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Joined: 29 Aug 2003
|Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 8:03 pm Post subject: Dynamics of street protests
Subject: Dynamics of street protests
Date: 6/25/2005 9:31:52 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time
be naameh Iran-zameen
( In the name of Iran )
Many Iranian families have suffered losses after 1979.
The Iranian opposition may discuss the dynamics of street protests, in order to create larger street protests with greater impact. The following message centers around three issues:
Increasing size of street protests has lead to previous regime-changes in different countries.
The dynamics of increasing the size of street protests can be examined objectively.
When pro-democracy street protests erupt in Tehran, they are usually immediately (within 1-2 hours) reported by exile satellite television stations.
We cannot assume
Size of street protests
A taste for adventure
Diminishing the risk to protesters
Road-blockades during protests
Map of Tehran
If you like the roadblock concept...
We cannot assume
Hopefully the mullahs will be out of power soon, however, one cannot assume that regime-change in Iran is imminent in the next few years. You are aware that many view opposition groups as somewhat weak. Although the mullahs are unpopular, the Islamic Republic may remain in power for many more years:
Oil is currently about $60 per barrel. Europeans have been buying Iranian oil below market values for many years (estimates of 35% below market value). With increasing oil demand, it is expected that Europeans will take further steps to secure their inexpensive oil suppliers, such as the Islamic Republic of Iran.
I realize that there are many differences between today's Iran and other countries in the past, however, some comparisons may be made. The communist regime in Russia was generally viewed as unpopular by the masses. Communists ruled Russia for over 70 years. You are aware of other examples...
The Islamic Republic of Iran may exist for many more years, despite the rhetoric of exile opposition groups. Something about the opposition must change.
Size of street protests
One measure of success (among others) used to gage the impact of the opposition (including exile media) is the size of street protests in Iran. Although there were many factors involved in the downfall of the late Shah, the increasing size of street protests lead to the eventual collapse of the Iranian regime in 1979. This trend (protests becoming larger during the revolution) implied a impending doom for those in power. This is a world-wide phenomenon.
Some say: If pro-democracy street protests do not become larger in Iran, the opposition has not made tangible progress.
Following the original Tir 18th, members of the regime's security forces acknowledged that if the pro-democracy protests would have become wide-spread, the situation may have become uncontrollable.
The recent protests in Tehran were smaller than Tir 18th protests some years ago. Again, if we simply use the size of street protests as a gage, things are not really progressing.
Dynamics of increasing the size of street protests may be examined objectively.
As you know, Iran becomes hot during the summer season. In countries with political unrest, there are more incidents when the weather is hot. Please keep in mind that Tir 18th is in the middle of summer.
The hot season provides unique opportunities...
Iranian satellite television is very effective in broad-casting breaking news stories, within 1-2 hours of their onset.
A few years ago, in anticipation of Tir 18th, protests erupted in Tehran and other major Iranian cities. In the days prior to Tir 18, the protests were larger than the original Tir 18 street protests. When these un-scheduled protests erupted, they were immediately (within 1-2 hours) picked-up by Los Angeles satellite TV stations. That year, on Tir 18th, nothing really happened since Martial Law was in full-effect.
A specific date may be chosen by the opposition, however, the actual Protest Combustion Day is likely to occur around the anticipated chosen date.
Everyone will know that on a specific previously chosen date by the opposition, martial law will be in effect and the situation can be controlled by the authorities. People will not risk getting arrested.
We also know that martial law cannot be enforced during the entire summer season. Security forces in Iran know and have acknowledged this fact.
It does make sense to pick a protest day in advance, however, any protests and sparks should be fully supported, which may occur at any time. When the wheels are set into motion, given the adequate (summer) climate, things will hopefully happen and opposition groups should not get too picky about an exact dates.
Imagine what would have happened if another wave of protests was accompanied by simultaneous road-blockades. Most of the city may be affected. The protests would certainly become larger.
Iranian satellite TV has some short-comings, however, the stations are very effective in broad-casting breaking stories almost instantaneously. Within 1-2 hours, the population in Iran will be informed of any protests.
The opposition should be ready to fully utilize the potential of upcoming protests, that may erupt on any day.
A taste for adventure
Many (not a majority of) young people in Iran who burglarize homes/businesses do not have financial incentives. They break the law because they are bored and need some "adventure," especially during the hot summer months. These young men's taste for adventure is one of the opposition's greatest assets during upcoming pro-democracy street protests. We are relying on young people that may not be university students. These are young people that have relatively few options in today's Iran. You know they have major frustrations to vent...
Diminishing the risk to protesters
Numbers of street protesters will increase and they will take greater risks, if protesters think they can get away from the authorities. The use simple masks (cloth wrapped around face) and changing T-shirts can help protesters to remain anonymous.
Exile satellite TV/Radio should publicize methods, which protesters can use, to reduce the chances of being captured by the authorities. Use of masks and changing T-shirts should be mentioned repeatedly.
By taking a simple cloth to cover the face below the eyes, a street protester's face may be hidden. More elaborate cloth masks can be made with prior preparation.
After running a few hundred meters (250 meters can be covered in 35 seconds by a hot blooded teenager), masks can be taken off and T-shirts may be changed. A simple T-shirt can be carried in a pocket. Alternatively, 2 T-shirts can be worn on top of each other. The top shirt can be taken off when the protester reaches a safe distance. Most hot-blooded Iranian young men can make a clean break from a road-block scene, used to paralyze the city's traffic during a protest day, in less than 40 seconds.
Roadblocks during protests
City-wide road closures will bring the (otherwise ordinary) pro-democracy protests to a new level.
By using simple tactics, segments of the population in Iran will feel more energized and empowered during upcoming protests. Cultivating simple ideas, before any protests, can help to create an atmosphere of empowerment within segments of the Iranian population, when a protest happens.
