I posted this back in 2003; right then and right today

Iran is The Godfather, Part IV

Here's the deal. Think Soviet Union in the last days dissolving to Yeltsen. Think crony capitalism, think criminals in charge of every business, police, a force of Hells Angels type motorcycle thugs called the Hezbollah militia working for them, the Revolutionary Guards who also work for them, and a secret police. The real power is a handful of clerics and their associates who call the shots behind the curtain and have gotten very rich in the process. Think mullahs getting rich running businesses given to them by Rafsanjani, who run things through murder and intimidation.

After the 1979 revolution the mullahs seized virtually everything of value--banks, hotels, car and chemical companies, makers of drugs and consumer goods. What distinguishes Iran is that many of these assets were given to Islamic charitable foundations, controlled by the clerics. According to businessmen and former foundation executives, the charities now serve as slush funds for the mullahs and their supporters.

What exists there now is a dictatorship run by a shadow government that--the U.S. State Department suspects--finances terrorist groups abroad through a shadow foreign policy. Its economy is dominated by shadow business empires and its power is protected by a shadow army of enforcers.

Ostensibly, the country has been run by Rafsanjani for the past 24 years. He's an opportunist and very smart. He has "privatized" the economy by divvying up the spoils to loyalists, and like a Mafia Godfather, he takes pieces of everything. He has gotten very rich in the process.

It is the youth that is taking to the streets. Here is the raw data, an estimate from U.S. Census Bureau; U.S. Department of Labor.

Population IRAN 67 million; USA 283 million

Percent under 25: IRAN 65% USA 35%

GDP per capita: IRAN $1,800 USA $37,000

Inflation: IRAN 25% USA 2%

Unemployment: IRAN: 18% USA 6%

Now Iran is pretty rich, only nobody but family is getting the money. The country's largest copper mine; the state-owned TV network; a governor of Kerman province; an outfit that dominates Iran's $400 million pistachio export business; key positions in the Ministry of Oil; the Tehran Metro construction project (an estimated $700 million spent so far) are all Rafsinjani family members. Today, operating through various foundations (more later) and front companies the family is also believed to control one of Iran's biggest oil engineering companies, a plant assembling Daewoo automobiles, and Iran's best private airline. Remember, all these better paid workers will be loyal to the government., the ones getting paid crap are ripe.

So guess why people are pissed? They earn $1,800 per year and the Rafsanjani family and their mullah buddies are multi millionaires and billionaires with wealth in real property all over the world. Anybody who reports this in the press is killed.

The balance of the economy is controlled by the Islamic foundations, which now sack the country and pocket the money too. They are just organized crime. If you get successful you are supposed to donate 20% of what you make to charity. The mullahs stop by and extort the money. Failure to "donate" will result in somebody saying you're a bad Muslim and you are tossed in jail. Don't think these "foundations" or "charities" are small time. One, The Mostazafan Foundation, employs up to 400,000 workers and has assets that in all probability exceed $10 billion. Among its holdings: the former Hyatt and Hilton hotels in Tehran; the highly successful Zam-Zam soft drink company (once Pepsi); an international shipping line; companies producing oil products and cement; swaths of farmland and urban real estate.

Keep in mind that all these "employees" of all these criminal enterprises will be loyal to the government. Think the Baath loyalists in Iraq. These "foundations" hire the thugs too.

So what you have is a mullahocracy of thugs with billions in business deals, and more billions in cash. They stand ready to spend what is necessary to stay in power. When push comes to shove they have always murdered to stay around.

The blog community would have you believe that a bunch of directionless kids marching in the streets without guns can throw these guys out; like the Europeans and UN actually scare them. The EU thugs? Africa which they bribe? China? They only fear the United States and until we really rattle the cage nothing will change.

Running stupid ads or doing websites is a fucking joke. More feel good crap. The USA is going to have to figure a way to topple these billionaires and I think and hope we are working on it. Keep in mind we cut off Alqeada money and funding. We can do some real financial damage to these guys.

A bunch of kids won't cut it. Add on 1/17/06: So the financial interests of the mullahs overseas is vulnerable, but the question is: how much do they own overseas? It's true they import rice and other foods but they have oil to TRADE for it. The current game of chicken with the mullahs in Iran might work, but there is nothing so dangerous as a Muslim who has lost face (other than taking the Colts and the points last weekend).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"If you get successful you are supposed to donate 20% of what you make to charity."

20%? What a bargin.

Here in America we have 50% forcibly extracted from us every year under threat of severe consequences.

Sounds like the Iranians have a better deal.