Dreyfuss on “Iran’s Green Wave”

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iran green wave.jpg
Political journalist Robert Dreyfuss has a terrific survey piece on Iran’s tumultous political scene in the aftermath of recent elections there. Dreyfuss was in Tehran and is now back in Washington.
Here is a clip from “Iran’s Green Wave“, cover story of The Nation this week (but do read the whole piece):

Several factors combined to make Moussavi a viable candidate. First, with organizational and financial support from the Rafsanjani family and wealthy mullahs and businessmen tired of Ahmadinejad’s cronies running the economy, Moussavi built a formidable countrywide campaign machine. Second, the brilliant Green Wave strategy, designed by a 27-year-old whiz kid named Mostafa Hassani, caught fire, and soon green ribbons, armbands, headbands, scarves and flags festooned Iranian cities. “I wanted something simple, something that could be replicated even by poor people in remote villages,” the long-haired, lanky Hassani told me, sitting in Moussavi’s cluttered campaign headquarters during election week. And then, on June 3, Moussavi electrified Iran during an unprecedented televised debate with Ahmadinejad. With the president sitting across from him, Moussavi called Ahmadinejad a liar and accused him of pushing Iran toward “dictatorship.” The next day, green-wearing crowds began chanting, “Death to the liar!” and “Death to the dictator!” Nothing like it had ever been seen in Iranian politics.
Moussavi had another not-so-secret weapon: his wife, Zahra Rahnavard. A noted intellectual and sculptor, Rahnavard campaigned alongside her husband, sometimes holding his hand. Clearly a liberated woman, she called for an end to the much-despised harassment of women by the cultural police and backed equal rights for women. At a vast rally in downtown Tehran, I watched her mesmerize the crowd. “We are going to make a revolution in the revolution!” she cried. “We are going to make it modern and up-to-date!” As one, tens of thousands of people chanted: “Moussavi! Rahnavard! Equal rights for men and women!” Women in pink lipstick and with blond highlights in partly uncovered hair shouted beside women in black chadors.
And then there was the Obama factor. Countless Iranians watched his June 4 Cairo speech, and its transcript was parsed word by word. By offering to respect Iran rather than locating it in the “axis of evil,” Obama appealed to secular nationalists, activists seeking greater individual freedom and businessmen hungering for an end to the sanctions strangling Iran’s economy. Nearly everyone I spoke with during the ten days I was in Iran brought up Obama, whether I asked or not. At a frenzied Moussavi rally in the city of Karaj, west of the capital, I met a campaign organizer, Hojatolislam Akbar Hamidi, 48, a distinguished cleric who’s known Moussavi for more than twenty years. “I listened to Obama’s speech, and it made me very happy,” he told me. “But we’re afraid that some Iranian authorities do not understand the positive message of Obama.” In interviews at polling places on election day, dozens of voters praised Obama’s opening to Iran. At a Tehran mosque where hundreds of people were lined up to vote, several dozen crowded around as I asked an older woman why she supported Moussavi. When I suggested, “Perhaps Moussavi and Obama might meet someday soon?” the crowd, translating for one another, erupted in cheers, laughter and thumbs-up signs.
More prosaically, many plugged-in Iranians told me that nearly the entirety of Iran’s business class is fed up with Ahmadinejad’s bellicose rhetoric, and they want to put an end to sanctions. Saeed Laylaz, an economist and former official at the Ministry of Industry, said that as a result of sanctions critical sectors of the economy–including computers and information technology, oil and natural gas, and civil aviation–are suffering badly. “Ahmadinejad’s is the first right-wing government since the revolution, and it has been a catastrophe,” he said. “You cannot run the government with populism. You need experts. You need technocrats. You need planners.” (Laylaz was arrested days after the election; he’s still in detention.) To get a sense of what the business community thinks, during election week I attended a forum packed with executives at the offices of Etelaat, a liberal newspaper, where eight former ministers of oil, industry and mining slammed the government over its incompetence. Later, at Moussavi’s campaign office, one of them, Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh, who was minister of industry under Khatami, told me that he’d put his business on hold to travel across the country working for Moussavi. “I’m a businessman, and I’ve been reluctant to get into politics,” he told me over several cups of tea. “It’s the desire of most of us in the business community to rebuild relations with the United States,” he said. “It doesn’t mean that we have to give up our independence or our dignity.”
