keeping a low profile, the growing number of Christian converts are being hunted down and arrested. The religious police try to persuade the converts to return to the Islamic fold, reminding them that apostasy (converting from Islam to another religion) is forbidden by the Koran and punishable by death. However, the Iranian constitution allows apostasy, so the government shows some restraint. But since the Islamic clerics took control of the government three decades ago, several hundred non-Moslems have been executed, and thousands more imprisoned or harassed. Most Iranians are willing to tolerate other religions (and there are over a dozen such minorities in Iran, including several that pre-date Islam, and one that was developed in the 19th century.)

May 28, 2008: Three Kurds were condemned to death for terrorist activities.

May 27, 2008: In the United States, an Iranian-American nuclear engineer is being prosecuted for stealing control software from a nuclear power plant where he worked for 17 years, and taking the software to Iran.

May 26, 2008: Israel has arrested an Israeli Jew of Iranian ancestry, and charged him with espionage. Israel warns Israelis with kin in Iran that the Iranian secret police may pressure them to spy on Israel, using threats against Jews living in Iran to coerce such cooperation.


Article Archive

Iran: Current 2023 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contribute. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   contribute   Close