Simple ideas such as creating city-wide roadblocks can be cultivated by repetition, so that when protests occur, roadblocks will be started by many people. Telling the population via satellite TV, only on the protest day, to start using road-blocks will be relatively ineffective. Repeatedly informing the viewers, months/weeks in advance, about the practicality and potential of city-wide road-blocks during protests will produce results.
Many should automatically associate street protests with setting up quick road-blocks. This learned association, will only happen by repeatedly publicizing the effectiveness and practicality of setting up road-blocks, before protests happen.
Tehran Traffic Paralysis:
1. PREPARATION: Exile media would encourage residents of Tehran (and other cities) to have some materials ready (in their trunks) for making a quick piles in the middle of roads, in the event of upcoming street protests, on short notice. This idea needs to be publicized BEFORE the out-break of protests (among opposition media outlets) so that small teams (3-4 close friends or lone individuals) can quickly spring into action to safely close roads.
2. TRIGGER: Within an hour of any street protests in Tehran (and other cities), LA-based satellite TV stations usually broadcast the breaking news to Iran, like previous times. In the event of upcoming street protests, encouraging the closure of roads (with adequate preparation) will trigger many, who have previously thought about and prepared for road-blocks, to quickly download piles of materials and block major traffic lanes.
Again, road closures will bring the otherwise ordinary student protests to a new level.
Given the current hot Tehran climate and Tir 18th approaching, street protests are guaranteed to take place within the next few months.
The above steps:
(1)Preparation + (2)Trigger = will cause = Tehran Traffic Paralysis, within a few hours
Tehran Traffic Paralysis = Creation of the intended psychological effect for city residents: The mullahs have lost control of the protests and the city! = Impression: Full scale uprising is taking place that cannot be controlled by the authorities...
The traffic paralysis will give the impression of a planned synchronized uprising. Exile media have been effective in spreading breaking news.
Keep in mind that cars are currently at a near stand-still in today's Tehran traffic, even on Thursday nights. When the cars slowly stop and the occupants simply leave the vehicles, no one will get hurt. The effect of road closures will be felt by all.
Effective street piles can be set-up in about half a minute:
Almost any thing can be used to create effective piles in the middle of streets:
Enough material can be carried with 1 Peykan to block 3 lanes of traffic.
Those who set up the piles, would have left the road-block site within half a minute, after starting their task. The average hot-blooded 19 year old can run over 200 meters in 30 seconds...
Abandoned cars can also be left in middle of roads. Simply slowing down and leaving 3 cars parked next to each other, in middle of a road, will be effective. A driver, on foot, would be 300 meters from the abandoned cars within 50 seconds.
Tehran's population density is high, but the city area is not that large. After all, how many miles is it from the train station (in southern Tehran) to Meydooneh Tajreesh (in north of the city): about 10 miles
Most of Tehran's population lives within 5-6 miles from the center. Toronto has only a fraction of Tehran's population, however, Toronto has a wider area.
The traffic in Tehran is almost at a stand-still during normal business hours, even on Thursday nights. No one will get hurt when each lane of traffic is slowly sealed.
The road-block idea needs to be well publicized before the out-break of protests (among opposition groups and media outlets) so that groups of 3-4 people (groups of close friends) start collecting materials, as mentioned above.
By using the mass-communication capabilities of exile media, within a few hours, Tehran's traffic could be paralyzed.
Events similar to Tir 18th may happen again this summer. Can we fully utilize the potential of the upcoming protests?
This may sound trivial at first, but regular viewing a map of Tehran influences our thought processes.
Maps of Tehran are cheap, even in Los Angeles and Toronto. A descent map near major bus-stops in Tehran can be purchased for less than 700 toman. You may ask travelers to Iran to bring you copies. You can purchase high-quality copies in Los Angeles.
Those who are directly/indirectly involved with the opposition may place a map of Tehran on a wall. Just looking at the map after sometime, puts things in perspective. You will be surprised how important regular viewing of this map becomes. You will see things from a new perspective when the map has a place in your mind...
If you like the roadblock concept...
As you are aware, you may use unofficial channels to spread an idea. If you find the road-block idea useful, feel free to tell others. I travel to Iran and I do not tell others that I send these types of emails.
You may, if your schedule permits, highlight the use of road-blockades in upcoming protests among friends and those who work in satellite TV stations. If a concept is worthwhile, it will catch-on sooner or later.
Please do not underestimate your potential influence. In your community of friends and acquaintances, there are some (perhaps many) who like the roadblock idea and think that pro-democracy protests in Iran should become larger. After 27 years, many of them are tired of waiting. Perhaps you can quickly find out how many people like the concept of roadblocks by simply bringing up the issue...
Your friends, if they think it is a worthwhile concept, can lobby the idea to Satellite TV stations or friends who know people at the stations. They can ask others to also contact TV stations. Maybe the station managers can ignore a few people, but if enough supporters lobby TV stations, things will happen... You can start a multiplier effect, with real impact.
Again, we cannot assume that the mullahs will be out of power soon.
Please take a few moments and publicize the road-blockade concept during street protests. Please lobby individuals who will take time to lobby TV station managers to publicize the road-block idea, for future street protest in Iran.
Some have said that many opposition figures are too comfortable in exile, after 27 years of "waiting." Please do not assume that mullahs will leave anytime soon...
Please do not underestimate your potential influence.
Considering Tehran's population density,
the relative ease of starting road blocks, and
ample supply of the young who hate the mullahs,
the road-block idea is practical,
if the concept is publicized well before the protests take place.
As you know, I regularly travel to Iran through Mehrabad airport. I hope my anonymity does not offend you.
I appreciate your time and efforts.
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