Besides reformists, students, women and businessmen, Khamenei and Ahmadinejad are losing their core constituency: the clergy. And given that Iran is a state run by the priestly class, that might prove their undoing. I spoke to a dozen or so clerics, from low- to mid-ranking mullahs to a few who’d attained the rank of hojatolislam, just below ayatollah. There are hundreds of thousands of mullahs in Iran, perhaps a hundred or more who have attained the rank of ayatollah, and just two dozen or so who have developed sufficient reputation and following to be called grand ayatollah. And more and more of them, including many grand ayatollahs, have joined the opposition. “After the television debates with Ahmadinejad, a large number of mullahs who’d been undecided went over to Moussavi,” one hojatolislam told me. They were offended, he said, by Ahmadinejad’s insulting attitude toward Moussavi–particularly his rhetorical assault on his wife, Rahnavard, whom he accused of falsifying her academic credentials–and his accusations against Rafsanjani and Khatami. “A president should be polite,” the cleric told me. “Impolite behavior and ugliness cannot be accepted.”
Another cleric, who campaigned for Moussavi in dozens of Iranian towns and cities, said that the majority of mullahs had abandoned the president. “There is a big gap between Ahmadinejad and the clergy,” he told me. “Many of the grand ayatollahs are angry, because the president has taken many actions without consulting with them. They are especially unhappy because he has shown an aggressive face of Islam to the world, and Islam is not aggressive. It is a religion of peace.” Some three-quarters of the grand ayatollahs in Iran support Moussavi, he told me. Ten of them sent a joint letter to Ahmadinejad, but he ignored them, he said. Several others have openly castigated the regime for its treatment of protesters.
A very well-connected mullah I talked with said that he is a friend and follower of Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri. Back in the late 1980s, Montazeri was the designated successor to Khomeini as Iran’s Leader, but hardliners–including Khomeini’s son and a circle around Khamenei–ousted him, he told me, because of his liberal views and installed Khamenei. Through this mullah and several other intermediaries, both Moussavi and former president Khatami keep in close contact with Montazeri, as well as with many in the clerical establishment in Qom. In the wake of the election Moussavi and his supporters began organizing what they hoped would be a broad consensus among senior ayatollahs to force Ahmadinejad out or, if it comes to that, to replace Khamenei himself. “Khamenei does not deserve the position that he has,” the mullah told me. “He has become a politician, and as a politician he has been corrupted.” Describing Khamenei in these terms is extremely unusual, and indicates how much the Ahmadinejad-Khamenei axis has lost its legitimacy. “Khamenei has lost the support of many high-ranking clergy in Qom,” declared Ibrahim Yazdi in my interview with him.
Trying to pull together this opposition is Rafsanjani, who so far has stayed behind the scenes but according to numerous reports from Iran is playing a critical role in efforts to counter both Ahmadinejad and Khamenei. The former president is chair of the Assembly of Experts, a group of more than eighty clerics who have the power, under Iran’s Constitution, to appoint or dismiss the Leader. “Rafsanjani has convinced the majority of the Assembly of Experts and several dozen clerics in Qom to support an effort to overturn the election results,” a well-connected Iranian told me. According to Yazdi and several other Iranian activists and analysts, at least some of the clergy want to replace Khamenei with a far more moderate, less political council of ayatollahs as a way of restoring consensus in the leadership [see Sarfaraz, “Iran’s New Revolutionaries,” in last week’s issue]. It would in effect be the end of the Khomeini doctrine of velayat-e-faqih (“rule of the jurisprudent”), which is the underpinning of the notion of a Supreme Leader, a concept invented by Khomeini that is far outside mainstream Muslim, and even Shiite, thinking.

