Nonetheless, Ms Slavin is entirely right to point to internal conflict, which is enormous, and has to do with the survival of the regime, not with the Revolutionary Guards (taken to be a solidly unified bunch) vs the pols. The wonderful blog, homylafatte, recounts a recent episode in which the Basij commander got angry at the Tehran traffic control chief, Hojjatollah Behrouz, at a crisis meeting on Tuesday, December 1, when Behrouz said it would be impossible to prevent demonstrators from blocking traffic on Student Day. The Basij general shot the poor bureaucrat in the foot and sent him to the hospital…
It is hard to put the entire country in chains and still claim divine legitimacy, as Green leader Mir Hossein Mousavi intoned in a powerful public statement today. To the discredited regime, he says,
(You) insist that the people have been quieted and only students are left; and in universities it is only Tehran [that is vocal], and in Tehran it is only the mother universities that express themselves; and in those the centre of movement are a few non-local youths. If we expel them from the dormitory and sentence them to a ban from education, then the story is finished.
OK! You did all this, then why isn’t the story over?
Student movements are signs of realities greater than themselves.
And that is indeed the point. The regime is facing an enormous mass movement, not just a handful of intellectual kids. The “enemies” of which the supreme leader speaks are all around him, and his closest allies are now making deals with the regime’s gravediggers, taking out insurance against the day when the Islamic Republic finally falls. Khamenei hears their voices every night, calling from the rooftops. “Canons, guns, Basiji, prison, torture or execution; has no effect on us anymore.”
Remember Pearl Harbor.