Ryan Mauro

Report: Coup Thwarted in Iran

2011 April 21


An Iranian website has reported that a large coup by Revolutionary Guards commanders in Iran has been thwarted. Reza Kahlili writes:

Reports from inside Iran indicate that dozens of Revolutionary Guard commanders belonging to its Ground Forces have been arrested and charged with plotting a coup.

Based on the same reports, last night 37 Guards’ commanders were arrested and transferred to the Gohardasht prison to be transferred today to Prison 66, which is run by the Guards. Those arrested had plans to take over 130 key institutions in Tehran.

The recent conflicts within the Ministry of Intelligence & Security reportedly have resulted from the Revolutionary Guards’ intelligence unit’s desire to control the Ministry.

The IRGC is the force that keeps the regime in power, but as I wrote in July 2010, there is a significant amount of dissent within the body. And now, Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi says that 7 members were arrested for refusing to fire on protesters on March 10.

The regime has successfully prevented the opposition from mobilizing and presenting a challenge on the streets, but this does not mean the regime is not hated or that the Iranian people’s aspiration for freedom and justice isn’t a potent weapon.

Michael Ledeen documents how the Arab minority in the Ahwaz region have clashed with the security forces during protests and that on March 16, an opposition group called the Azerbaijan Movement for Democracy and Integrity in Iran took responsibility for a fire at the Tabriz oil refinery. There are also ongoing clashes between Kurdish militants and the IRGC and he says there is “systematic sabotage of the petrochemical industry and the nation’s vital pipelines.” As we told you, earlier this month suspicious explosions damaged three pipelines delivering gas near Qom. There were almost identical explosions in this same area in February.

At the same time, the Majiles is criticizing Ahmadinejad on economic matters, specifically the rising of natural gas prices by at least ten times. Angry citizens are now making their voices heard at the National Iranian Gas Company and 1,500 petrochemical facility workers in Khuzestan have gone on strike. There is still not a nationwide, coordinated strike but there are plenty of scattered ones.

Elections for the Majiles will be held on March 29, 2012, so these vocal confrontations between the pro-Ahmadinejad and anti-Ahmadinejad camps will escalate. Stay tuned.



Assad Digs His Hole Deeper

2011 March 30

Originally posted at

Bashar Assad is starting to seem an awful lot like Hosni Mubarak. He has sacked his government, an unmistakable sign of fear, and is promising vague, undefined reforms that will do nothing to satisfy the public. His speech to Syria, where he was expected to announce significant reforms and concessions including the lifting of the state of emergency, said a whole lot of nothing and will only enrage his population. Whenever Mubarak announced a “reform,” it fell far short of what his people demanded and only escalated the crisis. This is what will happen in Syria.

He claimed the uprising is a “big plot from outside,” a questioning of the integrity and intelligence of his opponents that they won’t look kindly upon. He did say that “We cannot say that everyone who went out is a conspirator. Let us be clear about that,” but that won’t suffice.

He said that “Deraa is in the heart of every Syrian” but made no apology for the use of force and won’t even admit that his security forces were involved (he maintains that “armed gangs” who stole government uniforms are responsible). Predictably, he said Deraa is a front line in the fight against Israel. This overused tactic will backfire, as it tells the Syrian people that Assad still doesn’t “get it.”

And here’s proof that it failed: Shortly after the speech, hundreds of protesters chanted “freedom” in Latakia and were fired upon by the army that has been sent there to stabilize the situation.

The biggest concerns about a post-Assad Syria is the strength of the Muslim Brotherhood and what the Allawite minority will do, which the regime comes from. The general estimate of the size of the Allawites is 10 to 13 percent of the population. The Washington Post puts it significantly lower at just 6 percent. Can a regime that represents only 6 to 13 percent of the population come back from the edge? I don’t think so.


Syria Update: The Assad Regime Trembles

2011 March 28


The Syrian government says it will lift the state of emergency but is not saying when. As Al-Jazeera explains, the emergency laws permit the arrest of anyone deemed a threat to security, the dispersing of demonstrations, official control over the media and various measures that trample civil rights. Assad is planning a televised address to his country later today and 16 political prisoners including an activist from Deraa were released today.

The Reform Party of Syria says not to get excited over the lifting of the state of emergency because SANA says new laws called “Laws to Fight Terror” will be put in place to secure Assad’s rule.