And I very much agree with Dreyfuss’ kicker on engaging Iran and ignoring the John Bolton types who want to launch a new war. Drefuss, in fact, includes a quote from Richard Dalton who I interview in the blog post below:

If Ahmadinejad and Khamenei retain their iron grip on power, both Iran and the United States will face inevitable pressure to resume diplomacy. “On both sides, the interest in pursuing a dialogue will emerge intact,” says Sir Richard Dalton, who served as Britain’s ambassador in Tehran until 2006. The start of such talks might be “slightly delayed” in the aftermath of the crisis, he says, but that’s hardly a tragedy.
But Obama will have to ignore calls to set a short deadline on such talks. They could easily drag on, well into the middle of next year and beyond. If talks fail to produce immediate results, the president will have to resist arguments from Israeli hardliners and their US allies to take harsh measures against Iran–including military action. Obama’s earlier outreach undercut the hardliners and gave a psychological boost to Iran’s reformists and to millions of Iranians who saw Moussavi as a vehicle through which to improve US-Iranian relations.
If Obama wants to support the opposition, the best thing he can do is to continue to extend his open hand to Iran.

— Steve Clemons

Comments

35 comments on “Dreyfuss on “Iran’s Green Wave”

  1. Carroll says:

    Posted by JohnH, Jul 03 2009, 7:04PM – Link
    Interesting interview with Robert Baer, former CIA agent about Iran. His conclusion: the US and Iran are at strategic parity in that area of the world. Even Bush understood that, which is why US attacks were vetoed.>>>>>>>>>>>
    It was published in English by IPS..I posted it in the other Iran article here if any want to read it..
    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2009/07/former_uk_ambas/#comments

    Reply

  2. Paul Norheim says:

    “But Mousavi and company were riding something widespread
    among Iranians. They were not its authors.”
    Well said, David.

    Reply

  3. David says:

    I have posted on another thread my thoughts about this Israeli crime against these humanitarian activists who put their bodies where their mouths are.
    Regarding Dreyfuss’s article, what is going on in Iran seems to me to be bigger than Mousavi, bigger than foreign meddlers, and bigger than the coalition that tried to oust Ahmadenijad. The question, had Mousavi have won, is whether he would open the door for what is suggested in some of the comments or whether he would rise to the mantle of senitments of the Green Revolution voters and activists. I have no way of knowing the answer to that, nor do I have any way of knowing how successful the reactionary government will be in crushing civic progressivism in Iran. But Mousavi and company were riding something widespread among Iranians. They were not its authors.

    Reply

  4. Franklin says:

    hass,
    The circumstantial evidence involving past votes, pre-election polls, and procedural checks (there effectively were none) — opened the door wide open to fraud.
    As far as motives go, and the absurdity of the situation, it’s enough to realize that Shah Khamenei is paranoid and insulated.

    Reply

  5. hass says:

    Actually most observers believe that Mousavi LOST the debates with Ahmadinejad.
    In any case, there is no actual evidence of election fraud in Iran. The claims and counter-claims have been collected at IranAffairs.com, and none withstands scrutiny.
    The fact remains that Mousavi is a hardline regime insider who was vetted and cleared to run for office — and yet we’re supposed to believe that his election represented such a huge threat to the regime that they had to resort to massive election fraud to keep him out of office? That makes no sense.

    Reply

  6. Paul Norheim says:

    John,
    it was just an immediate reflection, and I`m afraid I am not
    capable of being more precise. It`s a very simple thought: USA,
    the Arab World and Israel may not only fear a possibly hostile Iran
    armed with nuclear weapons. The increased ability – or so it
    seems to me – to manipulate the supply of oil in certain
    circumstances (due to possessing nuclear power sources as well
    as the black gold) within the next couple of decades may also be
    very frightening for the west. Especially when oil gets scarce, or
    during a serious crisis, Iran may have a very powerful weapon,
    without developing a bomb.

