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15 June 2009

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Dave of Maryland

Don't you think we should attempt to regain control of our own government first? The previous post made it clear that neither the voters, nor their elected representatives, had the power to decide War or Peace. If elections can't decide that, then there's not much point in voting.

Given that the Iranian society isn't run by a bunch of militaristic yahoos (one count in their favor) and actually protest when election results are unfavorable (a second count) indicates they are a healthier society than we are. Even with their faults, we could take a lesson from them.

I well-remember when the Shah's rule crumbled & the Ayatollah flew from Paris. We thought it was a brave new start. Bani Sadr, where are you?

I have decided that Mr. Obama is what he appears to be and am working up a private theory. It's an estimable theory. My estimation of him went up several notches.

frank durkee

I agree. Suggestions on who and how to push for it.

William R. Cumming

Will realpolitik be the legacy of OBAMA? If he thinks not speaking up for those who take on oppression will mark his place in history he is oh so right! Look at the most formative events of anyone born in US in 1961? What are they? Time will tell what OBAMA really thinks about his place in the world, and the place of US in the world and what he thinks of the rest of the world. It is never perfect but right now he is sending brave men and women to die on behalf of our country but does he really know deep in his heart what they are scarificing for US? By the Labor Day weekend 2009 much more will be known about the almost complete unknown elected in 2008 on the basis of "change" and repudiation of the last administration. Amazing how close the 2008 election really was and the fact that 55 % of all white Americans voted for McCain will be an interesting postscript to the historical analysis of OBAMA and his first or possibly last term. Interesting to me that no one but PL seems to look at what sacrifices olthers are making for conceptsUS once held so dear. The commotion on the streets of Iran probably will not lead to what it should--the end of Islamic rule in Iran but it does highlight the eternal struggle for a better life however defined.

Matthew

Exciting times. My sister returned about six weeks ago from Iran with a sense that Iran really needed to be engaged. Imagine if we do "side with them," but we leave the Blackwater and KBR scum at home.

What a great moment for Iran and America that would be!

Larry Kart

Your dead-pan irony is more devastating than any polemic I could imagine. On the other hand, I would be astonished if Obama adopted the course of action that you've said previously we should expect; temperamentally, if nothing else, he is not that kind of risk-taker, nor, if I'm right about his temperament, can I see him being buffaloed into doing what you fear might be done. But I've certainly been wrong before.

curious

The trillion-dollar-question regarding this new "revolutionary" situation is that as things stand, no pacifying solution can be found within the institutional framework of the Islamic Republic. In a nutshell, Ahmadinejad has made his power play against Mousavi and Rafsanjani. The Supreme Leader fully supported him. Mousavi and Rafsanjani, plus Khatami, need an urgent counterpunch. And their only possible play is to go after Khamenei.

As Trita Parsi of the National Iranian American Council, among others, has noted, Rafsanjani is now counting his votes at the Council of Experts (86 clerics, no women) - of which he is the chairman - to see if they are able to depose Khamenei. He is in the holy city of Qom for this explicit purpose. To pull it off, the council would imperatively have to be supported by at least some factions within the IRGC. The Ahmadinejad faction will go ballistic. A Supreme Leader implosion is bound to imply the implosion of the whole Khomeini-built edifice.

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/KF16Ak02.html


The IRGC and the Basij volunteers running into tens of millions swiftly mobilized. They coalesced with the millions of rural poor who adore Ahmadinejad as their leader. It has been a repeat of the 2005 election. The voter turnout has been an unprecedented 85%. Within hours of the announcement of Ahmadinejad's thumping victory, Khatami gave the seal of approval by applauding that the high voter turnout called for "real celebration".

He said, "I congratulate ... the people on this massive success and urge everyone to be grateful for this divine blessing." He cautioned the youth and the "supporters of the elected candidate and the supporters of other candidates" to be "fully alert and avoid any provocative and suspicions actions and speech".

