Monday, June 22, 2009
What I'm NOT Hearing About Iran
TWR readers--if you have links to sources I'm missing--fill me in. What I'm not reading about is probably the intelligence deficit that is also besetting the White House and may be guiding the cautious reaction of the administration.
1) Police defections? Any evidence that police are not carrying out their missions; that units have refused orders to disperse demonstrators?
2) Mood of the army. Do most soldiers feel that they too "were robbed" in the elections, or do most think that Ahmadinejad is the rightful victor? Are they prepared to carry out instructions from the government?
3) The "behind the scenes" talks. We get some leaks that indicate that the clerics on the Guardian Council and the Expediency Council are divided; that there are differences of opinion as to how to proceed. I saw reference to one Al-Arabiya report that said some clerics were mulling the idea of "collective rule" as opposed to continuing to follow the guidance of the Supreme Leader, but others said this report was suspect.
4) Key economic sectors. Any strikes or work slowdowns by the oil industry in response? Roads being blocked? "Blue flu" especially among the police?
Protests are the energy behind any "color revolution" but what makes them successful in the end is when the security services say they will be neutral and key elites negotiate the terms of change--as happened in Georgia and Ukraine and Lebanon.
A final note: how much has Musavi really "changed"? His appeal last week calling on protestors to see the basijis and the Revolutionary Guards as their brothers who defend the revolution doesn't suggest that if he came to power, there would be major changes in store. Sure, he seems more pragmatic, more likely to negotiate and ocmpromise--but would he really change course 180 degrees?
No hard data, just desk-based opinions.