    Reply

  7. ... says:

    i would characterize myself as a cynic and quite cynical of what i perceive as this bullshit about being concerned over democracy for iran, in particular if it is the usa preaching about it… thus i definitely am onside with johnh’s views here and paul your 8:56pm is exactly how i see it… if iran has the ability to call some shots, the power is shifting and this is exactly what the usa and israel are afraid of… this is also what pisses the usa off about chavez… sorry, but it is a corrupt world where things on the surface are not what they seem down below…

    Reply

  8. JohnH says:

    More good stuff from Col. Lang:
    “Lo and behold, it was not the Egyptians attacking Liberty. It was our allies, the Israelis. Liberty was flying the largest American flag I had ever seen in my 26 years of service and her name was clearly visible on the stern.
    As the flight leader, I flew over the burning ship at less than 100 feet and observed many wounded or dead sailors on the decks. There were many holes throughout the ship as a result of the attack.
    Our attack was aborted because Israel transmitted to American authorities that they thought Liberty was an Egyptian ship. They had made a mistake. This was not a mistake. The unarmed Liberty was monitoring electronic signals and steaming in international waters. This was an attempt to curtail information on Six Day War progress to our leadership.
    The day following the dastardly attack on Liberty, America pulled alongside, extinguished fires, provided aid to the wounded and recovered 37 American bodies for proper disposition.” Gordon L. Murray, Captain, USN, (Ret.)
    If the US government lets its own warships be attacked with impunity by Israel, of course the Israelis feel they can hijack US Congressmen on mercy missions anytime they want…

    Reply

  9. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Mercy team tells of Israel ordeal
    Posted on » Saturday, July 04, 2009
    MANAMA: Freed Bahraini activists last night revealed their agony in Israeli captivity after a failed mercy mission to Gaza.
    The five said Israeli forces tried to force them into signing documents in Hebrew and were subjected to racism and discrimination, with Arabs being separated and moved away from the others.
    The activists, who were speaking at a Press conference, arrived in Bahrain early yesterday after a high-level intervention by Bahrain’s leadership.
    continues…
    http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/NewsDetails.aspx?storyid=254703
    How nice. The Bahrainians apparently have a government that cares about its citizens. A shame we can’t say the same.

    Reply

  10. samuelburke says:

    just in case someone here may be curious as to what is being said about dennis ross’s departure from the state dept position ….
    Harper on Ross, Clinton et al
    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/
    Dennis Ross: Goodbye and Good riddance. After much fussing around, and consulting with a wide range of Washington types, I am now convinced that we can lift our glasses and toast Dennis Ross’ departure from his desk outside the principal’s office at the State Department. I am told, by several people, whose access to the corridors of power at Foggy Bottom are unasailable, that Ross was, to put it in straightforward lingo, dumped, fired, kicked the hell out. He did something that clearly crossed the line, and was working at cross-purposes to Secretary of State Clinton and special envoy Mitchell. Maybe he also crossed Richard Holbrooke. I hope to get more of the inside details soon, but for now, I am convinced by these sources, that Ross was dumped, and that it was the AIPAC/WINEP crowd that had to be somewhat appeased, by giving Ross a desk at the National Security Council, somewhat equivalent to a cell with a view at one of those old Soviet gulags.

    Reply

  11. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Another Example of U.S. Censorship of Mainstream Media
    Tim Gatto
    July 2, 2009
    Cynthia McKinney and 20 other humanitarians on the ship “Spirit of Humanity” were stopped in International waters Monday by the Israeli Navy. This is a pretty big deal. An aid ship captured by the armed forces of another country in International waters is an act of piracy…I think. At least it was when Somali pirates captured an American ship recently.
    It appears that the U.S. Mainstream media is going to ignore this story even though Cynthia McKinney was once a Congresswoman from Georgia and a Presidential candidate. How odd. What does this say about the news we receive daily from the mainstream media. The New York Times Boasts “All the News that’s fit to Print”. Apparently this act of piracy and cowardly behavior isn’t fit to print. I condemn the New York Times for failing to print this news that they are fully aware of.
    It isn’t just the NY Times that has chosen this path, almost all of the mainstream media has refused to broadcast this latest malfeasance of the government in Israel. It seems like anyone that gets their news from this censored mainstream media will never know about the heavy-handed way Israel treats those that try to stop the suffering in Gaza. Rep. Bob Inglis told me that he didn’t even know about this on Monday evening town hall meeting. That’s how successful our censored media is. If I were Congressman Inglis, I would start reading my news from the internet. I say shame on him and shame on our government for not bringing the plight of the ship “Spirit of Humanity” to the attention of the American public. It’s about time U.S. citizens got to see the ruthlessness of the Israeli government.
    continues……
    http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m55652&s1=h1
    What can we consider the “truth” anymore? As the article above correctly points out, our “Fourth Estate’s” silence on this very important story tells us blatantly and unequivicably that our media is loyal to political agendas above its loyalty to the truth and the responsibility to inform.
    What is the accuracy of the “information” we access in order to debate issues such as those raised on this particular thread? Can we really put trust in a media, and a government, that so egregiously orchestrates and choreographs the dissemination of the news?
    It is now being revealed by non-mainstream sources that McKinney was asked to sign misleading and inaccurate “deportation papers” that stated they were not in international waters when kidnapped. Of course, McKinney refused to sign. It is also being reported that she will not be released from the FASCIST/NAZI/ISRAELI/RACIST GULAG until Monday.
    This isn’t a story?
    Ironic isn’t it? On the Fourth Of July, a former United States Congresswoman will spend her day in a PRISON on foreign soil, having been KIDNAPPED on the high seas, in a blatant Israeli INTERNATIONAL CRIME OF KIDNAPPING AND PIRACY….
    And the President of the United States SAYS AND DOES NOTHING.
    And the American version of the nineteen fifties and sixties TASS state news agency shows us once again that we can’t believe a damned thing they tell us.
    That doesn’t piss you off?

