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Thursday, June 25, 2009


It seems odd that the neoconservatives seem to be backing an Iranian that, for all intents and purposes, has been their mortal enemy for around three decades, but it is the case that throughout history that international politics has turned out some strange bedfellows. It reminds me a bit of what happened in the last century: In order to kick off World War Two, Hitler found it necessary to get into bed with Stalin. The situation today isn’t quite as dramatic as that but, nonetheless, there are distinct parallels – or at least so it seems.

Even before all the votes had been tallied in Iran toward the end of a long election day on Friday, 12 June, Ahmadinejad’s main rival, Mir Hossein Mousavi, claimed victory, as, indeed, had Ahmadinejad. But then, unlike Mousavi, Ahmadinejad had good reason to claim early victory; with votes being counted throughout the day, it soon became apparent that Ahmadinejad was a clear leader and way in front of Mousavi. Ahmadinejad had every reason to claim an early victory while Mousavi had none at all. Then, on Saturday when it was officially announced that Ahmadinejad had in fact won the election, and by around the same margin that the pre-election polls had predicted, Mousavi immediately cried ‘foul’ and, almost on cue, seemingly spontaneously, the massive demonstrations began on the streets of Tehran and by nightfall Saturday rioters supposedly supporting Mousavi were setting fire to dumpsters and vehicles.

Instantly the Western right-wing media were on to the turmoil and backing Mousavi’s claim that the elections had been rigged. The media began to talk up a ‘popular revolution’ in Iran concentrating their efforts on highlighting the pro-Mousavi demonstrations and ignoring entirely the equally massive demonstrations being held in support of Ahmadinejad. So keen were the Western media to support the Mousavi camp they even used a picture of a massive Ahmadinejad rally and claimed it was of a pro-Mousavi rally.

But all was not as it seemed. Rather than seeming to be spontaneous, the demonstrations and rallies had all the hallmarks of being highly organised. Placards had been professionally produced in large numbers and written in English as well as Farsi. They were distributed through the crowds and clearly made for Western consumption. Some serious money was behind the effort and it was obvious that many of these had been produced before the elections and readied for post-election protests that were clearly organised prior to the election.

While the vast majority of the protestors and demonstrators from both camps were peaceful, there were among the Mousavi protestors provocateurs determined to provoke violence by running riot and setting fire to vehicles and buildings while wearing the green colours representing the Mousavi camp. The Western media have been portraying these violent and destructive elements as somehow being the vanguard of a revolution or brave freedom fighters confronting the police and security forces.

However, lurking beneath the superficial Western presentation of populist Iranian discontent are far more complex issues that govern what is really going on in Iran today.

Essentially Iran remains an Islamic state which the vast majority of Iranians, regardless of whether they’re for Ahmadinejad or Mousavi, still support. Rather than being a battle between Islamist-style government supporters and secular western-style government supporters as the Western media is trying to portray the unrest, it is actually about a class struggle between the ‘have-not masses’ that generally support Ahmadinejad and the young modern well-to-do, but still Islamic, ‘haves’ that support Mousavi.

The Western media would like to present to the Western peoples a picture of the beginnings of a popular uprising and revolution in Iran and have relentlessly used all of its propaganda resources to achieve this belief even down to the filming of the attractive young Iranian girl who lay dying in the streets; killed, at least so we are told, by brutal Iranian security forces for no other reason than she was protesting. No matter how or why she died, there can be excuse for her death; but to assert that her death represents the spirit of revolt against the government is to cynically abuse her death for purely propaganda purposes. And the West has not thought twice about so doing. Even President Obama has used her death for propaganda purposes

However, it is not just Obama that has used the young girl’s death for propaganda purposes. While the Western media would like to portray the unrest in Iran as the beginnings of a populist revolution against the Mullah’s, what may turn out to be the real reason for the unrest has emerged.

