Separate But Unequal: Ahmadinejad Moves for Segregation of Sexes Throughout Iranian Society

As his security forces continue to beat and kill pro-democracy protesters in the streets, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stepped up a plan to strictly segregate the sexes throughout Iranian society in business and public buildings. It is part of his continued radical Muslim agenda with the hard-right religious leaders that support his regime.

Men and women are already separated on buses but this would be a leap forward for those who want a complete Islamic structure for Iranian society. It would also tend to slow the growing demands among young people for greater rights and freedoms.

Schools and public buildings are already building separate entrances for men and women. Universities (viewed by the hard-right as breeding grounds for democratic and liberal values) are the primary target for the segregation.

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22 thoughts on “Separate But Unequal: Ahmadinejad Moves for Segregation of Sexes Throughout Iranian Society”

  1. “… , a fact that would motivate Hitler some centuries later to consider his famous Operation Barbarossa.”


    As any history major can tell you, it was “Operation Sealion.” Thanks to my old college roommate who apparently routinely follows my written inanity for gently(?) pointing this out. “Barbarrosa” was Hitler’s plan of attack against the Soviets. Mea culpa — and thanks to my old friend, who apparently really did listen when I taught him history. 😀

  2. mespo,

    I would not disagree with that assessment and the comparison to the Boudicca is most apt.

    It’s a bad choice Obama has to make in Afghanistan, but one I feel necessitated by Bush’s lollygagging. I always try to factor in the principles of Aikido when looking at international relations in that “the best way to avoid trouble is not to be there when it starts.” The time for the in & out strategy I described is long over and as you point out would have still required a lingering presence. The price we are paying is in “exaggerated” troop levels with minimal chances of winning over the populace given how things have been so badly mismanaged up to this point. In effect, we are paying a higher price (in every sense of the word both mortal and venal) for a lesser chance of success at an outcome (war of the minds) that could have been accomplished with minimal loss of life on both sides and thus keeping our military freed up to do other important things – like stomp on Saudi Arabia.

    So I can’t imagine why Bush would strand us in a costly quagmire that could have been won with Coke and Rock & Roll instead of blood . . . except for being told to by his masters. After all, don’t want to run the risk Americans actually get control of their government and military back from corporate interests and really decide to go after who is responsible for 9/11.

    Too late for cheaper diplomacy, Obama clearly lacks the spine for genocide. If he’s afraid of lobbyists? Yeah. His choices here are all bad.

  3. Buddha:

    In the summer of C.E. 61 Roman armies under Suetonius occupied the Island of Britain as they had done since C.E. 43. In the area now known as Norfolk, England, and situated in the southeastern quadrant of the island, the Iceni tribe ruled pretty much as their ancestors had done for hundreds of years. An uneasy peace existed between the Celtic tribe and the Roman conquerors. When the Roman Emperor, Claudius, converted a grant to the Iceni king, Prasutagus, into a loan, a provision was inserted under duress into the Iceni leader’s will leaving 1/2 of Iceni lands to Rome. Ever anxious to take a mile when it was entitled to a foot, Rome took all of the Iceni lands upon Prasutagus’ death. His widow, Boudicca, who had assumed the throne, was whipped and her daughters brutally raped by Roman legionnaires to humiliate the tribe and keep them under Rome’s thumb.

    Boudicca, in one of the first volleys of the battle of the sexes, assembled an army of approximately 100,000 warriors from hers and other neighboring tribes and marched against the Roman armies. It is a peculiar geographical quirk of the southeastern wield of Britain that its broad expanses make it very difficult to defend, a fact that would motivate Hitler some centuries later to consider his famous Operation Barbarossa. In any event,Boudicca met with impressive successes against the greatest army ever assembled until that time, leading an insurrection as much motivated by personal animus as love of liberty. London, itself, was subdued by the barbarian queen,as was St. Albans.

    Rome was no stranger to insurrections with Gaul resisting Caesar a hundred years before in the Gallic Wars, and a Germanic prince, Arminius, almost stalling the Roman entry into Germany with his C.E. 9 victory at the Teutoburg Forest. Determined to keep the Iceni insurrection at bay, Rome sent more troops and met the Iceni in an horrific battle somewhere near Towchester. A much smaller, disciplined Roman army laid waste to the Iceni ranks killing 80% of its warriors. The remaining barbarians fell back and Boudicca is said to have consumed poison to avoid the same fate as her daughters had suffered. The remaining Iceni were put to the sword.

