Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Iran, WORLD POLITICS — Rick Moran @ 5:16 am

Tomorrow is a big day, maybe I’ll get killed tomorrow! - I will participate in the demonstrations tomorrow. Maybe they will turn violent. Maybe I will be one of the people who is going to get killed. I’m listening to all my favorite music. I even want to dance to a few songs. I always wanted to have very narrow eyebrows. Yes, maybe I will go to the salon before I go tomorrow! - A blogger in Tehran 6/20/09

After Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech yesterday warning that further demonstrations would be viewed harshly, initial reaction from the Mousavi camp was that “no demonstrations were planned for Saturday or Sunday” and Mousavi himself would not be speaking.

Then, last night, word began to be passed via Twitter and the newly restored access to Facebook and other social networking avenues, that Hossein Mousavi was calling on his supporters to assemble in downtown Tehran for a demonstration at 4:00 pm local time.

Expect the crowds to be huge. Should we also expect bloodshed?

Mousavi is rolling the dice that the regime will not do what the Shah didn’t have the stomach for 30 years ago - fire into masses of people demonstrating against the goverment, making the streets literally run red with blood. This time, it won’t be the ill-disciplined Basij firing at the odd protestor in an unplanned response to a mob attacking their headquarters as was the case with the bloodletting earlier in the week. This time, it will be a coldly calculating, deliberately planned massacre - Tienanmen Square on steroids.

In 1989, the Communist Chinese only had a couple of thousand die hards in the square as targets. Most of the rest of the protestors vacated the square long before the army - conscripts from the provinces who were told they were putting down a “counterrevolution” - moved in and mowed down the kids who believed up to the last minute their government wouldn’t murder them.

This will be much different if the regime delivers on its veiled threats - which makes the determination of the protestors all the more remarkable.

I find it of unknown significance that the regime has re-established at least some communications networks. Evidently, Facebook, and SMS texting are no longer being blocked. The call for the march originated on Mousavi’s Facebook page. It is impossible to reasonably speculate why the regime would make it easier for the demonstrators to organize at this crucial hour. Are the protestors being assisted by a faction that wants to see Ahmadinejad/Khamenei fall? Are the authorities trying to create as many targets as possible, smoking out regime opponents so that they can arrest as many of them as possible? It may be important, it may not be. We may never know.

Meanwhile, some analysts here and abroad believe that the Supreme Leader miscalculated if he thought his speech would dampen enthusiasm for reform:

Khamenei, 69, appeared to have miscalculated if he thought he could cow the opposition with his tough speech, said Mohammad Sahimi, an Iranian-American professor of chemical engineering at the University of Southern California and political analyst.

“I think he has polarized the society far more than it was because he made clear what his preference is and where he stands and who he supports,” Sahimi said. The opposition is “openly defying this guy. In the short run, it may it lead to violence.”

Barack Obama has slightly - but significantly - altered the official line of the United States, seeming to come out a little more strongly for the right of the people to reform the government while maintaining it is up to the people to decide their future. In an interview with CBS (via Hot Air):

What you’re seeing in Iran are hundreds of thousands of people who believe their voices were not heard and who are peacefully protesting and - and seeking justice. And the world is watching. And we stand behind those who are seeking justice in a peaceful way. And, you know, already we’ve seen violence out there. I think I’ve said this throughout the week. I want to repeat it that we stand with those who would look to peaceful resolution of conflict, and we believe that the voices of people have to be heard, that that’s a universal value that the American people stand for and this administration stands for…

But the last point I want to make on this - this is not an issue of the United States or the West versus Iran. This is an issue of the Iranian people. The fact that they are on the streets under pretty severe duress, at great risk to themselves, is a sign that there’s something in that society that wants to open up.

This is actually quite good. “Seeking justice in a peaceful way” (a direct but subtle reference to the rigged election) and “[W]e stand with those who would look to peaceful resolution of conflict, and we believe that the voices of people have to be heard,” is closer to what he should have said from the outset. But it’s a niggling complaint. It’s easier to ratchet up the rhetoric as the president has done here than tone it down. It still won’t satisfy his many critics on the right but he’s not keeping score politically as much as he’s acting responsibly in a very difficult situation for the United States. As I said yesterday, everybody would love to see the president come down hard on the regime while making sweet music about supporting the reformers. The reasons not to are self evident. Those who believe differently do not have the responsibility if such rhetoric backfires.

Even if Mousavi had told his followers to stay home, the chances are good that a big demonstration would have been held anyway. Perhaps Mousavi realized this and decided to ride the wave of history rolling over Iran now rather than sit on the beach and watch. He is not in control of events. It remains to be seen whether his gamble that the regime will crack wide open as a result of the protests succeeds. Clearly, the regime has the capability to spill their own citizen’s blood. But do they have the heart for it?

We may find out today.


  1. The more this plays out, the more I feel there is one of two things going on …

    1) The mullahs are truly as crazy and out-of-touch as some portray them. That said, do they now throw the dice one more time and risk rolling snake-eyes. Yes, the odds are heavily in their favor of retaining their control through a massive crack-down on the protestors, but history has a nasty way of repeating itself. They came to power through revolution and could easily lose power by the same means.

    2) This whole thing is an elaborate version of Pesian Kabuki theater. I tend to lean a little more this way because it all just feels so completly staged to me. The crazed incumbent steals a fraudulent election with the willing assistance and complicity of the men behind the curtains. The popular underdog opponent rallies the masses forcing a confrontation with the powers that be taking the entire country to the very brink of disaster. Mass destruction is threatened and averted at the last moment as a compromise is reached. End result - the people are placated, life returns to normal (normal being a very relative term in this case), and in all reality nothing has changed because the pretender who has just seized the throne is just another ‘approved’ version of the occupant he replaced.

    Comment by Michael S. — 6/20/2009 @ 6:57 am

  2. When Bush was president the left could not give him credit for doing anything right, now its Obama’s turn. Further proof that the two sides are more alike than they would care to admit. When the crackdown in Iran begins the Guardian Council will be looking for any statement by Obama as “proof” that the US was involved, so the less Obama says the better. Most Iranians were born after the revolution so there is a generational division here, not just a political one. The older generations idea that the evil US is plotting every action or event will be further discredited by the younger generation if we make the effort to show we are not involved. Eventually the younger generation will not only question the election but the power of the Guardian Council and the role of religion in Iranian politics. Regardless of events time is on our side and the days are numbered for the old guard in Iran.

    Comment by grognard — 6/20/2009 @ 9:09 am

  3. I just want to commend the protesters for their incredible courage facing a brutal regime who is starting to show it’s real face. Would I have the courage? My prayers are with them.

    Comment by funny man — 6/20/2009 @ 1:02 pm

  4. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it
    Tehran, Jun. 25 2005 – “Ahmadinejad? Who’s he?” This was the typical reaction of most Iranians a day after the first round of presidential elections in Iran, when they heard that the two candidates facing each other in the run-off were veteran politician Ayatollah Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and the little-known, ultra-conservative mayor of Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Last week’s surprise was all forgotten by the much bigger shock on Friday, when Ahmadinejad defeated the former President and iconic figure in the ruling theocracy in a landslide victory that consolidated power in the hands of the ruling Islamic clerics.

    Comment by Neo — 6/20/2009 @ 5:20 pm

  5. I’m aftraid things have progressed beyond Mosouvi’s control, or even people’s interest in Mosouvi himself. According to many of the “tweets”, citizens are afraid to go to the local hospitals, and have been seeking aide from the embassies instead.

    Comment by Ad rem — 6/20/2009 @ 7:03 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress