Notations On Our World (W-End Edition): On Our World….

It has been a remarkable March 2017 in Our World. As The Trump Administration passes the 50-Day Mark, a sense of uncertainty continues to be the order of the day. What has been amazing to us is the apparent sidelining of the Department of State in the realm of Foreign Policy as policymaking seems to have been concentrated in the White House with the profound changes in Europe and the Near East. Britain will be triggering Brexit Negotiations as elections are coming up in the Netherlands and France. This is as Turkey is to have a vote to expand the powers of President Erdogan. What is also of note is how Narenda Modi is dominating India as he gears up for the 2019 Elections. His Party, the BJP, won India’s key state of Uttar Pradesh decisively.

Spring is also in the air and with it the advent of Nouroz. Nouroz has been recognized as by the UN and it is celebrated in a number of countries around the World — including Iran on March 21 of every year. The new year in Iran is also going to be a year of change as new Presidential Elections loom that positions the current incumbent against the conservatives within the ruling factions inside the Islamic Republic. The Israeli Prime Minister’s recent Moscow trip was interesting in that it was trying to undermine Iranian influence in Syria as he deemed it, “..Unacceptable”. It is interesting that he seems to be emboldened in the aftermath of President Trump’s Election. It is also of interest, though, that Mahmoud Abbas has been invited to the White House by President Trump.

As we went to press with this edition of “Notations”, we saw reporting on the second Airbus being delivered to Iran as part of the nuclear agreement. The revised travel ban, though, has gone into effect that is slated to be put into effect March 16. The Oscar-winning Iranian Director, Asghar Farhadi, reflected upon the original ban as he boycotted the Oscars after having won his second Oscar — remarks that were delivered by the Iranian-American Entrepreneur Anousheh Ansari who accepted the Oscar along with the Iranian American Space Pioneer Dr. Firouz Naderi:

I’m sorry I’m not with you tonight. My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of other six nations whom have been disrespected by the inhuman law that bans entry of immigrants to the US. Dividing the world into the “us” and “our enemies” categories creates fear. A deceitful justification for aggression and war. These wars prevent democracy and human rights in countries which have themselves been victims of aggression. Filmmakers can turn their cameras to capture shared human qualities and break stereotypes of various nationalities and religions. They create empathy between us and others. An empathy which we need today more than ever.”

What was quite remarkable was to be witness to the plight of one of the leading opposition figures inside Iran, Mehdi Khazali. Dr. Khazaili was detained after he called for a boycott to protest the internal repression inside the Country. What he noted after he was released was quite remarkable as he noted that a number of key Security Organs refused to accept the responsibility for his custody as he began a hunger strike to protest his detention.

One eye-opening expose was recently done by the Farsi Service of the Voice of America to underscore the continued profound challenges faced by the Islamic Republic:

The dialogue is in Farsi — However, the policies of the Islamic Republic was exposed in a major way. Although some of them are known — including for instance the work of the Quds Force in Iraq and Syria — the “soft war” is also remarkable. One of the elements of the Force is a brigade called the “Fatameyon” — Afghans who are approximately 18,000 who are supported. This is as an analyst appearing on this program compared this “Soft war” to Hollywood”. One of the leading institutions, the Al Mustafa Organization, has apparently graduated some 40,000 graduates — in addition to having currently 30,000 students (including 10,000 religious students).

The “culture war” that the Islamic Republic has launched against the World is remarkable. One very interesting clip uncovered was what Khomeini said to undermine Iraq at the time. Iran has operations in over 80 Countries sponsoring cultural programs and training clerics to the tune of billions of dollars. Some of the support has included a 2 Billion Dollars to the Kumours Island, 2 Billion Dollars to Sri Lanka and a 1 Billon Dollar loan to Iraq. These are just very small examples that were exposed in this 47-Minute expose by this broadcast. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp touted its’ efforts in Lebanon rebuilding schools, fixing electricity for 73 villages and other economic development efforts. This is as after 30 years people in the South of the Country have hardly running water in the rural areas and as children are not able to attend school — one estimated that some 250 Villages have no running water at all.

As Iran continues to struggle with economic difficulties, one exposure was a directive from the First Vice president to Rouhani as he directed the privatization organization to direct proceeds from all privatizations to help fund the repairs and rebuilding of Shiite sites in Iraq to the tune of an estimated 2 Billion Dollars. It was ironic how the apparent goodwill underscored by President Rouhani’s Inaugural statement somehow rang hollow:

Fascinating times…..

Originally published at www.thedailyoutsider.com on March 11, 2017.