William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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THE POWDER KEG:  It is easy, in the last weeks of an election campaign, to avert our eyes from what is going on around the world.  But the world is not pausing for our vote.  What happens in Iran or Ukraine today could lead to the drafting of a boy in Des Moines tomorrow.   

Iran is in revolt.  It is one of the most important countries in the world, yet our press shows minimal interest in its fate.  Terrible.  From Reuters:

Protesters across Iran defied a nearly month-long crackdown on Saturday, activists said, chanting in the streets and in universities against the country’s clerical leaders in a sustained wave of anger at the death of Mahsa Amini.

The protests sweeping Iran since Amini – a 22-year-old woman from the country’s Kurdish region – died on Sept. 16 while being held for “inappropriate attire” pose one of the most serious challenges to the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution.

Although the unrest does not appear close to toppling the system, the protests have widened into strikes that have closed shops and businesses, touched the vital energy sector and inspired brazen acts of dissent against Iran’s religious rule.

A video posted by the Norway-based organization Iran Human Rights purported to show protests in the northeastern city of Mashhad, Iran’s second most populous city, with demonstrators chanting “Clerics get lost” and drivers honking their horns.

Videos posted by the group showed a strike by shopkeepers in the northwestern Kurdish city of Saqez – Amini’s home town – and female high school students chanting “Woman, Life, Freedom” on the streets of Sanandaj, the capital of Kurdistan province.

Protests were also reported in Isfahan, in central Iran, and in the southeast of the country.

Reuters could not independently verify the videos. Phone and internet services in Iran have been frequently disrupted over the last month and internet watchdog NetBlocks reported “a new major disruption” shortly before Saturday’s protests began.

Amini died in custody after she was detained by morality police for violating strict religious regulations requiring women to be modestly dressed.

Human rights groups say more than 200 people have been killed in the crackdown nationwide, including teenage girls whose deaths have become a rallying cry for more demonstrations demanding the downfall of the Islamic Republic.

Protesters called on Saturday for demonstrations in the northwestern city of Ardabil over the death of Asra Panahi, a teenage girl from the Azeri ethnic minority who activists say was beaten to death by security forces.

COMMENT:  Women are central to the protests, and yet "women's groups" in the West are silent.  No rallies in support of Iranian women.  No demands directed at the Iranian government.  And no stories in the press on why our women's groups are so indifferent.  I suspect we're seeing that many women's groups are more interested in Marxism than in Feminism.

The Biden administration has given only a few words of support to the protesters, following the disgraceful example set by Barack Obama when a revolt erupted in Iran in 2009. We get the feeling that the Democratic foreign policy establishment sees freedom fighters as annoyances, impediments to their dream of an Iranian-American alliance, which is a fantasy only slightly less absurd than defunding the police.

October 15, 2022