    Reply

  12. JohnH says:

    Paul, could you explain this a little more. Are you saying that Iran could do a Persian oil embargo, now that Saudi Arabia’s stabilizing “excess production capacity” is almost nil? Actually, world oil supply was so tight for a while that a major disruption in any one of a number of countries could have triggered a major prices spike, so Iran is not at all unique.
    The major “manipulation” that I see is a decision to have oil and gas flow to Asia, not the West. That, obviously, would be an odious result for Europe. But let’s face it. Iran is in Asia. And it’s exactly what’s happening right now, as China and Japan do deals while the West purposely shoots itself in the foot by excluding itself from the action.

    Reply

  13. Paul Norheim says:

    Maybe I`m dumb or just slow, but there is an other aspect here
    that I haven`t thought of before: If (a hostile) Iran obtains nuclear
    power in addition to oil, it would be more free to manipulate the
    supply of oil.

    Reply

  14. JohnH says:

    If a regime friendly to Western interests takes power, the nuclear issue becomes moot. Washington was supportive of the Shah’s plans for nuclear power. As to weaponization, Iran would join a host of other Washington allies who have clear nuclear weapons capabilities but have put the weaponization program on the shelf.

    Reply

  15. Paul Norheim says:

    John, I should not have omitted: “including nuclear” when I
    quoted you. Oil & gas AND nuclear energy – both are of course
    crucial here, in different ways. You may be correct in assuming
    that with regards to oil and gas, the West may be better served
    with Moussavi. But I am not so sure when it comes to the nuclear
    issue (which also is a question of national pride). That`s why i
    asked.

    Reply

  16. JohnH says:

    Paul–Moussavi was an advocate of privatization of Iranian government assets and of trade liberalization. The energy sector and the nuclear program were not a part of his announced program, I believe. The main sector to be privatized would have been the holdings of the Revolutionary Guard, which supported Khamanei, not the assets of Rafsanjani. Selling these assets to Western and local investors would have increased their influence in politics and opened the door down the road for a coup sponsored by the chamber of commerce, like what was attempted in Venezuela in 2002. A primary goal of that coup attempt was to reverse Chavez’ assertion of Venezuelan control over oil production. Carmona, who momentarily became president, ascending from the presidency of the chamber of commerce, is actually on record as having said something to that effect.
    As I said, “Washington regards Moussavi and the protesters as A STEP toward reinstating someone like the Shah, who served American interests well.” Of course, this is my reading of the tea leaves, since the media don’t explain their sudden interest in protesters (they never explain such matters). But you can be sure it was not about instituting democracy in Iran. That was only a noble rationale for supporting the protesters.

