Breaking News Iran strikes Pakistani territory; Pakistan Counter Strikes; Operation Marg Bar Sarmachar

Saithan

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I tried looking up something about the power struggle and found this article.

I haven't read it, but the headline itself does raise some questions.


Succession After Khamenei’s Death Will Not Be Smooth​

Sunday, 01/14/2024
Majid Mohammadi

Majid Mohammadi is an Iranian-American sociologist and political analyst, who contributes opinion and analysis to Persian, Arabic, and English news outlets. He has published dozens of books.
Iran InsightsPoliticsIran

After nearly 45 years of Ali Khamenei’s rule in Iran, the most important question for many is what will happen after his death, a smooth or a rocky transition.

Contrary to what has been presented so far in the discussion on succession after Ali Khamenei, this article will not speculate about the time of his death, the identity of his successor, power struggles between the clerics and the IRGC, or the role of China, Russia, and the West in the matter. Instead, we will delve into the decision-making process. Presenting two sets of facts concerning the background of power transfer from Khomeini to Khamenei and from Khamenei to the next leader, should the regime remain intact.

1989: Smooth Transition
After Khomeini's death, the succession process unfolded relatively smoothly, devoid of tension, and can be attributed to five key factors. Firstly, the presence of an influential figure like Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who held sway among middle, left, and right-wing officials within the system, played a pivotal role. Rafsanjani was essentially a ‘kingmaker’ who not only influenced Khamenei's ascent to power with his unverifiable narratives but also held sway over numerous pivotal institutions, from parliament and the executive branch to state media, the police force, IRGC, and the Ministry of Information.

Secondly, a five-member board comprised of Mir Hossein Mousavi, Abdul Karim Mousavi Ardebili, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Ali Khamenei, and Ahmad Khomeini made critical decisions during Khomeini's illness, exercising comprehensive control over all centers of power. This board effectively prevented marginal power centers from gaining influence, holding the reins of coercive powers after the removal of Hossein Ali Montazeri and his supporters from key positions. Montazeri had been Khamenei’s designated successor who had fallen out of favor before the leader’s death.

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Ali Khamenei (center) and Hossein Ali Montazeri (right)

Among second-tier officials, there existed dozens of relatively influential figures aligned with different political factions, including Ali Meshkini, Mohammad Reza Mahdavi Kani, and Ahmad Azari Qomi on the right, and Jalaluddin Taheri, Yusuf Sanei, and Mohammad Mousavi Khoiniha on the left. Political groups were attentive to their advice, which mitigated concerns within security and military institutions regarding infighting. Additionally, only a minimal number of Islamist figures were subjected to persecution, torture, or harassment by the regime, which limited internal opposition to the new leader.

The absence of any significant social movement in the post-war period left the regime with ample latitude to designate the next leader. Consequently, both Khomeini's funeral and the Experts Assembly session that elected Khamenei, unfolded without societal tension or challenges. While the populace might not have been content with the status quo, the absence of a sizable opposing movement or dissenting voices was notable.

Furthermore, the tranquil security and political landscape in the region after the Iran-Iraq war, combined with the relative weakening of the Iranian navy by the US in the southern waters, contributed to the smooth transition of power. There was a notable absence of perceived foreign threats to the regime.

Turbulent Transition
After Khamenei's passing, the situation will not be as peaceful as before, as none of the five conditions mentioned earlier will apply. Instead, the opposite circumstances are in place. There is no one within Ali Khamenei's inner circle who possesses the stature, power, and influence of Hashemi Rafsanjani, capable of assuming the role of a "king-maker." Rafsanjani's absence poses a greater threat to the system than his presence would have. In totalitarian systems, individuals often play a more significant role compared to institutions.

Khamenei's close associates, such as the head of his office, the president, or the head of the Expediency Council, are more disliked among the people and political figures than Khamenei himself. Even cabinet members and lawmakers view them with disdain. The removal of Qasem Soleimani by President Donald Trump in 2020 had a considerable impact, as Soleimani could have been such a kingmaker. Even the reformists praised him for his role in advancing their agenda and did not consider him an adversary.

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Former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (left) and Ali Khamenei

Khamenei has transferred power primarily to IRGC commanders but has consistently rotated them, preventing any one of them from developing significant influence. Figures like Hossein Salami, the commander of the IRGC, and Esmail Qaani, the commander of the Quds Force, are not taken seriously by most. Beyond the upper echelon, there is no alternative power center capable of leading state affairs. Various power centers on the periphery, in the form of factions and dormant assets, could be rapidly mobilized.

