Saturday, June 20, 2009

Is Mousavi Willing to Risk Slaughter in the Streets

If you've been following closely on Friday, you'll know how quickly the mood has darkened. I really don't have the spirit to get into details, so let's just say we got a blast of cold water on our faces with Khamenei's defiant tantrum. We shouldn't expect him to just quietly give up power without a fight. Backing down in any degree, whether that means new elections, or the removal of Admedinejad or himself, really means the end of the Islamic Republic itself. We've seen plenty of successful revolutions these past 20 years to know this.

So we should not feel surprised nor discouraged when analysts offer a sobering assessment of the Iranian crisis. Foreign Policy takes up the dilemma of the hour with Iran analyst Karim Sadjadpour, and...well, I'll let you read for yourselves:

The weight of the world now rests on the shoulders of Mir Hossein Mousavi. I expect that Khamenei's people have privately sent signals to him that they're ready for a bloodbath, they're prepared to use overwhelming force to crush this, and is he willing to lead the people in the streets to slaughter?

Mousavi is not Khomeini, and Khamenei is not the Shah. Meaning, Khomeini would not hesitate to lead his followers to "martyrdom", and the Shah did not have the stomach for mass bloodshed. This time the religious zealots are the ones holding power.

Whatever happens, and I know I shouldn't be saying this as an analyst, but my eyes well when I think of the tremendous bravery and fortitude of the Iranian people. They deserve a much better regime than the one they have.

I know I have the bad habit of veering from one extreme to the other in these matters; it's a consequence of being emotionally attached to these causes. But the way I see things now, I don't know how we can win with ruthless fanatics willing to slaugher everything. And if Khatemei and Ahmedinejad retain their power, there will be purges in the government, which would leave their grip tighter than ever. Oh, and I hear these men want to build a nuclear bomb?

In other words, we are well and truly fucked. Hopefully, we'll have our troops out of Iraq just long enough to rest up for the next war.

Have I mentioned that I have trouble finding balance?

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