    Reply

  17. Paul Norheim says:

    “In fact, a true democracy would almost certainly be inimical to
    Western interests, since it would insist on maintaining Iranian
    sovereignty over the development and production of energy
    assets, including nuclear. ”
    Achmadinajad have been insisting on the same for years. I
    somehow doubt that he represents “true democracy” at the
    moment. Do you have any information suggesting that Moussavi
    would not insist on “maintaining Iranian sovereignty over the
    development and production of energy assets” if he became the
    new leader of Iran?

    Reply

  18. JohnH says:

    Interesting interview with Robert Baer, former CIA agent about Iran. His conclusion: the US and Iran are at strategic parity in that area of the world. Even Bush understood that, which is why US attacks were vetoed.
    Available so far only in French: http://www.voltairenet.org/article160854.html
    “Même Bush l’avait compris ! Le New York Times voit juste, quand il écrit que si Bush a mis son veto à toute attaque israélienne, c’est pour la simple et bonne raison qu’il existe, au Moyen-Orient, un équilibre des forces entre les Etats-Unis et l’Iran, et que cet équilibre est vraiment, comment dire ?… équilibré ! Je précise : bien entendu, pas en termes de nombres de tanks projetables par voie aérienne ou en sous-marins, mais bien en matière de monopole de la violence. Là, il y a égalité.”
    So my conclusion is that this explains why the Western media, including TWN, are gaga about Moussavi and the protesters (and not gaga about the protesters in Honduras). Moussavi and the protesters are currently Washington’s best shot at gaining “influence” over Iran. As in Honduras, democracy (apart from its propaganda benefits) is no a serious consideration. In fact, a true democracy would almost certainly be inimical to Western interests, since it would insist on maintaining Iranian sovereignty over the development and production of energy assets, including nuclear. Washington regards Moussavi and the protesters as a step toward reinstating someone like the Shah, who served American interests well.
    Sad to be an Iranian or a Honduran–the vultures are circling. No one but ordinary citizens wants a democracy or a truly legitimate government.

    Reply

  19. samuelburke says:

    is it healthy for america and americans to turn a blind eye to what israel does to americas ex president and congresspeople?
    what is there to fear?
    http://counterpunch.com/roberts07032009.html
    The US has no media. But it does have a Ministry of Propaganda. Americans were programmed with days of propaganda that Islamic Iran, a member of the US-designated “axis of evil,” stole the election from the Iranian people. According to the US Ministry of Propaganda, the Iranian people are allied with the US government against the Iranian government.
    Even people who are regarded as Iran experts said, without any evidence, that the elections were stolen. One of their arguments is that three hours were not enough time to count all the votes, yet it was announced that Ahmajdinejad won. The ignorance of “experts” made theft a certainty for American TV audiences.
    The “experts” who make this assertion are obviously ignorant of Iran’s electoral procedures. For the ignorant “experts” and the Americans deluded by them, here is the way it works:
    There are more than 45,000 voting places, which means less than 1,000 votes per voting place, an easy number to count and report in three hours. At each voting place there are a dozen or more observers, including every candidates’ representatives, representatives of the Guardian Council, and the local police. The votes are counted in the presence of all, and all sign documents attesting to the count.
    The vote totals are forwarded to a central office in the region that has representatives of the candidates and the Guardian Council, where they are verified by a dozen or a dozen and a half of witnesses. From here the vote count goes to the Minister of the Interior, where the vote is announced.
    Unless these procedures were not followed, and no evidence has been provided that the procedures were not followed, it is impossible to steal an Iranian election. It is much easier to steal an American one, which happens routinely.
    There are thousands, indeed tens of thousands of witnesses, perhaps hundreds of thousands of witnesses, to the Iranian vote. Yet, only Mousavi and his corrupt supporters among the high living Iranian elite, who are fighting for personal power in Iran, contest the vote. The kids in the street were the usual dupes. At this stage in history, how can anyone believe that there is a pure candidate that wants to bring freedom and justice to the people? Anywhere. In any country, the US included.
    Ignorant “experts” made a great noise about the fact that 50 cities or towns had votes in excess of registered voters. Again, this is a demonstration of the total ignorance of “Iranian experts” . In Iran, voters can vote wherever they happen to be at the day of election. Vacationers, business people on travel, commuters, and the partial absence of distinct voting districts, can produce a vote count in excess of the local registered population.
    The Guardian Council examined these differences, added them up, and noted that if every additional vote was fraudulent, the number was insufficient to affect the outcome.
    The Guardian Council has agreed to post every vote count.
    Did you learn of these facts from Fox News, CNN, the New York Times, or from the CIA and Mossad bloggers? Of course not. Every time “your” media opens its mouth lies jump out that serve the US government’s hegemonic propaganda.

