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Where is Iran Headed? 10, September 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Iran.
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…is an interesting article on the Tehran Bureau website about, as you might expect, Iran’s trajectory after the recent election debacle. Whilst it’s quite long and in-depth, it’s worth the read. The conclusions are not hopeful.

…in the view of many, the political establishment is neither Islamic nor a republic…The hardliners have made it increasingly difficult for many of the conservatives to support them.

So, in summary, here is where the author believes the Islamic Republic is headed: A situation in which the fissures at the top become even deeper, as the hardliners’ circle of ‘insiders’ become increasingly smaller, while at the same time, the anger and frustration of the people rapidly grows.

Unless the hardliners somehow decide to retreat and undertake deep and lasting reforms, the nation is moving toward a confrontation between the unarmed, but determined majority of the people, and the highly armed small minority that the hardliners represent.

Iran Debate 9, September 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Iran.
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This is an excellent debate at the Carnegie Endowment with, amongst others, Ali Ansari discussing what America’s reaction to Iran should be.

US support for Mousavi 20, June 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations, Iran.
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Thank God that McCain is not in the White House. Of course, were he there, maybe he’d act differently. Yet his call for Obama to offer some kind of support for the protesters on the streets would be, as Michael Collins Dunn simply summarises, devastating for Mousavi’s movement.

Any open support the US offers, other than the cautious sort of comments made so far by Obama, could be used by the regime against the protesters. Being able to paint Mousavi and his backers as American puppets — and Ahmadinejad is trying hard to do that — would guarantee the outcome. We’re the “Great Satan,” remember? And Mousavi was Foreign Minister and Prime Minister in the days of Imam Khomeini himself: his approach has been to call for returning to the principles of the revolution, not to the policies of the monarchy.

I’m not talking here about private citizens: Bloggers who change their website color to green in empathy, for example, or the Twitter posters who last night were urging others to change their location and time zone to make it appear they were in Iran, in order to confuse the security forces trying to track down tweeting Iranians. What I’m talking about is any open governmental support such as McCain and others seem to be calling for. That would be precisely the wrong thing to do.

It is not far from terrifying to think that someone so close to the White House would or even could countenance such a reaction. It just seems so startlingly obvious that to support them would offer Ahmadinajad such a staggeringly open goal and a guaranteed way to sink any (slim) hope that Mousavi has. Anyone heard of ‘the Great Satan?’ Ring any bells? To castigate someone as being US supported in Iranian politics is about as bad as it gets. To be openly supported at this stage by an American administration would just be suicidal. I realise that I am saying the same thing over and over again, but, it’s just such a ridiculous and worrying idea that I feel i must emphazise and then emphasize and then over emphazise just how bad and idea it is.

Iran election comment round up 16, June 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Iran.
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Here is a round up of the best of the analysis of the Iranian election shenanigans:

– As usual Michael Collins Dunn offers a sage eye weighing up both sides over at the MEI blog.

Arab Media Shack and the Washington Post caution people against assuming a coup of some description simply because Ahmadinejad is not the West’s favorite leader. Overall though, I disagree with their interpretation.

– Juan Cole on the election and a rebuttal to the Washington Post’s conclusions.

– Gary Sick with an excellent overview.

– Brian Ulrich – always worth a read.

– And another link to Eskandar Sadeghei’s take on it all.

Iran election farce 16, June 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Iran.
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Do read this commentary by an extremely able PhD student friend of mine on the recent Iranian election debacle. As you’ll read, it is clearly as insightful as anything you’ll read in the media more generally.