Khatami's message to Rafsanjani is blunt: accept defeat gracefully and stay away from further mischief. Friday's election ensures that the house of Supreme Leader Khamenei will remain by far the focal point of power. It is the headquarters of the country's presidency, Iran's armed forces, especially the IRGC. It is the fountainhead of the three branches of government and the nodal point of foreign, security and economic policies.

Obama may contemplate a way to directly engage Khamenei. It is a difficult challenge.

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/KF16Ak05.html

Jackie

Sir,
What harm to the Iranian people are you referencing? 1953 and the Shah? Something since then? Just curious.
Personally, I hope they handle this on their own. We don't have a dog in this fight.

Subkommander Dred

If only we had possessed that kind of courage in this country in November 2000...

SubKommander Dred

Bobo

It's heartwarming to see the Iranian people go to the streets for the betterment of their country. It's their battle though and one I wish them the very best in.

To interject ourselves in this battle could very well make us the scapegoat for the coming crackdown by the quasi ruling party.

Let it play out as which ever way it does there is now an enlightened populace in Iran. It is a beginning that needs to be left to the populace to determine its future.

rjj

What's this? An agitprop susceptibility test?

If the voters in New York got their panties in a wad because a majority of the people in Flyover Country preferred a different candidate, would it call for intervention by sloganeering Doers of Good who can't manage their own country, have never visited ours, do not speak our language or understand our culture, but do covet our resources?

EGrise

Hear hear.

lina

President Obama should stay out of it. His measured response today struck the right tone. It's not about Jefferson and Paine. It's about Iranians. If they want to be "free" people, let them achieve it without overt western interference.

LeaNder

http://www.ips.org/blog/jimlobe/>Marsha B. Cohen on Jim Lobe's Log


Ross: Not out but up:

Another Update: http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1904788,00.html>Time Magazine is now reporting that Ross is not going out but up, and that he will have more control over Iran policy:

Dennis Ross, the Obama Administration’s special adviser on Iran, will be leaving his post at the State Department to become a senior adviser at the National Security Council (NSC) with an expanded portfolio, Administration officials told TIME.

Arun

May Americans as individuals stand with the Iranians. May the US government keep away.

Peter Hug

This is quickly becoming a very interesting balancing act - no lasting or real change will be achieved in Iran, except by the efforts of the Iranians themselves (and THEY will have to decide what happens, and how to balance all the competing interests and factions).

OTOH, the US, the EU, and the rest of the world have some very real and pressing interests in the outcome - at the very least because any rational diplomatic calculation leads to the conclusion that Iran (and NO ONE else with the possible exception of Turkey) can possibly be the regional hegemon for the Persian Gulf).

I would imagine that the best possible use of US resources right now would be to make sure that the twittering and posting of videos to YouTube, and blogging such as it is, is preserved as completely as possible. The best thing that the rest of the world can be doing right now IMO is facilitating the ability of Iranians to talk with everyone else; and perhaps (very gently) to suggest that we would view a new voice in Iran with favor.

Right now, I think that Less is More.

JohnH

I'm mystified by all this concern for Iranians in the street. Why wasn't anyone concerned about Mexico's 2006 vote fraud? There were plenty of people in the streets, but no one outside the country cared.
http://www.narconews.com/Issue42/article1972.html

Fact is, the media picks and chooses election fraud it cares about. This is just part of the ongoing effort to prepare the American people for war. Otherwise it would have been covered just like the Mexican election--not at all.

zanzibar

It seems that unlike the other times when Iranian youth protests were suppressed through force this time the spontaneous demonstrations have the backing of several leaders of the Islamic revolution including former President Rafsanjani and the opposing candidate Moussavi who was the prime minister during the war with Iraq. So its unlikely IMO that brute force will be applied to crush the protests.

My guess is that this would likely be "settled" behind close doors as otherwise it could lead to a bloody civil war between different camps in the Islamic revolution and their allies.

