Monday, June 27, 2005

UPDATE: I realize that my coverage of the Iranian election was largely uncritical. A consensus is growing that it was not only fradulent but, in fact, rigged. Ardashir Tehrani, for one, has alleged it was in fact a coup ensheathed in the formalities and trappings of a 'democratic' process.

In my view, the fact that the poll was run by the Guardians Council, which screened out the most threatening of reformist candidates and serves as "the most influential body" in the Iranian regime, is illustrative of how free or fair the election actually was. It seemed to neither be free nor fair, if not downright suspicious: Ahmadinejad's victory was instantly seen as unusually surprising, given his obscure status a week earlier.

It is clear that there was a disconnect between the bloggers' predictions and what would come to pass. Pacific News Service commentator Nema Milaninia reflected two days before the run-off vote, writing on the "failure" of fellow bloggers to rightly anticipate the likely result, that "we were blindsided by the election results." But moreover, Milaninia's point is that, though "almost 100,000 weblogs" exist in Iran among "over 5 million Internet users" in the country, "bloggers represent the views of ... affluent and otherwise privileged individuals who already have access to independent foreign news sources." He concludes: "Bloggers alone ... are incapable of representing the way most Iranians think," particuarly the "disgruntled poor" as oppposed to "Tehran's disgruntled youths." As well was the lack of anticipation that Milaninia saw in blogging colleagues for the pressure that Iranian military/security forces would exert, obvious in retrospect. The inherent 'Tehran bias' clouded their crystal ball.

In the post below, I had considered making a reference to the election of our own last November (which was actually democratic). Specifically, how one could interpret Ahmadinejad/Rafsanjani as Bush/Kerry. As essentially the same, except for one's PR success and other's failure. Bush campaigned as the champion of the underdog and a populist (both laughable presumptions) who called for national unity and an excess of military might to "fight" the monolithic terrorists, among calls to radically reorder (i.e. destroy) Social Security, etc. Kerry's platform was basically the same albeit the national pension system needed to be zealously defended. He called for the addition of two divisions to the Army, emphasized his status as a 'person of faith' (the new PC term for 'religious person') and have no real disagreements about the war in Iraq or even the insane notion of 'preemptive' war.

On comparing the two elections, though, I was cut to the chase by Mr. Milaninia, who runs a blog called Iranian Truth. He wrote in a post yesterday that both the United States and Iran "have a filtering process" for potential candidates, whereas ours is economic versus the ideological/partisan filters of Iran. He also cited Ahmadinejad and Bush's exploitation of the working class and religion. There *is* truth in Iran, but it isn't coming from the ruling regime.

In other related news, former Iraq weapons inspector Scott Ritter (1991 - 1998) has claimed that "the US war with Iran has already begun. As we speak, American over flights of Iranian soil are taking place, using pilotless drones and other, more sophisticated, capabilities." More ominous are covert CIA actions, he alleges. He is making the assertion that it is supporting the terrorist organization Mujahadeen el-Khalq (MEK), "an Iranian opposition group ... now working exclusively for the CIA's Directorate of Operations", to "carry out remote bombings in Iran of the sort" of the daily suicide bombings in Iraq. Ritter also is claiming that "the US military is preparing a base of operations" in Azerbaijan, which borders Iran to its north, for what he anticipates as a "major" ground invasion. (If we take Ritter seriously, it would make sense that these actions are covert, for the popular support for doing to Iran what we did to Iraq would not exist.)


Anonymous said...

Mr. Ranter, I am amazed at your erudite insights. Truly you are an excellent blogger. Too bad that so few people seem to visit your sight. You should find a way to reach a wider audience. Sincerely, a secret admirer

Alex said...

Thanks, whoever you are.