Thursday, July 16, 2009
I'll be updating this post throughout the day as events warrant.
You may have heard about Ahmadinejad wanting the UN to condemn Germany for a death that happened in a German courtroom (I believe it was a Russian ex-husband of an Egyptian woman), a tragedy nonetheless that will require a firm review of courtroom security but certainly nothing to do with the UN. The video of that is now available with English subtitles (if you can't see them, hover over the bottom right and turn on the CC button).
My reaction after seeing the video? Awesome. It shows Ahmadinejad's complete lack of strategic depth and adaptation when it comes to politics. What we've seen over the past while is that he knows little more than how to stay on the attack - call Obama the same as Bush, call the protesters little more than dust, condemn Italy, condemn Germany, always doubling down. I seem to remember another political apparatus last year that did little more than continue to double down and eventually ended up losing the credence of the people and eventually the election. (In case you're not sure, I'm talking about John McCain's campaign)
The matter in Iran is naturally quite different since in Iran even the loser seems able to claim victory in the election and hold on to power, but this continued erosion of goodwill towards Ahmadinejad both inside and out can only be a negative for him and Khamenei. Every bill that gets a "death to the dictator" written on it, every demonstration, every appliance that gets turned on as he talks to cause a black out, every Allaho Akbar on the roof and all the rest, is something that was unthinkable from 2005 until June 2009, and the less Ahmadinejad understands that the political situation is not the same (i.e. simply going on the attack won't work now) the better. So let's hope he stays on the attack - go after Kazakhstan, go after Mauritius, Vanuatu, anyone. Nobody appreciates or respects a politician that spends nearly 100% of his time attempting to assign blame to anyone and everyone else.
Yesterday's big news was no doubt the confirmation that Mousavi will be attending Friday prayers, which is a very big deal as this will be his first public appearance (besides the visit to the home of the slain protester) in a few weeks. Mohsen Sazegara said yesterday that attending would be a good idea if Mousavi were to clearly state that he would be there, and since it has been confirmed there really is no reason not to go. One more day until then..
Here's the video of some Allaho Akbar chants from last night.
Hillary Clinton gave a foreign policy speech yesterday with a part focused on Iran, which you can see here.
This looks like the right approach. Note that she keeps referring to the Islamic Republic of Iran and never to any certain leader of the country, so in no part does she say that the US should recognize Ahmadinejad in particular. As can be seen in the first video in this post, I doubt that Ahmadinejad is intelligent enough to take the US up on its offer and put the onus on them to decide whether to indirectly recognize his government by participating in talks. In the meantime, the US being open to diplomacy puts them at an advantage in later being able to make the claim with allies that they did their best and were ignored.