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Democracy in Iran? Not yet

Written By: - Date published: 4:08 pm, June 14th, 2009 - 21 comments
Categories: International - Tags:

The Iranian election was clearly rigged. Formerly quite democratic by Middle East standards. Iran’s been going backwards fast.

There have been violent protests in Tehran and other cities. Put down by security forces. They’ve cut off phone links out of the country.

The protestors are on the right side, generally. Pro-democracy, less religious, progressive. They’re also the wealthy elite out for their own interests. Would be better than a bunch of Dark Ages theocrats running the show though.

Best of luck to the protestors. Obviously worried the government a bit. But they won’t triumph. There’s no sign of a vital split in the security forces. The soliders are drawn from the poor. They still love Ahmadinejad because he’s looked out for them.

There’s one iron-cast rule in these uprisings. As long as the State/Government maintains its monopoly on violence (and the will to use it) they can’t be overthrown. Without military power, the protestors have nothing. Ahmadinejad can crush them at will. Pity.

21 comments on “Democracy in Iran? Not yet ”

  1. Redbaiter 1

    “The Iranian election was clearly rigged.”

    Obama lend his buddy a few ACORN operatives did he??

    • Zetetic 1.1

      Still having a moan about McCain losing? Have some pride dude.

      • Lew 1.1.1

        Naw, ‘Baiter’s a classic Ron Paul cultist. Far as he’s concerned McCain was just another throwback stealth socialist.

        Palin, well, there was an ere, um, electable candidate.

        L

  2. Lew 2

    Incidentally, some tea-leaf-reading which forms pretty strong grounds for the assertion that the election was “clearly rigged” is to be found here.

    L

  3. Redbaiter 3

    Obama’s road to disgrace-

    Elected POTUS due to electoral scams.

    Destroys America socially and economically.

    Loses majority public support.

    Exposed as corrupt and criminal.

    Birth certificate finally released. Incriminating information leads to impeachment and dismissal.

    Criminal charges filed.

    Flees to Iran for asylum.

  4. RedLogix 4

    Lew,

    I once personally met Juan Cole. A very impressive and thoroughly decent man who has been one of the most dedicated and reliable Western sources about the Middle East, and especially Iran, for a very long time.

    No-one is always 100% right all of the time, but Cole is one of my top bookmarks.

  5. Pascal's bookie 5

    Interesting post here:

    http://www.mideastanalysis.com/1/post/2009/06/what-happened-in-iran.html

    takeaway graf:

    Scenario Two: There has been a coup. Ahmedinejad and the security services have taken over. The Supreme Leader has been preserved as a figurehead, but the structures of clerical rule have effectively been gutted and are being replaced by a National Security State. Reports that facebook, twitter, text messaging and foreign TV broadcasts have been blocked, that foreign journalists are being expelled and that large concrete roadblocks (the kind that require a crane to move) have appeared in front of the Interior Ministry all feed a sense that what we are now seeing was pre-planned. Underlying this is the theory that Ahmedinejad and the people around him represent a new generation of Iranian leadership. He and his colleagues were young revolutionaries in 1979. Now in their 50s they have built careers inside the Revolutionary Guard and the other security services. They may be committed to the Islamic Republic as a concept, but they are not part of its clerical aristocracy and are now moving to push the clerics into an essentially ceremonial role. This theory in particular seems to be gaining credibility rapidly among professional Iran-watchers outside of the country.

    • Bill 5.1

      The Guardian piece linked off your link reminds me of two friends who were travelling in Iran at the time of the revolution in ’79. They were not in or near Tehran and when they exited the country after a few months of travelling were totally unaware up to that point that there had been a revolution.

      A point we easily forget: outside of capital or main cities in many countries, life often unfolds and goes on regardless of and oblivious to what is happening in the main centres. National perceptions and opinions are not embodied or expressed by those of the capitals.

      Throw a vote. Where’s it going? Who knows?

  6. Bill 6

    “The soliders are drawn from the poor. They still love Ahmadinejad because he’s looked out for them.”

    Who are the ‘they’ referred to? The poor or the soldiers? If the former, then they are no doubt the most numerous segment in Iranian society. So if it is they who are supportive of Ahmadinejad, democracy by our own society’s standards is working just fine.

    Of course, if it is just soldiers who are being, or who have been, looked after then that’s a different story.

  7. So Bored 7

    This one kept me awake. No offense Zetetic but I would really like to get to the bottom of this one. Were the elections really rigged? What evidence do we have? Where can we get some real non partisan analysis?

    Why important???? We may be shouting for something that is outside of the Iranian psyche and political paradigm with no due cause. The more I read about Islamic politics even from the likes of Tariq Ali it becomes more evident that the western mindset is way out of wack with Islam. Alert caution required before ripping in.

    So what do we actually know?

  8. Zaphod Beeblebrox 8

    This has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with power. The regime (like the Saudis) will survive as long as the oil money keeps coming in.

  9. George D 9

    This is when I tell people that Twitter is actually really useful, and not something for children

    The best first place to go is probably @tzemingdynasty, and then follow the people she’s @’ed and retweeted.

    Andrew Sullivan is also very good right now.

  10. Con 10

    I read a lot of bumf on the internet about this “coup”. Clearly there has indeed been an attempted coup. Some people say that Ahmedinejad has staged a coup, others that oppositionists have attempted to stage a coup against him.

    I’m less than impressed by the Standard jumping on the anti-Ahmedinejad bandwagon to support “the wealthy elite out for their own interests”. You may not like the Iranian president, but at least get a clue about the class basis of his regime!

  11. Ag 11

    This is awfully convenient. I was surprised at how much the election was being hyped in the western press, even more so since the President of Iran has comparatively little political power compared to other presidents. Now it makes sense.

    I really would not be surprised if this was a plot to destabilize Iran by the usual suspects. After all, we know they’ve done it before.

  12. Spectator 12

    A country that’s struggling under the dead hand of an oppressive religion. An election is held, resulting in a frothing loon keeping his position at the top of the shit-pile, despite widespread claims of electoral fraud. I wonder where I’ve heard that one before…

  13. Bill 13

    So the election was rigged? Uh-huh.

    Notice TV3 images of the protests had every protester carrying a sign in English?

    Meanwhile the Washington Post had an Op Ed piece linking to a “nationwide public opinion survey of Iranians three weeks before the vote (which) showed Ahmadinejad leading by a more than 2 to 1 margin — greater than his actual apparent margin of victory in Friday’s election.”

    Meanwhile in Georgia the spin from the west is somewhat different. Wonder why.

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