The whole situation in Iran is coming out at breakneck speed. It’s anyone’s guess as to what will happen next.
It goes without saying that prayers for the citizens of Iran are crucial right now.
Here’s a hodgepodge of stuff…I apologize for the unjointed nature of it–
For some great Twittering of what’s going on in Iran, follow Allahpundit.
New this morning from Hotair: Mullahs agree to recount.
If they give the election to Mirhossein Mousavi, don’t expect much of a change. The ironic part of the entire crisis is that Mousavi wouldn’t have been appreciably different from Ahmadinejad, except perhaps in tone. The Guardian Council approved Mousavi’s presence on the ballot not out of a desire for plurality but because they knew he’d kowtow to them. Rigging the election, especially in the clumsy manner in which the mullahs did it, was hardly necessary to continue their grip on power. The only way the mullah’s power would have been threatened is if they did exactly what they did in this election.
More from Hotair–Iran cuts off foreign press:
The Iranian mullahcracy has clamped down on foreign reporters while they struggle to contain widespread unrest following a botched national election. The BBC reports that journalists now have to ask permission before leaving their offices to cover anything, and that the government has barred them from covering any unauthorized demonstrations.
They’ve tried to fenagle with Twitter:
Allahpundit has done yeoman work keeping up with Twitter communications inside Iran, one of the few independent channels for updates on the Iranian regime’s actions at the moment. (Follow him on Twitter above.) The mullahs have tried to disrupt Twitter by either attempting to trace the members sending updates, shutting down proxies, or sending disinformation themselves on the network. They understand that the regime has lost a lot of credibility, and that the more images and reports come out about the uprising, the bigger it will get.
…Some have asked why Khamenei used such grossly implausible numbers to “reelect” Ahmadinezhad, but that bespeaks ignorance of the mullahs: there is no lie that will shame them. No, the real question is why Zahra Rahnavard was given a free hand, and the real answer is that the mullahs, with Khamenei in the lead, made a blunder.
In any event, all of that is irrelevant now. The only thing that matters is winning and losing. Whatever plans Mousavi had for a gradual transformation of the Islamic Republic, they have been overtaken by events; the issue now is the survival of the system. Mousavi has called for a general strike on Tuesday. That is the right strategy, since he must demonstrate that the overwhelming majority of Iranians want an end to the regime. And the dissidents must show that they are not afraid of the thugs. Mousavi has said that they must use flowers, not guns, since he must aim at the disintegration of the armed killers, not at winning a gunfight…
Here’s an excerpt:
…Time’s Joe Klein who is currently in Iran covering the election wrote about a “rock-em, sock-em presidential debate” just over a week ago. Klein’s goal with this was clearly to present Iran as a modern Democracy where debates take place just like here at home. In fact, Joe goes on to compare Ahmadinejad to Bush and Mousavi to John Kerry. Strangely, Klein hasn’t had much to say since the results were announced.
Mind numbing moral equivalency is such a typical response from many in the MSM and the left…weeeeak sauce.
Wondering what happens to protesters caught by the police? A Canadian freelance jounalist got to find out:
I was walking by a checkpoint and an officer grabbed me and forced me onto a motorcycle. As soon as we stopped, I was grabbed from the bike by another officer and slapped me across the head. Seven officers ran up to join in the slapping, and one punched me in the head. A large officer, about 6 foot 4 and dressed in camouflage, grabbed me by the neck, pinching my jugular but not my wind pipe. His leather gloves cut through my skin and I was pinned against a van, my arm bent high behind my back…
When we stopped, an officer grabbed me, pinned my arm behind my back and led me into the bowels of the Interior Ministry headquarters – where so many Iranian dissidents “disappear.”
We went down several flights of dark concrete stairs to a large basement room, where I was grabbed by the shirt and pinned against the wall, as more questions were shouted at me in Farsi – and as I caught glimpses of the others being treated far worse.
He made it out once they realized he was Canadian. The others he saw being beaten were not so lucky.
Something makes me think that the ones caught by police would gladly trade their plight for a few sessions of waterboarding….just a hunch. Another hunch: you won’t hear near as much outcry in our mainstream news outlets about the beatings. Nothing close.
I’m not suggesting waterboarding is ok. More on that to come in the next few days. It’s just telling that there was and is this knee-jerk rush to browbeat Boosh and Darth Cheney about waterboarding a key player in 9/11, and there’s nary a peep about the beatings of regular Iranian citizens and foreign journalists. Of course, we can’t prosecute the thugs or anything, but we aren’t even getting a limp wristed “hey, cut that out!” or even a finger wag.