    Tacitus tell us that Suetonius exhorted his troops with these words:

    “Despise,the savage uproar, the yells and shouts of undisciplined Barbarians. In that mixed multitude, the women out-number the men. Void of spirit, unprovided with arms, they are not soldiers who come to offer battle; they are bastards, runaways, the refuse of your swords, who have often fled before you, and will again betake themselves to flight when they see the conqueror flaming in the ranks of war. In all engagements it is the valor of a few that turns the fortune of the day. It will be your immortal glory, that with a scanty number you can equal the exploits of a great and powerful army. Keep your ranks; discharge your javelins; rush forward to a close attack; bear down all with your bucklers, and hew a passage with your swords. Pursue the vanquished, and never think of spoil and plunder. Conquer, and victory gives you everything.”

    The point of this rather long-winded retelling of our historical past is to show that fighting insurrections must be accomplished in one of only two ways. The occupier, like the Romans, must be willing to lay to waste every antagonistic man, woman, and child to insure complete subjugation of the population, or it must win their hearts and minds as Rome was renowned for doing. It is an unfortunate truth that some populations like the Iceni and the Afghans are unwilling to be won at any price and this has been their legacy for centuries. We must then decide if we are prepared for a genocide to accomplish our ends, or if it is enough to maintian a presence to deter radical Muslim elements from gaining a foothold from which to re-launch attacks.

    The President has a difficult choice here: either risk being portrayed as one of the world’s great villains, or take a less dramatic (and effective) route and try to make the best of an impossible situation. I am glad it is not my decision as I really do not know how I would go.

  4. Afghanistan: where empires go to die.

    We are in complete agreement about not winning in ANY conventional sense in Afghanistan. If your talking about very small groups of troops, small squads really, burrowing in and mirroring the tribal people with an objective of cultivating informants that will allow you to assassinate some bad guys as they cross the mountains; well, you can have some success. That’s been proven but win in any conventional sense with conventional tactics? Not going to happen.

    This is a movie you might have rented, “The Objective” A 2008 movie (from IMDB) “A group of Special Ops Reservists on a mission in the harsh and hostile terrain of Afghanistan find themselves lost in a Middle Eastern “Bermuda Triangle” of ancient evil.”

    It was filmed in Morocco, some desolate corner of the hill country and every time I think about Afghanistan I think about that terrain, only much worse, where the lifestyle is essentially unchanged for a millennium and alliances remain based on clan and family. You can’t fight a war in places like that. Not and ‘win’. Putin really should have mentioned that to W.

  5. Lotta,

    The reason we can’t win Afghanistan in the traditional sense is the same reason that the Soviets couldn’t. The Afghan “State” is really just a couple of larger cities. The rest of the country is run by tribal clans on a valley by valley basis and has been as long as anyone can remember. There has never been a widely accepted central government there. In the tribal held areas, the Afghan authorities we deal with as “legitimate” are often not recognized and haven’t been since before we got there.

  6. Byron: “Bush had an opportunity but blew it …”

    See above posting. I meant to add your statement up top but it didn’t make it through my spell-check, sorry. We have our different reasons for thinking so, but your statement works for me also.

  7. BIL: “Afghanistan was not a “winnable” theater from the start. Afghanistan, first of all, is an illusory state. Always was and always will be as long as there are little tribes controlling each remote valley. Our strategy after 9/11 should have been simply this: …”

    I would disagree with that statement but realize that the definition of ‘winning’ has change over time. Our original strategy and goals in Afghanistan was as I recall, much different than the stated aims and strategy now employed. When first the US sent troops into the Afghanistan border region they were small squads of special forces troops that had the job of building an alliance with the people along the border and securing very narrowly focused but actionable intelligence from them.

    The troops grew their facial hair long, every squad had at least one soldier that spoke the language, they dressed down and blended into the culture as much as possible. They made friends and alliances by not showing the flag and ignoring cultural differences as a point of conflict. I’m sure money and promises changed hands. Developing a contingent of CI’s is basic police strategy and that was the crux of their mission. It was a long term strategy that didn’t garner any headline news but it did result in targets being identified and taken care of.

    That program was stopped after a few of years and there was a lot of public grumbling about that from some of the U S commanders on the ground in the program. I read several accounts by the SF commanders themselves accompanied by pictures of them ‘blending in’. They wouldn’t comment on assassinations when asked if that was their job but said the program was working well and shouldn’t be abandoned.

