Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Another friend on Iran

A bit more about what's happening in Iran. Here are some notes from Dawoud, a friend of mine who studies the history of the region:
"Iran is shaky right now- this is hard for a lot of Americans to get, but the amount of violence and unrest going on right now is close to actual rebellion, not just protest- whether or not it gets to actual revolution will depend on how much we are doing (and can get away with) behind the scenes. Iran's democratic system since the early 80's has actually worked pretty well for the majority of Iranians up to this election, with very little in terms of fraud, and it is considered by many Iranians to be better than the Shah's former regime. I would not be surprised if things get worse before they get better, and you can bet that the US is clandestinely involved. Student protesters were shot today- and I do not believe that has happened since the Shah was in power, so the seriousness of the power struggle has increased. What happens next will depend a lot on the popularity of this rebellion- we paid for the street gangs in 1953, but 1979 happened with student support, and despite Carter's backing of the Shah (and w/ critic's insistence that he didn't do enough), so I think that when it comes to Iran, we have proven to be better at overthrows than we are at propping up, so let's wait and see."
Note: Obviously, I have no idea if the US is clandestinely involved. This is my friend's take on the situation. Honestly, I have no thoughts on that matter. Ask me about France! I would agree with him that the US needs to take a wait and see approach. Also that we're talking about a rebellion, not a revolution or a few protests.
"Khomeini usurped the 1979 revolution, which began as a popular rebellion, and many Iranians know this too well, but that still doesn't mean that they want us to overtly overthrow their democratic Islamic system- especially after what we did in 1953... The Mossadegh regime in the 50s was actually closer to European Social Democracy, but it made the mistakes of tolerating the Tudeh (Iranian Communist) party & including it in its governing coalition... So basically, the domino theory led to our fucking up their system & turning the Shah into a pro-capitalism dictator, who "dissappeared" political opponents, shot students, and whose secret service (SAVAK) tortured women, children and venerable old religious figures (many of whom have been, and are currently, on the Guardian Counsel). Most Iranians may very well still consider these men to be venerable religious figures, so we shouldn't expect a quick overthrow like what happened to the Shah- this will be much bloodier if it happens. Thousands of former revolutionaries were killed during the purges following the revolution- much like in France and Russia (in fact these three are the only "real" revolutions I can think of) - and the US has been training some of the leftist exiles (actually, leftist-Muslims) from that time- the Mojahideen-E-Khalq- since shortly after our invasion of Iraq in '03 & Iran has accused us repeatedly of using them clandestinely within its borders since about that time (which we most likely have been doing)."
Again, I don't know anything about the MEK or if they've been operating in Iran. But, again, there's not a Persian alive who doesn't know about 1953, which is why the US really needs to stay out of things now. I'm not sure that people get this, but if the US comes down strongly in support of the protesters, the protesters will be automatically de-legitimized.

Anyway, that's the only news for now. If anyone reading this has more first-hand information, feel free to share it here.


Min said...

This whole thing reminds me of the South Korean student protests.. They were bloody and it took a really long time for the military dictators to loosen their grip. I really hope the Iranian people overthrow the religious dictators that's ruining their country.

rufus said...

That's a good comparison. I've sort of been thinking of the early Solidarity strikes in Poland, like around 1980. Although I suppose in the end Lech Wałęsa was asking for a lot more than these protesters are. I get the feeling that these students are pushing for... well, glasnost and perestroika, basically!