Posted on 23-10-2009
Filed Under (Current Affairs) by Rashtrakut

The New York Times has a profile on Mehdi Karroubi, one of the 4 presidential candidates in the rigged elections this summer.  Since I have been following the news coverage he has also been the most vocal critic of the torture and repression that followed the quasi coup.  While a lot of hopes were placed in former President Hashemi Rafsanjani’s behind the scenes machinations, the Green Revolution confirms a depressing truth on the underpinnings of power originally articulated in the deathbed advice of the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus to his sons.  “Be harmonious, enrich the soldiers, and scorn all other men.”

When the soldiers stay neutral or switch sides tyrants like Marcos, Ceausescu and Milosevic fall.  When the regime buys their loyalty the result is what was displayed at Tiananmen, on the streets of Rangoon and in the student dorms of Iran’s universities this summer.

Just how long the iron fist can control Iran’s youth remains to be seen.  China purchased political stability with an economic boon.  Burma’s junta got it though sheer repression and a willful disregard for the condition of its people.  Iran lies somewhere in the middle.  Its economy is a mess and over dependent on its oil industry.  But it is far too culturally integrated with the world to lapse into a North Korea or Burma like isolation.  Time is not on the regime’s side.

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[…] bloodier, but by 1989 it is not clear that these regimes could indefinitely bribe the men with the guns.  In contrast the regimes that were not imposed solely as a result of Soviet tanks rolling into […]


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