Tuesday, June 23, 2009

'The process is slow -- but certain'

Roger Cohen, NYT: The Islamic Republic has been weakened. Why? I see five principal factors. The first is that the supreme leader's post -- the apex of the structure conceived by the revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini -- has been undermined. The keystone of the arch is now loose...

The second is that the hypocritical but effective contract that bound society has been broken. The regime never had active support from more than 20 percent of the population. But acquiescence was secured by using only highly targeted repression (leaving the majority free to go about its business), and by giving people a vote for the president every four years.

That's over. Repression will be broad and ferocious in the coming months. The acquiescent have already become the angry. You can't turn Iran into Burma. The resistance of a society this varied and savvy will be fierce.

The third is that a faction loyal to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, fiercely nationalistic and mystically religious, has made a power grab so bold that fissures in the establishment have become canyons...

The fourth is that Iran's international rhetoric, effective in Ahmadinejad's first term, will be far less so now. Every time he talks of justice and ethics, his two favorite words, video will roll of Neda Agha Soltan's murder and the regime's truncheon-wielding goons at work. The president may prove too much of a liability to preserve.

The fifth is that, at the very peak of its post-revolution boom, the regime has lost a whole new generation -- and particularly the women of that generation -- by failing to adapt.

Christiane Amanpour: The women have been a very dominant factor in Iran throughout the ages. It sounds counterintuitive because in some instances, in the court of law, no matter what law we're talking about -- criminal, divorce, inheritance, child custody, etc. -- women count for only half of a man. But in society women have been very strong, and women have had a much more vibrant, participatory role in Iran than in any other of the countries around that region... And ever since the beginning, 30 years during the revolution, women were out on the streets en masse. Because it then became an Islamic society, traditional men could not keep the women out of the public sphere anymore, couldn't keep their girls from going to school, because now it was an Islamic society and there was no reason to do that. So now 65 percent of university students are women. Women are in all sorts of spheres of professional endeavor.

A series of recent tweets by persiankiwi:
At Friday prayers last wk Khamenei named Rafsanjani -- it is very unusual to name anyone at Friday prayers. Rafsanjani is head of Guardians who appointed Khamenei -- He has power to remove him too. During elections ANejad attak reputation of Rafsanjani on behalf of Khamenei. Rafsanjani is possibly most powerful man in Iran -- he has support of army and many of Revolutionary Guard. Ppl of Iran know that Rafsanjani opposes Khamenei and ANejad -- there is a bit division between them for past 10yrs. Until today Rafsanjani has remained silent about elections fraud in Iran -- this silence is v/important.

Rafsanjani is waiting 4 Gov to show world extent of their suppression of ppls. Rafsanjani is also waiting for wave of support to grow both in & out of country. Rafsanjani is slowly eroding support for Khamenei from behind scene. Rafsanjani is standing back to see who is who -- who support who -- to see who is trusted. Rafsanjani is allowing Revolutionary Guard commanders to choose their side -- with ppl or against -- trusted or not. When all positions clear -- Rafsanjani has the military, financial & clerical power to mobilise. The process is slow -- but certain -- when Rafsanjani speaks -- he will be heard.
Image source here.