Monday, June 22, 2009

What I'm NOT Hearing About Iran

One can get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information coming out of Iran. Pages of twitter posts, e-mails, etc. The news channels are putting anyone on the air who has even the remotest connection to the situation to offer their thoughts. But a lot tends to be speculation and advocacy--not hard facts.

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?

Nick, there is Michael Eisenstadt's column in the Sunday Jerusalem Times which has some interesting speculations, based on structure of the Iranian security forces and recruitment, but no hard data.
I wouldn't trust any comment in the Sunday Jersualem time as far as I could pee.

No hard data, just desk-based opinions.
The Guardian is reporting that the Guardian Council sees no reason to overturn the election results and that Ahmadinejad is to be sworn in as president by August. Doesn't look like they are split.
Interesting comment over at the New York Times "The Lede", that the bazaaris (business figures) aren't backing any revolution ...
Iran election fraud claims analyzed at
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