This last week has seen the claimant to the Iranian throne appear from the wings. All but forgotten, the son of the late Shah, Reza Pahlavi, has finally shown himself. At a Press Club gathering in Washington last Monday, Pahlavi produced a photo of the dead girl and, with tears in his eyes, told the world, “I have added her to the list of my daughters. She is now forever in my pocket”. One can take ones choice as to which metaphor is appropriate with the remark: ‘She is now forever in my pocket’. The point is; Reza’s late father, deposed in the Iranian Revolution of 1979, was one of the world’s most ruthless and brutal dictators who, like his father before him, detested the very idea of ‘democracy’. Reza Pahlavi is unlikely to be any different despite all his talk of ‘democracy’. To top it off, demonstrations in the US by Iranian expatriates, have been flying the old Iranian flag of the Shah. These flags have clearly been recently made and stored and have been distributed for use in carefully orchestrated pro-Shah rallies outside of Iran. The question one now needs to ask is: Since it is clear that the idea of a ‘popular revolution’ is merely a figment of the propagandists imagination, is there a possibility that Israel, the US and the UK could bring on a coup d’état that would see Reza Pahlavi restored to power leading a quasi-democratic pro-Western puppet government?

It’s doubtful this would happen, but one can almost hear the right-wing Western political mind ticking as it mulls the idea over and read between the lines of what neocon Reuel Marc Gerecht is trying to say in his ‘Weekly Standard’ article.


IDHolm said...

G'day Damian,

interesting that you mention the violence - of the so-called 'peaceful' demonstrators.

That occurred to me yesterday, as I gazed at an early (i.e. 1st Saturday) picture of vigorous, heavy-stone throwing youths. Hallo, I thought: exactly how is this peaceful?

Then I recalled seeing AusBC reports exactly as you describe it, i.e. flames leaping from rubbish bins - or public buses on fire (I have commented on this myself, just before seeing this thread of yours.)


Another thing that struck me, after reading the seemingly exaggerated and excessively, repetitively violent reports coming to us via the AusBC. Consider this: the AusBC describes a certain 'private' militia, swarming around on motor-bikes, not a single uniform to be seen - and then this mufti-militia performing exceedingly gruesome physical attacks on people - now even including people being hacked at using axes.

Hallo again, I thought: what utterly *perfect* cover and camouflage, for *US-sponsored* subversion, via CIA/Mossad-type covert death-squads. Then, all such *insurgent* attacks, even on innocent bystanders, are then glibly attributed to a brutal Iranian-regime crack-down - by that very same MSM agency, *our* AusBC.

This time, Aunty, we need some proof of your vicious allegations. Please.

Anonymous said...


Does your condemnation of the violence inherent in stone-throwing also extend to the Palestinians?

Especially when vainly directed against their government armed with the full smorgasboard of deadly weapons.

Meanwhile the killing in Iran goes on:

It is indeed also true about seeing strange bedfellows these days:

Such as seeing the Conservative theocrat embracing the ardent Socialist.

Damian Lataan said...

Anonymous, IDH can answer the bit you've addressed to him for himself if he catches up with your comment.

As for Ahmadinejad being a 'Conservative' theocrat; he isn't. He is, however, a conservative theocrat, which means he takes his religion seriously. A small difference when simply writing it but it means a lot.

Ahmadinejad is, indeed, a theocrat but he also has a strong social conscience which gives his practical politics a leftish slant which, of course, would align more with Chavez. It would also align him against the extreme right-wing of the West which includes the extreme right-wing Zionists that persecute Palestinians youths who have nothing to defend themselves with but rocks which they hurl at the Zionist terrorists who occupy their lands – as against the agents provocateurs in Iran who mingle among the peaceful bulk of Mousavi demonstrators and who aim to provoke unrest in Iran.

Anonymous said...

FYI back in 1989, Kissinger had this to say:

Page 189 of Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein, we find Kissinger, in 1989 refering to Tianamnen saying the following:

'No govt in the world would have tolerated having thr main square of its capital occupied for 8 weeks by tens of thousands of demonstrators...A crakdown was therefore inevitable'

So the iranians are at least justified in their crackdown adn should not be singled out.