The Syrian army entered Latakia today after at least a dozen people were killed yesterday, some of which were shot by snipers. About 3,000 people protested there.

I expect Assad to try to blame Islamist elements like Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood for the uprising today. He said that “armed gangs” were responsible for the casualties and one of his advisors accused Muslim Brotherhood cleric Shiekh Yousef al-Qaradawi for inspiring the unrest with his Friday sermon.

The Israeli media is reporting that eyewitnesses are claiming that some of the thugs that attacked the protesters are speaking Farsi, indicating they are members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Some Syrian opposition outlets also claimed this.

The Reform Party of Syria says that the Syrian ambassador to India has resigned to protest the violence and four soldiers have gone missing in Hassakeh after refusing orders to open fire on protesters. There are rumors that Vice President Farouq al-Sharaa has been killed after his nephew denounced the regime on TV.

The Assad regime is clearly trembling and the deployment of soldiers to Latakia shows this is not an uprising limited to one geographic area or sect. There is no indication that this uprising is led by, or inspired by, the Muslim Brotherhood. The Islamist group will undoubtedly gain from Assad’s fall but it will have to share power with secular democratic forces and it is doubtful that the next government will be any more supportive of extremism than the current one. This is a revolution we can cheer.

This was originally published at


Al-Qaeda Exploits the Yemen Crisis

2011 March 27


The Associated Press reports that “Islamic militants” have taken over a town named al-Husn, a strategic mountain home to a radio station and a presidential palace and a weapons factory in Yemen’s Abyan Province. These “Islamic militants” are almost certainly Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as Abyan Province is one of their bases. The report says the police presence was reduced in the area to cope with the unrest elsewhere.

The AP says that suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists attacked a military post in Ubaida in the central part of Marib Province, another one of AQAP’s strongholds and 7 soldiers were killed. As I’ve previously written for FrontPage Magazine, the instability in Yemen benefits Al-Qaeda, the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in the north and the Muslim Brotherhood affiliate called Islah. The more secular democratic forces benefit as well, but the Islamists are the best positioned to fill the power vacuum and you can count on Al-Qaeda and the Houthis to fight for a relative level of autonomy.

The only good news from Al-Qaeda’s attacks is that the terrorist group has a habit of overreaching. The Yemeni population is mostly indifferent to Al-Qaeda’s presence in their country, with many viewing the group as an inflated or manufactured threat. If the group becomes too aggressive in attacking soldiers and forcing Sharia Law on residents, it will force the Yemenis to wake up to the threat in their midst. The best strategy for Al-Qaeda is to restrain its lust for blood and oppression and enjoy and non-violently expand its safe harbor, but that doesn’t seem to be in Al-Qaeda’s DNA.


Death Toll in Syria Up to 22 and Unrest is Spreading

2011 March 24

Syria has just joined the club of Yemen, Bahrain and Libya where the government forces have used significant violence to put down an uprising. The number of people killed in Deraa today has risen to 15, including six who died in a raid on the al-Omari mosque earlier today. The total death toll now stands at 22 and the uprising is now the biggest challenge to the Syrian government since Hafez al-Assad had to destroy Hama in 1982 to put down the Muslim Brotherhood. read more…

Media Matters Swings At my FOX News Segment and Misses

2011 February 28

Don Rumsfeld once said “If you aren’t being criticized, chances are you aren’t doing much.” So frankly, I’m flattered that Media Matters would take the time to criticize FOX News for having me on to discuss the U.S. response to the revolution in Libya. Click here to read their little critique of my appearance that doesn’t address a single point I made. read more…

NRB’s Ryan Mauro on Fox News: U.S. Should Help Finish Off Qaddafi

2011 February 26

I was on Fox & Friends this morning to discuss the situation in Libya and what the U.S. can be doing to help. I think Qaddafi’s fall is now inevitable, but it is in our interest for it to happen as quickly as possible before he can further destroy the country and possibly blow up the oil facilities once he is convinced he’s a goner. Cable news segments are quick, so I didn’t have time to elaborate too much, but here’s what I proposed in my FrontPage Magazine article on the topic.

