Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Ahmadinejad

The five superpowers are abusing of a massive smoke screen to vilifying Iran’s nuclear program as a serious threat to world peace.  Why Russia and China went along?  It seems that the US gave the two States sizeable political concessions.  What about France and England, the lesser two “superpowers” with veto rights at the UN, meant to be the biggest losers in that agreement?  The oil multinationals of France and England have succumbed to the US pressures and are out of Iran.

Let us go back to the latest Presidential election in Iran in June 2009.  The western media and State governments shouted fraud and kept up the music loud and sustained the media pressure for a month until it died down.

The opposition candidate, Hussein Moussavi, had for allies the urban upper and middle classes, the bazar merchants, and the urban clerics or mullahs:  The urban mullahs wanted to weaken the Rahbar (Supreme Guide) Kamenei in order to regain lost power and re-dip freely in the treasury.  President Ahmadinejad had for allies the countryside, the poor clerics in the countryside, the bassidjis (Revolution Guards), and the majority of the lower middle class (the patriots aghast with western powers’ pressures) residing in the poorer quarters in urban centers.  It is to be noted that urban centers dwellers are as populous as countryside people in Iran.  The army had no interest supporting the opposition since Iran was embarking on self-sufficiency in manufacturing the military hardware:  The army was in no mood of renegotiating the defense budget.

Fact is, Ahmadi won the election.  The small margin was not appreciated by the Rahbar Kamenei.  The crackdown on the Moussavi’s “green movement” at the eve of the result counting and the following weeks was mainly a preemptive show of force meaning: “We have won.  Do not count on us to negotiating sharing power”.  More precisely, the Rahbar Khamenei was sending the strong message: “You, mullahs and Ayatollahs of urban centers in Teheran, Shiraz, Mashhad, Tabriz, and Isfahan, you go to hell.  I am the Supreme Guide and I won’t be sharing power.”

The western powers got the Iranian message clear and loud: “This is not the proper time for Iran to bow down to foreign pressures,  Iran will be steadfast to its policy of putting Iran on the map among the great countries, having the means to demonstrating its independence, self-sufficiency, and self-autonomy to decision-making”

The “veto superpowers” decided to send a counter message: “We are the only ones to deciding who is to be a totally independent and self-sufficient State.” They voted on a stricter economic and military embargo.  The embargo is targeting the basseji (Revolutionary Guard) trade infrastructures that Ahmadi managed to institute as alternative competitor to the urban bazaars.  Anyway, the opposition lacks military organizations to counter the well-organized bassijis.

The embargo cannot hurt the lower middle class in Iran:  The government has opened up enough infrastructure projects to put this class to work.  The Revolutionary Guard has no alternative but to expand its businesses and to displacing the urban bazar merchants and wholesalers in the distribution of goods.  In medium-term, it is the middle class (the “green movement” opposition of this current government)  that will be crying “Uncle”.  But the US will feel helpless coming to their rescue:  The US will be striking deals with Ahmadi to getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan with the least cost possible.

My impression is that the blockade will not last effectively:  Russia and China have vast interests in Iran and are already worrying that the US is striking a deal with Iran at their expense.  Western Europe has most to lose in that conflict and will be sidetracked when the clouds clear-up:  France and England will scream “Uncle”.  But “Uncle Sam” is bankrupt and can no longer afford to extending another Marshal Plan to succor Europe.

The Iranian middle class of professionals and intellectuals have to get back to work; what they used to do in the US and overseas before they returned to Iran:  Working without shame and contributing to the effective nation’s production.  Working with and among the people is the foundation of individual dignity and means to efficient reforms:  The middle class in Iran has to stop playing coy.

Note:  Already Iran has secured an exit port to the Mediterranean Sea in Lebanon.  The latest extended visit of President Ahmadinejad to Lebanon was meant to fine tune his strategic position on the Mediterranean Sea as Iran will embark on producing inexpensive consumer goods.   It would be interesting for Lebanese merchants, with footholds in most of African States, to generating excellent profits when Iran begin building warehouses in Lebanese ports.  Most likely, Turkey will feel the heat for competition with its inexpensive goods, but most likely Iran and Turkey will iron out major divergences:  They have no alternatives but to cooperate closely.

Note 2: Empress Catherine of Russia managed an exit to the Black Sea “The jewel to my crown” in the late 18th century:  Currently, 80% of the Black Sea maritime trades as done by Russia merchant ships.

Welcome, “walk on my eyes”: Iran

“Walk on my eyes” or (Qadamet ro cheschm) is an expression of politeness in Iran to welcome someone home.  The Swiss journalist Serge Michel and the photographer Paolo Woods have been covering Iran, on and off, since 1998, every time the Iranian government felt the urge to be kept alive in world public eyes.  Serge and Paolo were asked to leave, a few weeks after the latest election in June 2009.  They witnessed the upheavals during and after the Iranian Presidential election.

