NEWS & VIEWS ROUNDUP: June 27

What will be the legacy of the Green Revolution?

Exiled opposition groups, whose political agenda sharply differs from that of the protesters in Iran — indeed, many of these groups urged people not to vote in the elections — have sought to fill the vacuum left by a beheaded and directionless indigenous movement. Though the outrage of these exiled groups against the Iranian government’s brutal violence is genuine, their efforts to impose themselves on the political scene have caused great frustration among opposition elements inside Iran. At a time when the movement in Iran is paralyzed, efforts by exiled groups — groups that scorned the protesters only weeks ago for choosing to participate in the elections — to fill the leadership vacuum are viewed as nothing less than a maneuver to hijack the movement.

This is playing right into the hands of the Ahmadinejad government, precisely because it would weaken, if not eliminate, the indigenous movement’s trump card: its ability to attract the Iranian swing-voters back to its side. If the exiled opposition groups and their neo-conservative backers in the United States prevail in aiding the Ahmadinejad government, what started out as the largest Iranian mass movement since 1979 may end up as little more than the student demonstrations of 1999. Which is to say, an instance of hopes raised, then dashed. [continued…]

Mousavi reportedly under house arrest

The government crackdown in Iran has moved so quickly and brutally the protests have been forced into near silence.

The Web site gooya.com reports that opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi is under house arrest, although that claim could not be verified.

The well-known Iranian filmmaker Moshen Makhmalbaf, who has become an unofficial spokesman for Mousavi outside of Iran, told ABC News that Mousavi is being highly controlled and is limited in whom he can meet with and where he can go.

On his Facebook page Mousavi, who analysts say is under intense pressure, posted a message in Farsi, English and French telling his followers: “All my communication with the people and you has been cut off, and people’s peaceful objections are being crushed.”

He also urged his supporters to protest using only “legal channels” and to remain “faithful to the sacred system of the Islamic Republic.” [continued…]

Night raids terrorize civilians

A middle-aged resident from Vanak neighborhood gave Human Rights Watch an overview of his participation each day in the protests. He explained that by June 22, virtually the only form of protest still available to him wasto shout slogans from his rooftop at night. But then the Basiji came to attackhis neighborhood.

“On June 22, while we were shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ from the rooftops, the only form of protests we could still undertake, the Basiji entered our neighborhood and started firing live rounds into the air, in the direction of the buildings from which they believe the shouting of ‘Allahu Akbar’ is coming from. I didn’t see any rounds hitting our buildings. Shortly thereafter, my cousin arrived at our apartment. He was very shaken. The Basijis had entered their house in Yousef Abad neighborhood,and they had destroyed their doors and destroyed cars in the street.

“There are many things happening that aren’t being reported [in the media]. In every neighborhood of Tehran, people are talking about how the Basijis and other security services are coming into their houses and are terrorizing people for shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ from the rooftops, and for congregating.” [continued…]

Role of women in Iran protest kindles hope

Over the past two weeks, Marcelle George has watched with amazement as legions of Iranian women, most wearing black, full-length Islamic garments, defiantly protested Iran’s leadership.

Even in her native Egypt, where some opposition to the government is permitted, most women would never dare cross that line.

“To actually see Iranian women fight for their rights is inspiring,” said George, a college student in jeans and a long-sleeve blouse. “I never imagined that it could happen there.” [continued…]

U.S. grants support Iranian dissidents

The Obama administration is moving forward with plans to fund groups that support Iranian dissidents, records and interviews show, continuing a program that became controversial when it was expanded by President Bush.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which reports to the secretary of state, has for the last year been soliciting applications for $20 million in grants to “promote democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in Iran,” according to documents on the agency’s website. The final deadline for grant applications is June 30.

U.S. efforts to support Iranian opposition groups have been criticized in recent years as veiled attempts to promote “regime change,” said Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council, the largest Iranian-American advocacy group. The grants enable Iran’s rulers to paint opponents as tools of the United States, he said. [continued…]

What will happen when U.S. combat troops withdraw?

So, is all hell about to break loose in Iraq?

By June 30, all U.S. combat troops are scheduled—in fact, they’re required—to be withdrawn from all of Iraq’s cities, towns, and villages.

Many Americans and Iraqis fear that the progress achieved in the last couple of years—the dramatic reduction of violence and casualties, the growing sense of security in areas that were once soaking with dread and bloodshed—will be eroded and reversed, perhaps completely.

The rise in spectacular suicide bombings in the last few weeks—as U.S. soldiers have stepped up their retreat to large bases in the outskirts—is widely seen as the shape of things to come. [continued…]

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1 thought on “NEWS & VIEWS ROUNDUP: June 27

  1. Ian Arbuckle

    The question has already gone well beyond the election was a fraud or not. The supreme Ayatollah and the Guardian Council of Iran as well as the government of Pres. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have to come to terms with the fact that a “very significant number” of citizens do not accept their honesty, their veracity, and the more they are attacked, beaten up and even killed by authorized thugs like the Basijis, the less credible is the authority of the government, and the more they betray their revolutionary origins to appear like the dictatorship they replaced 30 years ago.

    This rejection of the status quo, as it has become, even if it is only by a significant minority, whether is in the interest of one or another faction or whether outside powers have an interest in the outcome, is neither here nor their. It is not relevant to the question, although it is convenient for the Ayatollah and Ahmadinejad to have an apparent “foreign” adversary to blame for internal shortcomings and the resultant conflicts.

    In the end of this unrest Iran will emerge the country of its people, bending to no foreign interference. They have been there and done that and know the discomfort of that position. The millions of youthful exuberant and determined Iranians will also not be beaten away by thugs or wooed by foreign intelligence agencies to forget past acts or responsibilities. If anything the waves of demands of these Iranians can only get stronger as their numbers continue to swell with each injustice heaped on them becoming widely known. Above all they are supported by millions of expatriate Iranians, a force, it might be said, far more effective and probably more powerful in this context than any CIA or MI5.

    Whether one or another camp likes it or not the changes have started in Iran and the old line conservatives will inevitably have to give ground, unfortunately they seem to want to do it the hard way which probably means they have to loose more, and more painfully all round as well, with more precious Iranian blood spilled unnecessarily.

    The question must be though what kind of Iran will emerge? One can only see that by the old conservatives resisting the inevitable change demanded by the young, educated intellectuals and liberals, a more fractured and weaker Iran will result. At this stage, that would be a disaster for Iran, for the Middle East, and in my opinion the world in general. A weaker Iran can only benefit the Zionist/Neocon Imperialists and Disaster Capitalists who have successfully embroiled the region and beyond in violence and destruction quite enough so far.

    Iran is a democracy and that needs to be strengthened from within by good sense. Ironically we can only “pray” that the Guardian Council can come up with just that. The Basijis are certainly not the way to resolve the real discontent many Iranians have with the system.

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