Former high-ranking officials have been either isolated or eliminated, losing their previous support base. They have been marginalized to the point of becoming detested by insiders. The well-know influencers within the regime are now the preachers, eulogists, and Basij members, all unpopular among the public. There is a lack of charismatic political figures.

In 2024, numerous political and social movements are active and prepared to exploit any power vacuum. Hundreds of thousands of young individuals, suppressed during the Mahsa movement, and families who have lost loved ones may take to the streets under the right conditions. However, the government has become more repressive and brutal. The next confrontation between the opposition and the government will likely result in more casualties on both sides. Society is in turmoil due to the regime's oppression and abuses, making it unlikely for the government to rely on silence and social passivity during the succession process.

The regime's interventions across the Middle East have led regional countries to view the Islamic Republic as a threat and welcome any domestic instability and turmoil in Iran. When Israel can remove nuclear and military officials openly and steal nuclear documents without significant repercussions, it is evident that more significant actions can be taken in a chaotic situation.

For these five reasons, there is no one to jump-start the leadership "junk car" in the event of a jurist guardian's death, allowing the next jurist guardian to seize the steering wheel. In such a situation, those seeking control will likely have to engage in internal power struggles.

Despite the limited number of leadership candidates backed by influential factions, there are imminent violent clashes between these factions for three key reasons:
  1. The Expert Assembly lacks legitimacy among insiders, as it comprises low-level clerics, who have not won their seats in competitive and free elections but essentially appointed to their positions.
  2. There is fierce competition for the country’s resources in an environment, which has become much more corrupt since 1989.
  3. Apprehensions of swift elimination of opponents after a new leader is chosen, given the historical trend of the system eradicating all internal opposition in the past two decades.
 

dBSPL

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Well, Pakistan's strategic offensive capability is way out of Iran's playground. Pakistan is always a peace-loving country, but if you put it in such a difficult situation that it has to respond, it would be very wise to step back immediately and cooling tension. The fact that it may in a period of domestic political turmoil, some economic problems and so on, should not mislead anyone. Pakistan is a solid nuclear power, it is capable of strategic engagement both from the sea, with its air force and with MRBMs, it has advanced technologies, an air force and manpower of incomparable size.

I would like to interpret this as a very unfortunate planning mistake, perhaps even a conspiracy against the Iranian government within the force, because there is no logical explanation.
 

Saiyan0321

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Rogue elements in IRGC or could this be, as pointed out, caused by foreign interference. US/Israel etc. ?

I am not sure if there are any internal power struggle in IRGC that could have resulted in this.
Could be many factors. Could be an attempt to legitimise their strikes in Syria and Iraq by stating that look we are using the expanded anticipatory defense doctrine to strike all such individuals and use that as a justification for further strikes in the region but even if its this then it still makes no sense to antagonise Pakistan out of the blue. You have serious issues with your neighbors on one end and growing issues with neighbors in Afghanistan so why destabilize relations with the one country with whom your relations have been improving. If its a power struggle aspect then it shouldnt have been reported with such jubilation and the news and its reporting would be controlled...
 

Marlii

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If they strike back then they will be having an military confrontation with Iran and all its proxies and if they don't their lumber one army meme is gonna fall flat. Win win for India.
 

Saithan

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Could be many factors. Could be an attempt to legitimise their strikes in Syria and Iraq by stating that look we are using the expanded anticipatory defense doctrine to strike all such individuals and use that as a justification for further strikes in the region but even if its this then it still makes no sense to antagonise Pakistan out of the blue. You have serious issues with your neighbors on one end and growing issues with neighbors in Afghanistan so why destabilize relations with the one country with whom your relations have been improving. If its a power struggle aspect then it shouldnt have been reported with such jubilation and the news and its reporting would be controlled...
Well it does boil down to how the aftermath is dealt with.

If relations has been improving then they'll sort it out and a retaliatory strike will occur, but in an agreed way and size.

I think two army chief will have to meet to gloss it over.
 

Scott Summers

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How stupid can you be as a non-nuclear power (Iran) to strike a confirmed nuclear power with ballistic rockets?

It's like Ireland attacking the UK.

Pakistan has now all rights to strike back. They can choose to nuke Iran.

