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IRAN on FIRE- REGIME COLLAPSING?

And the Next question- WHAT WILL REPLACE IT? King of the SOUTH dictator or Democracy?  That's the question.

image from i.dailymail.co.uk

All the unrest...What does it mean. The upper and middle classes have joined the revolt.

Anti-government protests in Iran have entered a third day today after Tehran finally abandoned its pretence and admitted shooting down a passenger jet. 

Dozens of protesters gathered and chanted slogans at a Tehran university today amid a wave of public anger after the plane was shot down with dozens of Iranians on board.  

A string of celebrities have also turned on the regime and two state TV hosts have quit over Tehran's three days of false reporting on the crash.  

Leading Iranian film director Masoud Kimiai has pulled out of Tehran's annual Fajr Film Festival in protest, saying he was 'on the side of the public'.

The Mystery of the MEK

The MEK has been the leading opposition voice against the Islamic Republic for years. For the past decade, MEK (Mujahedin e-Khalq) leaders and their supporters have presented the group as a secular, democratic and nonviolent organization with widespread popular support inside Iran.

It is also the most controversial group. Many former U.S. officials and Iran experts question the MEK's democratic credentials, as well as the depth of its support base inside Iran. Indeed, virtually every claim made by the MEK draws denials and counter-narratives.

Founded in 1965 by Iranian students who opposed the U.S.-installed monarchy of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the MEK espoused an odd hybrid of Marxism and Islam. It was the first opposition group to take up arms against the shah and his supporters in the west. In the 1970s, according to U.S. intelligence, the MEK assassinated three U.S. Army colonels, murdered another three American contractors and bombed the facilities of numerous U.S. companies, earning it a place on Washington's list of foreign terrorist organizations.

The MEK also backed Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who led the Islamic revolution that deposed the shah in 1979. The group supported the takeover of the U.S. embassy, but it broke with Khomeini over his decision to release the American hostages. In 1981, after launching an abortive uprising against the Khomeini regime, the MEK was forced underground while its top leader, Massoud Rajavi, fled to Paris to avoid arrest.

But the Iraq-Iran war, which had begun in 1980, provided the MEK with another opportunity to fight the regime. The group aligned with Saddam Hussein and sent some 7,000 MEK members to Iraq for military training. Equipped by Saddam, the MEK fought numerous battles against Iranian forces during the war. In 1988, the group launched an armored invasion to topple the regime but suffered a major defeat, losing more than 3,000 soldiers, though MEK officials say the number was 1,300. The invasion also prompted Iran to execute thousands of MEK political prisoners. Once the war ended later that year, Saddam prevented the group from conducting further cross-border attacks.

Many independent scholars say the MEK's alliance with Saddam in that long and bloody war turned the group into traitors in the eyes of most Iranians. In the 1990s, the Rajavis instituted a number of cult-like measures to prevent defections. According to a 2005 Human Rights Watch report based on interviews with several defectors, members were required, among other things, to divorce their spouses and send their children abroad for adoption, lest family obligations divert their attention from the struggle against the Islamic Republic.

After U.S. forces toppled Saddam and occupied Iraq in 2003, they disarmed the MEK and placed its remaining 3,400 MEK members under U.S. protection. That same year, Massoud Rajavi mysteriously disappeared, and his wife Maryam assumed sole leadership of the group.

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Suspected supporters of MEK rounded up in 1982 in Tehran.KAVEH KAZEMI/GETTY

The list of the MEK's paid speakers included former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, former national security adviser Gen,. James Jones, former White House terrorism adviser Fran Townsend, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, former FBI director Louis Freeh, former CIA Director Porter Goss, former deputy CIA Director John Sano, former Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Richard Myers, Gen. Wesley Clark, Gen. Anthony Zinni, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, former senators Robert Torricelli and Evan Bayh, and Reps. John Lewis and Patrick Kennedy, among others.

"Some people do it just for the money; others do it because they hate the Islamic Republic of Iran," said Barbara Slavin, who heads the Future of Iran project at the Atlantic Council, a foregn policy think tank in Washington. "They embrace the old adage that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and they know this is a group that gives Iran heartburn. To top it off, they pay well."

The question of how the MEK could afford such generous speaking fees was partially answered when Newsweek first reported that the post-war search for Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction uncovered documents showing Saddam Hussein had given the group vouchers for the sale of more than 38 million barrels of oil to overseas middlemen for the four years preceding the U.S. invasion. A report by Charles Duelfer, the chief U.S. weapons inspector, estimated the MEK earned as much as $16 million from the sales of the vouchers. (After Saddam's fall, many experts have speculated that Saudi Arabia, Iran's arch rival, took over funding for the group.)

