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Monday, June 22, 2009

Bottom line on Iran

Iranian Protest Parallels With 1979

There are a lot of folks comparing recent events in Iran with 1979 and many Americans are Tweeting and Facebooking their support for demonstrators and declared the election rigged as soon as Ahmadinejad's victory was announced. We may never know for sure if the election was indeed rigged, but there were a lot of suspicious events surrounding it. Too many for a coincidence.

I think we need to be careful who we throw our support behind, especially with us Westerners not being all that familiar with Middle Eastern history. With all the American support and media coverage for demonstrators and the reform candidate, before I did some homework I thought this guy must be a drastic change from the current leader. Maybe he is going to start a new revolution away from an Islamic Republic and toward a Western democracy. Wonderful.

Except that's not exactly the case. All candidates are vetted by the Ayotolla, so really, how revolutionary can these folks be anyway? They are people very much tied to this current government: a PM that led during the Iran-Iraq war, a revolutionary guard commander against Iraq, a speaker of Parliament.

A guest on The Diane Rehm Show summed it up quite well. The fight is not between the government and exiled or illegal opposition, it is a fight within the government. Even if Mousavi were to prevail in a recount or truly free and monitored election, Iran would not morph into a Western liberal democracy (complete with the AIPAC branch?), it would just be a slightly more moderate version of the current government. Our troubles and issues with Iran wouldn't disappear and Israel certainly wouldn't be anymore satisfied or less demanding (of it's demands on us to demand more of Iran), regardless of who wins, unless it changes to a Zionist Western democracy, of course.

I'm all for free and fair elections and I think rigging elections is frustrating and insulting (and shooting peaceful protesters is outrageous), but I also think perhaps the media has made so much of the demonstrations that people mistakenly think that Iran is on the verge of creating a liberal democracy (that will have zero nuclear ambition if the US wants it to).

Further, I am a little worried that all this worldwide attention on Iranian protests is maybe leading to a list of grievances for which a group of nations will want to confront Iran and give it an ultimatum that will result in another war (needlessly). Hopefully, Obama will be more cautious than Bush & Co, but it is unsettling. We in the West are all too eager to jump into war when it's not on our soil, regardless of whether or not we have all the facts. I mean, let's say we jump in and "liberate" Iran and install who we think should have won- Mousavi (or someone else who is actually pro-West and will implement liberal democratic changes). Will we make sure the election was rigged before bombing them to the stone age? The bigger question is- are we sure Mousavi would be that much better than Ahmadinejad and would it justify another war, massive casualties, and all the horrors that go with it??

Maybe I'm jumping the gun, but the media coverage and tone worries me a bit.

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