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Police on the run – which way?

Fusing together the increasingly heavy and repressive hands of the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei government, figure-headed by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, coupled with the death on December 22 of  Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri and the subsequent massive gathering for his funeral, leading directly into the day of Shura, one of traditional mass religious gatherings there, but which owing to heavy governmental suppression by basiji forces resulted in numerous deaths, the Iranian situation appears to have spun out of control.  It would appear the government is near collapse, though one can anticipate a final spasm or two of police-state behavior: the declaration of marshal law, a few assassinations, attempts to make mass round-ups of so-called traitors/dissidents and all the usual language of political power at its end.

For some background in these pages, see this, this and this.  For a good amount, along with links to many other sources, see the NY Times blog, The Lede, which updates matters as they are reported.

Injured basiji being protected from further damage

Basiji motorbikes


Given the structure of Iran’s social and political systems I’d guess somewhat soon the imams controlling the religious side of the coin will hold some mode of conference, and inform Khameini that his pipeline to divine wisdom is evidently faulty and he’s being given the boot.  Having lost his patron, Ahmadinejad will either have to find support solely in the worldly forces of the basiji and military (though it is not so clear these two get along, as they apparently squabble about the same material things and who gets to control/own them), or bow out.  Or be kicked out for having mismanaged the entire matter.  It will come down to an end-game of whether the military-basiji consortium wants to play hard-ball further, or whether seeing which way the wind is blowing, they take their licks and toss in the towel.   My guess is that after a few more huffs and puffs, and after the last few days of events inflate the public protests to far greater levels, not only in Tehran, but in other cities and smaller, more rural towns, some wiser heads will prevail and once the dust settles, a far more moderate clergy will take the reins, and a grouping of the political opposition will take over.

In turn Iranians can perhaps look forward to a more moderate climate, perhaps a shift away from Ahmadinejad’s rabid attempts at nationalism cloaked in Islamic garb.  Perhaps.  Meantime back in the Big Satan, I note that on some blogs there are those who berate Obama for not stepping loudly to the plate in support of those on the streets in Iran.  Those doing so seem the usual yahoo’s unaware of America’s long role in Iran, and the feelings that engendered there.  Obama is playing it smart keeping as quiet as circumstances allow.  Iranians should resolve Iranian matters on their own.  Would that America would similarly mind itself in many other areas…

Earlier this week in Tehran


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