If Pakistan nukes Iran, than everything is finished in one day.

Iran always said they dont have nukes. So they cant nuke back.
 

Kartal1

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Could be many factors. Could be an attempt to legitimise their strikes in Syria and Iraq by stating that look we are using the expanded anticipatory defense doctrine to strike all such individuals and use that as a justification for further strikes in the region but even if its this then it still makes no sense to antagonise Pakistan out of the blue. You have serious issues with your neighbors on one end and growing issues with neighbors in Afghanistan so why destabilize relations with the one country with whom your relations have been improving. If its a power struggle aspect then it shouldnt have been reported with such jubilation and the news and its reporting would be controlled...
As we know that the strikes in Iraq and Syria were more of a show/message than actually effective military strikes, is there a chance that the strikes in Pakistan are aimed at conveying a message to the Shiites living there?

I am trying to find logic in the actions of IRGC, but I can't. Why antagonize Pakistan by attacking the sovereignty of the State in such a way, while not achieving any serious military results with the strikes? More than that, civilian casualties are reported. Multiple ballistic missiles and loitering munitions were used. This is not a joke.
 

Hari Sud

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Glad to hear that Pakistan has a third front to fight. Two fronts against India and Afghanistan already exist.

All this is due to convoluted policies of Pakistan to encourage & patronize terrorism. Now it is coming to bite it. Good for Pakistan. The whole idea is to keep Pakistani economy in the doldrums with military expenses at many places. This is also called enemy crying with a thousand cuts.

The only good thing for Pakistan could be that they can ask military aid from US. That may or may not come, because Pakistani betrayal of trust in Afghanistan over 20 years.
 

Saiyan0321

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As we know that the strikes in Iraq and Syria were more of a show/message than actually effective military strikes, is there a chance that the strikes in Pakistan are aimed at conveying a message to the Shiites living there?
Convey what message? To rebel? Pakistan has always enjoyed cordial relations with Iran till 1979 when the revolution happened. Pakistan provided diplomatic support to Iran but Iran was quite confident in its revolution and Pakistan's internal Shia politics were changing. Pakistan has 15-20% shia population and is the largest shia population in a sunni country. I am not gonna go into the history of Shia politics in Pakistan but i will give a brief view. When Pakistan was in its early days, Politics was in a state of disarray but one thing was ascertained that Jamat e Islami under Maulana Madudi, an eminent scholar, was galvanized the religious circle in Pakistan especially the sunni section and its subsects. Seeing the shia divided and slowly losing political power, a man rose to prominence. Mufti Jaffer Hussain, a Shia scholar who studied Shiaism in great depth and formed an islamic university in Gujranwala. He formed the political party Tehrek-i-Nifaz-i-Fiqah-jafaria which is translated as "movement for the enforcement of jafaria school", the school that shias follow. He was a pretty big character and succeeded in uniting the shia population across the country especially in areas of erstwhile FATA and Gilgit Baltistan. He gave a sense of unity but by 1983-84 he passed away and the movement divided into two groups. One militant and one that remained rooted to its political ground. The former was headed by a young shia from Parachinar FATA and and would become the militant organization called TNFJ-hussaini which later on became Tehreek e Jafaria Pakistan and he was Arif Hussaini whereas the latter was headed by Moulvi Hamid Mousavi which continued in its previous title. Both of them were followers of imam khomeini but Mousavi felt that traditionalism was needed and militant approach would not be feasible whereas hussaini disagreed and felt that rather than following and reading teachings of khomeni, an active revolution in line of Iran as well as implementing the propagation by khomeni was necessary for Shia rule in Pakistan. The thing is whilst Iran provided some support to Hussaini, they could not provide any major support since they were involved in Iraq-Iran war and Pakistan was under a dictatorship to boot and a dictator like Zia. Zia decided to empower sunni militant groups to not only weaken the TFJ power but also for the Afghan Jihad and with dollars flowing in, there was no contest. Hussaini rebranded the TFJ into a political party in 1987 but it was all for naught as he was shot in 1988 outside a shia mosque. Pakistan under zia was a paranoid state and it saw no friends in shia especially after the events of TFJ so they pressed shia organizations, empowered sunni organizations and even focused on movement of sunni muslims into GB. When zia died, most shias stopped following both these organizations and supported local political parties and their affiliations.
Shia militancy exists in Pakistan but it is not threat to Pakistan and Shias are largely peaceful and patriotic. Yes they have a soft corner for khomeni and iran, whom they see as a sole Shia nation, but they are not disloyal to the country. Sunni militancy is a threat though. :p
What i am saying is that i dont think its a message to shias.
I am trying to find logic in the actions of IRGC, but I can't. Why antagonize Pakistan by attacking the sovereignty of the State in such a way, while not achieving any serious military results with the strikes? More than that, civilian casualties are reported. Multiple ballistic missiles and loitering munitions were used. This is not a joke.
If you find it then i am all ears. Recently there have been many diplomatic overtures for peaceful relations however incidents have happened since 2013ish time period. At one point we actually arrested Iranian border guards who entered our territory but on the other, they violated the border. The fence that is built is also meant to restrict clandestine cross border movement but Pakistan never deployed military assets in the region targeting iran. Most military assets are meant to provide support to COIN operations but as things are headed, we may look to move more assets and more patrolling. It could be a means to create precedence military operations in Iraq and syria and if one listens to their press conferences, then it is a possibility that their main objective might be to justify a more aggressive movement in Syria and Iraq and attacking Pakistan was simply a justification that they are going after terrorists whilst hiding the actual purpose of a more military approach to Syria and Iraq to curb the Israeli and US movements there. This could make sense if we consider that Iran has been actively targeted in Syria and Iraq. Pakistan could just be an evidence piece to hide their actual motivation but they did not consider that Pakistan would be fuming in such a manner. Maybe they did and thought that active military operations in Syria and Iraq are worth an annoyed Pakistan who may do covert raid on BLA. Support jandullah to strike a police camp or two. An active push to grow presence and influence in Iraq and syria might be worth this cost. Either way. This is the best theory i got right now.
 

