Monday, June 15, 2009

On the Election Unrest in Iran

Well, it looks like the secretive ruling mullahs in Iran got caught stealing the election. The unexpected strength of the moderate opposition seems to have scared them into attempting to forestall a political upset.

Although self-styled as the "Islamic Republic of Iran" since the Shah fell and the Ayatollah Khomeini took over in 1979, Iran is definitely not a democracy or a republic. The mullahs pull all the strings from the shadows, having the revolutionary constitutional power to override the "elected government".

This particular religious dictatorship ultimately espouses a cultural return to the 10th century, with enslavement of women, and the deprivation of all modern forms of communication and entertainment. That prescription should sound awfully familiar, as it is exactly that espoused by the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Al Qaeda, and thousands of other such groups.

In Iran, the mullahs have been moving very slowly in that direction, because many Iranians are well-educated, and would understand such oppression for what it really is. However, if one replaces education with religious indoctrination, after a time one ends up with an ignorant population that will willingly submit to domination "in God's name".

Examples of this educational effect include the illiterate tribal areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Taliban took over quickly. In Pakistan's Swat Valley, people were literate, and opposed a Taliban takeover there, albeit only with the help of the Pakistani army.

The continuing massive unrest in the streets of Iran seems also to have taken the mullahs by surprise. They are now backpedaling a bit, calling for an "investigation" of the election fraud claims. However, the outcome would seem to be pre-ordained: no dictator ever gives up power willingly.

I predict that there must be another revolution in Iran, in order to throw the mullahs out and establish a true republic or democracy. Whether this will actually happen is at best unclear, but it is clear that the scale of the protest has made the mullahs fear such a revolution.

Scared dictators do have a history of lashing out. This could get very ugly.

I think it much more likely that the mullahs will maintain their dictatorship by means of armed oppression. If they win, expect nuclear war in the Mideast as soon as they accumulate enough weapons-grade materials.

They would do this in part to deflect attention from their domestic activities. Hitler did the same thing starting World War 2 in Europe.

As I said, this could get very ugly.