Religion, Family, and Civil Society Are the Best Weapons against Tyranny—Whether in China or in the USSR

In recent years, the people of Hong Kong—long accustomed to living in freedom—have increasingly experienced the full weight of Chinese totalitarianism. The Hong Kong fashion and media mogul, and vocal critic of Beijing, Jimmy Lai thus seeks advice from the former Soviet dissident and Jewish leader Natan Sharansky about how to stand up to Communist dictatorship. Among other things, Sharansky speaks about how devotion to religion and family can be sources of comfort to the persecuted, and how a robust civil society is the best defense against despotism. Perhaps most importantly, he argues that while compromise is crucial in business, politics, and many other facets of life, there can never be compromise between freedom and slavery. (Video, 64 minutes.)


Read more at Apple Daily

More about: China, Civil society, Family, Natan Sharansky, Religion, Totalitarianism


Iran’s President May Be Dead. What Next?

At the moment, Hizballah’s superiors in Tehran probably aren’t giving much thought to the militia’s next move. More likely, they are focused on the fact that their country’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, along with the foreign minister, may have been killed in a helicopter crash near the Iran-Azerbaijan border. Iranians set off fireworks to celebrate the possible death of this man known as “butcher of Tehran” for his role in executing dissidents. Shay Khatiri explains what will happen next:

If the president is dead or unable to perform his duties for longer than two months, the first vice-president, the speaker of the parliament, and the chief justice, with the consent of the supreme leader, form a council to choose the succession mechanism. In effect, this means that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei will decide [how to proceed]. Either a new election is called, or Khamenei will dictate that the council chooses a single person to avoid an election in time of crisis.

Whatever happens next, however, Raisi’s “hard landing” will mark the first chapter in a game of musical chairs that will consume the Islamic Republic for months and will set the stage not only for the post-Raisi era, but the post-Khamenei one as well.

As for the inevitable speculation that Raisi’s death wasn’t an accident: everything I have read so far suggests that it was. Still, that its foremost enemy will be distracted by a succession struggle is good news for Israel. And it wouldn’t be terrible if Iran’s leaders suspect that the Mossad just might have taken out Raisi. For all their rhetoric about martyrdom, I doubt they relish the prospect of becoming martyrs themselves.

Read more at Middle East Forum

More about: Ali Khamenei, Iran, Mossad