Over time we can expect that Iran with its large educated youth population will liberalize away from a theocratic state. It is inspiring however that demonstrators with no regard for their own personal safety marched through Tehran demanding accountability. Contrast that with our own democracy where our people did not demand the real will of the people be enforced in the Bush vs Gore election and even today do not demand accountability for the overt looting of our treasury by our political and banking elites or for the clear violation of our constitution and our liberty by our political elites under the guise of national security.

different clue

A different commenter on a different blog has written such a good comment about what he thinks Obama already
has done about this, that I will copy it to offer it here. (I understand that if it isn't good enough to merit an exception to the requirement of being our own
original thought and words, it won't appear).

"President Obama actually quite forcefully though subtly challenged the Iranian regime today, in his comments on events there. Instead of opining on whether he thought the elections were fraudulent, he focused on the issue of whether the regime's response to the protests was legitimate, suggesting that violence against peaceful protesters (his deft reframing of the issue of violence) was against a universal value, the right to dissent. He also said "...there appears to be a sense on the part of people who were so hopeful and so engaged and so committed to democracy who now feel betrayed..." In other words, the Mousavi presidential campaign lifted the people's hope that their voices would count, and now they feel betrayed. Obama's test of a satisfactory outcome could therefore be defined this way, as if it were a statement to the regime: If what you do from now on sharpens that sense of betrayal, you will lose your people's trust and thus your legitimacy. How could another Ahmadinejad anointment be anything but another betrayal? Every one of us with access to blogs or the media -- and especially to Iranian bloggers -- should keep repeating Obama's equation and give it specific political content, because the part of the regime not glued to Ahmadinejad needs to see that they have only one way to regain the people's trust, and that's to order a re-vote.

Right now the movement in the streets is based mainly on political rage -- it doesn't have a concrete goal. If the goal were a Guardian Council order for a re-vote, it would paint the regime into a corner -- courtesy of Obama's equation."
Tribunus Plebis | 06.15.09 - 11:06 pm | #

Meanwhile, any help we give should be strictly limited to exactly what Iranians ask for, just as others have already said.

(I have spent the last couple of days suspecting that the Ahmadinejad faction
didn't rig the election. I suspect that they got an unfavorable results and decided to just simply set it aside and brazenly lie about the results. They seem to have been ready ahead of time to repress expressions of contrary sentiment).

curious

It is officially a coup against the Islamic republic now. Next step: we supply weapons into students hand. (the bloody phase of the revolution.

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/6/16/743031/-Breaking!-Iranian-Protestors-Issue-Demands!(vote4GREEN)

The Seven Point Manifesto calls for:

1.Stripping Ayatollah Khamanei of his Supreme Leadership position because of his unfairness. Fairness is a requirement of a Supreme Leader.

2. Stripping Ahmadinejad of the presidency, due to his unlawful act of maintaining the position illegally.

3.Transferring temporary Supreme Leadership position to Ayatollah Hussein-Ali Montazery until the formation of a committee to reevaluate and adjust Iran’s constitution.

4. Recognizing Mir Hossein Mousavi as the rightfully elected president of the people.

5. Formation of a new government by President Mousavi and preparation for the implementation of new constitutional amendments.

6. Unconditional release of all political prisoners regardless of ideaology or party platform.

7. Dissolution of all organizations - both secret and public - designed for the oppression of the Iranian people, such as the Gasht Ershad (Iranian morality police).


(The aim of the green revolution is to turn Iran into Non nuclear republic.)


This will turn very bloody within a week. very bloody.

This has gone beyond venezuela style coup to full blown bloody coup now.

Clifford Kiracofe

Some preelection polling data indicated Ahmadinejad would win.

From the Washington Post today:

"The election results in Iran may reflect the will of the Iranian people. Many experts are claiming that the margin of victory of incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the result of fraud or manipulation, but our nationwide public opinion survey of Iranians three weeks before the vote showed Ahmadinejad leading by a more than 2 to 1 margin -- greater than his actual apparent margin of victory in Friday's election.

"While Western news reports from Tehran in the days leading up to the voting portrayed an Iranian public enthusiastic about Ahmadinejad's principal opponent, Mir Hossein Mousavi, our scientific sampling from across all 30 of Iran's provinces showed Ahmadinejad well ahead."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009
/06/14/AR2009061401757_pf.html

Also along this line:

"Without any evidence, many U.S. politicians and “Iran experts” have dismissed Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s reelection Friday, with 62.6 percent of the vote, as fraud.

