Monday, June 15, 2009

Is Iranian resistance "about" Mousavi?

Andrew Sullivan quotes Mousavi's newest message and follows with a comment:

I have submitted my request for canceling the elections to the Guardian Council. I am certain recent reactions are not for me, but it is out of concern for the new political order that is being imposed on our country.

It is important to understand what is going on. There has been a fascist coup after the elections stripped Ahmadinejad of any legitimacy. The resistance is religious as all mass movements in Iran are. The government is fascist. And the regime has split open, leaving the worst elements desperately and brutally trying to restore their control by force.
"The resistance is religious." And there's an Animal Farm irony to Mousavi's stance: he warns that the original (presumably pure, shining) Islamic Revolution is at risk of giving way to "a new way of political hegemony which is being forced upon us" (June 14). He is now spokesman for the rule of law in the name of an Islamic Republic that from an American perspective never respected it, but that is now sweeping away its inadequate but to some extent functioning channels of response to the popular will. It's as if one of Lenin's original cadre were resisting a less murderous Stalin in the name of the revolution's original ideals.

A second irony is that while Mousavi insists "it's not about me," the resistance may yet be shaped by his strategy -- peaceful pressure to convince the mullahs to step back from the brink, then reform their Islamist regime in order to save it. Events could overwhelm his leadership from two directions -- brutal crackdown or a revolution that sweeps away the Islamic Republic. But so far he's something of a dam holding both sides back.

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