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David Hines [userpic]

the news from Iran

June 18th, 2009 (09:30 pm)

Like most people, I've been keeping as abreast of developments in Iran. Tomorrow will be the day that is make or break. The Ayatollah Khamenei made Mousavi an offer he couldn't refuse: "come to Friday prayers and stand beside me to pray for national unity." Who knew Khamenei was a Bob Marley fan? This is kind of like a One Love Peace Concert where Bob Marley is Michael Manley's biggest backer and if Edward Seaga doesn't shake hands Marley's got a shotgun ready.

I will say this: there have been a lot of amazing things coming out of this, but to me one of the most amazing was this video (warning: blood and trauma is visible at the end). That building is a Basij militia HQ. The people inside it have training and guns. The people outside it have righteous indignation. And they try to take the building. A mob of *unarmed people* tried storming a Basij militia HQ. That is some serious goddamn stones, friends. Even more amazing: they didn't immediately break and run when the Basij sent a guy up onto the roof with a rifle. He fires warning shots, and they hold, daring him to shoot them. Which he does. It's absolutely staggering that the people launched that assault. In the face of determination like that, it's not surprising that Mousavi told Khamenei to stuff his invitation. But that's how determined both sides are. They're all-in now. Everything depends on what the security forces do. If they're all willing to open fire on their own countrymen, it's over. If some of them flip, or a lot of them flip, then we have a whole new ballgame.

I've been disappointed with President Obama's handling of the situation, particularly in the beginning. I can understand wanting to play it low-key, but he played it *so* low-key that he pretty much appeared as if he didn't give a crap, which is the bad tack when you've got soldiers shooting protestors. He's slowly improving, but if this turns into an attempted Tienanmen, which I fully expect it will, he really needs to be ready to issue some strong statement.

The irony is that I don't expect Mousavi to be much of an improvement. Remember, one of the big clerics who's in his corner is Rafsanjani, who once famously remarked that Iran should nuke Israel, because even if Iran were obliterated by the retaliatory strike, it'd be okay, because there'd still be plenty of Muslims, but a hell of a lot fewer Jews. So there is not a lot of room for optimism. But I'm going to try to rustle up some hope.


Posted by: rodlox (rodlox)
Posted at: June 20th, 2009 05:48 am (UTC)

Obama didn't really have a choice - if he had said "Mousavi should have one" or demanded a recount, that would play into the current Presidnet's hands ("hey look, the Americans are telling us who should be in charge of Iran"...most of the folks in Iran's government remember the last time the US tried that)

Rafsanjani's statement ignores (or preceeded) the Supreme Leader's statement that nuclear weapons are against Islam...which effectively means that Iran will not be using nukes against anybody, lest Iran get dammed.

Posted by: David Hines (hradzka)
Posted at: June 20th, 2009 04:03 pm (UTC)

The NEW YORK TIMES reported he didn't even hold a meeting or conference call on the 14th, and when he took questions on June 15 he gave the impression that he was greatly reassured that the Iranian government had promised to look into any irregularities that had taken place. He didn't need to say anything huge, but the way he didn't speak served to benefit the regime more than anything else.

On the Supreme Leader's statement: I'm kinda gobsmacked here, but let me throw up four immediate reactions: A) you *believe* that?! B) look up the concept of "hudna" for an idea of how Islamist fanatics feel about making promises about wartime conduct C) "no, we have no idea where Hezbollah got the nuclear waste for that dirty bomb, why do you ask?" D) what on earth about religious fanaticism coupled with dictatorship makes pronouncements more rather than less trustworthy?!

But okay, let's assume Khamenei's statement is truthful. Well, Khamenei's not immortal; who's the next Chief Poobah going to be, and how does he feel about nukes? And how much does Khamenei's opinion matter right now, anyway? I ask this because no less than Iran's former foreign minister has pronounced this a secular military coup.

You're putting an extraordinary amount of faith in a religious fanatic's sincerity and Iran's stability. Me, I think that's not the way to bet.

Edited at 2009-06-20 04:04 pm (UTC)

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