by FG

Iran's extremist mullahs are now hinting at a ban on pro-Ahmadinejad candidates as the only way to save themselves from an impending election disaster. It too will have undesirable consequece: 1. Ahmadinejad voters will then join the boycott; 2. Other voters upset with a "Bad Mullahs Only" choice may do the same 3. So will any voters whose remaining illusions about fair elections suffered a "last straw" blow from the Guardian Council. So let's look at all voters to see who has reason to show up and who does not:

REFORMERS: After two years of horrific crimes, few voters still believe the Islamic Republican can ever be reformed or allow free, open and honest elections. Yes many Iranians have defected from the Greens but only to join the next category. That's hardly good news for the regime, is it? Dreamy types who haven't made the switch may either stay home sulking over the Great Theft of 2009 or show up and vote "Lesser of Two Evils" unless Ahmadinejad's faction is banned. Any reformers bearing Jannati's imprimatur are seen as jokes who obviously run only to help the mullahs divert votes that would otherwise go to to Ahmadinejad's faction.
"REGIME MUST GO" TYPES definitely won't show up. They now constitute the majority of the population as even the regime implicitly recognizes. You see realistic fears in the extremes to which Khamenei goes to stifle dissent and prevent free, open and honest elections.

ECONOMICALLY OPPRESSED WORKERS: No matter who gets elected, they have no future prospects for a better life so long as the Islamic Republic exists. Why vote?

THE MULLAHS AND THEIR RELATIVES: Split decision Many despise Khamenei and the thuggish clerics around him. That includes the Khoumeini family and Khamenei's own brother.

MEMBERS OF THE SECURITY FORCES: Split decision. The Basilj will show and vote for the Wost of Two Evils (the mullahs). So will high officers in the security forces. But the rank-and-file, who voted for Mousavi last time and got screwed along with everyone else. Why would their love of the mullahs have grown since?

THE BLINDLY PIOUS AND ILLITERATE: This dwindling segment of the population is the sole element that the mullahs can still rely on. It isn't enough.


more from FG

In the dark, cramped

by vildemose on

In the dark, cramped alleyways of Sunni neighborhoods, volunteers go from door to door, seeking $10 donations to help support the growing list of families whose breadwinners have been killed, wounded or disappeared.

In one area where fighting is fierce, volunteers flip through a thick book where they write down the names of families in need. "Just going through four or five streets, we collect a hundred names," says one of them. They quickly make the rounds through the crumbling cement block homes, passing out envelopes with cash -- between $50 and $90 dollars

FG: Riveting account of start of a major civil war. thanks.



“It’s not enough that faith claims to be the solution to all problems,” he wrote in Slate in 2009 after a Danish newspaper apologised for publishing cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. “It is now demanded that such a preposterous claim be made immune from a


Trenches and fear divide heart of Syria protest

by FG on

This report from Reuters is outstanding.  It gives a good idea of what life is like what a brutal regime pushes people into civil war because they have no other choice.




FG: I usually agree with

by vildemose on

FG: I usually agree with your inductive reasonings and educated generalizations. Yes, they might not always prove to be right but the the reasoning/induction process are certainly robust.


“It’s not enough that faith claims to be the solution to all problems,” he wrote in Slate in 2009 after a Danish newspaper apologised for publishing cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. “It is now demanded that such a preposterous claim be made immune from a


response to Bahram:

by FG on

RE: "I simply want to know
the bases for your analysis. Do you have facts to back up your
assertions, or do you speculate about these very critical issues?"

The answer is "a bit of both."  I take known facts (where the economy is going, past regime patterns, present tendencies visible among different factions) and from them reach what seem common sense conclusions.

In some cases (conclusions about the extent of mullah unpopularity) the regime refuses access to direct evidence so one must rely on indirect evidence.  Obviously the least probable deduction from the population's silence after two years of brutal intimidation is that offered by regime apologists (that the silence "proves" increased approval). 

My conclusions do take into account natural human reactions to oppression.  Anything less than sullen animousity would be bizarre.  I consider the implicit "evidence" in the regime's own extreme behavior--a virtual confession that the regime has reached the same conclusion as most outsiders regarding the extent of its unpopularity.

Finally, take into account economic conditions, including harsh prospects for the young who make up most of Iran's population, etc., stolen satellite antennas, "collateral damage" and you'd must ask, "What's to like?"

That pressures on Ahmadinejad and his supporters are being increased as election approaches is a fact.  What is suggests is growing panic among the mullahs.   The past use of the Guardian Council to prevent unwanted victories by  popular factions is also established fact.  So are recent calls for such vetting by outspoken Khamenei supports recently.

The regime's originally belief was that it could control elections results without resorting to vetting.  That conclusion was based on two assumptions that did not work out:

1. Ahmadinejad and his supporters could be pressured into line.  (Mahmoud has been bulldog stubborn). 

2. Bitter ex-reformers could "get over" 2009 and subsequent brutality by using the same old tricks that worked prior to that election.  If so, the  presence or ex-reformers (a more accurate term now than reformers) would suck votes away from Ahmadinejad.  This assumption also ignored a growing "Lesser of Two Evils" outlook.

The mullahs now have two choices: 1. Allow Ahmadinejad's faction to win. 2. Prevent it.  Do I really need to interview potential Ahmadinejad supporters to ask if they'd vote when their favorite candidates are eliminated?  Or their potential reactions to any large scale Election Day vote rigging?

In 2009 the regime had a third option, now unavailable, which looks in retrospect far better than the two choices Khamenei has now.  Whichever way the mullahs go, the downsides are scary.  

Problems will be confounded further if the economy continues to drop (especially if the EU adds an oil boycott to sanctions).  Throw in the prospect of weather which will just start becoming warmer.  One big unknown is how far the regime can depend on rank-and-file security forces with either reformist or Ahmadinejad sympathies after pulling another fast one.


Bahram G

Your assertions

by Bahram G on

I am not disputing the things you say, mind you. I simply want to know the bases for your analysis. Do you have facts to back up your assertions, or do you speculate about these very critical issues? Again, I would like to know on what bases your arguments are presented.


The Shiite Saddam

by FG on


TOP GOON: Diaries of of A Little Dictator in 15 episodes

by FG on

Now here's a great model for Iranians:

Love the title.  It was devised by Syrian protestors but may inspire an Iranian adaptation. 

Of course
doing so would be difficult in Iran itself but Iranians abroad could
surely adapt their own version using actors of equal talent and
distribute in Iran via You Tube or DVDs.   I'm sure Khamenei deserves a
copy to better understand how people see him.



Consider this observation

by FG on

In April...I argued that the President's enemies would prefer to contain him
rather than go the final step of dismissing him before the end of his
term. I still think that is the case --- the Damocles' Sword of
threatened impeachment may be more effective than going through the
process --- but, if the Supreme Leader's camp is increasingly worried
that the President may score a big success in March's Parlimentary
elections, the situation may change.

--Scott Lucas of Enduring America commenting on Parliament's recent petition to question Mahmoud for possible impeachment. 

FROM FG: The petition received enough signatures to force Mahmoud's attendance this time.   No Ahmadinejad = no Ahmadinejad candidates for Majlis. 

Whether Ahmaddinejad is allowed to complete his bogus term or not, I can't see the Guardian Council permitting his supporters to run if their victory looks highly probable.