    Reply

  20. arthurdecco says:

    “What a load of junk and such a waste of space…and this is supposed to be “investigative”… lol” (commenting on the article, “Dreyfuss on “Iran’s Green Wave”)
    Thank you MrAries, for your refreshing candor and plain-spoken honesty.
    Mr. Clemons, I hope when you decide to write a new post it includes a substantive comment about Israel’s piracy and the abduction of Cynthia McKinney and her ship-mates from INTERNATIONAL WATERS now that you’re posting again. Your silence on this seminal issue has so far been deafening.
    Even my Canadian newspapers’ lips are hermetically sealed on this story. That suggests to me those in control of our media recognize the danger posed to the reputation of ‘that shitty little country” if they permit the publication of this kind of story.
    A story this huge doesn’t get buried this deep unless they expect huge piles of doo doo to be laid on Israel’s and their odious supporters’ doorsteps if the story makes it into the mainstream consciousness.
    I mean really…who still supports Israel in their on-going putrescent, pugnacious, perverted attacks on everything and everyone reasonable but the usual collection of ignoramuses, bigots, racists, mountebanks and the repulsive sociopathic, avaricious nitwits who own everything and therefore control the dialogue on this and every other pressing issue?
    No one I want to know.

    Reply

  21. MrAries says:

    What a load of bull. Mr Dreyfuss hasn’t really
    bothered to attend any of Ahmedinejad’s rallies or
    follow his campaign trek, and yet he comes up with
    this “analysis”. I thought to analyse, you needed
    to be aware of both the sides? Not by just
    speaking to one candidate and his campaign
    managers? And yet he comes up with such hyperbole
    as “Another cleric, who campaigned for Moussavi in
    dozens of Iranian towns and cities, said that the
    majority of mullahs had abandoned the president.”
    Which dozens of towns and cities did Moussavi
    campaign in?
    Another gem, “It’s that scenario that Khamenei,
    Ahmadinejad and their IRGC and Basij allies are
    determined to resist at all costs.”
    Together, I am assuming, they account for 65 per
    cent of the Iranian population?
    How about this one? “And then, on June 3, Moussavi
    electrified Iran during an unprecedented televised
    debate with Ahmadinejad. With the president
    sitting across from him, Moussavi called
    Ahmadinejad a liar and accused him of pushing Iran
    toward “dictatorship.”
    Care to explain why Moussavi called Ahmedinejad a
    “liar”? Was it concerning some allegations of
    “corruption” and “nepotism” perhaps? And Mr
    Dreyfuss forgot that Moussavi was humiliated in
    the debate? Not “electrified”.
    What a load of junk and such a waste of space…
    and this is supposed to be “investigative”… lol

    Reply

  22. questions says:

    Re McKinney, perhaps something quiet is happening and we just don’t know about it. My personal guess at any rate. I don’t think US citizens typically rot in prisons without an embassy’s looking into things at the minimum.
    And my guess it that people are actually concerned about people.

    Reply

  23. Steve Clemons says:

    jmoore — thanks for your note. I think it is fair use — but if Bob Dreyfuss or Katrina vanden Heuvel think its a bit much, I’ll pare down. It’s an excellent piece — and I want folks to read the components of Bob’s thinking through a substantial part of the essay. Thanks for raising though.
    WigWag and others have talked about the passage about Obama helping the opposition by continuing engagement. I do disagree with Bob on this front. I think engagement favors American interests — and broad Iranian interests, whether incumbents or opposition. But I don’t support engagement as a way to shift the tide inside Iran.
    All best, steve

    Reply

  24. jmoore says:

    Is that long a quote really blogosphere fair use?

