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Some Good Thinking About Iran

| 4 Comments

A very good strategic analysis of what's in store in Iran, from Al Giordano.
...We agreed that our discussion would be off the record, so I'm not going to quote anybody by name. But what I can give you is my own roadmap or x-ray of what the situation in Iran is today, informed by this consultation with: 1. a prominent Iranian human rights defender, 2. an award-winning filmmaker who has spent months at a time on end reporting inside the regions of Iran, 3. a veteran strategist from the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa that successfully ended apartheid, 4. a Polish student of social movements, 5. a Mexican journalist and civil resistance trainer, and 6 and 7. two individuals much like me: authors with intensive experience and study of civil resistance movements and community organizing.
Some of the words below are, thus, not originally mine, but I borrow them because I agree with how they portray current events.

What we can see in Iran today are two simultaneous struggles, one from below (people with legitimate grievances against their government), and one up above (a power struggle between factions).

Although many had hoped that the post-electoral struggle in Iran would be a one act play, this one seems more likely to be headed into a saga that is four or five acts long. Like many previous social movements throughout history, this has turned from a hundred yard dash into a marathon.

4 Comments

They're saying that there are about 250,000 Basiji who are worth their pay. The Revolutionary Guard numbers about half that many. That's a lot of brownshirts and blackshirts. It bodes very ill for protesters if these people can get away with using unfettered force.

The army is another matter, and so far a cipher. I hope the reports that they have come to the aid of protesters are true, though some of those reports come from - Robert Fisk? I sure hope Bob got it right. Some of the twitter out of Iran is hopeful that the army might come to the people's aid. But that's what the Chinese hoped for, too.

Hmmm... 250,000 basiji and an overall population of 65 million.

Absent the army, I don't see them holding that large a population down.

Marc

According to this site http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius_04/law_enforcement_personnel/index.html there are 676,000 sworn law enforcement officers in the United States. So the Basji represent ~4.5 the police presence as we have in the U.S. . . . and (apparently) they can kill without accountability.

It's worth considering that we don't know the actual size of the protesting party, especially outside of Tehran.

If the state is reporting 30% workers not showing up on the job (and we assume higher) this could be a good sign that those in sync with the protesters(nationwide) are a higher total than those opposed. But the numbers are still iffy.

With the military, I would expect that it's been staffed with those who are close to Khomenei and Ahmenijahd. I would be surprised to see the military to change loyalties (unless this really is closer to a revolution, and the nails are already in the coffin).

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