IDHolm said...

G'day Anonymous@5:09 PM,

I don't think I was 'condemning' any violence; more like describing, or remarking upon.

1. Notice that I said "1st Saturday" - meaning the 1st day after the vote. It seems to me that a lot of the demos went *wild*, right from the start. Q: Why that? Could it have been that the demos were pre-planned? A: I seem to recall the wife threatening a revolution, as she left her polling station. (Hearsay; can't find my file-note. Whatever.) 'Hard' evidence is scarce - but 'on the balance of probabilities,' a lot of what we *can* see (unobscured by AusBC propaganda methods, say) is fully consistent with a (US/UK/Israeli-driven subversive) coup underway. This would place any rioters where rioters usually belong: on the wrong side of the law.

My most recent demo was against the B, B & H illegal invasion of Iraq; I didn't throw stones. I don't think genuine anti-war - or pro-democracy - demos are much helped by violence.

2. The plight of the Palestinians is slightly different; they've had their land stolen from them at the point of a gun. Not just the once, mind you - Palestinian land has been almost continuously stolen from the rightful owners now for about 61+ years. If point of a gun doesn't convey sufficient impact, try thinking "Deir Yassin."

It would be nice if someone in the world righted the wrongs done to the Palestinians over those 61+ years, and here recall that one can't have peace without justice. Justice here meaning: give the land back. All of it.

Scott said...

I'm going to disagree with your shallow assessment of the late Shah's father Reza Shah Pahlavi who the British placed on the throne in 1925 as the figurehead for a British protectorate. He promptly pulled a Thomas Becket and became a strong nationalistic leader, thereafter rejecting all attempts by Whitehall to gain control over key government decisions. His reign was marked by mainly successful efforts to modernize and develop Iran (oil, industry and education), a movement to secular politics, and the reestablishment of a strong, central government. Eventually the British threw him out and installed his son, the much despised Shah, in his place. Reza Shah Pahlavi may have been undemocratic compared to today's ideals but he was more benevolent than the current House of Saud and ruled according to the era he lived in.

Damian Lataan said...

Scott, you say: “Reza Shah Pahlavi may have been undemocratic compared to today's ideals but he was more benevolent than the current House of Saud and ruled according to the era he lived in.”

That’s a bit like saying ‘Mussolini was an OK leader because he wasn’t anywhere near as nasty as Hitler’.

The Pahlavi dynasty ruled by murder and intimidation and had no time whatsoever for democracy, which was the thrust of my argument. There is nothing ‘shallow’ about such an assessment; it’s a mater of fact.

Anonymous said...

An Interesting Detail
A new interesting detail in a fresh NYT piece from Tehran:

The Expediency Council, headed by former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, issued a statement that called the supreme leader’s decision the final word on the election, although it still called on the government to investigate voting complaints “properly and thoroughly.” The group also asked the candidates to cooperate with the government in any probe.

Mr. Rafsanjani, though a consummate insider, has been one of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s strongest critics and one of the most ardent supporters of Mir Hussein Moussavi, Mr. Ahmadinejad’s chief rival in the election. Mr. Rafsanjani’s son had even financed an elaborate system intended to check for voting fraud before the election. But since the vote, the former president has been quiet, and many Iranians were hoping he could broker some compromise behind the scenes.

So there was a "elaborate" and "well financed" system not under government control to check for election fraud. Moisavi had over 40,000 election observers in the field who must have reported to some central entity. Where are its results? What are they? Why were they not released?

If Rafsanjani would have proof for election fraud, why would he not leak it too the public or hand it over to the guardian council? Instead he now agrees with Khamenei on Ahmadinejad's victory.

Of course there are again various conspracy theories one might (and some will) develop around this. For now I will go with the least conspirishy one and assume that, in absence of any proof, there was no fraud at all.


Anonymous said...

real coup in progress in Honduras