Serge and Paolo realized that the Iranians are fundamentally a happy people, well comfortable in their environment and their culture.  They had the idea of “Happy Iran” as title.  Serge did some historical search and discovered that the Iranians or Persians (as the Syrians ans Lebanese) were not warriors, but merchants, artisans, traders, mariners, poets, and peasants: They hired war mercenaries during the successive Persian Empires. Warrior empires such as the Moguls, Afghans, Macedonians, Romans, Turks, and central Asian people conquered Iran since antiquity and ended up meshing with the Iranian culture and blend nicely within Iran.

This article is the first installment in reviewing the book and I will focus on the eye-witness accounts of the journalists prior, during, and after the election process.

It would be useful for a gross brush of the conditions In Iran before the June 2009 election.

The opposition candidate, Hussein Moussavi, had for allies the urban upper and middle classes, the bazar merchants, and the urban clerics or mullahs:  The urban mullahs wanted to weaken the Rahbar (Supreme Guide) Kamenei in order to regain lost power and re-dip freely in the treasury.  President Ahmadinejad had for allies the countryside, the poor clerics in the countryside, the bassidjis (Revolution Guards), and the majority of the lower middle class (the patriots aghast with western powers’ pressures) residing in the poorer quarters in urban centers.  It is to be noted that urban centers dwellers are as populous as countryside people in Iran.  The army had no interest supporting the opposition since Iran was embarking on self-sufficiency in manufacturing the military hardware:  The army was in no mood of renegotiating the defense budget.

Teheran June 3, 2009 (A week before election):  I listened to the televised debate Moussavi/Ahmadinejad with friends.  Over 50 million Iranians must have been watching this first in 30 years. Ahmadi exhibited an illegible document proving the wife of Moussavi got her teaching job at the university by fraud; he challenged Moussavi to declare the sources of his campaign funds (Ahmadi could draw from the government treasury).  Moussavi replied: “Your foreign policies are humiliating the dignity of the Iranians.  You are an exhibitionist, superstitious, and extremist President.”

In front of the TV station on Vali-Asr street, hundreds of Ahmadi’s supporters are chanting and beating their chests as during Ashura. They have converged from the poorer southern parts of Teheran.  The richer classes are concentrated in the northern parts.

Shiraz June 5:  Moussavi’s supporters, wearing green attire, are driving in private cars, in a long caravan for miles, waving green posters and honking all the way; a first in Iran in the last 30 years.  I am interviewing a Pasdar (revolutionary guard); as we passed a shop selling western DVD movies the Pasdar said: “As the election is over, these kinds of shops will be closed.”

Teheran, June 8: A night manifestation by Moussavi’s supporters at Palestine Square.  They are chanting “Death to the little dictator”.  They are university students of Amir Abad:  In 1999, the bassidjis killed several students and a week-long of riots ensued.  The march ends at 4 am.

Teheran June 9:  Big gathering of Moussavi’s supporters at the Vali-Asr Square.  Everything is in color green: T-shirts, baseball caps, veils, flags, and ribbons.  Ahmadi had recently distributed potatoes to the needy quarters in Teheran.  The masses of Moussavi are chanting “Potato government.  I don’t want” and “Ahmadi bye-bye.”  It was a march of two hours.

Teheran June 10:  The election campaign is to end at midnight, but Moussavi’s supporters are enjoying a victory carnival.  Sound tracks are blasting and people are dancing in the streets.  A couple of female teenagers are chanting: “A week, two weeks that Ahmadi had not taken a shower.”

Teheran 12:  Election Day.  Moussavi’s supporters are joyous and confident in victory.  Long files on voting booths in the northern parts of Teheran.  In the evening, F calls me crying: “I am in Moussavi headquarter. The bassidjis attacked us with sticks and destroyed our computers.  They arrested the managers.  The police has sealed our center. It is a State coup.”  The bassidjis have clamped down on the Moussavi daily on Zartocht Street.  Columns of military trucks are celebrating.  Moussavi had declared at 11 pm: “The minister of the Interior told me that I won the election”

Teheran June 13:  The forces of order are massively present in front of the ministry of the Interior where the voting polls are counted.  The forces had disbanded a demonstration in the morning and arrested 20 people. A violent combat is taking place on Vanak Square and tear gas are used.  People burn newspaper sheets to counter the effects of tear gas. The night is witnessing pockets of resistance; buses are burned and grandmothers are burning waste bins on the streets.  A friend tells me a joke: “Ahmadi split his hair in two parts:  the right part for male lice and the left for the female counterparts.”

Teheran June 14:  Ahmadi delivers his victory speech at Vali-Asr Square; he lambasted his opponents as detritus and bad losers; hooligans after football games.

Teheran June 15: Maybe two million are marching from Enkilab (Revolution) Square toward Azadi (Liberty) Square.  Balconies are empty: everybody descended to the streets chanting: “Who voted for this monkey?”; “Yo, atomic athlete, you must be tired, Go home.”

