The protests which have erupted in Iran since mid-September, are receiving great attention from Shiite communities in neighbouring countries, especially Iraq and Lebanon. However, opinions about it were divided between a pro-Tehran group believes that what is happening is a Western conspiracy aimed at “overthrowing the Islamic Republic”, and a group opposed to Tehran’s expansionist policies in the region believes that it is time to overthrow the theocratic regime and neutralize the clerics from the political scene in the countries of the region.
A former Iraqi activist in the October uprising believes that Iran has largely controlled the political scene in Iraq since Saddam Hussein’s regime falls in 2003, relying on its military and political arms.
“What I care about is the present and future of Iraq, and this part is related to what will happen to the Iran’s situation because the symbols of the regime, politics, and Iraqi militias are linked to Iran in one way or another. Any tremor in Tehran will have repercussions in Baghdad, even if it is in the form of a simple concession by the Iranian authorities to the protesters.” According to an activist who preferred not to be named
The Iranian uprising erupted following the death of Mahsa Amini (22 years old), who is now known to be of Kurdish and Sunni descent. The protests pose one of the biggest challenges facing the Islamic Republic since its founding in 1979, Observers say
A large number of civic activists in Iraq, including protesters, media professionals, lawyers, women working in the public, and other human rights defenders, have been arbitrarily arrested, tortured, and killed by militias, including those loyal to the Popular Mobilization Forces, Iraqi security forces and police. In Lebanon, Hezbollah practices the most heinous types of moral, political, and even physical assassinations of Iranian policy opponents, especially those belonging to the Shiite community, as happened with political activist Lokman Slim.
Iraqi Shiites are living today with signs of their transformation from a group with a purely sectarian identity, to one close to the “national” situation due to the popular protests that Iraq witnessed during the past years, which culminated in the October 2019 uprising, in Shiite-majority areas, against the deterioration of living conditions, lawlessness, and the domination of a militia political class over Iraq. This explains why a large segment of Iraqi Shiites supports popular protests in Iran.
“The ideology based on resistance rhetoric and conspiracy theories that embodied the collective identity for Shia’s communities across the region is eroding under the weight of economic conditions, corruption, and poverty. In Iraq, we are witnessing the imminent emergence of a general popular trend to adopt the concept of the national state, which we have expressed in the squares on more than one occasion.” Iraqi activist (Hq) says
The Iranian uprising motivates the Iraqi street to protest against its rulers who are more or less linked to Tehran. So, the Iranian authorities’ success in suppressing the uprising will affect the Iraqi street’s ability to confront the ruling class in the future.
Hanan Mekdad, a civil society activist in Beirut and a former supporter of the Lebanese Amal Movement, agrees with the Iraqi activist but offers a different approach that fits the prevailing mentality in Lebanon. “It’s problematic. Those who support the protests in Iran are Sunnis in the Arab world for sectarian reasons, but the slogans of this movement, women, life, freedom, and the images of tearing the veil, arouse their resentment! It can be said that the position here falls within the framework of scheming and shaming the Iranian regime, and not a position of moral principle. Therefore, the majority of Shiites in Lebanon take a position against this movement.” she says
The previous views do not reflect the position of the majority of Shiites in Iraq and Lebanon, “Any turmoil in Iran will have negative effects on Iraq, and weakening Iran will provoke chaos in Iraq because of the existing alliances in the region. Do not forget that Iraq got rid of the terrorist organization ISIS
through Iran’s efforts, and the organization is able to return at any time.” According to Iraqi activist Haider al-Abbasi
“Baqir Karaki” the journalist close to Hezbollah, supports the position of the Iranian regime and reduces the impact and effectiveness of the demonstrations, and stresses the removal of the Iranian protests from their social rights dimension, to put them in a political context with international dimensions, as they are fabricated by the Iranian regime enemies to fight and pressure it, according to his claim. . Fatima Chauhani’s Twitter account describes the Iranian protests as a revolution of deviants, “It is like the October Revolution in Iraq and the October Revolution in Lebanon, they are one coin.” she says
The Iranian authorities and their security services insist in their narrative that Western powers are “trying to undermine Islamic identity and culture,” which has led them to try to exaggerate the issue of the hijab in the first place, according to observers.
Ali Zeaiter (32 years old), a Lebanese from Baalbek, adopts this narrative and tells MENA research center that this movement is fabricated by the enemies of the Islamic Republic. He wonders why controversial French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, who he described as “the architect of chaos and wars in Syria, Libya and Afghanistan,” met with Iranian opposition leader Masih Alinejad. “Whoever thinks that the Iranian regime will fall through color revolutions are very delusional, the Iranian regime is the people’s son and a supporter of the oppressed,” he says.
The women’s role
“”Ali Fathallah Nejad” the Political science professor believes that t Mahsa Amini’s killing struck a chord among the middle and lower classes, and was accompanied by remarkable solidarity between different ethnicities and strong participation of university students, as well as workers and celebrities joining them.”These protests have become a national revolution that poses a serious threat to the regime, which explains the brutality of its reactions,” he said.
Hanan Mekdad believes that women in Iran serve as role models for women in the region, and that they flout the “dominant patriarchal culture.” The role of women in the uprising and its slogans (women, life and freedom) would bring about a change in the prevailing awareness, thought and culture, leading to
the religious heritage that contributed to reducing the role of women and reducing it to limited fields.” She say
While the Iraqi activist (HQ) believes that the movement leaders on the ground in Iran today are young men and women who have been subjected to intensive ideological pumping campaigns since their childhood, they have proven that the discourses of ideology and political Islam do not concern them, as much as they care about living a decent life on earth.
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