Meanwhile, the MEK became known as a valuable intelligence asset. In 2002, the MEK was credited with exposing Iran's then-secret uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, which led to United Nations inspections. Over a five-year period starting in 2007, MEK assassins—financed, trained and armed by Israel's Mossad intelligence service—killed a half dozen Iranian nuclear scientists, U.S. officials told NBC News.

In 2011, pro-Iranian militias in Iraq killed some 140 MEK members and deeply embarrassed the U.S. military, which was responsible for their protection. To prevent further slaughter, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took the group off the terrorist list in 2012, a move that paved the way for the evacuation of Camp Ashraf's MEK members to Albania.

But had anything really changed?

Daniel Benjamin, the State Department coordinator for counterterrorism at the time, told Newsweek the delisting was done "at the discretion of the secretary out of humanitarian concern because no country would take them otherwise, and not because of any changed thinking within the MEK. We simply didn't want any more blood on our hands."

"The MEK has done a great job in gussing themselves up as democrats," said Benjamin, now director of The Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College. "They talk the talk, but there's no evidence whatsoever that they've changed in any way. And there is zero question about their support inside Iran itself —they have no statistically significant group of supporters in Iran."

Officials of the MEK and its political arm, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), vehemently deny this version of the group's history, including any responsibility for the assassination of Americans.

"The Iranian regime has been engaged in this misinformation campaign for four decades," Ali Safavi, director of the group's Washington office told Newsweek. "They have invested huge sums of money in it and developed a sophisticated network of talking heads and lobbies in the U.S. and Europe to demonize the Iranian opposition as having no support inside Iran and being undemocratic."

Today, he said, the NCRI "brings together several different groups and about 500 well-known opposition personalities who are committed to the establishment of democratic, secular and non-nuclear republic." Its funding, he says, comes solely from wealthy members of the Iranian diaspora community.

But other opposition groups say the MEK has rebuffed their overtures for coordination. "They're deaf to any proposals other than their own beliefs," said the leader of one opposition group, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive opposition politics.

A Royal Figurehead Emerges

FE_Iran_04_948311072Iraq’s Saddam Hussein (right) in 1986, with Iran resistance chief Massoud Rajavi.ARNAUD BORREL/GAMMA-RAPHO/GETTY

As the Trump administration tightens the economic screws on the Islamic Republic, Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi has been speaking out against the regime in Tehran and calling for opponents to band together under his leadership and vision for a democratic Iran.

Pahlavi, 58, was only 17 when the Iranian revolution drove his family into exile. But over the past four decades, he has kept a close watch on developments in Iran, where he says discontent with government corruption and economic mismanagement has brought the regime to the brink of collapse. "The atmosphere [in Iran] seems to be close to a flash point," he told Radio Farda, the U.S. government's Persian-language broadcast service, in February.

But though Pahlavi lives just outside Washington, he's been an unfamiliar figure in foreign policy circles. Critics have said he lacks charisma and resolve. In 1980, he issued a proclamation declaring himself shah but later retracted it. In the 1980s, U.S. intelligence reportedly approached Pahlavi with a proposal to land a monarchist force on Iran's Kish island in the Persian Gulf with U.S. naval and air support. Pahlavi's first question allegedly focused on the exit strategy.

But since late last year, Pahlavi has set out to raise his profile by meeting with think tanks to explain the role he could play as the regime's disparate opposition groups prepare for its downfall. Pahlavi says he sees himself as a figurehead who can guide those groups in producing a common plan for a political transition. He already has taken a step in that direction with his Phoenix Project, an effort to bring together exiled Iranian scientists, scholars and experts to address the problems any democratic successor government in Iran will face. He has said he had no personal ambition to rule Iran.

Pahlavi's supporters include several monarchist groups made up of Iranian exiles in the United States and Europe, as well as an unknown number in Iran, some of whom called for a return of the monarchy during anti-government demonstrations in 2017.

Over the past few years, several Europe-based TV stations have been broadcasting pro-monarchy programs into Iran in an effort to create a mood of pre-revolution nostalgia. But Pahlavi remains unpopular among Iran's ethnic minorities, who haven't forgotten the monarchy's Persian chauvinism. And some Iranian Americans have urged the crown prince to distance himself from his late father's authoritarian rule as a prerequisite for any leadership role.

Patrick Clawson, the Washington Institute's director of research, suggested Pahlavi would prefer a role as a ceremonial monarch with no responsibility for governing along the lines of Britain's constitutional monarchary. "He wants to be Queen Elizabeth," Clawson told the Atlantic Council's Slavin.

