David Kirkpatrick

July 17, 2009

Rafsanjani speaks

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:43 pm

And breaks somewhere down the middle as was expected. I think even the mild opposition he expressed toward the ruling despots still in power in Iran will provide strength, albeit a small amount, to the green wave.

From the link:

As thousands of opposition protesters chanted in the streets of Tehran on Friday, the former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani assailed the government’s handling of the post-election unrest, saying it had lost the trust of many Iranians and calling for the release of hundreds of protesters and democracy advocates arrested in recent weeks.

Mr. Rafsanjani, speaking to a vast crowd at Tehran University that included the opposition leader Mir Hussein Moussavi and many of his supporters, called for unity and reconciliation in his prayer sermon. But he also said doubts about the election “are now consuming us” and called for a new spirit of compromise between the opposition and the government.

July 9, 2009

The green wave continues

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:59 am

Open protests had largely ended before today’s planned gathering. The despotic ruling regime threatened its own citizens once again to not demonstrate for any reason and looks to be making good on its promise to rain physical violence down on any protesters.

It is horrible the people of Iran must suffer at the hands of what is now nothing more than a brutal totalitarian state and a leadership that over the last several weeks has continually broken Irani law in an attempt to break the will and spirit of the Irani people.

Today’s protest makes it very obvious to both Iranians and the people of the world the green wave revolution is not over by any stretch, and that the ruling despots days are truly numbered. The ideals behind the revolution of 1979 are gone from Irani leadership. There’s no telling what will come next politically and no way of telling when change at the top will occur, but change is coming to Iran.

From the link:

It was the first protest in 11 days, and was called to commemorate the 10th anniversary of violent confrontations at Tehran University when protesting students were beaten and jailed. Iranian authorities had announced earlier that the demonstration was illegal and would be met with a “crushing response.”

But at the end of the work day, hundreds of protesters began packing the streets of one area of Tehran, chanting, clapping and sitting in jammed traffic as drivers honked their horns, witnesses said. Families brought their children. Many held a hand in the air in the defiant V for victory.

The security forces quickly moved in.

Reuters, citing witnesses, reported that the police used tear gas to disperse a group of about 250 protesters as they headed toward Tehran University, shouting support for a defeated presidential candidate, Mir Hussein Moussavi.

At the Daily Dish Andrew Sullivan has a great roundup of mainstream media coverage of today’s protests and the ensuing crackdown.

June 26, 2009

Cato on Iran’s green wave and Obama’s response

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:02 pm

The libertarian Cato Institute voices approval of Obama’s measured handling of the green wave revolution going on in Iran right now. The United States hand in this process must be very delicate. The despotic leadership in Iran would like nothing more than to blame “the great satan” America for the popular uprising (indeed they are attempting to do so daily along with trying to pin blame on the British as well).

The green wave is about the Iranian people becoming tired of the cheap and false lip service given to democracy by ruling mullahs. The stolen election ripped that falsehood away and exposed the existing Islamacist leadership as little more than cheap frightened thugs.

From today’s weekly dispatch:

Obama’s Cool Response to Iranian Politics Appropriate  
  As the voices of protest to the Iranian election grow louder, many have called upon President Obama to use bolder rhetoric when speaking about the elections in Iran. Last week, Charles Krauthammer and Paul Wolfowitz opined in The Washington Postthat Obama’s reaction has not been nearly enough. Cato foreign policy expert Christopher Preble disagrees, saying that Obama’s calculated reaction is appropriate:

The louder the neocons become in their braying for a free and fair counting of the election results, the less likely it is to occur. In their more candid moments, a few are willing to admit that they would prefer Ahmadinejad to Mousavi.

…It is possible to view President Obama as a more credible messenger, given that he opposed the Iraq war from the outset and has shown a willingness to reach out to the Iranian people. Perhaps a full-throated, morally self-righteous, public address in support of Mousavi’s supporters might have tipped the scales in the right direction.

It seems more likely, however, that Obama’s patient, measured public response to recent events is well suited to the circumstances. As the president said earlier this week, Americans are right to feel sympathy for the Iranian protesters, and we should all be free to voice our sentiments openly. But it is incumbent upon policymakers to pursue strategies that don’t backfire, or whose unintended consequences don’t dwarf the gains that we are trying to achieve. In many cases, the quiet, private back channel works well. And if we discover that there is no credible back channel to Iran available, similar to those employed in 1986 and 1991, then we’ll all know whom to blame.

Cato scholar Justin Logan says that the U.S. government should stay silent on Iran:

President Obama should keep quiet on the subject of Iran’s elections. At least two pernicious tendencies are on display in the Beltway discussion on the topic. First is the common Washington impulse to “do something!” without laying out clear objectives and tactics. What, after all, is President Obama or his administration supposed to do to “support protesters” in Iran in the first place? What would be the ultimate goal of such support? Most importantly, what is the mechanism by which the support is supposed to produce the desired outcome? That we are debating how America should intervene in Iran’s domestic politics indicates the sheer grandiosity of American foreign policy thought.

June 20, 2009

Live green wave coverage from the Daily Dish

Andrew Sullivan is doing an exhaustive (and exhausting even for me just to attempt to keep up with it all) job of live blogging the green wave in Iran and now today’s crackdown from the despotic ruling regime.

He’s continually adding tweets from inside Iran, embedding video and providing fresh images of the protests and state-issued violence against a democracy seeking population.