They ignore the fact that Ahmadinejad’s 62.6 percent of the vote in this year’s election is essentially the same as the 61.69 percent he received in the final count of the 2005 presidential election, when he trounced former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. The “Iran experts’” shock at Friday’s results is entirely self-generated, based on their preferred assumptions and wishful thinking.

Although Iran’s elections are not free by Western standards, the Islamic Republic has a 30-year history of highly contested and competitive elections at the presidential, parliamentary, and local levels.

Manipulation has always been there, as it is in many other countries."

http://www.newamerica.net/publications/articles/2009/
ahmadinejad_won_get_over_it_14722


Irrespective of who becomes the president of Iran, our President will have to deal with the Iranian Supreme Leader.

Diplomatic relations between sovereign states are about national interests, adjustments to remove points of friction, arrangements to promote mutual benefit, commerce, alliances, peace, war, etc.

Before casting stones we might consider that the American people "elected" Goerge W. Bush twice. We might also consider the extent to which our Congress is owned by the pro-Israel" (Zionist) Lobby. We might also consider which interests manipulate our culture and sources of information at will via the "news"media and Hollywood. We might consider the fact that some 25 million or more Americans are "Christian" fundamentalist cult zombies.

What was it Pogo said?


jr786

Wow. Does that apply to Palestinians, too. I can't tell if COl. Lang is spoofing his own site as these are the words you'd expect at Free Republic.

Well, their fathers had the guts to take down the Savak and the rest of Shah-in-Shah's latter day Immortals. We sure didn't help them, and in the end, they didn't need it.

If this generation has similar fearlessness, they'll win it on their own.

curious

Colonel,

satellite imagery can't peer into the soul of the nation. There is a difference between revolution and big lab engineered riot.

I don't know which is which yet. But my sense is telling me, if the iranian playing it cool. They know they have people's on their back.

Curious

If the voters in New York got their panties in a wad because a majority of the people in Flyover Country preferred a different candidate, would it call for intervention by sloganeering Doers of Good who can't manage their own country, have never visited ours, do not speak our language or understand our culture, but do covet our resources?

Posted by: rjj | 15 June 2009 at 09:26 PM

Obama dips his toe. He was comparing satellite image of ahmadinejad crowd vs. the green crowd. And he decide to add some pressure.

it's pure confidence game.

I personally think Obama made the mistake saying what he said. It destroys his credibility in the middle east. It reinforces the image of US as meddler. No amount of "Cairo" speech is going to fix that. Because his audience is all those US backed regime (egypt, Saudi, Jordan)

The egyption people can't stand Mubarak. they want their revolution ages, and ages ago. So does the Saudi.

If Ahmadinejad is a brilliant politician, he is going to turn this "green" revolution into middle east wide "Islamic" revolution. He is going to let people protest, he will pass law and let people scream at the top of their lung.

With that, Saudi and Egyptian voters will pretty much say "fuck this" we are going down to street and start protesting.

curious

Ah yeah, twitter and facebook lovers. The truth is here. You can induce regime change using mass messaging tools.

I knew this day will come. (we should do regime change in somalia using twitter. )


http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/6/16/743048/-Breaking-rumor!Twitter-under-control-of-state-department!

holy loving poo poo, what just happened here...
We said we were going to have maintenance
the people said "no, there is a crisis in iran"
they called our provider and then called the state department
the state department called us and said 'do not go offline.'

Ryan

Colonel,

I'm curious to see what you think we should do.

After watching the various administrations make a mess of things over 20 years my own opinion is that if we really want to be helpful (something I don't believe coming from this govt.) we should stay out of this and let matters take their own course. I recall a story where the Bush administration came out in favor of some student group in Iran and they immediately dissolved themselves, as they didn't with to be seen as puppets. Unfortunately, I can well appreciate this view which I hold the neocons and the neoliberals responsible for creating in the first place with their constant meddling overseas.

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