Sunday, June 28, 2009

More about Iran

Sigh, despite word that another street protest took place today, the news from Iran has become opaque. The theocracy seems to have succeeded in suppressing the revolt, at least for now. The question is, what is happening behind the scenes within the theocracy? That's where things become opaque. Is there a power struggle within the theocracy between reactionary and somewhat more liberal mullahs as some events seem to indicate? If so, how will that play out?

Iran is only slightly less isolated than North Korea, and as a result no one really knows. The one thing that seems clear is that the horse is out of the barn, and it's too late to close the door. Whatever the outcome, I believe that the theocracy will have to find a way to deal with the reformers. The theocracy has the absolute power granted them by the Iranian constitution. The reformers have the power of the protesters who came out by the hundreds of thousands and are still there, despite the suppression. And so the question again becomes, how will this play out?

Will the theocracy manage to co-opt the reformers? Will the reformers gain enough support within the theocracy to force a new election and perhaps even oust Ayatollah Khameini? There are way more questions than answers. That is he nature of opacity.

For now, good night.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday: Updates on Iran’s Disputed Election - The Lede Blog -

The drama in Iran continues. I highly recommend the Lede Blog from the New york Times for keeping up with events. Although it is from the Times, it offers a wide variety of posts from mainstream media as well as blog and Twitter posts from Iranians both inside and outside Iran. A great resource for continuing news from Iran.
Friday: Updates on Iran’s Disputed Election - The Lede Blog -

Now for my take on things. In Friday prayers Ayatollah Khameini explicitly proclaimed Ahmadineajad the winner of the presidential election. In this he is taking a calculated risk. Can he intimidate the reformists into stopping their protests through threats of arrest and violence? Can the protesters continue their peaceful marches in the numbers and for the time necessary to overcome those threats? I liked a quote from Mahatma Ghandi that an Iranian posted recently.

"First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. Then they fight you. Then you win."

I am even now offering up a prayer that the above quote will turn out to be as true for Iran as it did for the people of India near the end of Ghandi's life.

For now, good night.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Some random thoughts, with a point

A cynic says, expect the worst. That way you're never disappointed. Okay, but you'll never be truly happy either.

An optimist says, expect the best. It's bound to happen if only you work for it. While more to my liking, this philosophy sets you up for disappointment.

This is not, however, an either/or proposition. Somewhere in the middle lies what I call pragmatic optimism. I say, work for the best but be prepared for the worst. That way you're never disappointed and are often pleasantly surprised.

If you don't like questions though, pragmatic optimism may not be for you. In that light, consider the presidential "election" in Iran. The optimist in me says that young people taking to the streets to protest this fraud of an election might be able to affect real change. My pessimistic self says that the theocracy, i.e. Ayatollah Khameini and the other conservative mullahs, who have a firm grip on power in Iran, will never give up that power.

Sadly, this all puts me in mind of Tianamen Square in China. While China's Communist party is not a theocracy, I believe that Iran has learned a lesson from China. If Iran can give its people a measure of economic freedom it can get away with brutal suppression of democratic rights.

Now for my pragmatic side. If they are to succeed, pro democracy forces must wage a long struggle. Ironically, they may have to wage a Palestinian like Intafada. Our penchant for instant gratification will not be satisfied. If the movement is not suppressed it will take years.

Which brings me to my questions. Unlike China, Iran is not a nuclear power, yet. They obviously want to be a regional power like Saudi Arabia and Israel and I would say the dominant regional power. The odds of Israel putting up with that? I would say none.

The more hopeful if sad question is whether the pro democracy movement in Iran can maintain their momentum. That is the biggest question of all.

For now good night.

About Me

I work in health care, love books, love music, enjoy the internet, my friends, and my routine. 8-)