Only five years ago, millions of Iranians protesters swarmed the streets, denouncing Ahmadinejad’s government—and the demonstrations were brutally put down by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Now, as sectarian war threatens to erupt in the Middle East, Iranians are expressing a newfound support for the Revolutionary Guard and Shia hardliners. As the New York Times reports:
On websites such as the reformist Entekhab news site, where in the past anonymous commentators rarely missed an opportunity to criticize the Guards [called Sepah in Iran], the group is now regularly lauded.
“Why doesn’t our army and Sepah destroy these wild groups?” a user named Dehdashti wrote as a comment under an article describing how ISIS men allegedly killed a man for watching a World Cup soccer game. “Just one unit of our Sepah or our army is enough to destroy these beasts forever.” […]
In one comment on the Entekhab site, an anonymous person cheered for Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the shadowy commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force, which is said to be active in Iraq.
The shift in attitude appears to be due in no small part to the recent mass-killing of some 1,700 captured Iraqi soldiers by ISIS, which was documented by the group on social media. As fear convulses the Middle East, ISIS may be on its way to accomplishing its goal of provoking an all-out religious war.