Iran after the elections: 2 July

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Hi - if you're here due to a Twitter update, check the bottom of the post.

The first article worth mentioning today is this one from the Economist, which details the method the Obama administration should take in approaching Iran, most of which are economic (and subtle). It includes the great quote by Napoleon which is very pertinent here: "never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake".

There's an interesting analysis here of the number of tweets sent out over 19 days related to the election in Iran (the majority have the hashtag #Iranelection). The estimate: 2 million or so. For some perspective, the Ahmadinejad regime accused Israel of sending out 18,000 tweets before the election, so even if that were true it would be less than 1% of that sent out by individuals.

A first-person perspective of a week inside prison can be read here. Page two shows how the prisoners crammed together often pass the time: they debate politics and the nation's future. Something about the approach just doesn't seem quite right: sweep up thousands of people at a time, put them in the same place, beat and question them for a while, and then release most of them later on. Result: a population more hardened towards the regime than before, with plenty of time while in prison to discuss with one another about the future. It's this heavy-handed but not heavy-handed enough to completely quell dissent that I think will prove to be this government's undoing.

For a painfully dumb analysis of the situation, see this op-ed by John Bolton from today. His argument: Iran has shown its true colours, now time for an Israeli strike. No, no, no. That's the perfect recipe for the change of subject Ahmadinejad and the rest are dreaming of, and then would lend a certain amount of credibility to his statements on Israel in the future, no matter how far-fetched the claim. There's no sense in making the US and Israel the centre of the subject while events are still playing out in Iran. Very glad Bolton is not in any position of power anymore.

Right from the second paragraph his argument is full of holes: "Iran's nuclear threat was never in doubt during its presidential campaign, but the post-election resistance raised the possibility of some sort of regime change. That prospect seems lost for the near future or for at least as long as it will take Iran to finalize a deliverable nuclear weapons capability." Any sourcing on that claim? Any polls showing the Iranian people willing to put up with Ahmadinejad and his rigged second election for the next four years? No, I didn't think so. The last time Iran overthrew its government it took over a year. Not a few weeks.

On that note, here's a video from just two days ago that Bolton would be well advised to see. If he can't see a difference between Iran now and that before the election he's completely blind.

Apparently Iran is to be the focus of Obama's upcoming trip to Russia and the G8. Makes sense as the only players that have a certain amount of pull with Iran are Russia, the EU, and China (and the UN of course).


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