Aaaannnd, what is Obama’s response? He speaks: (click on the link for the video). Hotair makes a good point:
High drama here as the president calls the Iranian government a “ticking time bomb” that must be dealt with now if America’s future is to be secure. No no, just kidding; that’s what he said about health care. Here we get a hard dose of Hopenchange caution-speak, acknowledging that the protesters have “inspired” Americans and that we respect Iran’s right to decide its own fate but that we’ll continue to pursue “tough” diplomacy with the regime on nukes no matter how odious Ahmadinejad might be. Hey, if we wanted a president who’d throw down the gauntlet and walk away in a situation like this, we would have elected the other guy. Sorry, Iranian kids.
Fun fact: Whereas The One was “shocked and outraged” by the murder of George Tiller, the most he can muster here for mass beatings and cold-blooded killings across Iran is that he’s “troubled.” Make of it what you will.
The juxtaposition of his reactions to Healthcare/George Tiller vs. the Iran election is telling. Strong, swift words with the former, not so much with the latter. What could be the reasons behind Obama’s less than inspiring reaction to the situation in Iran? Some note that our swift condemnation would allow the Mullahs to claim the protests are U.S inspired, but I’m not buying that.
Iran’s electoral fraud, and the violent crackdown that immediately followed, have drawn such a muted response from Washington that you can almost hear the backstage anxiety and confusion. The press secretary, Robert Gibbs, said: “There’s no reason to think the regime is not in control.” Hillary Clinton went slightly farther: “We, like the rest of the world, are waiting and watching to see what the Iranian people decide. We obviously hope the outcome reflects the genuine will and desire of the Iranian people.” Yesterday, on “Meet the Press”, Vice-President Biden took the strongest position yet: “It sure looks like the way they’re suppressing speech, the way they’re suppressing crowds, the way in which people are being treated, that there’s some real doubt.” Coming from Biden, who doesn’t mince words, this is pretty tame stuff. At this point, the European Union is well ahead of the United States in its stance on the events in Iran.
I understand that the Administration wants to let the chaos in Iran play itself out without committing to a position that might be rendered hollow by events. I understand and agree with its continued insistence on pursuing a policy of negotiation that’s in America’s interest. I understand that this head-on collision between interests and values is not at all easy to navigate. But “realism” should no more be an ideological fetish under Obama than “freedom” was under Bush. There was, for example, nothing realistic in an unnamed Administration official’s claim over the weekend that stealing an election and putting down a revolt in blood would cause Ahmadinejad to “feel that because of public pressure, he wants to reduce Iran’s isolation. That might also cause engagement to proceed more swiftly.” The exact opposite is true, as the Iranian President gleefully told a press conference on Saturday. The hard-liners are in the saddle, and so far they’ve shown no interest whatsoever in Dennis Ross’s overtures—perhaps because, as Laura Secor (my wife and main authority on all things Iranian) wrote two months ago, talking to America cuts out the heart of their claim to be the revolution’s heirs and the Islamic Republic’s only legitimate rulers.
In much of the punditry calling for dialogue with Iran, there’s been a strange naivete about the true nature of the regime—a confusion between the sophistication and tolerance of the Iranian people, and their rulers, who have always taken the most brutal measures to hold onto power. Some advocates of negotiation seem to think that the resistance and stupidity have all been on our side—that if only America showed a little respect for Iran, called it by its rightful name of “Islamic Republic,” stopped talking about carrots and sticks (which Iranians associate with donkeys), then Iran’s rulers would be glad to start talking. It turns out that they have more to fear from talk than we do—in fact, at the moment it’s hard to know exactly what they have to gain by it and a lot easier to see what they have to lose. Perhaps they have a keener sense of their own interests than American commentators, so obsessed with America’s own behavior, imagined.
With riot police and armed militiamen beating and, in a few reported cases, killing unarmed demonstrators in the streets of Iran’s cities, for the Obama Administration to continue parsing equivocal phrases serves no purpose other than to make it look feckless. Part of realism is showing that you have a clear grasp of reality—that you know the difference between decency and barbarism when both are on display for the whole world to see. A stronger American stand—taken, as much as possible, in concert with European countries and through multilateral organizations—would do more to improve America’s negotiating position than weaken it. Acknowledging the compelling voices of the desperate young Iranians who, after all, only want their votes counted, would not deep-six the possibility of American-Iranian talks. Ahmadinejad and his partners in the clerical-military establishment will talk to us exactly when and if they think it’s in their interest. Right now, they don’t appear to. And the tens of millions of Iranians who voted for change and are the long-term future of that country will always remember what America said and did when they put their lives on the line for their values. (emphasis mine)