    In a culture like Afghanistan’s rural people have it seemed like a good strategy and if taking out Qaeda operatives as they migrated into the border region was the aim then it seemed to be successful. If that program had been expanded and continued we might not be knee-deep in the mud we’re in now in Afghanistan.

  8. 1) Dresden was a war crime. Curtis LeMay, despite his other victories, should have been hung for ordering carpet bombing attacks on civilians. But for those other victories, that would have been his end too. Had he been a middling general or Dresden typical of his style, he’d have been sacrificed by the West. In retrospect, he should have been. I bet the fascists today wouldn’t be so anxious to start a war for their P/E statement had we shown then that the law APPLIES TO ALL. End of story. One evil does not excuse another just as his other legitimate actions don’t justify Dresden. Killing civilians, no matter the tactic, is simply wrong. Of all the examples of military operations to compare to? Dresden was inappropriate ethically, strategically and legally. I made it sound like you endorse war crimes if they ensure victory. That’s a conversation I think we’ve had before.

    2) We didn’t get Bin Laden in Tora Bora because Bush didn’t pull the trigger on operations to nab him while we had him cornered. Look into it. I promise you that’s how it went down. He could have been nabbed in Tora Bora before we let him get away into Pakistan. That is the consensus from an objective tactical analysis. Why Bush would hesitate is another topic.

    3) Afghanistan was not a “winnable” theater from the start. Afghanistan, first of all, is an illusory state. Always was and always will be as long as there are little tribes controlling each remote valley. Our strategy after 9/11 should have been simply this:

    3a) Afghanistan – Take every valley where training camps existed and occupy them or destroy them utterly if given no other option. Capture Bin Laden. We did this . . . all except that last part. Then we should have gotten the Hell out and left the goat herders with the impression that next time they train terrorists to send against our citizens that we wouldn’t come back in person – that there would be a flash of light and the little valley responsible would go into vapor. See . . . there are drawback and benefits to living in valleys. We should have taught them we can do it manually the first time THEN we turn the Air Force loose if they want to do it again. Cause and effect. Hit them with a hammer, then show them you have a much bigger hammer you’ll use next time they act the fool. Next?

    3b) Saudi Arabia – A winnable theater. Winnable in a way that could have really helped close the divide between the Christian West and Muslim East. I have a plan that could work so I know someone at the Pentagon has modeled more than one victory scenario in that theater. Except Bush Co. was their sock puppet thus allowing the real perps of 9/11 not only go free, but to rub our faces in it. But instead? We invade Iraq – the one secular state in the region keeping the Saudis in check.

    4) You can’t fight a war without some civilian casualties. But there is a difference between “collateral damage” and “direct targeting”. Unless we were to be invaded by the Chinese you’d prefer they attack as primary targets you and your family instead of troops under flag. Because that’d be okay by your rationale.

    5) Targeting civilians? Do you really want to add more war crimes to the ever growing list and the PR disaster in progress? That’s just bad tactical and strategic analysis. Battles are only fought on battle fields. They are won in the hearts and minds of the people. Killing them on purpose isn’t going to leave a favorable impression.

    6) Victory on the field was never the concern of your “conservative” (note the parenthesis) brethren. Their concern was maximizing profits. Which they succeeded in quite nicely. Now? In the name of justice it’s time for them to be hauled from their board rooms and hung like the traitors and criminals they are. In public. And then all the money they stole? We should burn them on a pyre of their worldly possessions – on television – to remind people the price of avarice still obeys the dictate of karma. But there never was a traditional victory in Afghanistan. Our only option was the scenario described above – in and out with decisive certainty for the terrorists proper and then on to their masters proper both in Saudi Arabia and the accomplices they had within the Bush Administration. Riyadh should be on fire. Cheney in irons.

  9. Now exactly what is sexism? I am sure one could figure it out here. But then again, we are not raised in that society, so how can one who espouses values condemn such a society as this? It is easy when you are a bigot. Figure that one out.

  10. What you have in Iran is an insurgency and the government has no practical restraints, we’ll see how that works out. The time to deal with an insurgency is very early on, before it becomes a civil war, overt or covert.

    I think the time for talking about success in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan is long gone. Success is getting out, declaring victory and just leaving. If we prop up the corrupt Pak government long enough we’ll probably see the same kind and magnitude of backlash as we saw in Iran, a monster much of our own making.

