The Four Iran Scenarios and “Basiji Hunting”

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basij.jpg
One of my colleagues at the New America Foundation’s Global Strategic Finance Initiative, Douglas Rediker, received this note from a friend abroad. It’s illuminating as to how a well-connected Iranian internationalist who has been in Tehran during much of the post-election unrest sees matters now. To protect Rediker’s source, I can’t make references about where he is today.
The email:

As of yesterday the options facing the country were well summarised by Simon Tisdall and Ellie Rose in The Guardian:

1 – Happy ending
To widespread surprise, the hardline Guardian Council conducts a thorough recount of votes, as ordered by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and decides, amid much embarrassment, that there should be a new election. Mir Hossein Mousavi wins. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accepts defeat. Pro-democracy demonstrators celebrate triumph of “green revolution”. New government responds positively to US invitation to “unclench fist” and open talks on nuclear issue.
2 – Damp squib
The partial recount ordered by the Supreme Leader concludes Ahmadinejad won a clear victory, although by a narrower margin. Despite lingering suspicions of foul play, the opposition is forced to accept the verdict amid a continuing nationwide crackdown on dissent and warnings that further disorder will be dealt with harshly. Ahmadinejad, in bad odour with the Supreme Leader for provoking demonstrators, moderates his line on policy issues. Mousavi vows to fight again.
3 – Confrontation
The Guardian Council’s partial vote recount and investigation into electoral fraud are rejected by the opposition. Demonstrations spread and intensify, with ever greater numbers of Iranians taking to the streets calling for the resignation of Khamenei and Ahmadinejad. Security forces respond with increasing force, arresting thousands and closing down media coverage, texting networks, websites and Twitter. Purge of reformist leaders, intellectuals, students and journalists continues. Leaderless demos gradually peter out, leaving resentment. Ahmadinejad steps up anti-western rhetoric. Resumed protests at a later date considered highly likely.
4 – A second revolution
An insider cabal of senior clerical and establishment conservatives challenges Khamenei and forces his resignation after a vote in the Assembly of Experts. Former president Hashemi Rafsanjani is elected in his stead and orders an investigation into the actions of Ahmadinejad and other senior members of the regime. Hardliners rally round the president while reformists demand new elections. Amid growing instability, Iran’s unique Islamic/secular system of governance appears in danger of collapse”.

As of Mr. Khameneni’s speech today it seems that (1) above is no longer an option. For everything that Mousavi has publically announced option (2) also seems unlikely.
Unfortunately for everything I know, it now seems its either (3) or (4).
By the way, two nights ago I went out to see a few things … as the general crowds spread into their homes militia style Mousavi supporters were out on the streets ‘Basiji hunting’.
Their resolve is no less than these thugs — they after hunting them down. They use their phones, their childhood friends, their intimate knowledge of their districts and neighbours to plan their attacks — they’re organised and they’re supported by their community so they have little fear. They create the havoc they’re after, ambush the thugs, use their Cocktail Molotovs, disperse and re-assemble elsewhere and then start again – and the door of every house is open to them as safe harbour — they’re community-connected.
The Basiji’s are not.
These are not the students in the dorms, they’re the street young — they know the ways better than most thugs – and these young, a surprising number of them girls, are becoming more agile in their ways as each night passes on.
Also, with $10K every local police station lock can be broken and guns taken out…the police too are crowd friendly…for sure put a gun in their hands and these young become a serious counter-balance to the Basij…call them 10% of 18-22 year olds – that makes circa 10 million around the country versus max 4 million Basijis.
For all I’ve seen, discussed and observed on the ground I wouldn’t dismiss option (4) too easily.

I hope Mousavi has thought through strategy and next steps. Where his protesters have come to was predictable up to a point.
What is the unpredictable thing he may do to change the board?
— Steve Clemons

Comments

99 comments on “The Four Iran Scenarios and “Basiji Hunting”

  1. Georgy says:

    Moussavi Presidency … why would he have allowed him
    to run at all, in light of the fact that he had the absolute power
    and authority to prevent this dreaded possibility completely 4
    months ago?

    Reply

  2. Ohm51 says:

    Everyone who has sympathy for the ‘Stolen Election Meme’ do so
    from a set of ‘a priori’ assumptions, and employ an escalating
    series of circular reasonings, i.e.; that the ruling theocracy is
    brutal and repressive because they ‘stole the vote’; or the ruling
    theocracy had to steal the vote because it is brutal and
    repressive.
    They apparently do not consider what American governance
    would look like operating in similar conditions, demonized by
    relentless foreign media campaigns, governing in the face of
    internal sedition and constant external threats and the pincered
    attacks of international economic sanctions and the low level
    warfare of terrorist attacks, sponsored and funded by varied and
    disparate elements but unified in their strategic destabilization
    efforts.
    Then there is the twin reasoning that ‘reformists’ are legitimated
    by the ‘stolen election’ and that Iranian elections are merely a
    sham, in any event, regardless the particular winners or losers.
    Lack of any actual and coherent evidence is used as proof that
    Kahmenei and Amadinejad were wildly successful in stealing the
    election, so successful it seems that they have been able to
    erase all tracks of their manipulations.
    Opposition to external intervention, and accusations of it, are
    automatically assigned tinfoil hat status, with the reformers
    being vehemently defended on grounds that they cannot all be
    on the payroll of foreign agents, and that any who make the
    suggestion are characterized as being anti-freedom, anti-
    woman, anti-gay, anti-democratic, and anti-human rights, but
    neglect to recognize the considerable orchestration is not
    merely an internally directed campaign to foment rebellion, as
    much as it is an externally focussed campaign to negatively
    influence world opinion; that it is not so much designed to
    achieve the ostensible success of reversing an election, as it is to
    leave the status quo power structure inside Iran intact, but to
    inflict serious and useful damage onto it.
    It is that strategic objective; contrary the ‘Stolen Election Meme’,
    democracy promotion, and solidarity rhetoric; that I would
    maintain is the true objective, that has been achieved, and
    proven to be wildly and tremendously successful.
    A few items I believe have garnered little attention and been
    seriously neglected. The first is the forged document, apparently
    widely distributed inside Iran on the morning of June 13th (and
    for a brief period on the internet), purporting to be a memo or
    letter from the Interior Ministry delivered to Kahmenei,
    documenting the ‘true election results’ and stipulating that
    Kahmenei’s wishes are being respected in rigging the election
    results to Amadinejad.
    That letter acted in concert with Mousavi’s preemptive victory
    declaration of the night before, to mobilize the first wave mass
    action protests, and it beggars that several obvious questions be
    asked. Namely, who produced it, when was it produced, and
    why produce a forged document if the election was truly a
    rigged event? Wouldn’t ‘the truth’ be damning enough on its
    own?
    The answers to those questions are largely unknown, but
    suggests the ideas were sprouted with considerable
    preplanning, before the election, and is one of the first
    mechanisms of establishing the ‘Stolen Election Meme’.
    The next, perhaps less indicting on the face of it (and more
    anecdotal), is the video, cited as proof positive of the rigged
    election, circulating the internet … showing ballot manipulation
    by a pair of Amadinejad supporters.
    This video is equally incredulous, almost certainly a forgery, and
    defies all logic; for if Amadinejad had actually rigged the
    election, they certainly would not have filmed it, nor does the
    claim that it was filmed surreptitiously deserve any merit, as the
    video clearly shows that whoever was rigging the ballots was
    also the one filming the ‘evidence’ … as it was shot from that
    person’s POV and not from some hidden camera.
    Which proposition is more reasonable, that Amedinejad’s agents
    were so brazen as to videotape their own criminality and so
    inept as to let the video slip into the opposition’s hands, or that
    this video was manufactured and planted evidence?
    Those are but two instances wherein the ‘evidence of the rigged
    election’ , were any critical logic involved, would infer an exact
    opposite conclusion; that contrary to popular and erroneous
    misperceptions, the ‘rigging’ was being carried out by
    oppositional forces.
    Whereas the first logical fallacy of the ‘Stolen Election Meme’, the
    premise that it all rests upon, as well as the assumptive motive
    behind it, has hardly been examined or even noticed at all, nor
    addressed by any of the massed punditry in MSM, nor in the
    echo chamber of internet blogs.
    To whit, we are to believe, that the Supreme Leader Ayahtolla
    Kahmenei, was so appalled at the prospect of a Mousavi victory,
    that he was willing to deceive the nation, to defy the will of the
    people, that he was willing to commit a massive fraud by rigging
    the election, to prevent Mousavi from ascending to the office of
    the Presidency … even though he (Kahmenei) would still be in
    the dominant position of having the final word on all questions
    and have absolute authority over a presumptive President
    Moussavi.
    Note that this is proffered alongside the parallel criticism that
    the position of Supreme Leader is essentially an illegitimate
    concentration of dictatorial power.
    Which beggars the question, if Kahmenei was so opposed to the
    idea of a Moussavi Presidency … why would he have allowed him
    to run at all, in light of the fact that he had the absolute power
    and authority to prevent this dreaded possibility completely 4
    months ago?
    He could have just said NO to Moussavi to begin with, couldn’t
    he?

    Reply

  3. chi hair straightener says:

    First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.

    Reply

  4. BalkanGhost says:

    Dr. Srdja Trifkovic describes America’s role among the 21st century
    powerbrokers- I challenge anyone to see the points he makes
    in terms of what makes a puppetmaster in these types of conflicts
    (Yugo -upheavel & removal of Milosevic & present “civil conflict”
    in Iran)
    Le dernier mot: Washingtonian Madness
    http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/index.php/2008/12/31/le-dernier-mot-washingtonian-madness/
    ….Both the madness and the intoxication have a “left,” essentially Wilsonian, narrative (one-world, postnational, compassionate, multilateralist, therapeutic) and a “right,” or neoconservative, one (democracy-exporting, interventionist, monopolar, boastfully self-aggrandizing).
    Both are determined to make the world as they want it to be rather than to deal with the world as it is.
    …The two sects’ deep-seated distaste for the traditional societies, regimes, and religion of the European continent was manifested in President Clinton’s war against the Serbs in 1999 and in their unanimous support for Kosovo’s independence today……
    And yet do we not have a tarditionalist society in Iran, albeit managed by Ayatollahs yet they ahve to erase
    many terrible years of submission under the Shah

    Reply

  5. BalkanGhost says:

    Dont be fooled by this ploy — its a great Hegelian
    move.
    Да има слобода или смрт, јебем ти фашизам!!

    Reply

  6. BalkanGhost says:

    Feel bad for the violence just indicates the depth of manipulation the puppetmasters have around the world.
    Dont worry folks each intell group has their area of focus:
    KGB, CIA/PsyOps, Isreali Intell, Euro spy groups.
    This one is being “massaged”
    by CIA/Psyops. Same ones that
    dismembered Yugoslavia – I got the evidence as I was there — same template is being hoisted upon Iran.
    You folks in USA & Europe better wake up!!!

    Reply

  7. Joseph says:

    A couple of things here are concerning:
    1. The Basiji have a huge head-start in the area of “hunting”
    unarmed civilians. There are reports from across Iran that they
    are breaking into people’s homes and beating or abducting
    people in the night, threatening families and setting fires.
    2. The Basiji, unlike the community, have the support of the
    government, and it appears, of the supreme leader as well. This
    makes them into a paramilitary force, not just a group that
    supports the president.
    3. 10% of the population of 18 to 22 year olds does not amount
    to 10 million. The entire population of Iran is somewhere
    between 66 million and 72 million (figures vary widely). If just
    over half the population is under 25, that is in part because 1/4
    is under 15. This leaves us with a little over 1/4 between 15 and
    25, not more than 12 to 14 million total. 10% would be 1.2 to
    1.4 million. If the Basij are 4 million government-armed
    militiamen, this means they are a grave threat to life and
    property across Iran.
    4. Scenarios 3 and 4 from the Guardian appear more likely than
    scenarios 1 and 2. But there are many other far less fortunate
    scenarios, in which hundreds, or even thousands of people
    might die. One scenario, which is not named, would have the
    Iranian military and even the Revolutionary Guard refusing to
    honor the leadership of Khamenei, in order to prevent mass
    death. This could lead to the rise of Rafsanjani, but it would not
    necessarily mean an expansion of democratic freedoms, as the
    opposition hopes.
    Also, there are hundreds, if not thousands of individuals
    currently in detention, many in undisclosed locations. There is
    very little reporting about what they are being subjected to or
    how they might be used by the government as pawns in this
    crisis. Also, as the government becomes more aggressive,
    western leaders may fall into the trap of taking a position
    directly opposing the regime, which would, in the politics of the
    Islamic revolution, allow the regime to claim carte blanche in
    “protecting” the nation’s “sovereignty”.
    They are already calling demonstrators “terrorists”, which
    suggests a coming military crackdown.
    What is the option that would allow the civic-minded people of
    the world to help Iranians defend the democratic aspects of their
    system while throwing out the bums who would do this to their
    own people?

    Reply

  8. David Johnson says:

    There is another option #1… the chairman of the Assembly of
    Experts could call an emergency meeting. The committee could
    vote Khamenei out of power. I know it sounds hopeful, but it is
    possible, and there are credible sources suggesting it.
    See this comment by Mano Bakh:
    http://worldblog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2009/06/19/1971333.a
    spx

    Reply

  9. WigWag says:

    The Iraqi Shia are as divided as the Iranian Shia and factionalism is rife. Remember that only a year ago, the Malaki regime was sending in the Iraqi army to reassume control of the Southern provinces from militias controlled by his Shite coreligionists.
    The Iraqi Shia must be watching everything happening in Iran with great interest. My guess is that the Madhi Army is rooting for Mousavi and the Badr Organization is rooting for Ahmadinejad.
    But who knows?

    Reply

  10. plschwartz says:

    Steve:
    There is another set of players in the game – the Iraqi Shia. They are of course well armed and seasoned in Urban warfare. If they give assistance to the resistance well along a curve of effectiveness
    The Persians are some 50-60% of the population.What is the government support in the other areas?
    Outcome 5. is a prolonged irregular war. with outside, mostly Iraqi support I expect that to be the case.

    Reply

  11. Carroll says:

    Still watching in amazement…not the revolution in Iran but the ..I don’t what to call it…the American Idol type craziness people have worked themselves into.
    I remain convinced that this is actually a fight between Iran’s own “elites”..the in power Elite with a regular army and the wannabe in power Elites who enlisted mostly the young and students as a army.
    Maybe the wannabe elites are better but they are still the elites and will always act as such.
    This is the weirdest thing I have ever seen at TWN. SC, usually the dispassionate realist on most issues, careful to specify what is actual fact and what is rumor when he passes it on and speculates on it, is for whatever reason pushing the green revolution as if he has a personal stake in it. I can’t see why certain people are pushing the different sides of this but TWN I can’t figure out.

    Reply

  12. Pahlavan Nayeb says:

    There is a time and a place for discreding an argument as a conspiracy theory, and this thread is neither. That’s only because there are clear contradiction in the hawkish arguments.
    If you consider yourself and objective and an indpendant thinker, read them again as it’s there for you in black and white.
    But to arbitrarily resort to discrediting facts that conflict with a hawkish idiolody as “conspiracy theory”, is elementary and counter productive, unless you are a paid blogger pushing a special interest.

    Reply

  13. Peace says:

    More of the ‘Winners’ at work ! Beating helpless women..
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDmAK9R_fwc

    Reply

  14. Bard says:

    We watch with interest, and especially note that Option 4 is on the horizon for many nations, including Israel and the USA.
    More news and opinion comments and links are available at Defeat Theocracy Now!

    Reply

  15. Peace says:

    @PissedOffAmerican,
    Is that the best you got or did you get cornered ? 🙂
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfwcWsBfkoI

    Reply

  16. SocraticGadfly says:

    Steve, there are more than four options, as my analysis of a similar scenario by Time notes. Funny, that neither Time nor the Guardian mention Rafsanjani.
    And, neither do you. That’s at least a bit, if not more, of an oversight.

    Reply

  17. ... says:

    poa – perhaps reid can “read” this : IDF soldiers ordered to shoot at Gaza rescuers, note says
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1072830.html

    Reply

  18. rfjk says:

    The reportedly smaller demonstration in Enghelab Square and the state’s ease at disbursing it indicates that of the 4 points “from a friend abroad,” the result is some hybrid of points 2 and 3.
    It’s of course impossible to say what the consequences and/or who the winners & losers are in this complex and mysterious confrontation that’s playing out in Iran. But its obvious the bosses who stole the show have miscalculated badly, very badly. Ahmadinejad’s presidency hangs on a gibbet under dark and brooding clouds. And the leadership among the mullahs have revealed deep fissures concerning governance and policy.
    Obama on the other hand will emerge out of this smelling like a rose. His careful posturing on an internal Iranian affair shepherded US interests through the shoals & rocks neocons, Lidudniks & republicans tried to drive it unto in hopes of discrediting Obama’s leadership and weakening his initiatives and polices. They too, like their exact equivalents in Iran miscalculated badly, very badly.

    Reply

  19. Arun says:

    Peace,
    If you believe that there was no vote-counting fraud in the Iranian elections, then the Moussavi-led street movement turns into a ominous attempt to overturn an election by extra-legal means.
    Millions of Iranians might believe that the vote was stolen for exactly the same reasons that millions of Americans think the vote was stolen. Americans saying “so many Iranians can’t be fools” and Iranians saying “so many Americans can’t be fools” plus, of course, “Moussavi is saying so”.
    Can you count 40 million votes in 12 hours? I think so. India just counted 700 million votes in 24-36 hours (not sure of the exact interval).
    Can fraud be perpetrated on a national scale without solid information leaking out? I don’t know.
    Is the behavior of the regime suspicious? Yes. On the other hand it is what one would expect if the regime sees a foreign hand behind this movement.
    There are too many different groups with vested interests in the outcome of the elections rather than a lawful process, and too scant hard evidence to know what is really going on.
    Will I celebrate if Khameini, Ahmedinejad are overthrown? Certainly. But I don’t think I have any right to urge on Iranians to risk their lives for my wishes. This is not my call. Iranians deserve to have the best information possible on which to base their decisions of what to do – it is their lives in question – and the best thing we can do is try to separate the facts from the noise.

    Reply

  20. varanasi says:

    funny. i’m away from this site for several months, and when i finally get a chance to check in, POA is still ranting and hyperventilating without missing a beat. it’s as if i never left. nice to see that some things never change.

    Reply

  21. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Whats comical here, and speaks quite unflatteringly to the intelligence or common sense of the TWN readership, is this constantly bandied bullshit about Obama’s “hands off” approach.
    To think we are not heavily involved both in generating propaganda and in-country covert operations is absolute stupidity. Obama issues the usual bullshit, denying American involvement, and the TWN readers lap it up like warm milk.
    Meanwhile, Reid continues to graze on Israeli alfalfa, and insists that Obama take his eyes off of Israel and focus on Iran.
    What a crock of shit. Apparently the American people learned NOTHING when these dirtbags bullshitted us into Iraq. Its suprising seeing such naive blind acceptance from so many TWN readers and commenters. One expects it from the snake oil swilling jackasses lapping up Hannity’s and Limbaugh’s blatherings, but to see such eager acceptance of obvious propaganda from a large segment of the TWN readership is extremely disheartening.
    Peace….
    The questions you ask are based on an unsubstantiated foundation. They are questions that YOU can’t even honestly answer given the lack of facts at our disposal. As such, they merit no response. Peddle your horseshit to someone else.

    Reply

  22. Peace says:

    @PissedOffAmerican,@AliReza,
    How about answering the
    questions I asked ? Or do you just want to keep
    ranting ?

    Reply

  23. questions says:

    http://www.juancole.com/2009/06/stealing-iranian-election.html
    A reminder from a week ago that Juan Cole has political rather than statistical analysis that calls into question the results.
    Nate Silver (fivethirtyeight.com) (from a week ago) thinks one of the statistical tests running around isn’t convincing, but that Juan Cole might well be.

    Reply

  24. mhi1 says:

    Steve: Thanks for covering these events and sharing the info you’re
    receiving. Given the debate we’re having in the US as to what our
    response should be (I happen to agree w/Obama’s approach to
    date) have any of your sources abroad commented on what
    America’s response should be? Does the opposition want a more
    vocal response from Obama or do they support his response to
    date? Or do they care?

    Reply

  25. questions says:

    There is a reasonable possibility that we need a lot of “ands.” Ahmadinejad is not a nice guy AND Moussavi is problematic. There was/is US involvement in destabilization AND there is an “authentic” domestic rebellion. Ahmadinejad won by some amount AND the votes were never properly counted. The religious figures are divided AND still actually concerned about religious issues.
    How one chooses amongst all of the “ands” is, at some level, arbitrary. Ahmadinejad’s populism is not quite my style. CIA “assistance” is unfortunate, generally misdirected, and liable to generate huge blowback.
    But if the domestic political situation is ready for a shift, then the “assistance” might actually be welcome. Might have been nice if, say, Cuba, could have helped with the Gore campaign in Florida and Tennessee. A little style assistance, a nice color scheme, a better shirt for Gore (didn’t he show up in a lumberjack shirt for a while?) Maybe money for posters and internet support, some free pizza and medical care for volunteers….
    Still, the police/security forces in Iran are crushing skulls, smashing computers, killing their own, shutting down communication and so on. Legitimacy requires more in this situation.
    On the WaPo, it’s always hard to tell. But statisticians are worth listening to in a way that, say, Broder isn’t. Miller had detractors from the get-go. Not sure about the grad students who put the stat work together. But since I’ve had personal experience with making up numbers to generate multiplication, fraction, decimal, and basic algebra homework help, I know what they mean when they say that people have a hard time making up properly randomized numbers.
    And the WaPo isn’t the only source for questions about the election results. There seem to be some number of stats people and political scientists who are wondering. And note that generally, people are hedging their bets by talking about likelihood rather than saying their findings are definitive. But those “likelihoods” are adding up in a way that Iraq/Miller never did.

    Reply

  26. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Meanwhile, this cowardly piece of shit Reid gives us an inkling of where Obama’s “no more settlement expansion” demands are going to go.
    There are lots of developments in the Israel/White House exchanges, and they are being ignored, or should I say “hidden”, by the Iran media extravagansa. Israel is still telling Obama to go screw himself with his conditions and demands about settlements. Apparently, so is Reid.
    http://news.antiwar.com/2009/06/19/sen-reid-to-obama-back-off-israel-pressure-palestinians/
    Sen. Reid to Obama: Back Off Israel, Pressure Palestinians
    Warns President Not to Let Peace Process Interfere With Measures Against Iran
    Jason Ditz, June 19, 2009
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has issued a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to reverse his course on Palestinian peace talks, to back off of his criticism of Israel and focus of pressuring the Palestinians instead.
    continues…

    Reply

  27. erichwwk says:

    Posted by WigWag, Jun 19 2009, 5:06PM:
    “Several people have commented that the Iran imbroglio reminds them of the various “color revolutions” that took place in former Soviet Republics or in Lebanon two years ago. I think a better analogy might be with the French Revolution”
    And
    “Like all fair-minded people, I have to admit that I would take some pleasure in watching Ahmadinejad and Khamenei strung up like Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu.”
    That’s assuming that what was “fixed” was the actual voting, rather than the perception of that voting by outside forces (yes, the U.S. , under the Bush Presidential Order of 2007 is the prime suspect, although both the U.K. and Israel are know to have similar covert operations).
    And to me
    “being ‘fair-minded” and admitting “that I would take some pleasure in watching Ahmadinejad and Khamenei strung up like Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu.” are mutually exclusive.”
    I am looking forward to Monday’s ( 3:30pm, EDT) Discussion at the New America Foundation where we will hear the Steve Clemons and Flynt Leverett views discussed in the same forum. I hope that it will not only be recorded, but that it will be archived for later viewing.
    I am a bit troubled by the tendency of even TWN readers to jump to conclusions and the reluctance to ask for, and consider evidence before doing so. I sincerely hope that Steve will not be forced to wipe huge amounts of egg from his face.
    The evidence I have seen (and that includes who Ahmadinejad and Mousavi are) as well as what I know of the programs to destabilize Iran leads be to question the view that Mosavi is the “good guy” in this, and at least keep an open mind when listening (if it is archived) Monday’s NAF forum.
    In any case, one needs to wonder why an option #5, That the Flynt Leverett is correct and the “U.S. is found to be meddling in the Iranian election was not considered.”
    THAT would have huge blowback and repercussions, not just in Iran and the rest of the world, but for us here in the States.
    http://newamerica.net/events/2009/irans_election
    re the Washington Post, there seems to be more and more evidence, that the WP is playing the role of Judith Miller and the NYT under the previous administration in partnering with some in the administration as controlling American perception of Iran.

    Reply

  28. questions says:

    From Today’s WaPo
    We’ll concentrate on vote counts — the number of votes received by different candidates in different provinces — and in particular the last and second-to-last digits of these numbers. For example, if a candidate received 14,579 votes in a province (Mr. Karroubi’s actual vote count in Isfahan), we’ll focus on digits 7 and 9.
    This may seem strange, because these digits usually don’t change who wins. In fact, last digits in a fair election don’t tell us anything about the candidates, the make-up of the electorate or the context of the election. They are random noise in the sense that a fair vote count is as likely to end in 1 as it is to end in 2, 3, 4, or any other numeral. But that’s exactly why they can serve as a litmus test for election fraud. For example, an election in which a majority of provincial vote counts ended in 5 would surely raise red flags.
    ad_icon
    Why would fraudulent numbers look any different? The reason is that humans are bad at making up numbers. Cognitive psychologists have found that study participants in lab experiments asked to write sequences of random digits will tend to select some digits more frequently than others.
    So what can we make of Iran’s election results? We used the results released by the Ministry of the Interior and published on the web site of Press TV, a news channel funded by Iran’s government. The ministry provided data for 29 provinces, and we examined the number of votes each of the four main candidates — Ahmadinejad, Mousavi, Karroubi and Mohsen Rezai — is reported to have received in each of the provinces — a total of 116 numbers.
    The numbers look suspicious. We find too many 7s and not enough 5s in the last digit. We expect each digit (0, 1, 2, and so on) to appear at the end of 10 percent of the vote counts. But in Iran’s provincial results, the digit 7 appears 17 percent of the time, and only 4 percent of the results end in the number 5. Two such departures from the average — a spike of 17 percent or more in one digit and a drop to 4 percent or less in another —
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/20/AR2009062000004.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

    Reply

  29. RezaAli says:

    AliReza,
    As my name suggest, you’re a mirror image of your
    own criticism. You have your views and are entitled
    to them. However they remain your views. Nothing you
    have said contains any proof either – just
    inferences which, by your own reckoning, a
    significant number of your countrymen reject. If
    you’re that intent on your opinions surely you would
    have no problem for a monitored re-election? That
    would shut the rest of us up. No? Come on be brave.
    Suggest it.
    RezaAli

    Reply

  30. questions says:

    By Mark Blumenthal
    Walter Mebane, the University of Michigan political science and statistics professor who specializes in statistical tools “for detecting anomalies and diagnosing fraud in election results,” has updated his assessment of the official vote return statistics for the Iran elections. Mebane now says he sees “moderately strong support for a diagnosis that the 2009 election was afflicted by significant fraud.”
    In his initial analysis, Mebane used town-level data from the second “run-off” stage of the 2005 Iranian elections to model expectations for the 2009 results. The technical difference in the update is that Mebane has incorporated town-level data from the first stage of the 2005 elections. In his revised analysis, Mebane is struck by “the large number of outliers”:
    One might expect that given the increased political resolution provided by having measures of the first-stage candidates’ support, combined with the turnout ratio variable interactions, the model would do a good job capturing more of the variations in the 2009 vote
    His conclusion. Something is fishy in the official 2009 results and the deviations appear to benefit Ahmadinejad:
    More than half of the 320 towns included in this part of the analysis exhibit vote totals for Ahmadinejad that are not well described by the natural political processes the model of Table 15 represents. These departures from the model much more often represent additions than declines in the votes reported for Ahmadinejad. Correspondingly the poorly modeled observations much more often represent declines than additions in the votes reported for Mousavi.
    Modified conclusion: In general, combining the first-stage 2005 and 2009 data conveys the impression that while natural political processes significantly contributed to the election outcome, outcomes in many towns were produced by very different processes. The natural processes in 2009 Ahmadinejad have him tending to do best in towns where his support in 2005 was highest and tending to do worst in towns where turnout surged the most. But in more than half of the towns where comparisons to the first-stage 2005 results are feasible, Ahmadinejad’s vote counts are not at all or only poorly described by the naturalistic model. Much more often than not, these poorly modeled observations have vote counts for Ahmadinejad that are greater than the naturalistic model would imply. While it is not possible given only the current data to say for sure whether this reflects natural complexity in the political processes or artificial manipulations, the numerous outliers comport more with the idea that there was widespread fraud than with the idea that all the departures from the model are benign. Additional information of various kinds can help sort out the question. Remaining is the need to see data at lower levels of aggregation and in general more transparency about how the election was conducted.
    http://www.pollster.com/blogs/mebane_moderately_strong_suppo.php

    Reply

  31. samuelburke says:

    State Department Backs ‘Reformists’ in Wild Iranian Election
    http://www.newsmax.com/timmerman/Iran_election_Reformists/2009/06/11/224025.html
    The National Endowment for Democracy has spent millions of dollars during the past decade promoting “color” revolutions in places such as Ukraine and Serbia, training political workers in modern communications and organizational techniques.
    Some of that money appears to have made it into the hands of pro-Mousavi groups, who have ties to non-governmental organizations outside Iran that the National Endowment for Democracy funds.

    Reply

  32. samuelburke says:

    justin raimondo over at antiwar.com
    http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2009/06/18/irans-green-revolution/
    The usual suspects are raising cain over the Iranian events: George Packer, who aptly describes himself as “a suspected neocon fellow-traveler,” wants a full-throated expression of support for the “Green Revolution” from the White House, and argues (convincingly) that Obama, in spite of his abjuration against “meddling,” has done everything but: his intellectual soul-brother, Andrew Sullivan — another supposedly “reformed” neocon, who has since recanted his role in cheerleading the Iraq war — has issued a foot-stamping encyclical demanding: “No Recognition of Ahmadinejad: This is the first and absolute requirement of all Western governments.” One wonders what the second — and undoubtedly just as “absolute” — requirement is going to be: new and harsher economic sanctions? It’s just a coincidence that this non-recognition ploy would torpedo the much-vaunted prospect of negotiating with Tehran over the outstanding issues that separate Washington and Tehran: after all, we can’t negotiate with a government we don’t recognize.
    Sullivan doesn’t want us to recognize — and, presumably, meet with — the Ahmadinejad faction if they come out on top, but of course it’s perfectly fine for our Secretary of State to meet with Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of what even the most pro-Israel among the nation’s magazine editors — Marty Peretz — calls a “neo-fascist” party. That Lieberman is also the foreign minister of Israel should certainly not make a lot of difference to the Andrew Sullivans of this world, unless their moral outrage comes attached to a particular agenda.

    Reply

  33. JG says:

    The conspiracy theorist have run amok on this message board.
    I only pray that the long-suffering people of Iran emerge from this crisis with a brighter future.

    Reply

  34. Pahlavan Nayeb says:

    And don’t forget this whole social media and viral marketing war fare deployed through facebook, twitter and utube is just part of the propeganda nonsense that will soon implode.

    Reply

  35. Pahlavan Nayeb says:

    AliReza, Great read on Mir Hossein Treason Mussavi! Never forget that protecting innocent life in Iran is trivial to our foreign policy objective. The main purpose of all the propaganda right now is to form public opinion and eliminate Ahmadinejad and khamenie as strong contenders to our hawkish adventures in that region. Stay wise brother.

    Reply

  36. Arun says:

    Dunno what qualifies as a credible source. This source says 12 hours, but twice as fast as previous elections.
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090616/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_iran_fraud_allegations
    “One of the central questions was how 39.2 million paper ballots could be counted by hand and final results announced by authorities in Tehran in just over 12 hours. Past elections took at least twice as long.
    A new computerized system might have helped speed the process in urban centers, where most Iranians live, though it is unclear if that system was extended to every small town and village. And each ballot — on which a candidate’s name was written in — would still have to be counted by hand before any data could be entered into a computer, aggregated and transmitted to the Interior Ministry in Tehran.
    “I wouldn’t say it’s completely impossible,” Meyer-Resende said. “In the case of Iran, of course, you wonder with logistical challenges whether they could do it so fast.”
    Susan Hyde, an assistant political science professor at Yale University who has taken part in election monitoring missions in developing countries for the Carter Center, agreed that would be uncharacteristically fast.
    “If they’re still using hand counting, that would be very speedy, unusually speedy,” she said.
    The Interior Ministry released results from a first batch of 5 million votes just an hour and a half after polling stations closed.
    Over the next four hours, it released vote totals almost hourly in huge chunks of about 5 million votes — plowing through more than half of all ballots cast. ”

    Reply

  37. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The reason why it is so obvious the announced results were a sham has been repeatedly posted. It would have been physically impossible for them to count the votes so quickly, let alone
    tabulate them and come to a conclusion”
    Please show me a credible source that offers proof that the votes were claimed to have been counted in the “three hours”.

    Reply

  38. ff11 says:

    Opinions from an impartial source are of value ONLY to those who
    start out agreeing with the source. The value of that source and it’s
    content are precisely zero, no more and no less. Thanks for
    wasting our collective time posting it in the first place.
    The reason why it is so obvious the announced results were a sham
    has been repeatedly posted. It would have been physically
    impossible for them to count the votes so quickly, let alone
    tabulate them and come to a conclusion. Any body that treats the
    voting process so cavalierly can not be trusted with a re-count or
    re-vote either. At the very least a bipartisan commission is
    required.

    Reply

  39. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Nice impartial source there. Maybe he should be in charge of “counting” the votes!
    Yes, attack the source, and ignore the content.
    Do you have a better representation or depiction of Mousavi’s complaint, or are you just blowin’ smoke??

    Reply

  40. Tom O says:

    After reading Montazeri’s comments, I hoped that major street battles could be avoided if the clerics stepped in and dumped Khamenei, but I don’t know if that was ever very likely. Khamenei and Ahmedinejad don’t seem like the type to worry much about a little bloodshed unless it is theirs. They’ll probably go with the all-out crackdown and won’t start looking for a compromise until the protesters set fire to THEIR houses.

    Reply

  41. Peace says:

    @PissedOffAmerican,
    See my questions to @Alireza ? How about
    you acknowledging those are in play irrespective of
    Moussavi ? I grant you that Moussavi may have a weak
    case. What about the palpable fact that the people
    are done with the jokers ?

    Reply

  42. Peace says:

    @Alireza,
    Looks like you just want to be an ostrich.
    For the sake of arguments lets say Moussavi does
    NOT have credible evidence to prove there was
    fraud indeed. Can you answer these questions for
    me please ?
    1. Why are millions of your countrymen out on the
    streets protesting ? Are so many of them dumb ?
    NO. My guess is there’s something fishy. This has
    been brewing for long and the election scam was
    the last straw ?
    2. Irrespective of Moussavi, the people are done
    with the Ahmadinejad-Khamenei duet. Is that not
    evident enough ? not palpable enough ? do you need
    further proof ?
    3. Why did Khamenei talk of recount if there was
    NO fraud ?
    4. Why are the internet, cell phones, SMS, foreign
    media blocked, bashed and shut off ? I can
    GUARANTEE that would NOT have happened if Kerry
    were to call for a protest ..
    5. Why are the Basijis, like spineless swines,
    attacking women ?
    6. Khameinei, in his extempore riddled Friday
    speech talks of Iran being the best democracy,
    best in human rights etc etc — he is kidding
    right ? He says all of the protests are
    perpetrated by the west ? How could a man of God
    stomach so much hated and bloodshed of his fellow
    countrymen ?
    7. Irrespective of Moussavi, how can Khamenei-
    Admadinejad want to shamelessly hang on to power
    in the name of God ? The people are DONE with them
    .. D O N E !
    8. Your supreme leader is promising a repeat of
    Tianamen Square and here you are supporting him ?

    Reply

  43. ff11 says:

    POA,
    If you are referring to the Asia Times article, you will notice that it
    is nothing but an opinion piece written by Kaveh L Afrasiabi. And if
    you check on Afrasiabi, you find that: “He is a supporter of
    Mahmoud AhmadiNejad and his nuclear program”.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaveh_L._Afrasiabi
    Nice impartial source there. Maybe he should be in charge of
    “counting” the votes!

    Reply

  44. Franklin says:

    Alireza,
    There is no comparison between the U.S. and Iranian election systems.
    People cast a ballot in both systems, yes, but once those ballots are cast, apparently they aren’t even counted in Iran.
    It doesn’t take a genius to see how easy it would be to manipulate the vote in a system where the counting is done in secret by partisan hacks without independent monitoring.
    Tens of millions HAND ballots — not scan-tron, not punch-cards, not even electronic ballots — but individual ballots tallied in a matter of hours?
    It would take 20,000 people to count 200 ballots an hour alone to achieve those results — and even that tally doesn’t include the time necessary to do typical procedural checks to ensure the vote is accurate. It doesn’t include transportation times, or other logistical considerations that might enter into the equation. It doesn’t factor in the fatigue of counting ballots on short-rest for extended periods of time with little rest.
    Almost 40 million hand ballots counted in less than 10 hours — that really is quite remarkable!
    Of course, it doesn’t take much energy just to make up vote tallies and announce a victor an hour after the polls close.
    The circumstantial evidence is absolutely damning.
    It doesn’t take Mousavi to communicate that fact.
    It doesn’t take Karroubi to communicate that fact.
    It doesn’t take Rezaee to communicate that fact.
    As far as the kids are concerned, it is absolutely a tragedy — it’s unnecessary.
    Conduct an open election where the process is independently monitored.
    If Ahmadinejad really has the support that he claims to have it would have been to his benefit to have conducted the tally in a manner that was open and honest.
    At this point it’s not Mousavi, Karroubi, or Rezaee’s people who are slaughtering kids in their dorm rooms or letting militias roam the streets attacking unarmed civilians.
    It’s not Mousavi, Karroubi, or Rezaee who control the security forces.
    And it’s not Mousavi, Karroubi, or Razaee who will bear ultimate responsibility for a mass blood-letting conducted by state security forces.

    Reply

  45. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Why can’t Moussavi present any credible evidence of voter fraud?”
    Obviously, he doesn’t need to as there are plenty of idiots willing to forego proof in favor of agenda. Its interesting that no one has seen fit to address the ATL article that summarizes the shallow complaint Mousavo filed with the Guardian Council. A link has been posted to it twice now, and one would think one of these propaganda spewing jackasses like Michael or Franklin would offer some sort of rebuttal. But nope, the election experienced “massive fraud” just because “massive fraud” is the hype we’ve seen marketed these last few days, never mind actual “proof”, or the apparently vague and unsubstantial complaint that Mousavi is alleged to have filed.
    And as is pointed out above, its pretty telling seeing these pseudo advocates for democracy and peaceful protest totally ignore the weekly protests the Palestinians are waging against the separation fence. So what if the Israelis are killing them on a fairly regular basis,eh?

    Reply

  46. ff11 says:

    Alireza,
    You want proof of fraud? How about more than 30 million paper
    ballots counted within an hour of the polls closing? How about
    direct violation of Iranian law that states the results shall not be
    validated for 3 days after the vote to resolve any questions?
    There’s your proof. By the way, the only one doing any killing are
    Ahmadinejad and his goons. The Islamic Republic has to die
    sooner or later. The sooner it happens, the better for all involved.

    Reply

  47. samuelburke says:

    justin raimondo over at antiwar.com
    http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2009/06/18/irans-green-revolution/
    The usual suspects are raising cain over the Iranian events: George Packer, who aptly describes himself as “a suspected neocon fellow-traveler,” wants a full-throated expression of support for the “Green Revolution” from the White House, and argues (convincingly) that Obama, in spite of his abjuration against “meddling,” has done everything but: his intellectual soul-brother, Andrew Sullivan — another supposedly “reformed” neocon, who has since recanted his role in cheerleading the Iraq war — has issued a foot-stamping encyclical demanding: “No Recognition of Ahmadinejad: This is the first and absolute requirement of all Western governments.” One wonders what the second — and undoubtedly just as “absolute” — requirement is going to be: new and harsher economic sanctions? It’s just a coincidence that this non-recognition ploy would torpedo the much-vaunted prospect of negotiating with Tehran over the outstanding issues that separate Washington and Tehran: after all, we can’t negotiate with a government we don’t recognize.
    Sullivan doesn’t want us to recognize — and, presumably, meet with — the Ahmadinejad faction if they come out on top, but of course it’s perfectly fine for our Secretary of State to meet with Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of what even the most pro-Israel among the nation’s magazine editors — Marty Peretz — calls a “neo-fascist” party. That Lieberman is also the foreign minister of Israel should certainly not make a lot of difference to the Andrew Sullivans of this world, unless their moral outrage comes attached to a particular agenda.

    Reply

  48. my favorite martian says:

    It strikes me that the genius underscoring that comparison is not unlike the same line of thought that might inspire a person to don a tin-foil hat in a raging thunderstorm while standing on the highest possible location (I hear doing so increases intelligence). I see you’ve tried the experiment with truly awe-inspiring results.
    try this on for a tinfoil hat…take a gander at the video playing on the right of this site.
    http://www.ae911truth.org/

    Reply

  49. Tosk59 says:

    Sorry, putting the tweet between carets caused an issue. Here is Steve’s tweet:
    SCClemons: hopes that citizens in Tehran learn what they can about “Basiji Hunting” Could be good skill

    Reply

  50. Alireza says:

    Do you think that even if Moussavi someone gains power, that he could hold it without killing tens of thousands, or more likely hundreds of thousands, of Ahmadinejad’s supporters? Do you thin that Moussavi, who was part of the original 1979 revolution, suddenly forgot mass murder? Do you think that things will be settled in Iran, if a western backed leader usurps the results of an election? Do you think all this instability will somehow be good for Iran, or ultimately the west?
    Put the nonsensical propaganda aside people and think for a bit. Moussavi is a dangerous egomaniac.

    Reply

  51. Tosk59 says:

    Steve twittered this blog entry of his as follows:
    >
    Sounds a lot like Steve warming up to “hunting down”, “attacks”. presumably killing by immolation (Molotov cocktails) the Basiji “thugs.” Rather more blood-thirsty than his normal!

    Reply

  52. ... says:

    franklin, i’m just following your example, but focusing on a different country that is supposed to represent ‘freedumb’….
    wigwag, thanks – i will search for it on whatever thread it is on….

    Reply

  53. Alireza says:

    Why can’t Moussavi present any credible evidence of voter fraud? I’ve been following him for a week waiting. He is the boy who cried wolf.
    Further, what sort of a person makes such outrageous accusations – of 11 MILLION stolen votes – without evidence? Are you telling me that Moussavi, who claims to be the 2:1 favorite doesn’t have one supporter in this allegedly nefarious scheme who can provide evidence?
    Moussavi is a damn liar. The lies and propaganda put out by his camp over the past week have turned me from a supporter to someone who sees him for what he is – an egomaniac who would see all of Tehran and thousands of lives destroyed for him.
    Al Gore lost an election and he had hard evidence of election violations, but he accepted the very close loss rather than risk the country and lives. Moussavi got blown out in the election, doesn’t have a shred of evidence, yet is instructing his minority of supporters to riot and use force, and apparently even to kill themselves in some sort of cult like mass suicide for him. You should read the posts by teenage Tehranis tonight. They are writing about how they are listening to music and are very excited about dying tomorrow in the demonstration. These are kids, foolish and naive kids whose lives are being destroyed by a despicable animal.

    Reply

  54. Franklin says:

    “franklin quote : The lie has been exposed for the entire world to see. : kinda like 9-11 right? lol…”
    It strikes me that the genius underscoring that comparison is not unlike the same line of thought that might inspire a person to don a tin-foil hat in a raging thunderstorm while standing on the highest possible location (I hear doing so increases intelligence). I see you’ve tried the experiment with truly awe-inspiring results.

    Reply

  55. ff11 says:

    Alireza,
    Yes, Mousavi is trying to get what he could not get at the ballot
    box: a fair and honest election. By committing massive fraud
    during the vote and perpetrating violence on peaceful protesters
    early on, they have proven themselves unworthy of being in charge
    of the election, and Khamenei has forfeited any authority he may
    once have had. If the regime is to survive, he MUST step down
    willingly or otherwise and be replaced with someone who still has
    credibility.
    But it is his choice, frankly I would be just as happy if the
    abomination that is the Islamic Republic was wiped from the pages
    of history.

    Reply

  56. samuelburke says:

    check this out…founding member muravchik was at the american enterprise institute….neocon central. he also wrote this wonderful piece over at the l.a times a while back.
    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-op-muravchik19nov19,0,5419188.story?coll=la-home-commentary
    http://www.iran.org/about.htm
    The Foundation for Democracy in Iran is a private, non-profit organization established in 1995 with grants from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), to promote democracy and internationally-recognized standards of human rights in Iran. The IRS approved the Foundation’s application for non-profit status under Section 501(c)(3) in 1996.
    Biographies of Key FDI Personnel
    Nader Afshar (Chairman)
    Mr. Afshar is President of Middle East Consulting Associates, and has a Master of Science in development planning from London University, and a Master of Philosophy from the City of London Polytechnic’s School of Business Studies. Mr. Afshar has worked extensively with the United States Information Agency and the Voice of America Farsi Service.
    William Nojay
    An attorney with Hiscock & Barclay LLP, in Rochester, New York, and previously with Coudert Brothers in Manhattan, Bill Nojay brings legal and compliance expertise to FDI. During a long career of civic activism, Mr. Nojay has served as a volunteer election monitor with the International Republican Institute in Ukraine (2004) and Afghanistan (2005), and has provided pro bono assistance to pro-democracy and freedom movements in Cambodia and elsewhere. He has a JD and a Certificate in International Law from Columbia University Law School and an MBA from Columbia’s Business school.
    Kenneth R. Timmerman (President and CEO)
    The Foundation’s activities are coordinated by Kenneth R. Timmerman, a journalist and author who also served in the 103rd Congress as an aide to Congressman Tom Lantos (D, Ca). Mr. Timmerman published The Iran Brief, a monthly investigative newsletter on strategy, policy, and trade, between 1994 and 2000. His most recent book on Middle Eastern affairs is Countdown to Crisis: The Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran (Crown Forum, New York 2005). In January 2006, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2006 by former Swedish deputy premier, Per Ahlmark.
    Prior Board members:
    Joshua Muravchik (founding member)
    Dr. Muravchik has been a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute since 1987. Prior to that, he was a Fellow in Residence at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and Executive Director of the Coalition for a Democratic Majority. AEI Press published his 1991 study, Exporting Democracy, and The Imperative of American Leadership, in April 1996. His latest work, Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism, was published by Encounter Books in 2002.

    Reply

  57. WigWag says:

    …,
    In answer to your question, I refer you to the post on Froomkin a few threads down.
    The comment I made at 10:57 last night addresses your question.

    Reply

  58. ... says:

    btw wigwag, i wanted to ask you, why not get all out of joint about what a piece of crap the washington post is with krauthammer? spice it up a bit, and don’t make like a one trick pony…
    “Froomkin just recently had a somewhat acrimonious exchange with the oh-so-oppressed Krauthammer over torture, after Froomkin criticized Krauthammer’s explicit endorsement of torture and Krauthammer responded by calling Froomkin’s criticisms “stupid.” And now — weeks later — Froomkin is fired by the Post while the persecuted Krauthammer, comparing himself to endangered journalists in Venezuela, remains at the Post, along with countless others there who think and write just like he does: i.e., standard neoconservative pablum.”

    Reply

  59. ... says:

    lol… i appreciate your humour as opposed to your bullshit!

    Reply

  60. WigWag says:

    … says,
    “one wonders if steve clemons works for the cia and is only interested in fomenting more of the unrest”
    I have it on good authority from my contacts in the Mossad that Steve actually doesn’t work for the CIA but instead works for British intelligence; you know, MI-5.
    If I were you, …, I wouldn’t mess with Steve. Like agent 007, he’s been granted a license to kill.
    I’m telling you for your own good; don’t mess with Steve Clemons.
    He’s armed and he’s dangerous!

    Reply

  61. ... says:

    franklin quote : The lie has been exposed for the entire world to see. : kinda like 9-11 right? lol…

    Reply

  62. Franklin says:

    “Any loser in a democractic election could take to the streets. Gore could have certainly done it, as could Kerry and McCain. They would all have enough people to cause havoc throughout the country. But responsible leaders accept an election result (or provide credible evidence of fraud).”
    Of course, true democracies also have checks to prevent wide-spread vote fraud. In a truly open democratic system the vote count is done in the open — members from all sides are present during the counting.
    If problems arise, there is an independent judiciary.
    In the process there is also a free press.
    Iran has none of these features.
    As far as the complaints go — every single candidate in the Iranian election has complained about irregularities — except for the nominal winner. This is revealing. Over 600 complaints have been lodged.
    The vote tallies were inconsistent with polling data in advance of the election, which suggests a fairly wide-spread fraud. It’s telling too that it takes ten days to conduct a partial recount in a handful of province — yet the original hand-count was done in a matter of hours with the final result announced 1 hour after the closing of polls. Some people may be easy dupes, but not every one is stupid.
    I agree with you that more violence is likely. After all, in the U.S., political parties don’t have paramilitary factions to enforce their will. We haven’t created a quasi-SS to serve as a kind of domestic army to protect liars and cheats.
    These haven’t been necessary features in our political system, because there is genuine respect for the will of the people when it comes time to vote. Sides can cheat on the margins, but they can’t invent numbers wholesale as happened in Iran last week.
    As far as Ahmadinejad’s paper majority goes, the protests over the past week speak for themselves. The lie has been exposed for the entire world to see.

    Reply

  63. Peter Principle says:

    Steve skips option 5: civil war. This is actually implicit in his description of the new anti-militia militia taking to the streets, while the police turn a blind eye — or actively collaborate.
    The more the clerical and security establishments fracture, the less likely this is to remain simply a “political” conflict.
    And yes, that would be and Israeli and neocon wet dream come true. But that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

    Reply

  64. Dan Kervick says:

    I’m not so sure about the French Revolution analogy WigWag. So, far, the pattern is very similar to the other recent color revolutions: the Rose Revolution, the Orange Revolution and the Tulip Revolution. You have an election with a number of opposition candidates dividing the opposition against the approved regime candidate; a disputed result following the voting, accompanied by claims of fraud; an identifying color or symbol, and an escalating series of public demonstrations leading to …
    The problem is that Iran is not a tired old, retired Soviet Republic, but is itself an ideologically vigorous conservative regime led by revolutionaries commanding committed security forces. So the green revolutionaries are not going up against a cynical and tired old band of ex-commies, but a potent regime that will probably fight back hard. Today that regime made a show of strength.

    Reply

  65. samuelburke says:

    todays internal revolutions are much more sophisticated than in the 50″s and 60’s….
    and who can blame a nation like iran for being concerned that the u.s or other likeminded countries with hegemony and empire at the heart of their being would want to subvert their regimes.
    regime change is only fair play when the u.s or that shitty little country…the only democracy in the middle east says its fair.
    by the way…palestinians are protesting peacefully right now as we read and write on these blogs and i dont see anyone of you pro democracy neocons appealing for their human rights.

    Reply

  66. daCascadian says:

    The email >”…They create the havoc they’re after, ambush the thugs, use their Cocktail Molotovs, disperse and re-assemble elsewhere and then start again – and the door of every house is open to them as safe harbour — they’re community-connected.
    The Basiji’s are not….”
    Sounds to me very much like the French Resistance during WW II. Community connections are very powerful. The Basiji are in over their head.
    The email >”…These are not the students in the dorms, they’re the street young — they know the ways better than most thugs – and these young, a surprising number of them girls, are becoming more agile in their ways as each night passes on….”
    Yes, very much the French Resistance & the kind of women I value very highly.
    The email >”…Also, with $10K every local police station lock can be broken and guns taken out…the police too are crowd friendly…for sure put a gun in their hands and these young become a serious counter-balance to the Basij…”
    As in all systems out of balance there will, in time, be “adjustments” & community ties are very deep and strong.
    The “dirt & dust” obviously have their own ways & are very hard to control. May they be blessed.
    “…I remind all officials and security and military personnel that they should preserve their religion and not sell it out for the sake of others…They should consider people’s protesting children like their own, and avoid any irresponsible and inhumane confrontation [with them], and by learning from the past be aware that sooner or later those who commit unjust acts against people will be punished both in this world and the next. It is not possible in this era to hide the truth from the people by censorship and cutting off telecommunication communications between them.” – Hossein Ali Montazeri

    Reply

  67. Bill R. says:

    @Alireza
    Your pro-Khamenei line is simply not credible and not borne out by the facts and photos we have been seeing. The rioters and source of violence have been the militias and paramilitaries, trashing homes, killing citizens, damaging property, and trying to blame it on the Moussavi followers. The police, in fact, have frequently intervened to protect citizens from violence from the militias.

    Reply

  68. Alireza says:

    “If the hardliners truly believe they have the
    support of the “silent majority” they would not
    need to resort to extraordinary violent measures
    in every major city.”
    Sadly, my suspicion is that you haven’t seen extraordinary violent measures yet. Ahmadinejad’s followers have, up to now, stayed quiet. Seemingly hoping that by staying silent the passions of Moussavi’s followers would quell. But my sense is they only have so much patience, and soon Iran will erupt in a violent civil war, in which Ahmadinejad’s 63% respond with the same rioting and force that Moussavi’s 33% have been trying to use. Imagine how angry you would be if a vocal minority tried to steal an election from you, the majority.
    Any loser in a democractic election could take to the streets. Gore could have certainly done it, as could Kerry and McCain. They would all have enough people to cause havoc throughout the country. But responsible leaders accept an election result (or provide credible evidence of fraud).

    Reply

  69. ... says:

    first off – alireza thanks for the comments to which i agree to… one wonders if steve clemons works for the cia and is only interested in fomenting more of the unrest, or if it is just a coincidence who he likes to have as main commentators on his site….
    wigwag quote “Amongst the many similarities is the fact that we are witnessing not only a people-led uprising but also a significant fracturing of alliances within the ruling elite. Something similar happened during the run-up to the French Revolution in 1788…”
    another similarity that might hit too close to home is bush’s cartel which also ‘suffered a significant fracturing of the alliances within the ruling elite’, thanks largely to it’s colossal determination to go to war in iraq… (war=money)…
    the usa is a country deeply mired in debt with it’s currency and it’s ability to pay back any of its debt looking increasingly unlikely… one can assume the only way out for the usa at this point is to make war somewhere… i will leave it to the imagination of others here as to just where that would be….
    indeed, be careful what you wish for…
    and…. kudos to roger cohen once again!

    Reply

  70. Alireza says:

    Franklin,
    Perhaps by poetic justice your neighborhood will one day be engulfed by lawless rioters, and your police (who I assume will be hunted, “basij hunting” style) will treat them as you would have Iranian police treat the rioters in Tehran.
    As someone whose followed the events carefully, and who previously supported Moussavi, it’s clear that what’s happening in Tehran is an attempted coup. Not by Ahmadinejad, but by Moussavi, who is trying to use force to get what he couldn’t get at the ballot box. I am shocked by his irresponsible behavior. From his declaring victory before the polls closed, based on a supposed call from the interior ministry. To his crying wolf regarding election fraud (I have been eagerly looking for hard evidence and he has provided absolutely none, not even in his formal guardian council complaint), to his insulting propaganda. I know Moussavi is an artist, but is public adoration worth causing a violent civil war in Iran?

    Reply

  71. Peace says:

    @Franklin,
    I love the way you defended what’s just.
    Keep it up dude ! I am RE-PASTING what you posted
    above as it’s so compelling !
    ==================================================
    Chasing after people on motorcycles with clubs is
    not a form of self-defense.
    Attacking college dormitories in the dark of night
    is not a form of self-defense.
    Destroying property in neighborhoods in which they
    do not live, as the Basijis have done, is not a
    form of self-defense.
    If the Supreme Leader genuinely cared about his
    people he would not let uninformed thugs abuse the
    population.
    As far as “silent majorities” go, it’s the silent
    majority that’s marched in the hundreds of
    thousands in recent days in support of the
    opposition.
    The opposition has not needed to bus its
    supporters in from far suburbs to perform violent
    demonstrations as the hardliners have done.
    The hardliners seem to believe they can pummel the
    majority into submission and effectively silence
    them through violence.
    That may win temporary obedience, but it will
    never earn loyalty. It will never create
    legitimacy.
    If the hardliners truly believe they have the
    support of the “silent majority” they would not
    need to resort to extraordinary violent measures
    in every major city.
    ==================================================

    Reply

  72. samuelburke says:

    Who Put the ‘green’ in the Green Revolution?
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/027782.html
    June 19, 2009
    Who Put the ‘green’ in the Green Revolution?
    The United States, of course.
    As in the previous “color revolutions” that seem to tirelessly capture the romantic imagination of US journalists, elites, and the propagandized population, the warm embrace of the US empire is firmly guiding the “spontaneous” Iranian uprising against last week’s election results. While I do not and should not– nor should any other American — care in the slightest who rules a country some seven thousand miles away, when the fingerprints of the US empire show up on these dramatic events overseas it is very much my business.
    Several commentators have already dredged from the memory hole press reporting at the time on a presidential “finding” on Iran, which is the formal method for the president to initiate covert actions against another country. Back in 2007 — plenty of lead time for this election — the president met with the Congressional Star Chamber, the “gang of 8″ House and Senate leaders, and was granted the authorization to use some $400 million for among other things, as the Washington Post reported, “activities ranging from spying on Iran’s nuclear program to supporting rebel groups opposed to the country’s ruling clerics….”

    Reply

  73. Andy T says:

    I would think a fifth scenario is possible. Mousavi was not in theory opposed to the regime. Assume he has not had a Yeltsin moment. Rafsanjani manages to have Khameini replaces as Supreme Leader. The EXecutive Council has that authority. The new Supreme Leader orders a new election. Maybe Mousavi wins, maybe not. You end up with a minor coup, but the same corrupt system. The question would be whether or not the protests have moved to the level where there can be no Supreme Leader.

    Reply

  74. Franklin says:

    Bill R.,
    The Guardian article looks like mostly old news. Mousavi’s HQ were ransacked in the morning hours after the election and his senior staff have been in state custody — along with several hundred others — since last week’s vote.
    The line about Mousavi not being able to make a “direct call” to urge people to take to the streets is how all of the protests have been organized this week. Protests have been communicated by organizers and by word of mouth — not by a direct appeal from Mousavi himself.
    e.g. “Some suggest the protests will fade because nobody is leading them. All those close to Mousavi have been arrested, and his contact with the outside world has been restricted. People rely on word of mouth, because their mobile phones and the internet have been closed down. That they continue to gather shows they want something more than an election. They want freedom, and if they are not granted it we will be faced with another revolution.”
    Right now it looks like Mousavi and Khatami will be part of the Saturday protests. If they are taken into custody, I would guess that the protests will still go forward.
    The Makhmalbaf column is a kind of recap regarding the post-election period. e.g. “this is how we arrived where we currently are”.
    His point seems to be that the current opposition movement is driven by issues that are larger than just one person.
    WigWag,
    Cohen never suggested that Ahmadinejad and Khamenei were “closet democracy supporters”. He argued in favor of engagement with the Iranian state — not with the Iranian president (the president is not the final arbiter of power).
    Of course, this was all before the election. The election outcome and aftermath, of course, require a calibration.
    It’s a shame that you feel obliged to libel the man.

    Reply

  75. WigWag says:

    So did anyone get a look at what Roger Cohen had to say in the New York Times today? Is there a dumber columnist in the western world?
    I don’t know if I’ve read anything funnier in the New York Times in months.
    First Cohen says,
    “Ahmadinejad, in his customary bipolar (but tending manic) fashion, is making nice. “We like everyone,” he now says. I suppose he must mean those who are not in prison, hospital or a cemetery.”
    With all due respect, who is Cohen to accuse anyone of being bipolar?
    For months he insisted that Ahmadinejad and Khamenei were closet democracy supporters. No he never claimed they were actual democrats; his columns implied that he viewed them more like flawed but fledgling democrats like Huey Long or Richard Daley.
    Now he says,
    “Seldom was a fist more clenched than in the ramming-through of this election result. Deceit and the attempted silencing of dissent are now Iran’s everyday currency. In this city of whispers one of the whispers now is: Where is Obama?”
    For months, in column after column, Cohen assured us that while Ahmadinejad may have
    been obnoxious, he was a pragmatist more than ready for a fair deal on a grand bargain. And Cohen insisted that Iran didn’t really want nuclear weapons anyway, just a weapons capability.
    Now he says,
    “Ahmadinejad is volatile and headstrong, the interlocutor from hell, while Moussavi is steady and measured.”
    and
    “Obama should think hard about whether this ballot-box putsch is not precisely about giving Ahmadinejad and his military-industrial coterie four more years to usher Iran at least to virtual nuclear-power status.”
    I think it’s an open question whether Cohen or Ahmadinejad is the bigger manic depressive. Cohen mentioned in his column today how wrong he was about Iran; the second time in less than a week that he’s done so.
    But hey, Roger, no one believes you really mean it. It’s probably just you leaving that manic stage and entering a well-deserved depression.
    Note to the New York Times; Cohen is an idiot. Put him and all your readers out of their misery. Fire Cohen and hire Froomkin.
    I hear he’s available.

    Reply

  76. Bill R. says:

    Options are narrowing- Moussavi and his staff arrested, his offices trashed by Khamenei’s thugs.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jun/19/iran-election-mousavi-ahmadinejad

    Reply

  77. Franklin says:

    Chasing after people on motorcycles with clubs is not a form of self-defense.
    Attacking college dormitories in the dark of night is not a form of self-defense.
    Destroying property in neighborhoods in which they do not live, as the Basijis have done, is not a form of self-defense.
    If the Supreme Leader genuinely cared about his people he would not let uninformed thugs abuse the population.
    As far as “silent majorities” go, it’s the silent majority that’s marched in the hundreds of thousands in recent days in support of the opposition.
    The opposition has not needed to bus its supporters in from far suburbs to perform violent demonstrations as the hardliners have done.
    The hardliners seem to believe they can pummel the majority into submission and effectively silence them through violence.
    That may win temporary obedience, but it will never earn loyalty. It will never create legitimacy.
    If the hardliners truly believe they have the support of the “silent majority” they would not need to resort to extraordinary violent measures in every major city.

    Reply

  78. Alireza says:

    Leave it to Moussavi’s supporters to both (a) attack the police and (b) cry foul when the police defend themselves.
    What did poor Iranians do to deserve Moussavi’s thugs, who are trying to use force to get what they couldn’t get at the ballot box.
    I hope the silent Iranian majority are strong enough to come out and deal with these despicable anarchists.

    Reply

  79. seth edenbaum says:

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/KF19Ak02.html
    –Mir Hossein Mousavi, the reformist candidate challenging
    Iran’s authorities on the result of last week’s presidential
    elections, is a masterful tactician who wants to overturn the re-
    election of his rival, President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, with
    allegations of a massive conspiracy that he claims cheated him
    and millions of his supporters…
    Mousavi has lodged an official complaint with the powerful
    12-member Guardians Council, which has ordered a partial
    recount of the vote. The complaint’s main flaw is that it passes
    improper or questionable pre-election conduct as something
    else, that is, as evidence of voting fraud.
    The protest, which seeks fresh elections, is short on specifics
    and long on extraneous, election-unrelated complaints.
    The first two items relate to the televised debates that were held
    between the candidates, rather than anything germane to the
    vote count.
    There is also some innuendo, such as a claim that Ahmadinejad
    used state-owned means of transportation to campaign around
    the country, overlooking that there is nothing unusual about
    incumbent leaders using the resources at their disposal for
    election purposes. All previous presidents, including the
    reformist Mohammad Khatami, who is a main supporter of
    Mousavi, did the same.
    Another complaint by Mousavi is that Ahmadinejad had
    disproportionate access to the state-controlled media. This has
    indeed been a bad habit in the 30-year history of the Islamic
    Republic, but perhaps less so this year because for the first time
    there were television debates, six of them, which allowed
    Mousavi and the other challengers free space to present their
    points of view.
    With respect to alleged specific irregularities, the complaint
    cites a shortage of election forms that in some places caused a
    “few hours delay”. This is something to complain about, but it
    hardly amounts to fraud, especially as voter turnout was a
    record high of 85% of the eligible 46 million voters.
    (Ahmadinejad was credited with 64% of the vote.)
    Mousavi complains that in some areas the votes cast were
    higher than the number of registered voters. But he fails to add
    that some of those areas, such as Yazd, were places where he
    received more votes that Ahmadinejad.
    Furthermore, Mousavi complains that some of his monitors were
    not accredited by the Interior Ministry and therefore he was
    unable to independently monitor the elections. However, several
    thousand monitors representing the various candidates were
    accredited and that included hundreds of Mousavi’s eyes and
    ears.
    They should have documented any irregularities that, per the
    guidelines, should have been appended to his complaint.
    Nothing is appended to Mousavi’s two-page complaint, however.
    He does allude to some 80 letters that he had previously sent to
    the Interior Ministry, without either appending those letters or
    restating their content.
    Finally, item eight of the complaint cites Ahmadinejad’s recourse
    to the support given by various members of Iran’s armed forces,
    as well as Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki’s brief
    campaigning on Ahmadinejad’s behalf. These are legitimate
    complaints that necessitate serious scrutiny since by law such
    state individuals are forbidden to take sides. It should be noted
    that Mousavi can be accused of the same irregularity as his
    headquarters had a division devoted to the armed forces.
    Given the thin evidence presented by Mousavi, there can be little
    chance of an annulment of the result.—
    This is going to be resolved politically.

    Reply

  80. WigWag says:

    Several people have commented that the Iran imbroglio reminds them of the various “color revolutions” that took place in former Soviet Republics or in Lebanon two years ago. I think a better analogy might be with the French Revolution. This is especially true if scenario 4 outlined in this post turns out to be true.
    Amongst the many similarities is the fact that we are witnessing not only a people-led uprising but also a significant fracturing of alliances within the ruling elite. Something similar happened during the run-up to the French Revolution in 1788, especially in the Estates General.
    In addition, the economy of late 18th century France was far inferior to what it should have been just like the Iranian economy, despite its oil wealth, is a basket case.
    The greatest similarity between late 18th century France and early 21st century Iran is that in both instances the role of the clergy was a crucial ingredient that fostered political instability. In France, the feudal privileges of the clergy and the right of the church to levy taxes inspired real anger. In Iran, the proper role of the clergy and the way that role is expressed in civil society seems to be an important issue for the Iranians.
    Most of all, I couldn’t help but notice how much the attitude of the Supreme Leader in his speech today reminded me of Marie Antoinette and her remark, “let them eat cake.” To be fair to the French Queen, the remark was apocryphal; she actually never said it. The contempt that Ahmadinejad and Khamenei have for the millions of Iranians who disagree with them couldn’t be clearer.
    Like all fair-minded people, I have to admit that I would take some pleasure in watching Ahmadinejad and Khamenei strung up like Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu.
    But upon reflection I try to remind myself that revolutions don’t always end well and they don’t always result in the objectives that motivated them being met.
    The French Revolution consumed itself and the same thing could happen in Iran.
    I think that Dan Kervick makes an interesting point when he says that those of us who are rooting for the regime to fall should exercise a little bit more modesty.
    Perhaps we should be careful what we wish for.

    Reply

  81. questions says:

    Langston Hughes:
    What happens to a dream deferred?
    Does it dry up
    like a raisin in the sun?
    Or fester like a sore–
    And then run?
    Does it stink like rotten meat?
    Or crust and sugar over–
    like a syrupy sweet?
    Maybe it just sags
    like a heavy load.
    Or does it explode?
    ******
    I think explosions are more likely than raisins. A young population, a lot of repression, brutal images that won’t go away.
    A recent history of revolution, theological texts to mine for slogans, energy, frustration, unmoving theocrats — it does seem to lead to that last line in the poem.

    Reply

  82. Louise Mowder says:

    Considering political activity and a desire for freedom (of expression, personal behavior, and association) as systems, it is obvious that this Iranian Revolution is showing us a new model of “freedom fighting.” This model uses technology as tools for communication and planning, in ways that cannot be foreseen by higher powers. I would lay even money that young Iranians are using their Warcraft and Second Life avatars, to meet and plan real-world events in cyberspace.
    Even more important is that this Revolution is non-violent in nature. If Khamenei uses bullets and the Basiji to attempt to crush this, there will be blood shed, but it will be the end for him. He will fall like Gordon at Khartoum. The sight of millions of people marching peacefully for democracy is an image that will resonate throughout the peace-loving peoples of the world, those who are seeking freedom without wanting to have to kill to get it. This is the “New Model Army” that humans have evolved.
    Those political systems that rely on top-down pressures to keep the “masses” trapped are going to find that the Iranian methods are utilized more and more. Today it is Facebook and Twitter – tomorrow there will be new technologies used, that have been designed to elude the pursuers. Think of the myriad technological forms that file-sharing has taken over the past ten years; that progression is proof that technological intelligence, applied to a goal, eventually and always defeats the strictures that others attempt to place on it.
    Steve, what is the effect of this Second Iranian Revolution going to be on Iraq’s internal politics?

    Reply

  83. may says:

    the biter bit!
    why am i not surprised.
    the Persians seem to have spiraled round in a great big circle to the point where Mossedegh won.
    (and yes mr know-it-all murucun teevee pundit that has not been forgotten.)
    a surprising number of girls?
    pay attention.
    among far more important things that must be and will be done
    those godawful clothes have got to go.

    Reply

  84. TrueAmerican says:

    If the Iranians want liberty and freedom they must be willing to die for it. Freedom is guaranteed by the blood of patriots.

    Reply

  85. PrescienceVsSubterfuge says:

    Beautiful analysis !
    Khamenei deserves to fall ; I hope and will that he does. Flat on his face at that. For a man of God to be that myopic, bombastic, heartless, clueless ; all of the above, in the name of God, is just baffling and strangely cruel. I’m sure God can choose better representatives for himself than this specimen..
    What he and Ahmadinejad lacked in prescience — to expect an uprising at their sham–, they more than make up with the subterfuge. But to their surprise, the awakening is growing by the hour and the promise to use violent means will induce violence in the people who, till now for most parts, are being uncharateristically patient for such huge gatherings. It is about time some in that green sea adopted means to shock these despots out of their stupor !
    The ‘Basiji Hunting’ need not be spectacular. Just the fact that it starts and becomes successful in parts will ignite the fear in Basijis. Many in the 4 million will run for cover and not follow orders. It will trigger a cascading effect.
    It’s now or never for Iran, go for it ! You can do it !
    I wish Obama comes out against this much stronger than his rehearsed baritone. Obama, watch what you say — Ahmadinejad = Mussavi ? Like Bill Maher said, take a leaf out of Bush’s playbook, talk to the heads of major states and do a joint press issue and put pressure. Show some spine ! Mr. President, you cannot let this happen on your watch..

    Reply

  86. Dan Kervick says:

    I hope Mousavi has thought through strategy and next steps.
    I suspect not.

    Reply

  87. Franklin says:

    #4 The hardliners counter with an intervention by the IRGC and martial law.
    The question is — just how loyal are the IRGC? To what extent will the regular armed forces stay disengaged?
    I don’t think there’s any question that the Basij can be marginalized by the population. The introduction of regular forces though can counter irregular forces. Maybe not throughout the entire country, but they probably are sufficient to tamp down violent resistance in Tehran. The risk for the hardliners is that they likely would lose control over parts of the country.
    Either way, the best possible outcome for all involved parties is a political compromise. The opposition’s political leadership seem committed to a path of non-violence — they have thought this through.
    Unfortunately, the hardliners don’t seem to have the same amount of wisdom. Are they be willing to destroy the country in order to preserve their political power?

    Reply

  88. JamesL says:

    I was extremely disheartened to read Khamenei’s ultimatum today. It is Bush style bluff poker at its worst. The Internet is a formidible threat to hard line clerics, and the shutdown of SMS etc, and the workarounds in response are a lesson in progress on confrontations between modern peoples and governments that demand subservience.
    Dan Kervick: “The armed forces are presumably loyal to the republic and the revolution….”
    To a point. But those armed forces have families, brothers, sisters, cousins. The situation is a fast-forward real life situation like Britain began recently in a re-deployment process, asking its troops if they would be willing to fire on citizens in time of national emergency. Iranian troops might fire, at first, at strangers. But if the bloodshed is too great, and the resolve of the people is too great, the question raised in the minds of the troops will reach a tipping point where troops will refer back to their personal beliefs in the tenets of Islam itself, and their families and friends, rather than a continuation of allegiance to a cleric who does not value the life of their family and friends. Khamenei will fall or stagger forward based on his decision. But I think it is a decision he will regret.

    Reply

  89. bryan wilkins says:

    Option #4 is the most likely outcome. After all, Khamenei has been in power since 1989 and the majority population of Iran (under 30) have no stake in his future because they didnot “vote” for him.Ahmadinejad is just a puppet of Khamenei and his cabal. The population have decided to turn on them and are using the naked manipulation of the election as the trigger to act. The fear, going forward is that the clerics around Khamenei will overreact in their attempt to hold on to power and send the tanks into the streets, but who knows whether the army will fire on their own friends and families. I have a feeling, after watching crowd/riot police videos that the fraternization between the two is sympathetic.

    Reply

  90. bryan wilkins says:

    Option #4 is the most likely outcome. After all, Khamenei has been in power since 1989 and the majority population of Iran (under 30) have no stake in his future because they didnot “vote” for him.Ahmadinejad is just a puppet of Khamenei and his cabal. The population have decided to turn on them and are using the naked manipulation of the election as the trigger to act. The fear, going forward is that the clerics around Khamenei will overreact in their attempt to hold on to power and send the tanks into the streets, but who knows whether the army will fire on their own friends and families. I have a feeling, after watching crowd/riot police videos that the fraternization between the two is sympathetic.

    Reply

  91. Outraged American says:

    Lurker, I can’t see how discussing Option Four is “off-topic” Nor
    do I see how giving fellow readers of this blog valuable
    information on resources they can use to get a better picture of
    the ON-THE-GROUND situation in the Middle East distracts
    from the topic at hand, which seems to be what’s happening
    ON-THE-GROUND in Iran.
    I guess I just like to attempt to get a glimpse of the full picture,
    rather than trusting one source. As opposed to some posters
    here who are either just following the talking points on the
    latest Megaphone blast, or just genuinely not interested in
    expanding their knowledge of what is going on in the Middle
    East.
    In the latter case, I must ask, if you don’t want to know more,
    WHY ARE YOU HERE?
    BTW: Mosaic at LinkTV.org also has news from Iran. Al Jazeera
    English is also on LinkTV.org. And if you want probably biased
    news about Iran, try PressTV, which in my experience usually
    turns out to be accurate.
    BTW #2: Megaphone is Israel propaganda, complete with talking
    points, spread via the internet from a variety of pro-Israel
    groups to Israel’s supporters worldwide. Its aim is to disperse
    pro-Israel propaganda (hasbara) in the comment sections of
    blogs like this one.
    Tzipi Livni was Israel’s Foreign Minister at the time it was
    started, during Israel’s Lebanon invasion of 2006, and was
    involved in starting it, though she gave a vague denial that
    Israel’s government was involved.
    Megaphone desktop tool
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Screenshot of Megaphone Desktop Tool
    The Megaphone desktop tool is a Windows “action alert” tool
    developed by Give Israel Your United Support (GIYUS) and
    distributed by World Union of Jewish Students, World Jewish
    Congress, The Jewish Agency for Israel, World Zionist
    Organization, StandWithUs, Hasbara fellowships,
    HonestReporting, and other pro-Israel public relations, media
    watchdog, or activism organizations. The tool delivers real-time
    alerts about key articles, videos, blogs, and surveys related to
    Israel or the Arab-Israeli conflict, especially those perceived by
    GIYUS to be highly critical of Israel, so that users can vote or add
    comments expressing their support of Israel. The tool was
    released in July during the 2006 Lebanon War. An RSS newsfeed
    is available so that non-Windows users may also receive the
    Megaphone “action alerts
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megaphone_desktop_tool

    Reply

  92. TS Alfabet says:

    #4 is a good beginning, but let’s use some imagination. Remember the Berlin Wall anyone? What about the Romanian revolution? The Cedar Revolution? It is perfectly possible that this showdown could end in a new Iran, free of the theocracy and looking something like Iraq, with truly elected leaders and a secular government. No one seems to contemplate that these mass movements take on a life of their own and what started as a demand for a re-count (or re-vote depending upon who you read) is now heading towards an all-out change of government. Moussavi is either going to ride that wave and adopt the whole-scale revolt or the wave will pass him by and others will step in to provide the leadership. All that needs to happen is one part of the Revolutionary Guard to refuse orders and side with the people and the mud-slide could very well turn into an avalanche as more IRGC and Army units realize where things are headed and jump on-board the revolution. There could be a nasty fight among the reformers to determine whether there is any place left for the clerics in government (afterall, there is a significant school of Shia doctrine a la Sistani who believe in a separation of mosque and state).

    Reply

  93. sharon blackburn says:

    Please tell any Iranian who asks that we in America are watching everthing that comes from their country and our hearts are with them.

    Reply

  94. Dan Kervick says:

    On number 4: Maybe hardliners would rally around Ahamdinejad and maybe they wouldn’t. The armed forces are presumably loyal to the republic and the revolution, and answer to the Leader. If Khamenei is constitutionally replaced, much could change.
    The result would, by the way, be a constitutional change of government, not a revolution.
    But number 2 seems very possible. Mousavi may simply decide to back down.

    Reply

  95. Lurker says:

    Outraged American, you are becoming a one note Johnnie! You are
    really distracting us from the topic.
    Basiji Hunting is the topic, and Steve has just opened that up.
    Andrew Sullivan, if you ever take the time to read him, is quite up
    front about his evolution and is definitively not neocon. He even
    has our very own Steve Clemons guest blog for him and everyone
    knows that Steve has been a plague for the neocons!
    You are kinda funny though. But let’s stay on the topic please and
    stop sounding like such a looney.

    Reply

  96. Outraged American says:

    Iran destablized (option four)- now who would want that?
    Seriously, READ THE ISRAELI PAPERS. Don’t trust anyone, use
    your own eyes. The powers-that-be in Israel are not shy about
    their aims in front of their domestic audience.
    Ha’aretz, Jersusalem Post, Ynet — there are a lot of Israeli
    papers from across that political spectrum that one can read in
    English online. You can even watch Israeli news in English.
    Another great source of info is Mosaic on LinkTV ( Dish 9410)
    which is news from the Middle East translated into English.
    Mosaic is also available online at LinkTV.org.
    Do some research on Andrew Sullivan — talk about a convenient
    chameleon. Sullivan did a 180 on our second invasion of Iraq,
    which he voraciously supported, neo-con like, for a long time,
    then he supposedly came to the conclusion that it had been a
    mistake. This after hundreds of thousands of deaths and
    hundreds of billions spent.

    Reply

  97. Bill R. says:

    Excellent, Steve. I appreciate your sources and analysis.

    Reply

  98. fso says:

    steve, i agree. your commentary and blog have been invaluable.
    i fear that you won’t be able to get into iran any time soon though and know that you have been trying to go.

    Reply

  99. PoliticalBoy says:

    Steven, you have been tireless in your efforts to bring us commentary from inside Iran.
    I want to publicly commend you, Andrew Sullivan, Nico Pitney at HuffPost, the Iran Election twitterers and those posting vids on YouTube for keeping our country’s eyes open.
    I think we too often take for granted what leaders like you do.
    Thanks very much from a great fan who is very proud to know you.

    Reply

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