Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Few Thoughts on Iran

This past week the news out of Iran has come via Twitter and Utube, that in our time is as significant as the telegraph was when it began to send instant reports singing along wires in dashes and dots, over one hundred and fifty years ago. At first, the MSM was out of the loop and spent the week catching up to what is becoming a replay of 1956, 68, and 89 when the population of a repressed society took a stand. Armed with green headbands and cell phones millions of Iranians took to the streets to send out 140 character bursts of information that in it's brevity resembled those early telegraph messages.

As the week progressed Congress responded with resolutions as the President held his bully pulpit in check amid some criticism that he needed to speak out more forcefully. The blogs have blazed hot with opinions and reports linking the Twitter reports as some began to write thoughtful pieces that tried to make some sense of what we as a people who value liberty as our bedrock creed should do or not do to help the Iranian people.

Thomas Barnett leads off today with this piece written for Esquire magazine.

Having followed the machinations of Iran closely for the last two decades (hell, I pretty much got a major player fired for following the place so closely), there's no doubt in my mind that Tehran's theocracy — sensing the looming furor we've seen from its contested outcome — fixed last week's Iranian presidential election. Not that former prime minister Mir Hussein Moussavi would have won the election outright, but it's entirely conceivable that, if the fix wasn't on, he could have forced a second-round fight with an uncertain outcome — or, worse, the sort of angry popular protests (and, worser still, angry mourning prayers) we're witnessing at this moment. Clearly the religious regime was having none of that (yes, it could have been worse and, yes, there could have been even more thousands of Tweets and riot officers). So the powerful mullahs, I'm pretty sure, chose to manipulate the vote count and portray President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's otherwise probable victory as an undisputable landslide.

Read more: Why Obama Should Let Iran's 'Red-State' Regime Die on Its Own

In a related post Barnett calls attention to this article written the day before the Iranian election.

"What If Israel Strikes Iran?" by John R. Bolton, Wall Street Journal, 11 June 2009.

Tom defines the article this way.

The gist appears in the call-out text: "The mullahs would retaliate. But things would be much worse if they had the bomb."

Iran won't close the Straits of Hormuz, nor cut its own exports to raise global prices, nor directly attacks U.S. forces in either Iraq or Afghanistan, nor launch missiles against Israel. It will unleash Hamas and Hezbollah and that's about it.

Then Bolton tries to sell with contrary logic: "This brief survey demonstrates why Israel's military option against Iran's nuclear program is so unattractive, but also why failing to act is even worse."

The deuce you say.

Read more:

Others have added their views and support.

Some of the Web’s leading firms are rolling out new features, to accommodate worldwide
interest in the protests in Iran — and to not-so-subtly help out the pro-democracy movement inside the country.

Much like Stanley Kubrick's 1971 movie Clockwork Orange, Iranian elections are irresistibly difficult to watch. And this election has all the hallmarks of being more than just another sequel, but rather that rare occurrence where it is even more compelling (and irresistibly difficult) than any of its serial predecessors. One of the smartest - and most principled - Iran experts, my friend Michael Ledeen, explains ably just why this is. Their [open demonstrators by the thousands] candidate is the former...
It's hard to recall an event that held so much promise but resulted in so much crushed hope as did the Iranian presidential election; perhaps the events twenty years ago in China's Tiananmen Square comes close. The run up to the election was really quite extraordinary. The debates were candid; the accusations were as mean-spirited as any found in U.S. elections; and enthusiasm for change was high. Washington Post op-ed columnist Anne Applebaum notes that even in light of subsequent events, the election did expose a soft underbelly of Iranian politics.
Finally this from Threatswatch (Warning Disturbing Content) Neda: The Voice of Iran
Her name was Neda. It means the 'voice' or the 'call' in Farsi. And in a struggle largely fueled by Iranian women's demands for rights, Neda most tragically becomes the Voice of Iran. It is heartbreaking to watch, with her...

I have refrained from writing too much about this situation. My son's mother is from Iran and that side of the family has many members still living in Iran. They have my prayers and have asked me to not write too much as they believe that the time unfortunately is not ripe enough for a true regime change. The ruling elite and their Revolutionary Guard still hold all the cards as well as the arms to suppress any uprising. Gandhi like non-violent protests have no effect on a regime that from it's earliest beginning, sent children off to be martyred by the tens of thousands in the Iran/Iraq War and is willing to hang and stone women for social crimes.

1 comment:

Simon Owens said...

Yes, the media reach from tweets coming out Iran is pretty massive. I conducted a study yesterday that found that most tweets coming from on-the-ground protesters in Iran received an average of 57 retweets.