Since December 2017, deeply aggrieved Iranian citizens have publicly denounced two blatantly linked injustices perpetrated by the corrupt ayatollah regime: the clerical dictatorship's hideous corruption and Iran's acute economic deterioration.
Iran's Islamic revolutionary dictatorship is a case study in repeated failure, incompetence, corruption and mass murder.
I estimate that since 1990, I've written over two dozen essays examining the failed Iranian regime's murderous Islamic global revolution, the mass domestic Iranian disappointment with the regime's governance and the Iranian public's evident disgust with governmental corruption.
The internet documents my claim. If your mainstream media sources didn't notice Iran's domestic discord, henceforth treat their reports with appropriate circumspection.
The conflict between Iran and the U.S. does not begin with Gen. Qassem Soleimani's eradication -- a euphemism for his death in an ugly covert war he insistently waged and lost.
However, Soleimani's demise, which, in and of itself, is a strategic benefit for peace-loving human beings from the Philippines to Venezuela, begins a series of jaw-dropping events that expose the ayatollah regime's deep evils and hideous incompetence.
The December 2017 protests persisted into spring 2018. They waxed and waned but always returned. In November 2019, protests returned with a vengeance. Regime security forces killed an estimated 1,500 Iranians who had the gall to protest a fuel price increase.
An operational hint the ayatollah regime thinks has strategic resonance: If domestic turmoil threatens the regime, the regime tells its terrorist proxies to attack America.
In late December 2019, regime proxies attacked Americans in Iraq and assaulted the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. The assault intentionally mimicked 1979's assault on the U.S. embassy in Tehran. Both assaults were attacks on sovereign U.S. territory. Soleimani directed the 2019 attack and was likely involved in the 1979 attack.
Iran's 2019/2020 information-warfare angle is no coincidence. Soleimani and his boss, the Islamic Republic of Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had a domestic propaganda message. Portraying the U.S. as weak in December 2019 echoed U.S. weakness in 1979.
An Iranian domestic message: We ayatollah thugs are mighty, so you proles better submit!
Ah, but ...
There's no debate on these facts: Iran confronts high unemployment and an economy in tatters.
The ayatollahs blame American sanctions. Iranian citizens? They blame regime corruption.
The regime is corrupt but also incompetent. On Jan. 8, an Iranian missile destroyed Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 and killed 176 people. Video and other electronic data obtained by Western intelligence and released to various media confirmed that two missiles (yes, two) hit the plane. A missile site under the command of the Iranian Republican Guard Corps, or IRGC, fired the missiles. These are facts.
Ah, but ... Though cameras and cellphones recorded the horror, the ayatollah dictatorship initially denied responsibility for the downing and attributed the slaughter to "mechanical malfunction." Was that the phrase in Persian (Farsi)? Not sure -- but the ayatollah regime lied, I'm sure of that.
The Iranian people have responded to the lie and incompetence and mass murder with splendid ferocity.
Voice of America News reports that instead of chanting, "Death to America," Iranians in Tehran chant: "You are tyrants. Don't call us seditioners."
According to the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Persian language broadcast unit, Radio Farda, on Jan. 13, protesters in Isfahan Industrial University chanted, "Execution and imprisonment no longer scare us." Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is funded by the U.S. government. Radio Free Europe is definitely not a Cold War relic.
Protestors in Tehran and western Iran have been heard chanting, "Death to the dictator," meaning Ayatollah Khamenei.
He is the IRGC's mob boss.
A Twitter video clip shows protestors in Tehran chanting: "They are lying that our enemy is America. Our enemy is right here."
Wire services report major protests across Iran in Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan, Hamedan and Orumiyeh. Even Fars, the dictatorship's "fake news" agency, has had to report that hundreds of demonstrators have chanted anti-regime slogans. Well, two prominent regime television propagandists have publicly resigned.
Is collapse imminent?
Of course not. Only Hollywood and sensational media fools think reality conforms to a beginning-end narrative. More suffering is imminent. But the Iranian dictatorship's fragility is evident.
Austin Bay's latest book, "Cocktails from Hell: Five Wars Shaping the 21st Century" (Bombardier Books), is available now.