RealClearWorld on Iran’s Big Day


revolutionary guard.jpgKevin Sullivan’s Real Clear World is aggregating some thoughtful commentary on Iran on 22 Bahman, the anniversary of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Washington Note also started the day with a great essay by Shane M., the anonymous student who reported on Iran’s electoral turmoil from Tehran though he is now back in the United States.
Real Clear World starts with an exchange with Hooman Majd, author of The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran. Majd recently spoke at a forum at the New America Foundation titled “What Does the Iranian Public Really Think?“.
The entire piece is here, but this is a snapshot:

“To some Ahmadinejad represents a break from the corruption of the past. He has also not been particularly vocal – as the Revolutionary Guards and some hard-line clerics have been – in denouncing protesters. He often says he is unhappy people are in jail and that “we are all Iranians,” which plays well amongst his supporters who may not be supportive of the brutality of the crackdown.
There is no doubt, of course, that the middle and upper-class youth who are protesting and getting arrested, beaten or killed are heroes to their peers and to Iranians outside Iran, but I’m not sure that Iranians in general, inside Iran, are viewing the issue in those terms. Society has become more polarized, and within families even there are those who support the Green Movement and those who support Ahmadinejad.”

RCW‘s next profiled commentary is from RAND Corporation’s Alireza Nader on the Iranian Green Movement, sanctions and the future of the Islamic Republic.
Here is a clip:

“The Islamic Republic has historically functioned as a system that represents various factional viewpoints; Khamenei’s support for Ahmadinejad and the rise of the fringe right, especially within the Revolutionary Guards, have disturbed this system of factional politics. The vitality of the Green Movement has also led to discord within the conservative and “principlist” political groups that have traditionally supported Khamenei. Many of these elite may now view Khamenei and Ahmadinejad as having endangered the Islamic Republic.”

— Steve Clemons


2 comments on “RealClearWorld on Iran’s Big Day

  1. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Israel’s War on Protest
    by Jonathan Cook, February 13, 2010
    The Israeli courts ordered the release this week of two foreign women arrested by the army in the West Bank in what human-rights lawyers warn has become a wide-ranging clampdown by Israel on non-violent protest from international, Israeli and Palestinian activists.
    The arrest of the two women during a nighttime raid on the Palestinian city of Ramallah has highlighted a new tactic by Israeli officials: using immigration police to try to deport foreign supporters of the Palestinian cause.
    A Czech woman was deported last month after she was seized from Ramallah by a special unit known as Oz, originally established to arrest migrant laborers working illegally inside Israel.
    Human rights lawyers say Israel’s new offensive is intended to undermine a joint non-violent struggle by international activists and Palestinian villagers challenging a land grab by Israel as it builds the separation wall on farmland in the West Bank.
    In what Israel’s daily Haaretz newspaper recently called a “war on protest,” Israeli security forces have launched a series of raids in the West Bank over the past two months to detain Palestinian community leaders organizing protests against the wall.
    “Israel knows that the non-violence struggle is spreading and that it’s a powerful weapon against the occupation,” said Neta Golan, an Israeli activist based in Ramallah. “Israel has no answer to it, which is why the security forces are panicking and have started making lots of arrests.”
    The detention this week of Ariadna Marti, 25, of Spain, and Bridgette Chappell, 22, of Australia, suggests a revival of a long-running cat-and-mouse struggle between Israel and the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a group of activists who have joined Palestinians in non-violently opposing the Israeli occupation.
    The last major confrontation, a few years into the second intifada, resulted in a brief surge of deaths and injuries of international activists at the hands of the Israeli army. Most controversially, Rachel Corrie, from the US, was run down and killed by an army bulldozer in 2003 as she stood by a home in Gaza threatened with demolition.
    Ms Golan, a co-founder of the ISM, said Israel had sought to demonize the group’s activists in the Israeli and international media. “Instead of representing our struggle as one of non-violence, we are portrayed as ‘accomplices to terror.’”
    The first entry of Israeli immigration police into a Palestinian-controlled area of the West Bank, the so-called “Area A,” occurred last month when a Czech woman was arrested in Ramallah. Eva Novakova, 28, who had recently been appointed the ISM’s media coordinator, was accused of overstaying her visa and was deported before she could appeal to the courts.
    Human rights lawyers say such actions are illegal.
    Omer Shatz, the lawyer representing Ms Marti and Ms Chappell, said a military operation into an area like Ramallah could not be justified to round up activists with expired visas. “The activists are not breaking any laws in Ramallah,” he said. “The army and immigration police are effectively criminalizing them by bringing them into Israel, where they need such a visa.”
    Officials in the Palestinian Authority (PA) have grown increasingly unhappy at Israeli abuses of security arrangements dating from the Oslo era. The PA’s president, Mahmoud Abbas, recently described the Israeli operations into Area A as “incursions and provocations.”
    Although the supreme court released the two women on bail on Monday, while their deportation was considered, it banned them from entering the West Bank and ordered each pay a $800 bond.
    The judges questioned the right of the army to hand over the women to immigration police from a military prison in the West Bank, but left open the issue of whether the operation would have been legal had the transfer occurred in Israeli territory.
    The Spanish government is reported to have asked the Israeli ambassador in Spain to promise that Ms Marti would not be deported.
    Ms Marti said they had been woken at 3am on Sunday by “15 to 20 soldiers who aimed their guns at us.” The pair were asked for their passports and then handcuffed. Later, she said, they had been offered the choice that “either we agree to immediate expulsion or that we will be jailed for six months.”
    On Wednesday, shortly after the court ruling, the army raided the ISM’s office in Ramallah again, seizing computers, T-shirts and bracelets inscribed with “Palestine.”
    “Israel has managed to stop most international activists from getting here by denying them entry at the borders,” said Ms Golan. “But those who do get in then face deportation if they are arrested or try to renew their visa.”
    The ISM has been working closely with a number of local Palestinian popular committees in organizing weekly demonstrations against Israel’s theft of Palestinian land under cover of the building of the wall.
    The protests have made headlines only intermittently, usually when international or Israeli activists have been hurt or killed by Israeli soldiers. Palestinian injuries have mostly gone unnoticed.
    In one incident that threatened to embarrass Israel, Tristan Anderson, 38, an American ISM member, was left brain-damaged last March after a soldier fired a tear-gas canister at his head during a demonstration against the wall in the Palestinian village of Nilin.
    In addition to regular arrests of Palestinian protesters, Israel has recently adopted a new tactic of rounding up community leaders and holding them in long-term administrative detention. A Haaretz editorial has called these practices “familiar from the darkest regimes.”
    Abdallah Abu Rahman, a schoolteacher and head of the popular committee in the village of Bilin, has been in jail since December for arms possession. The charge refers to a display he created at his home of used tear gas canisters fired by the Israeli army at demonstrators.
    On Monday, the offices of Stop the Wall, an umbrella organization for the popular committees, was raided, and its computers and documents taken. Two coordinators of the group, Jamal Juma and Mohammed Othman, were released from jail last month after mounting international pressure.
    The Israeli police also have been harshly criticized by the courts for beating and jailing dozens of Israeli and Palestinian activists protesting against the takeover of homes by settlers in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
    Last month, Hagai Elad, the head of Israel’s largest human rights law center, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, was among 17 freed by a judge after demonstrators were detained for two days by police, who accused them of being “dangerous.”


  2. JohnH says:

    It sounds like we’re getting opinion pieces representing a more nuanced understanding of the situation in Iran.
    Let’s hope a more nuanced diplomatic approach will result.


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