Saiyan0321

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Well it does boil down to how the aftermath is dealt with.

If relations has been improving then they'll sort it out and a retaliatory strike will occur, but in an agreed way and size.

I think two army chief will have to meet to gloss it over.
I dont think there will be any meetings for some time. Pakistan just cut diplomatic ties with Iran. Thats a pretty big thing. I dont think we have ever done that. Infact whilse we have multiple track II diplomacy and diplomatic channels with India thanks to our multiple conflicts with India and the interest of the world and the UN, lack of conflicts means that there are little alternatives to the massive diplomatic relations we had with each other. Iran has alot of consulates here and not many nations would be willing to mediate the situation. The western powers would be quite satisfied with the situation and the GCC would be no different. China is an element but i doubt it would actively get involved. Pakistan is used to cutting ties with Afghanistan and India. First time with Iran so clearly we are telling them that we are pissed.

The issue isnt this retaliation. Pakistan may or may not do covert or overt retaliation but the issue is that those that are actively stating within policy makers to formulate a more hardline, militarized iranian policy will gain more ground leading to active military enforcement of the Iranian border and the districts such as washuk, Panjgur, chaghai and Makran. This will create a very hostile situation and the problem with our region is that when you once go hostile, the path back is very difficult if not impossible. Think of it this way. Pakistan pursued an active peace with China leading to the Shaksgam tract treaty and what promised to be the start of hostility and there was, became one of our most peaceful and secure borders.. Iran border is open and there was no military hostility but with these incidents, there will be military hostility and both sides may not engage each other in confrontation, something i believe will not happen in the foreseeable future at all, the tension may create a hostile border. Is it a three-front war? no thats a stupid notion. What a hostile border does is become a thorn in a relationship between two states and will always be an element distrust in relationship between states. You just dont go back and every incident pissed the people of the said country off. This is even more dangerous when we have elements of siege mentalities.
 
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Gary

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All of this mess, because ISKP, a relatively small player in the grand scheme of things, are able to kill 100+ people inside Soleimani's tomb complex.

Never underestimate what a small group of men can do to international politics and the world order. WW1 started because some Serbian extremists decided to kill a monarch, resulting in the end of 4 empires and the total remaking of the world order from that of empires to nation-states.

In fact, seeing just how big the effect on international relations is of a relatively menial terrorists operation, I suspect there will be more ISIS/ISKP bombings targetting Iran and trying to entice Iran to overreact. Iran as it stands is a regional power with the whims and ego of an empire, it is easily manipulated to overreact the same way Austria throws tantrum after the death of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
 

mehmed beg

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Glad to hear that Pakistan has a third front to fight. Two fronts against India and Afghanistan already exist.

