Showdown at the Tehran Corral
On Saturday, as reported on Mousavi’s Facebook page, “A new era of censorship has started following the statement by National Security Council (headed by Ahmadinejad) which banned all the domestic press from reflecting any news regarding Mousavi, Karoubi or the disputed presidential election! This has been confirmed by three reformist newspapers.”
In good Soviet fashion, Mousavi and Karroubi have been declared “non-persons.” And the “elections,” which really were non-elections all along, have been put on the Iranian Index. Within minutes, millions of bloggers, tweeters and facebookers had the news, and were accordingly talking about Mousavi, Karroubi and the elections.
This is the latest move by a regime that fears time is working against it, and, at least for the moment, the big showdown is now scheduled for next Friday, “Quds (Jerusalem) Day,” on which a monster demonstration has been called by the followers of the two non-persons to protest you-know-what.
Friday is always an important day for public political rhetoric, and yesterday Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei gave a very tough sermon at Friday Prayers in Tehran. It was the mirror image of Mousavi’s warning of increased violence on the part of the regime. Khamenei warned that the only legitimate topic for demonstrations on that date will be Palestine. So if anybody shows signs of caring about Iran, the regime thugs will crack down on them.
Last night the chants from the rooftops of Tehran were louder than ever. And so the regime has decided to go all-out to assert its power. They have already arrested some of the top aides to Mousavi and Karroubi, and several leading bloggers sympathetic to the opposition. A story during the week quoted Rafsanjani as saying that an arrest order for Karroubi--who has been vigorously demanding full disclosure of the horrendous treatment of demonstrators in the regime's prisons--has already been issued and can be carried out any time. However, most good analysts do not believe that the regime would arrest the dissident leaders until Ahmadinezhad has made his annual pilgrimage to the United Nations, early next week. Most likely, the showdown will take place on Quds Day, next Friday.
That said, the Iranian universe is in great turmoil, and as Yoda used to say, there are great perturbations in the Force. Most anything can happen.
The week is full of potentially major events. Supreme Leader Khamenei’s birthday is this week, and he has long said that he would like to have one or two atomic bombs as his present. Some are saying that the present is on schedule, but such stories have been told for more than two years.
Faced with an impending dhowdown, the dissidents are debating what to do. They do not believe they can win a gunfight, and the leaders are adamantly opposed to any violent confrontation. At the moment, the consensus is to try to work on both the domestic and international fronts, asking the West for at least moral support against the regime, trying to subvert the security forces in the runup to Quds Day (stories continue to circulate about arrests of leading Revolutionary Guards officers, although none has been convincingly confirmed to my knowledge), and to get the maximum possible number of people in the streets for the protests.
The dissidents also believe that they have the overwhelming support of Iranian women, and it would not surprise me to see Mousavi’s wife play an active public role in the coming days.
If the regime fails to break the demonstrations, most anything can happen. If the demonstrations are effectively shut down, and the leaders are arrested, the standing orders from Mousavi/Karroubi to their followers is to launch a general strike and to stage non-stop demonstrations until...nobody knows. Everyone in the country knows this, and so in its way the arrests would launch the ultimate public opinion poll.
From the Corridors of Appeasement in the West, there are only whistles as the darkness intensifies. Yes, we will be happy to negotiate with the Tehran butchers, even though they tell us in every possible way that our one topic of "dialogue"--the Iranian bomb--is off the table. And there is even a story in the Iranian press today claiming that the United States has offered to swap more than a dozen Airbuses in exchange for the frozen Iranian assets that have been gathering interest in American banks ever since the Revolution.
All of which convinces the mullahs that they can do anything they wish to their people, and anything they wish on the nuclear front. Hell, nobody in this administration seems to want to talk about the cache of weapons and explosives of Iranian manufacture found in Herat Province (just across the border from the Islamic Republic), quite obviously placed there for the purpose of killing Americans and American allies. But the Pentagon spokesman shies away from saying anything mean about the regime: we don't really know whether the regime approved this, and really this murder of Americans by Iranian proxies doesn't amount to very much.
These spokesthings should spend half an hour with some military parents, and I'm happy to arrange the introductions.
This of course has been the real issue all along, the issue nobody wants to talk about: they're killing us. They've been doing it for more than thirty years. And still we only want to talk.
This is the mental gyration that makes us accomplices to evil. You can read the whole story in just a couple of weeks.