Skip to comments.Mousavi: The Man of the Hour
Posted on 06/19/2009 4:05:41 AM PDT by Kaslin
Someone few Americans had ever heard of one week ago now stands poised to alter history. His name is Mir Hossein Mousavi and his case utterly debunks the school of historians who insist that history is made by large impersonal forces rather than by key individuals. While it is certainly true that Iran's current crisis had many antecedents, it is equally true that the decisions of this one man will play a decisive role in the outcome.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has accepted the congratulations of Syria's Bashar Assad and Russia's Dmitri Medvedev on his wonderful victory. Many people find it wonderful, though not in the sense he or Supreme Leader Khamenei would prefer. Ahmadinejad has assured observers that "Iran is the most stable nation in the world." But on the streets of Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz, and other Iranian cities, a broad alliance of Iranians are literally shouting from the rooftops that they will not accept the risible vote tallies announced by the government -- a two-to-one landslide for Ahmadinejad. "Death to the Dictator" is on many lips.
The unfolding drama in Iran is at once thrilling, disturbing, and ambiguous. It's thrilling because for the first time since the Khomeini revolution in 1979, a spontaneous, grassroots movement threatens the rulers in Tehran. The mullahocracy, deeply unpopular with the Iranian people, has held power through violence and terror for 30 years. As much misery as Iran has spread worldwide through its sponsorship of terror and its pursuit of nuclear weapons, it has visited even more wretchedness on its own people. The economy, despite Iran's oil wealth, is crumbling, with double-digit unemployment. Corruption is endemic: Freedom House reports that even mail is not delivered unless the postman gets a payoff. Repression on a totalitarian scale is a fact of daily life. Though Iran's people have repeatedly given evidence of their disgust with the clerical leadership, they have been unable to escape the boot on their necks. Particularly during the past four years, shortages, corruption, and privation have plagued Iran. A survey conducted by the Ministry of Intelligence for the Majlis (parliament) a few months ago found that only 13 percent of Iranians would vote for Ahmadinejad.
But popular uprisings often end badly. They did in East Germany in 1953, in Hungary in 1956, in Czechoslovakia in 1968, and in China in 1989. As we watch smuggled amateur video of Basij militia clubbing peaceful demonstrators with batons from the backs of motorcycles, and government thugs descending upon Tehran University to the sound of screams and breaking glass, we reflect that this junta has been preparing itself for resistance. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps was recently overhauled to focus on "domestic foes" and placed in command of an estimated 2-5 million Basij militia. Foreign press are being hustled out of the country in a possible prelude to more savage repression.
Alternatively, if a severe crackdown does not materialize, then what? The millions of Iranians thronging the streets are testimony to the yearning for reform among the people. But what shape that reform would take is anything but clear. Mir Hossein Mousavi has become the repository for the people's hopes. He is, for better or worse, the face of the resistance movement. He ran for president of Iran as an alternative to Ahmadinejad. But now, with an unprecedented popular uprising at his back, can he become an alternative to the whole clerical establishment? Does he possibly have such ambitions? Reportedly a "favorite" of Ayatollah Khomeini, Mousavi served as Prime Minister from 1981 to 1989, during which time he oversaw Iran's initial moves toward obtaining nuclear weapons. He has served in a variety of advisory posts since then. He has never by word or deed signaled any willingness to depart from an Islamist dominated state.
His campaign was Gorbachevian in that he promised to make the Iranian government more transparent and permit more freedom of the press ("glasnost"), as well as to examine laws that discriminate against women ("perestroika").
But in one week everything has changed. What seemed impossible last week seems very possible today. So much now depends upon what Mousavi does with his de facto mandate from the people. He calls the demonstrations. He delivers the speeches. It is his photo they carry and his color (green) they wear. If he is a true reformer, this could be a turning point in world history. But we don't know yet what he believes or intends.
If the people lead, the leaders will follow.
I don’t think I made that up, but I don’t know where I heard it.
Mir Hossein Mousavi is living on borrowed time. The Ayatollah Obama’s friends in power in Iran are going to reach out and smack Mousavi out of existence. Any day now.
No change, no hope. Wuzz up Barry?
We could be seeing a HUGH explosion happening in Iran in the form of a civil war.
That may not be the “solution” to their problem. In fact, it would be counter-productive - create an opposition martyr, ya know?
That is profound and true, and I never heard it before.
I don't think FReepers have any illusions about Mousavi. But he would appear to be politically committed to removing the Basiji. Even cynical opportunists like Mousavi sometime find it necessary to keep their promises.
I did a quick Google on the term. Could not track down the origin; but most usage seemed to come from the left, which does not bother me.
Tactically, when it comes to effective organizing, the left is light years ahead of us; and if we hope for success, we must be willing to adopt tactics that have worked.
Sorry, can’t get too enthusiastic about this thing.
Mousavi ain’t a “reformer” in the way we might like to think.
He has a long history (pre-1979) of hating the USA.
He’s always been a big supporter of the Iranian “revolution”.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
Good! They need it desperately...let’s roll...
On his Facebook, he says "The CRUCIAL Demonstration on Saturday 16:00 in Tehran and all around the world, please spread this message around".
Yesterday, the Iranian regime seems to have decided that since it was unable to stop twitter postings, the only effective counter was to spam the #iranelections page with disinformation, in a twitter version of a DDOS attack. Accordingly, I'll primarily be looking at posts from people I'm fairly sure about there.
Looks like Saturday will be when things come to a head. I guess we'll find out about it Saturday morning, US time.
I think the people there were pretty much disarmed a long time ago.
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