All this is due to convoluted policies of Pakistan to encourage & patronize terrorism. Now it is coming to bite it. Good for Pakistan. The whole idea is to keep Pakistani economy in the doldrums with military expenses at many places. This is also called enemy crying with a thousand cuts.

The only good thing for Pakistan could be that they can ask military aid from US. That may or may not come, because Pakistani betrayal of trust in Afghanistan over 20 years.
Believe me. I lived in a country where Serbs built Taj Mahal and a little railway town called Ruma is actually the real Rome . All of it according to some members of Serbian Academy of Science and Art. I can see a lot of it in your country too.
What I am trying to say here , given the choice of having Pakistani problems or having the massive social psychosis, I know what I would choose.
Some conflicts at least require of someone to be resourceful but when 500 million people and some leading politicians think that beneath The Kabba was a Hindu temple, than it only can end badly.
So be happy for a moment and pray for the end of Pakistan and Indian Empire but it is not hard to see that with a little time and some effort, you can find yourself in very lonely places.
By the way I am more than sure that your government engaged in supporting of terrorism,
 

Bosniak Revival

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Guys never trust the Iranian Shia leadership

They never once attacked Israel. In fact they co-operated with Israel in the 80s during the Iran-Iraq war

They would have attacked Azerbaijan as well but their master Putin told them not to & they fear Turkey.

Once a Rafida always a Rafida
 

Marlii

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Believe me. I lived in a country where Serbs built Taj Mahal and a little railway town called Ruma is actually the real Rome . All of it according to some members of Serbian Academy of Science and Art. I can see a lot of it in your country too.
What I am trying to say here , given the choice of having Pakistani problems or having the massive social psychosis, I know what I would choose.
Some conflicts at least require of someone to be resourceful but when 500 million people and some leading politicians think that beneath The Kabba was a Hindu temple, than it only can end badly.
So be happy for a moment and pray for the end of Pakistan and Indian Empire but it is not hard to see that with a little time and some effort, you can find yourself in very lonely places.
By the way I am more than sure that your government engaged in supporting of terrorism,
Nobody thinks that. When posting boomer knowledge please atleast try to be not biased instead of serb that or Pakistan good India evil. When india has more muslims than most other countries but we are terrorist pajeet zealots.
 

Afif

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Believe me. I lived in a country where Serbs built Taj Mahal and a little railway town called Ruma is actually the real Rome . All of it according to some members of Serbian Academy of Science and Art. I can see a lot of it in your country too.
What I am trying to say here , given the choice of having Pakistani problems or having the massive social psychosis, I know what I would choose.
Some conflicts at least require of someone to be resourceful but when 500 million people and some leading politicians think that beneath The Kabba was a Hindu temple, than it only can end badly.
So be happy for a moment and pray for the end of Pakistan and Indian Empire but it is not hard to see that with a little time and some effort, you can find yourself in very lonely places.
By the way I am more than sure that your government engaged in supporting of terrorism,


You do realise 'Indian empire' is not a real vision. There are no secret political and military masterplan behind it. This whole 'Akhand Bharat' is only a useful tool for some politicians to stimulate masses. Educated people in India don't even believe such stuff.
 
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GoatsMilk

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Rogue elements in IRGC or could this be, as pointed out, caused by foreign interference. US/Israel etc. ?

I am not sure if there are any internal power struggle in IRGC that could have resulted in this.

Just a distraction from the fact they are doing nothing as Gaza is reduced to rubble. Sryia and Iraq were not big enough distractions, nor was taking an oil boat destined for Turkey.

Even if there concerns were legit, this isnt the time to launch missiles. They could have done it before Gaza or long after.

Its just persian style show. Its basically a thousand a one nights for their followers who must never wake up to the fact that iran is no real enemy of Isreal, its an enemy of Islam.

No different to how FETO paraded as advocates of Islam, but were just american agents.

Pakistan should have just come out and said as much.
 
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Barry

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Iran yet again attacking other Muslims whilst the "kafir" runs around massacring the ummah. What a nation. What an ideology.
 

Kartal1

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Guys stay away from insults and stay on topic.

Warnings were given and posts deleted.

Thank you!
 

Gary

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At least Saudis would be pleased that long-time ally Pakistan will be pressured to adopt a more anti-Iran stance for a long time, exactly what Saudis wished after a period of warming up between Islamabad and Tehran.
 

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