What the so-called experts on Iran and Iranian affairs failed to realize when they hastily predicted the imminent downfall of the Islamic Regime after demonstrations broke out in the aftermath of June elections, was the sheer power of the regime’s security apparatus. The usual suspects from the Western think tanks and academia (you know who they are) flocked to the international airwaves and started prophesizing about the future of the theocracy. They declared that the beginning of the end of the Islamic Republic is at hand and from now on it’s just a matter of time before the clerical establishment goes the way of the dodo.
During the Cold War, Carl Jung opined in one of his writings, about totalitarian governments. Jung said that any regime, regardless of how brutal, repressive, and paranoid it is can rule indefinitely as long as it has a loyal and well-fed security apparatus. Of course he was referring to the Soviet Union at the time, but his saying rings true even today. Let’s not forget that it wasn’t people power that did in the USSR,rather it was a Politburo member, actually its chief, who came to his senses and by his actions set events into motion that ultimately caused the collapse of the Soviet system.
Eight months on, the Green Movement is in disarray. Its loose membership is of opposing opinions as to its ultimate objective. Its presumed leadership is inept and uncharismatic and unable to gain grass-root support. The labor force, the merchant class, and entire segments of the Iranian Society have effectively refused to endorse the opposition movement.
Even if demonstrations similar to what took place on Ashura continue, they will not be enough to unseat a well-trenched system with its hands on billions of dollars of oil revenue. The movement, if it were to succeed, must attract greater numbers among the population. The demonstration should necessarily be augmented by widespread strikes in the oil industry and elsewhere. The army and police (including the Guards) must join the movement or at the least declare their neutrality. Most importantly, the movement needs strong leadership and clear objectives. It needs to decide whether its aim is to reform the current system or replace it with a new one. Finally it needs to have contingency plans for the ‘post’ period when dangers of succumbing to separatist intrigues will be at their greatest.
Now for some levity… the more I observe the current situation in Iran, the more I see the whole affair as nothing more than a fight between two villagers from Khameneh over grazing land for their herds, with a Lor, recklessly butting in and asking about the whereabouts of his shovel, and a Yazdi confectioner mumbling inaudible nonsense from a safe distance.