The Trump administration has not met with any Iranian opposition figures, deliberately distancing itself from the groups for now. "The future of Iran will be decided by the Iranian people," Brian Hook, the administration's special representative for Iran, told Newsweek in an interview. "We do not pick winners and losers on that issue."

Of course, that could change overnight. White House aides say Bolton is still trying to convince the president to adopt an explicit policy of regime change in Iran, which would increase the value of opposition groups. Analysts say that is particularly the case for the MEK, given the group's organization, funding and high visibility in Washington.

Some supporters believe the MEK already has moved to the head of the line with the administration's decision not to rule out the group as a viable alternative to the regime in Tehran.

But for now, Trump's economic sanctions remain the principal element of his Iran policy. "If we want to get to a point where Iran's proxies are weaker and the regime doesn't have the resources that it needs to destabilize the Middle East, it will require economic pressure," Hook said. "There is no other way to accomplish that goal."

For the Iranian opposition groups, this state of no peace—and no war—means that there is no leadership vacuum in Iran to fill. And as the tensions between Tehran and Washington continue to simmer, all these groups can hope for is a spark that will finally put Iran's political future in play.

Will they—and Washington—be ready?

The COMING KING OF THE SOUTH

United States of Islam

The Bible Bible informs us that two world dictators will emerge during the last days, just before the return of Christ.  The King of the North, arising out of Europe will be the antichrist. The King of the South, will be the ruler of the entire Muslim world.

Most likely the King of the South will be from Arabia.  Not easily proven, and many have different ideas of where the person will emerge. Some think Iran, others, Egypt and yet others Ethiopia .

Regardless where this man arises, he will, and he will conquer and reign over Iran, Iraq, Arabia and the rest of the Muslim world. 

While the Bible doesn’t give us the reason or reasons for the fighting or provide the specific identity of this “king of the South,” the ancient nations of Edom, Moab and Egypt are all mentioned in the prophecy (Daniel 11:41). Edom and Moab will escape the retaliation by the “king of the North,” while Egypt will not. It thus seems possible that a leader from Egypt could become the “king of the South” or that Egypt will be part of the group of nations representing this power, but most likely this king will be Arab in origin. Egyptians are not Arab. 

Ishmael, the son of Abraham by his wife Sarah’s handmaid, Hagar, is the father of the Arabs. Even though the birthright blessing went to Isaac as the son of both Abraham and Sarah, Ishmael would beget “twelve princes” and develop into “a great nation” (Genesis 17:20). Later, these 12 princes of Ishmael became heads of nations (Genesis 25:16).

As the number of Ishmael’s descendants began to grow, Esau, the brother of Jacob (who was renamed Israel in Genesis 32:28 and, thus, is the father of the Israelites), aligned himself and his descendants with Ishmael by marrying one of Ishmael’s daughters (Genesis 28:9). What Ishmael and Esau had in common was that, even though they were firstborn sons, neither had received the birthright blessing, which was customarily given to the firstborn son.

By God’s choosing (Malachi 1:2; Romans 9:13), the majority of the family’s possessions that originated with Abraham had been passed along to Jacob and his 12 sons, who were the heads of the 12 tribes of Israel.

Sadly, there was friction between the Israelites and the peoples who descended from Ishmael and Esau—the interaction between Israel and Edom is a good example (Genesis 36:1; Numbers 20:14; Amos 1:11). Ezekiel 35:5 describes this disagreement as “an ancient [or ‘everlasting,’ marginal note] hatred” that Edom had for Israel.

Arabia is the powerhouse nation of Ishmael's offspring, and is located DUE SOUTH of Jerusalem.   A note here, The Queen of Sheba is referred to as the Queen of the South by some biblical translators . They have used the phrase "a Queen of the South", the Greek having no article, but this has been criticized as incorrect. The Bible itself did not directly reference Queen Sheba as the Queen of the South or that she came from the south. However, she was described in Genesis 10 to have lived in the southern area of the Arabian peninsula, hence, the "South" attribution. An account also cited that the "Queen of the South" was a reference to a queen of Egypt because the term "king of the South" was recognized as a biblical term for the Egyptian monarch.

We will have to wait furthur to establish the identity of the King of the South, but as for the future of Iran?  We hope democracy takes root, but we know that will only last until Daniel chapter 11 completes it mission of prophecy!  The world is heading for a great nightmare.... The tribulation.   Be aware, be prepared and BE WITH GOD the FATHER and THE LORD JESUS!

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