Saturday, April 23, 2011

Syria 2011 / Islamic Republic of Iran 2009

A law enforcement policy perspective

By Mark Pyruz

From what I can discern from the open source, there are key differences between recent Iranian and Syrian law enforcement approaches to unlawful assemblies.

In the Iranian case, law enforcement wasn't well prepared at first for the large-scale demonstrations that took place following the 2009 presidential election and there were dozens of fatalities. But soon afterwards Iranian authorities enforced a less-lethal policy of crowd control, even though it endangered the lives of police officers particularly during the Ashura rioting. One more advantage the Iranians possess is an ideologically driven volunteer auxiliary force attached to the police.

The Syrians, on the other hand, are contending with multiple poles of demos across the country (where the Iranians were primarily concerned with the capitol) and are escalating their policy of lethal force in contending with the demos. In addition, the Syrian establishment really has no ideological equivalent to the Basij and the majority support base of followers to the Islamic revolution, as is the case in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Like the other countries of the Arab Spring, the Syrians have employed the military as their ultimate means of fallback. Big differences between the two approaches.

Also, even with the less-lethal policy in effect, the Iranian opposition did not have the staying power on the street, and contained itself to attempted hijackings of official, pro-establishment events. The Syrian opposition, on the other hand, seems to possess the staying power. This could be indicative of the fact that Iranian support for their governance is a higher majority, as well as the Iranian political system encompassing a representative element to its interwoven and, to varying degrees, balancing branches of government.

In any event, where the Iranian demos have declined significantly with a less-lethal law enforcement policy in effect, the Syrians appear to be contending with an escalating demo movement with their own escalating lethal force policy. Contrary to the Iranian experience, this appears to be bringing Syria to a heightening sense of insecurity.


Anonymous said...


While I usually appreciate your analysis, sometimes you really get on my nerves!

Quote: "...there are key differences between recent Iranian and Syrian law enforcement approaches to #unlawful# assemblies."

I don't know about Syria, but according to Iran's constitution Article 27*, peaceful gatherings are allowed and protected by the state (by peaceful it means unarmed, and it's not up for interpretation of the state). Also, according to Article 38**, torture is forbidden under any circumstances.

This means protests in Iran weren't unlawful. Unlawful was the state shooting and killing unarmed civilians, and raping and torturing them while in custody or prison for which it will pay dearly in near future.

Please get your facts right.

* Article 27: "Public gatherings and marches may be freely held, provided arms are not carried and that they are not detrimental to the fundamental principles of Islam."

** Article 38: "All forms of torture for the purpose of extracting confession or acquiring information are forbidden. Compulsion of individuals to testify, confess, or take an oath is not permissible; and any testimony, confession, or oath obtained under duress is devoid of value and credence. Violation of this article is liable to punishment in accordance with the law."

Mohammad said...

very well written and clear post. The radical greens tried desperately to fool themselves and others that Syria is doing what Iran did while they were too far to compare.

to Anonymous: probably the reason that you find things on your nerve is that you don't read the article and simply want everyone to mumble what you'd like them to do so.

The analysis did not say whether the protests in Iran were lawful or not (which, actually, as opposed to what you say, they were not -- see below). It simply says Iran did all it could to keep the number of life injuries low. I know you greens liked it to be more, but 30 deaths in a year of protests is almost nothing, with any standard you might wanna hold.

Finally, I remind you that: deciding when exactly the protest is against Islam and making it legal is referred to some institutions that instead of revealing their name to you I leave it to you as an exercise; you might find it interesting to go and find out their name.

reader said...

I am disappointed Mark. In a civilised society, it is the duty of the police to uphold the law and not to side with one group or the other. This so called "volunteer auxiliary force" have every right to counter demonstrate and enjoy the protection of the police but have no right to attack people and be immune to arrest.

Mark Pyruz said...

This is a law enforcement perspective, not a political perspective.

It is the political authority that gives the order, and law enforcement executes.

In the case of Iran, that political authority and criminal justice system remain intact and unchallenged.

In Syria, a more serious challenge is presently being mounted.

reader said...

I beg to differ Mark. In a civil society the police takes it's direction from the law of the land passed on by the parliament and not from the political authority. I appreciate that your posting looked as the situation from a law enforcement perspective but I felt quite uncomfortable when you implied that those so called "ideologically driven volunteer force" are legally attached to the police! This volunteer force has no legitimacy and no authority to disrupt a peaceful demonstration.

Anonymous said...

Mark, good post I agree with all your points. To the Basij haters, those who want to turn Iran into Hollywood or Los Angeles. You should stop trying to do that and move to Los Angeles and become Persian pop singers like those clowns that are over there. Blackcats can probably use some extras so move over there. It says it there nice and clear on your passport ."Islamic Republic of Iran" if you dont like it move to Alaska. The Islamic conquest of Iran happened in 637 by the way before Black cats ever existed. The Shah is gone and the Shahis are all committing suicide.

As for Mr. Pyruz article, one element that is different about Iran and Syria that I would like to add is that Syria's borders are not as secure as Iran. Syria is more prone to being infiltrated by foreign agents whose goal is to de-stabilize the country. Most of Iran's destablization efforts were directed towards Media, and Social networks, in other words a "soft" insurgency as opposed to an armed one. In Syria, however, you have foreign agents from Jordan, Saudi, Lebanon, and who knows from where else coming in the country and framing security forces. These guys are opening fire on protesters and then implicating Syrian Forces. Notice how in all the Media propaganda that Al-jazeera, and western media puts out you dont ever see an actual Security Force person directly opening fire on protesters? All the sources the media outlets cite are "unknown" and they use disclaimers such as "this information was not independently verified" but yet they present it as fact. Its not very hard to see by anyone with a little intelligence that the US, Israel, and the GCC want regime change in Syria. The fact that these groups are also resorting to supporting terrorist organizations to conduct attacks in Iran makes it very plausible that they are doing the same to force regime change in Syria. The wikileaks cable recently released also supports this going back to 2009.

Anonymous said...

Go Go Go Iran, Namibia loves you.
Blessed are those that treat Jews the way they treat themselves. Iran has Jews representation in Parliament, so the GCC will never be comparable to Iran and Israel.

Iam Namibian, but i think Arab so-called Monarchies realy suck. If it was not of oil I will never be their friend.

They keep blaming Iran, and all they can do is employ Pakistinius Punks in their armies. Cant wait for the upcoming WAR, and see how arab fools will live of their Dollars.