Tuesday, June 30, 2009

'Let the Earth bear witness'

Requiem for a revolution
Pepe Escobar, Asia Times: What happened was the cementing of a dictatorship by the mullahtariat supported by the military... The army -- the IRGC -- didn't support the people. And the bazaari merchants and the oil and gas industry workers didn't go on strike...

From now on, civil disobedience will be key, from silent protests to strikes. The sound of 'Allah-O-Akbar' will be echoing from the rooftops for days and weeks and months. When Khamenei sided with Ahmadinejad, he shelved his cloak of supreme arbiter and turned into a gang leader. The social contract between millions of Iranians and the revolution was broken. In the long run, there will be blood, yes -- and there will be resistance. Iran is a very sophisticated society. There can be no turning back. But it will be a long and winding road.

So in the end there was neither reform nor revolution... But as Irish poet William Butler Yeats said, 'Let the Earth bear witness'; those that lived -- and will continue to live -- the dream of a better Iran should not and will not be forgotten.

Washington Post: At a small gathering in the house of an Iranian writer, people appeared resigned about the news. 'What difference was the council going to make?' one young woman asked a group of depressed-looking friends. No one offered an answer. Instead, people listed colleagues who have been arrested since the election. 'Why would they bring him in?' one man said of a journalist who was picked up in recent days. 'I don't care if I am next,' another man said defiantly... The uncertainty of the future dominated the conversation... Some talked about spending time in the countryside. Others were thinking of leaving Iran altogether... 'Things are going to change very rapidly from now on, for the worse.'

Bloomberg: Iran's Revolutionary Guards may be among the biggest winners... Guards officials may now cement their economic power... They already control more than 100 companies in the construction, real estate and energy industries... [The Guards'] influence has grown under Ahmadinejad, himself a guards veteran... Eight of the 21 posts in the president's cabinet are held by former members... At least one-third of Iran's parliament members are former guards... The organization is not monolithic. Though senior commanders picked by Supreme Leader Khamenei remain loyal, there are 'real fissures' between them and former members who favor better ties with the West.

Gary Sick, The Daily Beast: The Revolutionary Guards have been granted extraordinary influence over all functions of the Islamic republic -- military, political, economic, and even Islamic... The Guards themselves and companies run by the Guards have won major contracts in every corner of the economy, from airport construction to telecommunications to auto manufacturing. They have also allied themselves with some of the most conservative clerics... This is a formula for the kind of militarized and nationalist corporate state under a single controlling ideology that is not dissimilar to fascist rule in an earlier day. LIke fascism, it defines itself not only in terms of its own objectives but even moreso by what it opposes.
Image source here.