Monday, June 15, 2009

Iran: Win the Election, Lose the Country?

Iran's President Ahmadinejad won the recent election by an improbable lead. Ahmadinejad even carried the vote in one of the other candidate's home town. (That was Moussavi: June 13, 2009). Iranians who voted for someone else, and an impressive roll call of world leaders, say there's something fishy about the results.

But Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini apparently likes the results, as do the Revolutionary Guard, so in practical terms it doesn't matter.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is president of Iran.

Iran might not have been all that different, if Moussavi was president. In the short term, at least.
"...'At the end of the day, Moussavi has been more involved and been there from the very beginning of the revolution in a way that Ahmadinejad never was,' [National Iranian American Council president Trita] Parsi told 'CNN Newsroom' on Sunday. 'Moussavi was one of the founders of the revolution.'..." (CNN)

Young, Intelligent, Educated, Go-Getters: Not the Best Demographic to Alienate

This description of Moussavi's supporters caught my eye:
"...Moussavi's supporters were mostly young 20-something men and women. They were college students, young professionals with degrees demanding social freedom, a better way of life, and better relations with the West...." (CNN)
Moussavi might or might not have been the president these 20-somethings thought he would be. What matters, I think, is the deep impression that President Ahmadinejad's enforcers are leaving on them.
"...'To hell with Iran,' he said as he sat beaten and battered along the sidewalk. 'This is not my government. This is not my country.'..." (CNN)
A young man said that after he'd been worked over by four of Iran's riot police, and several of the Baseej, Iran's plain clothed volunteer militia.

The young man was guilty of complaining about the way the group had shoved a 14-year-old girl.

Sure: the young man may get over it, and be shouting "death to Israel, death to the great Satan America" with the best of them in a few weeks. But, he may not.

Short Term, Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollahs Won: Long Term, I'm Not So Sure

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will probably be president for another four years. At least. According to the rules in the Islamic Republic of Iran, he can run for a third term, starting with the 2017 election.

Iran's Supreme Leader is in for life, and whoever succeeds him isn't likely to have terribly different views.

So, for years - maybe decades - Iran isn't going to be all that different. As long as nothing much changes.

I think the fallout of this election may have changed something.

"...'To hell with Iran,' ... 'This is not my government. This is not my country.'.." is not what I'd like to hear an energetic young man with the guts to defy a gang of armed thugs say. Not if I was interested in keeping the Ayatollahs in power.

That young man may, as I wrote, change his mind. Many of Iran's best-educated, most intelligent, tech-savvy and motivated young people may not. That could mean real trouble for Iran's current regime.

I think President Ahmadinejad's re-election may be a Pyrrhic victory. On paper, he's the president of Iran. In the process, he and the Ayatollahs may have lost the support of people who now have reason to get not just a new president, but a new government.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.