  11. Chris:

    thanks for the insight, my comments above were more about doing what is necessary to protect American soldiers and keeping them safe. Maybe, as you say, doing what they did kept you safer than you might have been had we done something harsher.

    Way above my pay grade in any event.

  12. Byron,

    Yes I was in Iraq and I thought that the rules of engagement tied our hands a little at times. Now looking back I think the policy works very well and I better understand what it takes to try to defeat an insurgency. I guess that’s why the Generals make those decisions.

    I was never in Afghanistan so I don’t know how different it is from Iraq. The enemy is still the same though.

  13. Chris:

    Weren’t you in Iraq? What is your feeling on the rules of engagement? Don’t you think Iraq is different than Afghanistan? I thought I heard they used the insurgency in Malaysia as a model for fighting the one in Iraq.

    Another part of the problem is that the Iraqis did not believe we would be serious thanks to Bush I. I am sure that had a role to play in how things went, once burned twice shy.

    If the revolt in Iran deposes the ruling council and they end up with a moderate government, maybe Iraq was worth the effort after all. I guess we wont really know how things are going to turn out for a very long time.

  14. Byron,

    WWII is a lot different than Afghanistan due to the nature of the war. When fighting an insurgency it is important to establish yourself as an alternative to the insurgents, not to put yourself on the same level as them. I think this is where we made a big mistake in the beginning of the Iraq war.

    Gen Mattis put it the best when borrowed the quote “no better friend, no worse enemy”. He believed that if you show anger and disgust to the civilians then it is a victory for the insurgents. I believe it is because of General Mattis’ that things started to get better in Iraq.

  15. Byron,

    I’m going to give you today to figure out what exactly is wrong with that last post of yours. Tonight? Well, you could be the designated target.

    Yes Drill Sar-Gent
    Cause you told me to Drill Sar-gent

  16. Buddha:

    That is a bit harsh, I admit and I don’t mean we fire bomb Afghans but I think we should have had a somewhat less stringent rules of engagement at least initially.

    And we should have done a better job getting Bin Laden, which was probably hampered by a limitation on rules of engagement.

    Afghanistan is not the same as NAZI Germany but we did bomb civilian targets both as a psychological tool and as military strategy.

    How do you fight a war without harming civilians? It doesn’t seem to me that either Iraq or Afghanistan is going well and we have done our best to keep civilians safe. Even at the expense of our own troops.

    I don’t want to target them directly but I do think that if you are being fired upon from a hospital or a Mosque you have a right to defend yourself. In my opinion the people who are using civilian facilities for cover are the ones who are culpable for civilian casualties.

  17. Byron,

    I’m going to give you today to figure out what exactly is wrong with that last post of yours. Tonight? Well, you could be the designated target. There is a lot wrong with that statement, but I’ll set you on the right track. Here’s your hint: start at using the word “Dresden” and “civilians” in that context and work your way backward.

  18. the Iranian people are kickin the livin sh . . . out of police. I wonder what the leadership is going to have to do to put this uprising down. If moderates get control of Iran it might mark the beginning of the end for radical Islamic terrorism.

    Now if only Obama has the stones to finish the job in Afghanistan (and give moral support to the Iranian people). Something his predecessor was unable to do and he had 8 years. Afghanistan should have been over in about 6 weeks. And now Bill Engel is saying the Pentagon doesn’t think they can even do the job. (yes, I watch Rachel Maddow once in awhile, she is even starting to sound reasonable)

    Bush had an opportunity but blew it because he believed that Afghans had more rights than our soldiers. I remember a professor of philosophy speaking to John Kasich (R Ohio Congressman) and telling him you don’t win wars by delivering MRE’s, you win wars by fire bombing Dresden. He was implying that a people who allow themselves to be taken over by brutal dictators are complicit and deserve no quarter in war.

    Had Bush been willing to allow civilian casualties and worried more about our own soldiers than rules of engagement we would probably be done with this mess.

    And now my conservative “brethren” don’t seem to be so anxious to end this with a victory but instead seem to be willing to sell us out for political expediency. What a bunch of rat bastards.

  19. When you make sex illegal, only criminals will have sex.

    Good luck with that.


    I’m betting 250,000 years of evolution versus your 1,400 fairy tale.

    You don’t stand a chance in Hell of making this do anything but blow up in your theocratic melon-headed faces.

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