Essential Reading

Insights from Quadrant
Insights from Quadrant

Protocols of the Elders of Flyin’

When something goes wrong in world — a chopper loaded with Iranian leaders ploughs into a fog-shrouded mountain and everyone dies, for instance — it is only to be expected that a Jew will be blamed. So it comes as no surprise that supporters of the Tehran regime, not generally known for a sense of humour, latched on to puckish Israelis’ social media posts claiming that the pilot was a Mossad agent by name of Eli Copter. Swallowed hook, line and sinker, the gag made it onto Iranian state media and the bulletins of other dim-bulb regional broadcasters, notably that of the Palestinian Authority.

Look beyond the knee-jerk Hebrewhaha, however, and there is no shortage of possible dark motives, rather than a stupid pilot taking to the air when he shouldn’t, to inspire speculation that President Ebrahim Raisi might well have been assassinated, not by Israel but a regime rival. Writing at Middle East Forum before all aboard were confirmed dead, Shay Khatiri explains:

Iranians embrace conspiracy theories … That the helicopter crash occurred so soon after the first open and direct Iran-Israel military confrontation will lead many Iranians and perhaps the regime itself to blame Israel.

Still, other conspiracies could emerge. Many Iranians saw Raisi’s presidency as an audition to succeed the 85-year-old cancer-stricken Khamenei as Supreme Leader, but Khamenei’s son Mojtaba also coveted the top position. The factional rivalry has simmered just below the surface. Raisi has long been the IRGC’s darling, but many in the clergy favor Mojtaba. This is why the powerful Qom seminary hired Mojtaba, who lacks scholarly credentials, to be a lecturer. By embracing Khamenei’s son, the seminary sought to signal its support for Raisi’s rival.

Indeed, assassinating Raisi could make sense. Mojtaba now enjoys his father’s protection, but that support will not survive Ali Khamenei’s death. Raisi, on the other hand, was the prosecutor-general and had dirt on everyone—during a presidential debate, he flashed a document detailing his rival’s corruption to scare him. In essence, Raisi [could] politically brawl like a street thug and blackmail like J. Edgar Hoover. If Raisi is dead, Mojtaba will be popping the non-alcoholic champagne. This will make him the favorite to succeed his father—for now.

Khatiri’s analysis can be read in full here. 

–rf

Insights from Quadrant

Hellbent on ugliness

Modern Age is a site well worth bookmarking for regular visits. In analysing Prince Charles’ new portrait, editor Daniel McCarthy shows why:

….Cultural scholars of a free-market bent have ventured an explanation for the primitive, ugly, offensive, and kitschy character of so much modern art. In an age when any consumer can own the symphonies of Beethoven or take a cheap flight to see the Mona Lisa firsthand, tastemakers whose own tastes were shaped by anti-capitalist intellectuals came to see the enjoyment of beauty as dreadfully vulgar. Something had to distinguish persons of enlightened sensibility from the vile bourgeoisie. But what could the great and good buy that the public couldn’t copy?

The answer wasn’t something that the masses couldn’t afford but something that they wouldn’t want—unbeautiful and unpopular things, the less appealing or more transgressive the better. On this account, elite anxiety is the root of modernism at its worst. Off-putting works are to be cherished precisely for their power to repel the right sort of person…

McCarthy’s essay can be read in full here.

Essential Reading

Insights from Quadrant
Insights from Quadrant

Protocols of the Elders of Flyin’

When something goes wrong in world — a chopper loaded with Iranian leaders ploughs into a fog-shrouded mountain and everyone dies, for instance — it is only to be expected that a Jew will be blamed. So it comes as no surprise that supporters of the Tehran regime, not generally known for a sense of humour, latched on to puckish Israelis’ social media posts claiming that the pilot was a Mossad agent by name of Eli Copter. Swallowed hook, line and sinker, the gag made it onto Iranian state media and the bulletins of other dim-bulb regional broadcasters, notably that of the Palestinian Authority.

Look beyond the knee-jerk Hebrewhaha, however, and there is no shortage of possible dark motives, rather than a stupid pilot taking to the air when he shouldn’t, to inspire speculation that President Ebrahim Raisi might well have been assassinated, not by Israel but a regime rival. Writing at Middle East Forum before all aboard were confirmed dead, Shay Khatiri explains:

Iranians embrace conspiracy theories … That the helicopter crash occurred so soon after the first open and direct Iran-Israel military confrontation will lead many Iranians and perhaps the regime itself to blame Israel.

Still, other conspiracies could emerge. Many Iranians saw Raisi’s presidency as an audition to succeed the 85-year-old cancer-stricken Khamenei as Supreme Leader, but Khamenei’s son Mojtaba also coveted the top position. The factional rivalry has simmered just below the surface. Raisi has long been the IRGC’s darling, but many in the clergy favor Mojtaba. This is why the powerful Qom seminary hired Mojtaba, who lacks scholarly credentials, to be a lecturer. By embracing Khamenei’s son, the seminary sought to signal its support for Raisi’s rival.

Indeed, assassinating Raisi could make sense. Mojtaba now enjoys his father’s protection, but that support will not survive Ali Khamenei’s death. Raisi, on the other hand, was the prosecutor-general and had dirt on everyone—during a presidential debate, he flashed a document detailing his rival’s corruption to scare him. In essence, Raisi [could] politically brawl like a street thug and blackmail like J. Edgar Hoover. If Raisi is dead, Mojtaba will be popping the non-alcoholic champagne. This will make him the favorite to succeed his father—for now.

Khatiri’s analysis can be read in full here. 

–rf

Insights from Quadrant

Hellbent on ugliness

Modern Age is a site well worth bookmarking for regular visits. In analysing Prince Charles’ new portrait, editor Daniel McCarthy shows why:

….Cultural scholars of a free-market bent have ventured an explanation for the primitive, ugly, offensive, and kitschy character of so much modern art. In an age when any consumer can own the symphonies of Beethoven or take a cheap flight to see the Mona Lisa firsthand, tastemakers whose own tastes were shaped by anti-capitalist intellectuals came to see the enjoyment of beauty as dreadfully vulgar. Something had to distinguish persons of enlightened sensibility from the vile bourgeoisie. But what could the great and good buy that the public couldn’t copy?

The answer wasn’t something that the masses couldn’t afford but something that they wouldn’t want—unbeautiful and unpopular things, the less appealing or more transgressive the better. On this account, elite anxiety is the root of modernism at its worst. Off-putting works are to be cherished precisely for their power to repel the right sort of person…

McCarthy’s essay can be read in full here.