Iranian meltdown? *UPDATE*

I’m too ill-informed to opine intelligently on what’s going on in Iran right now.  I know the election was not a free election, because the Mad Mullah’s hand-selected four candidates.  I know Obama was either naive or evil to suggest otherwise.  I know that the outcome was almost certainly a foregone conclusion (the Mullahs wanted Ahmadinejad to win).  And I know that the Iranian people have arrived at a pivotal moment.

In 1979, that pivotal moment meant a complete regime change, and perhaps this pivotal moment will too.  I’m not too optimistic, though, because I’m unaware of either a clear ideology or a recognized figurehead driving the change.  The Iranian people are mad that even their rigged election was then faked, but they’re not coherent.

It was different in 1979.  Back then, the regime change had an ideology in Islamism, and a figurehead in the person of Ayatollah Khomeni.  This time, the outraged Iranians are a giant body, without a head.  I think it’s that headless quality that leads those who pay attention to these things to fear that this will be a Tienanmen moment, where people rise up but, without anything more than frustration backing them, collapse again when the government brings in its tanks.

Nevertheless, as with Tienanmen, maybe the people are planting seeds.  China is certainly not a free country, but it did change after 1989.  From that moment forward, the party leaders embarked upon the interesting experiment of a totalitarian, ostensibly communist dictatorship with a semi-capitalist economic model. My sense is that the country is still more oppressive than anything a free people could countenance, but that it is a more free country than it was before.

Perhaps something wonderful will come out of what’s happening in Iran.  Perhaps the people will break free of the chains that have bound them for 30 years.  Or perhaps they’ll rattle the cage so much that the powers that be are forced to change, albeit slightly more slowly than with a turn-on-a-dime revolution.  Or (and this is the bad thing) perhaps the Mad Mullahs will clamp down with such iron fists that the concept of freedom in Iran will die for another 30 years — and we will continue to fear the time bomb planted within such easy reach of so much of the free world.

Two more things.  First, if you’re interested not just in the facts, but in understanding those facts, I can’t do better than to recommend ThreatsWatch.Org.  My friend Steve Schippert is keeping an especially close eye on things in Iran and his insights are first rate.  He’s also alive to the human moments, as with this picture of a woman engaged in an extraordinary act of bravery.  He’s also a little optimistic:  “Follow the women of Iran. For, as go the women of Iran, so will go the men. For they will be the barometer of revolution.”  Wouldn’t it be nice if, in a Muslim corner of the world, women could lead the charge?

Second, I was wondering how many revolutions (or attempted revolutions) have played out in years ending in “9.”  The French Revolution began in 1789, the German revolution creating the Weimar Republic began in 1919, the Iranian Revolution began in 1979, the collapse of the former Soviet Union and the Tienanmen uprising were in 1989, and this moment of Iranian fury is taking place in 2009.  There are also a lot of “8” years.  Revolutions swept across Europe in 1848 and again in 1968.  Is there something about the end of a decade that fires people up?

UPDATE:  Terresa, who blogs at Noisy Room and is the moving spirit behind Media Mythbusters, provides links to a handful of photos showing fighting in the streets of Iran:

I remember 1979.  Will my children remember 2009?
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    Excellent link and will revisit this site. The photo took my breath away and the photographer deserves some credit for the risk as well.

    And from the same site…..

    Minnesota teen killed in Somalia appears killed by fellow terrorists. Man became ill with malaria, planned to return to US. Was shot in head as al-Qaeda group likely suspected he would be a risk back in US.

    Al-Qaeda health care reform?

    In this case, I approve the treatment.


    The door for possible compromise was closed by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He could have used his near-limitless powers to intervene in the election dispute. But, in a message on state TV, he urged the nation to unite behind Ahmadinejad, calling the result a “divine assessment.”

  • Zhombre

    This insurrection in Iran has been brewing for a long long time. I recall reading reports a couple of years ago, English translations from Italian sources, about student riots and even the murder of an overbearing mullah in a small city. Again, we have the abject failure of the American media to give any kind of context or even report on events in a country the plays a critical role in the Middle East and is one of our primary adversaries. Our MSM spins on its New York-Washington axis, kisses up to Obama, disdains Republicans, and is effectively clueless about current events, foreign or domestic. I’m surprised they are not spinning Iran as a form of Persian Tea Party, a pack of losers throwing a tantrum over losing the election.

  • aritai

    Seems that with all the expats and post 9/11 growth in our human (and technical) intelligence resources (as well as our allies overseas efforts), Mr. O. has to have good to excellent information about what’s happening in Iran.

    This can’t be a surprise. What does he know that we don’t – why is he giving aid and comfort to the dictators and their murdering ways v. supporting a velvet revolution? The administration appears to have supported freedom in Lebanon. Why not at least a half-step in Iran? Why not publish the truth as our intelligence professionals know it rather than accept Bahgdad Bob’s propaganda?

  • Ymarsakar

    The administration appears to have supported freedom in Lebanon.

    When support consists of smiling and standing by while dong nothing, that’s easy. In the case of Iran, “support” will require a bit more effort than that.

  • SGT Dave

    Support may be as simple as not letting the Turks and Iranians curb-stomp the Kurds for sending help to their cousins in north Iran. Or by continuing to turn a blind eye to the cross border smuggling between Iran and Iraq (going the other way, now…).
    There is a large pot on the fire; it has been bubbling for a time. The middle-aged remember the halcyon days gone by and the youth have listened to enough stories to recognize that the theocracy has failed to deliver. Liberte, egalite, fraternite! Down with the theocrats! Vive l’Iran! Are we looking at the next Revolution? And what will non-interference do? I’m watching closely – and waiting.

    SSG Dave
    “First, the people must rise. Then the military must either collude with them or simply not stop them. The police are not enough and fear has already failed if they have risen. Beware the honorable soldier – he will not shoot his fellow citizen for merely standing.”

  • Ymarsakar

    Heh, it seems the only people that ever talk about “curb-stomping” are people in the military.