The biggest thing is to establish a No-Fly Zone, as 200 Arab organizations now advocate. This will stop Qaddafi’s pilots from killing protesters from the air and the mere threat of Western intervention should make most of them go AWOL. The U.S. and its allies should also make it clear that the names of those committing the violence are being collected and will be prosecuted and have their assets immediately frozen.

It is obvious that if President Obama felt Egyptian President Mubarak should step down, then he should say the same thing about Qaddafi. I also suggest that the U.S. publicly support the creation of a transitional government that can govern from the liberated areas, incorporating the defected military and police into new security forces to limit anarchy. This new body can be used to deliver humanitarian aid and can help secularist forces organize and control the reins of power. It will also send an unmistakable message to the Libyan people that we believe they will win and are preparing for it.

And here’s another reason to support a no-fly zone: The Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t want it.

See the video below:

NRB’s Ryan Mauro on Fox News: Uprisings May Sweep Middle East

2011 February 5

I was on Fox & Friends this morning to discuss the information in my FrontPage Magazine article, Brushfire in the Middle East. The point is that protests are spreading throughout the region demanding regime changes and even beyond the region, as far away as Albania and Belarus. Simply put: The man who committed a self-immolation in Tunisia not only brought down a dictator, but changed the Middle East forever. read more…

Scrap Israel Peace Treaty? Taking Yes for an Answer from the Muslim Brotherhood

2011 February 3

Well, that was quick. The Muslim Brotherhood wants to destroy Israel so much that it can’t keep its mouth shut when it really needs to. A deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood has just confirmed what we knew all along (and by “we,” I mean all of us who aren’t blind apologists of the “moderate” group):

After President Mubarak steps down and a provisional government is formed, there is a need to dissolve the peace treaty with Israel.

This comes shortly after another Muslim Brotherhood leader in Egypt said that the Suez Canal should be closed to bring about Mubarak’s fall (which makes me think of those unconfirmed reports of Hamas members entering Egypt) and that “the people should be prepared for war with Israel.” read more…

Obama to Muslim Brotherhood: Hello, Come Right In!

2011 February 2

The Obama Administration says it would approve of the inclusion of the Muslim Brotherhood in the next Egyptian government if it explicitly rejects violence and endorses democracy—which, by the standards of the Brotherhood and its naïve apologists, the group already has.

The West shouldn’t be fooled by the Brotherhood’s semantics. The top Brotherhood theologian, Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, has spoken in support of elections and “democracy” and “freedom,” but by “freedom” he means the true “freedom” that can only come from Sharia law, not secularism. read more…

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Mask: Mohammed El-Baradei

2011 February 1

Get ready for it: If former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohammed El-Baradei becomes the next leader of Egypt, he will be the face proclaiming the victory of secular democracy. Don’t fall for it. El-Baradei is nothing but a mask for the Muslim Brotherhood, a group slick enough to know it’s better to have a prettier face than its own.

The Muslim Brotherhood, despite being an Islamist group, has rallied behind El-Baradei to bring down the Mubarak regime. The thinking behind this is honestly stated by Brotherhood official Mohamed al-Katani who is quoted in the New York Times as saying:

“The Brotherhood realizes the sensitivities, especially in the West, towards the Islamists, and we’re not keen to be at the forefront.”

read more…

NRB’s Ryan Mauro on Fox & Friends This Morning About Imam Rauf’s Tour

2010 December 27

If you’re working on a controversial project and the heat finally gets off of you, what do you do? You shut up! Things were going so well for Imam Rauf. The country had finally stopped talking about something other than the Ground Zero mosque. Park51 was moving forward, even acting so provocatively as to apply for a $5 million federal grant meant to reconstruct lower Manhattan. This attempt to use taxpayer money to fund a project they hate didn’t even register any major outrage.

And now Rauf is going on a major speaking tour. He either doesn’t get it that every time he talks about Park51 he undermines the interfaith relations he claims he wants to improve, loves attention or actually wants to cause friction. Whatever the case may be, he’s given his opponents an opportunity to make their arguments again. As I was quoted in the New York Times as saying, this will “revive the opposition.”

The Christian Action Network, where I serve as National Security Advisor, is planning a nationwide screening tour of its latest documentary about the Ground Zero mosque, many of which will include guest speakers that are experts on radical Islam or are 9/11 survivors. Contact me or go to if you want an event in your area.

I was on Fox & Friends this morning to talk about this. Here’s the segment:

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