The Iranian Mess (UPDATED)
The chimpanzee has returned to Tehran, where he is unlikely to have as much fun as he did in New York. Thanks to the New York Post, we now know that in between blaming America for the 9/11 terrorist attack, Ahmadinejad had an unannounced dinner with Black Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan. Wouldn’t you love to have a transcript of their conversation?
One will get you ten that there were other unannounced meetings as well. One of the supreme leader’s favorite newspapers has announced the arrival in Tehran of a delegation from Oman to facilitate the release of the remaining two American hikers from imprisonment. If that is true, the deal was undoubtedly hammered out during Ahmadinejad’s sojourn in New York.
Back home, he is facing a new round of strikes in the bazaars, where the gold sellers have shut down their shops around the country, from Tehran to Torbat Haydariyeh, Nayshabour, Sabzevar, Isfahan, Tabriz and Shiraz, to protest against the rising taxes. And he is still in the midst of a battle over the political system; he claims that he is superior to Parliament, and that he is in charge of foreign policy. The elected representatives reject the first, and the supreme leader will not accept the second. So the chimpanzee is now fighting on three fronts, as well as facing a mounting barrage of criticism from the opposition Green Movement.
You may recall that the green leaders feared they would be arrested when Ahmadinejad returns from his boffo performance at the United Nations, and in order to impress the leadership with the strength of their mass following, they called on the people to chant every night from their rooftops. The chants of “Allah o Akbar” and “Death to the Dictator” have been very loud, and Mousavi and Karroubi have hammered away at the illegitimacy of the regime. Will the regime risk an open confrontation with millions of their own people? And if it does, how will the people respond? Nobody really knows, and in all likelihood there is a lot of heated rhetoric in the corridors of power at this very moment, between those who fear that a direct move against Mousavi and Karroubi would result in a very violent civil war, and those who fear that failure to move would produce the implosion of the regime.