    Reply

  25. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Could it be too much pasta and Chianti that’s temporarily obscuring his vision?”
    Well, Steve won’t do it, but I will…,
    Wig-wag, why don’t you go screw yourself?
    In Israel.
    For good.

    Reply

  26. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Its effin’ amazing. A former United States Congresswoman is kidnapped on the high seas, and is looking at her third day in an Israeli prison, and this cowardly posturing fraud Barack Obama, and our pathetically hypocritical State Department DON’T DO A DAMNED THING ABOUT IT. Its as though it never happened.
    You gotta be kidding me. When our government acts like this, there is no sense in any debate about ANY of their foreign policy actions, decisions, policy advocations, or stated goals. These bastards are entirely self serving, and could care less for democracy, human rights, international law, or the best interests of the people they are sworn to serve.
    Wake up, America.

    Reply

  27. samuelburke says:

    congresswoman cynthia mckinney is in an israeli prison….but dont tell anyone …its no big deal.
    The siege of Gaza continues
    http://www.philipweiss.org/mondoweiss/2009/07/the-siege-of-gaza-continues.html
    Former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney is being held in an Israeli prison, along with 18 other international activists, for trying to bring humanitarian aid into Gaza. She called into a radio station today to give an update:

    Reply

  28. WigWag says:

    “If Obama wants to support the opposition, the best thing he can do is to continue to extend his open hand to Iran.”
    I have no idea what this means. I understand what it doesn’t mean; no John Bolton style military attack. But how exactly should the United States extend an open hand?
    Should the Obama Administration negotiate with the coup leaders in Iran and if so when? Should the United States impose new sanctions, lessen the sanctions already in place or try something else? Should the United States continue to brand Iran a state sponsor of terrorism or should it revoke that characterization? Should the United States and its European allies continue to hinder Iran’s banking transactions in Western nations or should it facilitate those transactions? Should the United States encourage reconciliation between Iran and its Sunni Arab adversaries or should it assist Arab militaries to prepare for a potential conflict with Iran somewhere down the line? Should the Obama Administration ask Congress to repeal the various statutes that hamper trade with Iran or should it do nothing?
    Without a more specific description of what extending an open hand means, I respectfully suggest that this post doesn’t tell us very much.
    At least Flynt Leverett’s plan I can understand; his view is simple. Just pretend nothing’s happened. And I can understand Roger Cohen’s new plan; stop negotiating with Iran for the foreseeable future.
    Steve Clemon’s recommendations are alot harder to parse. Could it be too much pasta and Chianti that’s temporarily obscuring his vision?

    Reply

  29. ... says:

    lets all follow iran 24/7…. while the rest of the world continues with its business the usa and israel spend all their time obsessing on how to make war in iran 24/7… then there are website which continually focus on iran… i am sure the folks behind the war machine are happy about that..

    Reply

  30. ACWorld says:

    The Iran situation shows no sign of abating, and only gains power as the Revolutionary Guard makes missteps. An article in Asia Chronicle (www.asiachroniclenews.com) outlines exactly why Iran is headed for revolt.

    Reply

  31. David says:

    I have no idea what Jesse is talking about, but many, many thanks for this post, Steve. Down here in the hinterlands of Central Florida, down on the edge of the Green Swamp, links to the larger world and to the quest for insight like The Washington Note are appreciated more than you can know. And many, many thanks for your your tireless efforts to provide your readers with as much helpful information and insight as you can lay your hands on.
    This analysis by Robert Dreyfuss is the most helpful thing I have yet read. I do subscribe to The Nation, and give great weight to anything they publish, mainly because of the intellectual honesty and wealth of knowledge of the good folks at The Nation. But reading this, along with your comments, on The Washington Note, gives it extra value.
    What Dreyfuss is guilty of, of course, is competent, honest, responsible, intelligent, insightful investigative journalism.

    Reply

  32. Jesse says:

    So he left them in the lurch in the mddle of a playoff race. Left without any grace. Left with a straight face.  I don’t care.  Stan turned himself around.  And besides, he’s got the magic stick. He knows if he can hit once, he can hit twice.  Ain’t that nice?  So nice, he made the Hall of Fame. One of the best in the game.  Say my name!  Those 2,999 put Stan 26th all-time. 

    Reply

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