Powered by WebAds

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Is Iran's 'green revolution' seeking regime change?

Is Iran's 'green revolution' seeking regime change or is it seeking to undo the results of a stolen election? According to Pooya Dayanim, an Iranian affairs specialist and a pro-democracy coordinator, the past executive committee member and director of foreign affairs of the Iran Referendum Movement, the movement's aims have gone far beyond what they were in June when this all started.
The political activists initially had hoped to elect a President (Moussavi) and then a Parliament in a free and fair election within the confines of the current system. That new government, in their view, would then vote to remove the position of the Supreme Leader, and the Regime, through an evolution, would become an Iranian Republic. After being robbed of their votes, however, they have come to realize that this very experiment in evolutionary change had failed once before. After all, Iranians voted over-whelmingly for Khatami in 1997, voted overwhelmingly for a reformist parliament and provincial and city councils in the Khatami era, only to have even minor reforms thwarted, the student uprising of 1999 crushed, leaving an Islamic Republic more dictatorial, militaristic and with less political freedom than ever before.

Now, after more than 100 deaths, 3000 arrests and disappearances, countless rapes, they have realized that the regime apparatus, the intelligence agencies, the multi-billion dollar machine known as the Revolutionary Guards and hundreds of thousands of Bassij Militia members on government welfare who are happy with the status quo will not go quietly into the night.

In the utterances of Moussavi about reconciliation, they are having a déjà vu of Khatami again. The political activists and the political elite (not the average man in the streets) have come to realize that Moussavi is not the man that will lead them to democracy and freedom. So do they want regime change? No, they insist. They have made that mistake before. They claim they don’t want much. They just want the removal of the position of the Supreme Leader, the Guardian Council, the Assembly of Experts, the Expediency Council and abolishment of the Revolutionary Guards Corp and the Bassij Militia!

In other words, they want regime change. They are not quite ready to say it. And why is that? They lack the organization, leadership and support to bring about regime change and do not want to get their hopes up.

They lack organization because although the overwhelming majority of the people know what they don’t want (Khamenei and Ahmadinejad), they have not quite figured out what they do want. Although, with each death, with each arrest, I kept hearing a very famous Iranian saying: “You die once and you mourn once, Marg yek bar, shivan ham yek bar” meaning now that they are killing, raping, arresting and torturing us, we might as well go for the overthrow of the Regime even if that was not our intention at the beginning. If the opposition is to become more organized, this decision to overthrow the Islamic Republic must become the rallying cry of the People and not just the political elite and cyber-activists who spend their time on laptops in Iran, UAE, Turkey, Germany, Sweden, Canada and the US.

The problem of leadership is far more complicated. No major leader has yet emerged. Any worthy leader has already been arrested or assassinated over the past 30 years. Those inside who have bravely organized rallies and protests like Heshmat Tabrazadi are more famous and popular in the outside world than inside Iran.

Shockingly, more and more Iranians (after claiming to be worthy of being leaders themselves only if I can arrange a meeting with the CIA or the MI-6!)are looking for direction to the political leaders in exile. Amongst other names, I repeatedly heard the names Reza Pahlavi and Mohsen Sazegara. Pahlavi (who in the spirit of full disclosure is a friend) is clean cut, wears a suit, speaks well and speaks of a secular democracy and has never been part of the current Regime. He is the anti-Ahmadinjead. He is a clean break. When I ask rhetorically, how can he lead them from abroad after all these years? They respond that Khomeni led the revolution from Iraq and France and that there was no satellite TV, internet, YouTube, Twitter or Facebook for Khomeni to use. I must emphasize that those who mention Pahlavi are supportive of citizen Pahlavi, a pro-democracy activist and not the heir to the Peacock Throne.

Sazegara, a former founder of the revolutionary guards, a colleague from the Iran Referendum Movement, a pre-cursor to the Green Movement we see in Iran today, has become affectionately known as “Uncle Sazegara.” Activists believe that as an architect of the revolutionary guards and a close ally of Mohsen Makhmalbaf (unofficial spokesperson of Moussavi) and Moussavi, he is best equipped to teach them how to break the back of the Regime and the revolutionary guards through a blood-less non-violent civil disobedience and is liberated to say things on behalf of Moussavi in the outside that would endanger Moussavi and the other Greens in the inside. Sazegara wants Moussavi to become the head of a transitional government that would hold a referendum on the Islamic Republic and its constitution to end the political impasse that Iran finds itself in.

There are other spokespersons of the pro-democracy movement that are positively mentioned by name and with much affection: Ahmad Batebi (student), Nazanin Afshin-Jam (human rights activist), Shahriar Ahy (opposition leader), Dariush Eghbali (artist/social activist), Simin Behbahani (poet), Ardeshir Zarezade(student), Alireza Nourizadeh(journalist) and Shirin Ebadi (lawyer) but none are deemed to be the leader that the people are looking for nor have they made such claims or have such aspirations.

With or without organization, with or without leadership, with or without funding, the loosely organized Iranian opposition inside and outside are now galvanized for their next show down with the Regime: The Anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in February.
Read the whole thing. It sounds like many of the 'activists' really are seeking regime change. But they need leadership, particularly from the West. So far, none has been forthcoming. It would be a pity to lose the moment because the President of the United States is too busy genuflecting to the Islamic regime to seize the moment to topple it.


At 4:27 PM, Blogger Chrysler 300M said...

regime change will take more than 5 yrs, but it will come

if not by reforms sooner, ten by violence later

At 7:07 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The problem is anti-regime Iranians are divided. They want they to get rid of the theocracy but beyond that they have no clear vision of the future. And that gives the advantage to the Islamist regime which may at a dead end and unpopular but has the means to keep itself in power and which still has the will to rule.


Post a Comment

<< Home