Ukraine first, Iranian diaspora second and Dutch people maybe the last!

TEHRAN – Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte along with some other officials of the country, including Minster of Justice and some members of the Parliament, had a meeting on March 16 with one of the most infamous Iranian diaspora members, Masumeh Alinejad Qomi Kollaei, aka Masih Alinejad, and made some remarks in regards to recent events in Iran.

The most important comment of Rutte which got Masih Alinejad as excited as a baby opening a Christmas gift, was his promise to persuade the EU to put the IRGC on the list of terrorist groups. Before anything else, there is a question to be answered: does Rutte even have enough time to pull this off? The short answer is: probably not!

Rutte’s rhetoric about Iran popped up just a few hours after what was called by many “a political earthquake” in the Netherlands. Earlier that day, the results of the Dutch regional elections was published which proved to be a political humiliation for Rutte and his party, as they lost the elections to a party which didn’t even exist in the elections four years ago!

In sum, given all the complications in the political structure of the Netherlands, it is not unlikely that Rutte would have to leave the office after the Senate elections in May. And he owes this chance of early dismissal to some of his most controversial policies which have sunken the country deep into daily struggles.

The Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD-RE) of Prime Minister Rutte has set some very rough policies to reduce carbon dioxide level in the country. The problem is that the party has been laser-focused on a very sensitive section of the country’s economy: agriculture.

While the Netherlands has enjoyed the title of the second biggest exporter of agricultural products in the world for decades, Rutte’s party has recently drawn the conclusion that limiting this industry is the most convenient shortcut to achieve the emission reduction expectations set for the near future. And this has angered most of the Dutch people, especially farmers.

Ever since the decision of the government to force-purchase a number of industrial-size farms was broadcasted, farmers all over the country have gone on strike and held demonstrations with the hope to save their businesses and livelihood from complete destruction. Every now and then, they block highways; they march in the streets of different cities on foot or with their tractors; Netherlands’ flag hung upside down can be seen in all pictures; and on March 11, farmers arranged a huge demonstration in The Hague which forced the government to resort to the army for keeping the situation under control.

Despite the deafening silence of the mainstream media about what has been happening in the Netherlands for months, there are many footages showing misbehavior and suppression of the protestors by the police. One of the characteristics of the Dutch version of police suppression which distinguishes the Netherlands from many other EU countries is use of plainclothes agents to arrest the protestors. It is not the intention of this article to analyze the socio-economic complications caused by the political decision of the government. It’s enough to say that this decision helped the new Farmer-Citizen Movement party (BBB) win the regional elections and bring a wide dark shadow of doubt over the political future of Rutte and his party. Needless to say that this party’s main intention is to support farmers and agriculture industry.

It is safe to say that destroying the agriculture as the most important competitive advantage of the country is not the only reason for frustration of the nation. Ukrainian refugees have flooded the country and enjoy unlimited privileges coming straight from the government and funded by taxpayers’ money. This is while many Dutch nationals are struggling to make the ends meet.

The country is suffering from a severe housing crisis. Not only the housing prices have increased dramatically, but also the quantity of the available houses is nowhere near the market’s demand. In some instances, there are up to 20 candidates for renting an apartment. This has provided the landlord with the option to choose from!

The fuel sector has been experiencing unprecedented turbulences since the war began in Ukraine and the prices have almost doubled. The poverty line has increased to a point never been before and is hovering around a thousand euros per month. Energy prices in both industrial and domestic sectors have skyrocketed, not only pushing households further down towards the poverty line, but also forcing many minor businesses into permanent shutdown. Then there is the inflation. Although the annual inflation rate was announced 8 percent in February 2023, the official inflation rate for food was reported an all-time high of almost 18 percent.

All these come beside the government’s support for Ukraine in the war, which does not meet the public’s unconditional praise anymore. More and more Dutch people are joining the army of anti-war movement every day, while the government is going the exact opposite direction.

Given circumstances described above, the question is how the administration can open up space for something as irrelevant as what is happening thousands of miles away in a country in another continent? Why Rutte and some other Dutch politicians find it important to meet with someone whose affiliation with American intelligence community is now searchable in google?!

The truth is that Rutte’s administration spared no effort to fan the flames of recent unrest in Iran in full compliance with policies dictated to the government directly by the United States. For these Dutch officials, Masumeh Alinejad Qomi Kollaei is just another fella backed by the “Big Brother” for reasons some of which Rutte and his friends don’t even know!

Think about it for a moment: what good can ever come from the Netherlands’ hostility with Iran? What can be earned? And more important than that, what will be missed?

Maybe it’s time for the Dutch nation to elect a more independent government to lay out the road to future after all.


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