Hit the Daily Dish link in my blogroll for his latest posts, and this link goes to “Live-Blogging Day 8.”

From the link:

2.58 pm. good source: Hospital close to the scene in Tehran: 30-40 dead thus far as of 11pm and 200 injured. Police taking names of incoming injured.

Voice from Iran: Shame on a country in which foreign embassies are safer than hospitals :(

Gunfire Is Hearing From Near Resalat SQ. (East Teharan)

Bloody-woman

2.47 pm. New footage of fighting in the streets. And another protester is shot.

2.31 pm. Canadians, call your foreign office. It’s confirmed Canadian Embassy rejects injured protesters

Australian Embassy reportedly accepting injured

My Friend Wounded At Haft Hooz SQ, No Clinic Is Open!

June 17, 2009

Protests continue in Iran

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:39 pm

From all accounts the ongoing election protests in Iran are relatively peaceful. I’ve read some accounts that make the situation out to be a game of reverse chicken where the first side to go openly violent will end up the loser. At this point I think it’s pretty clear the previous status quo has lost. Regardless the outcome, the legitimacy of the post-1979 government is either significantly reduced or possibly gone altogether.

From the link:

The protesters marched silently down a major thoroughfare, some holding photographs of the main opposition candidate in Friday’s vote, Mir Hussein Moussavi. Others lifted their bare hands high in the air, signifying their support for Mr. Moussavi with green ribbons tied around their wrists or holding their fingers in a victory sign.

The scope and description of the demonstration was provided by participants who were reached by telephone, as well as photographs taken participants and journalists despite warnings by the authorities against reporting on the event. All accredited in Iran have been ordered to remain in their offices.

It was the fifth day of unrest since election officials declared a landslide victory for the incumbent, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

This bit from the same link strikes me as patently ridiculous:

The Iranian Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, summoned the Swiss ambassador, who represents American interests in Tehran, to complain of “interventionist” statements by American officials, state-run media reported.

If anything the White House is playing this very smoothly and not providing any fuel for “Great Satan influence” rhetoric from the Iranian government.

Of course some on the neocon right don’t see things quite like anyone else.

To wit (from a Robert Kagan op-ed):

It’s not that Obama preferred a victory by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He probably would have been happy to do business with Mir Hossein Mousavi, even if there was little reason to believe Mousavi would have pursued a different approach to the nuclear issue. But once Mousavi lost, however fairly or unfairly, Obama objectively had no use for him or his followers. If Obama appears to lend support to the Iranian opposition in any way, he will appear hostile to the regime, which is precisely what he hoped to avoid.

Obama’s policy now requires getting past the election controversies quickly so that he can soon begin negotiations with the reelected Ahmadinejad government.

And with this line of fantasy the neocons fade a little deeper back into history ready to be mothballed in think tanks for another 35 or so years.

Kagan’s outrageous op-ed was immediately countered by the blogosphere.

Here’s Matt Duss:

But I have to say, Mr. Kagan, your op-ed this morning is really beneath you. You can’t actually believe that President Obama is “siding with the Iranian regime” against the Iranian people, or that Obama’s outreach to Iran depends upon keeping hardliners in power, can you? You’re far too intelligent to buy the brutishly simplistic “realism” that you attempt to hang upon President Obama’s approach. These sorts of claims are better left to your friend and occasional co-author Bill Kristol, who uses his series of valuable journalistic perches (with which he inexplicably continues to be gifted) to launch an endless stream of comically transparent bad faith arguments. You’re better than that. You’re the smart neocon.

I wish the best of luck to the people of Iran. People who deserve the modern society denied them for many years. I’m disappointed, but no surprised, the neocon, pro-Israel right would attempt to inject U.S. politics into a situation that belongs to one Middle East nation, and one nation alone, at this time.

June 15, 2009

This revolution is not televised

Filed under: Media, Politics, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:51 pm

I’m going to assume the televised media will eventually pick up the ball on the ongoing situation in Iran. It’s only the most important geopolitical story out there. Thirty years after deposing the Shah, Iranians are rejecting both a sham election and the corrupt Islamic leadership.

Of course if you want any serious coverage of the Iranian green revolution you need to hit the BBC, the blogosphere, NYT’s website or Twitter. For the most part mainstream media is proving its irrelevancy once again. The Sunday edition of my local paper had exactly zero mention of Iran on its front page. Sadly I can’t type “unbelievable” because utter crap has become par for the course.

Hit the link for a Twitter #iranelection hashtag search.

June 14, 2009

Tracking the coup in Iran

Filed under: Media, Politics, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:47 pm

The Daily Dish has been indispensible along with many, many other online resources. Twitter has apparently been indispensible among services in Iran.

As an app Twitter is still an infant battlling growing pains, hype and speculation on monetizing. What is amazing is how those 140 characters affected the San Diego wildfires and now an ongoing international situation where mainstream media is repeatedly dropping the ball. Web 2.0 is proving to be much more revolutionary than anyone could have guessed.

Hit the link for a Twitter search on the hashtag #iranelection.

June 13, 2009

Civil war in Iran?

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:16 pm

Looks to be very likely given the stolen election and the enthusiastic level of voting and support for Mousavi.

Andrew Sullivan has done a great job of covering the election and its aftermath including many insights from his myriad of readers.

Looks like even Iran’s monitors are calling the results election fraud.

From the link:

A Farsi speaking military reader confirms the post here, perhaps the most important aspect of which was that Iran’s own election monitors have allegedly declared the election a fraud.

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