Iran: Playing for All the Marbles Now
by CA Pol Junkie
As advertised, there was bloodshed today in the streets of Iran. The government amassed tens of thousands of security personnel in Tehran and effectively prevented the many thousands of protesters from coalescing into a single group with critical mass. It was mindless and brutal, and scores of protesters lost their lives, but the weapons were primarily batons, tear gas, water cannons, and skin irritant as opposed to bullets. The regime is aware of the hazard of creating martyrs, but among many tragedies the world saw the last minutes of life for a woman named Neda after she was shot on the street.
The last opportunity for a peaceful end to the uprising faded today as the Assembly of Experts, the only body legally empowered to remove Ayatollah Khamenei from power, stood by their man. That means that if the uprising succeeds, it will do so not by just removing the corrupt leaders but rather by taking down their theocratic government structure entirely.
It's far from over, as once again the calls of Allah-o Akbar rang from the rooftops again tonight. Mousavi has apparently declared that he is ready to become a martyr and that there should be a general strike indefinitely if he were to be arrested. We have to hope that the security forces relent to the inevitable tide of history.
UPDATE: According to the Huffington Post's 10:05 PM entry, it was actually just a leader of the assembly, Mohammed Yazdi, endorsing Khamenei and Ahmadinejad and not the 86-member body as a whole. That leaves some hope of peaceful resolution, but they better act quickly if they're going to make a move to oust Khamenei.