Teheran June 16:  A young girl enters the fast food establishment and changes her green veil to a black one.  She told me: “I managed to escape the bassidjis”  After she ate her roasted chicken she paid with a 5,000 toumans  ($4) bill; the bill had a poem scribbled in a green ink: “The detritus is you; the passion is me.  Cruelty is you; impetuouss is me.  Iran is mine.”  Ahmadi’s manifestation took place at 3 pm and the Moussavi demonstration at 5 pm at the Vanak Place.

Teheran June 17:  Moussavi’s manifestation is marching from Haft-e Tir to the university.  The timing of the march is set 30 minutes after the portable phones are disconnected and the gathering place is known by word of mouth.  It seems that the Iranians rekindled old-time communication habits after the government began shutting down phone lines. A banner inscribed a poem by Hamid Mossadegh: “denounce the dishonests. Rekindle oriental solidarity.  If I get up and you get up, everyone will get up.”

Teheran June 18:  Moussavi is acclaimed as a rock star at the Ferdowsi Place.

Teheran June 19, a Friday:  Kamenei deliver a speech at the mosque.  Everyone already know what is the message and that England will be the target.  Ahmadi leaves in a 4*4 and briefly waves: a thunderous acclaim greets him.

For a month, the “green movement” never missed an occasion or an event to gather on mass.  In Iran, every week has major events to celebrate or to remember: religious dates, anniversaries of martyrs, Jerusalem Day… During Ashura, Moussavi’s supporters chanted “Mir-Hossein” instead of “Ya Hussein.”  Every night, chanting emanate from rooftops “Death to the dictator” and “Allah Akbar”.  For the anniversary of the revolution in Feb. 2010, the TV was asked not to show sections of demonstrations against the Shah: they reminded the people of the current furors.

Adonis49 opinion:  Ahmadi won the election.  The small margin was not appreciated by the Rahbar Kamenei.  The crackdown on the Moussavi’s “green movement” at the eve of the result counting and the following weeks was mainly a preemptive show of force meaning: “We have won.  Do not count on us to negotiating sharing power”.  More precisely, the Rahbar Khamenei was sending the strong message: “You, mullahs and Ayatollahs of urban centers in Teheran, Shiraz, Mashhad, Tabriz, and Isfahan, you go to hell.  I am the Supreme Guide and I won’t be sharing power.””

Sunday, June 7, 2009 Election Day in Lebanon

I got up at 4 a.m. on Sunday June 7, 2009; it is Election Day for the Parliament in Lebanon.

I wrote and published the post “I have a position: I am voting today”.

As my parents were ready we drove around 8:15 to one of the three election centers in the town of Beit-Chabab. Our center was located in the previous private school that the municipality has purchased five years ago and didn’t move in yet.

This is the first time in Lebanon that election is done in one day: Parliamentary elections were performed in two successive Sundays until the last election proved that parties with heavier financial muscles could regroup, focus, and swing elections to their advantages by chastising parties that didn’t stick to the alliance terms in the previous Election Sunday.

I was shocked by the long line that did not move. The army was positioned outside the perimeter and the internal security forces within the enclosed place.

You had first to exhibit your ID to enter the only entrance/exit “door”.  You wait for a security officer to call on a range of numbers corresponding to your family civil record.   The elder people were given priority and my parents voted within half an hour.

The urn assigned to my category was very slow in processing voters. I sat and ate a loaf of “mankoush bi zaatar” that one party was distributing. I asked my parents to hitchhike home.  I waited for an hour and a half and the line never budged. I lost any hope for my turn to come in the morning.

I returned home hoping to come back after lunch for the line to get moving.  Those who arrived at 7 a.m. made it nicely. My brother-in-law, a retired military officer, voted for the first time as well as one of his eligible daughters.

I returned at 1:30 after lunch to the voting urns and had to wait another hour before I managed to vote.  There were too many voters for the reduced number of urns (kalam ektira3). Citizens complained that they lined up as if they were receiving rations “i3asha/e7ssan”.

General Michel Aoun of the Tayyar Party has warned a couple of months ago on the strong possibility of this problem and had suggested that election be resumed on two successive days.

The opposition claimed that the slow process was intentional to discourage their voters from exercising patience.  Apparently, the slow processing of voter lines is due mainly, in addition to the first reason, to the decrease in numbers of urns because of shortage in personnel.

By law, any voter within the enclosed voting area was eligible to vote after 7 p.m.  Dozens of election monitoring groups from around the world were gathered in Lebanon to take notes of the proceedings; the groups of ex-US President Jimmy Carter, the European Union, and the Arab League were present weeks before that well “observed” and critical day.

News are that over 100 thousands Lebanese immigrants flew in to participate in the election process.

Monday Morning, June 8, 2009

I got up at 4 a.m. and watched TV for any crumbs of news on the election results and removed to my study to read.  Official results will not be in before noon but I got a good idea of the trend.

Our neighborhood and the districts of Metn and Kesrouan are very calm and not because people are not up.  The government coalition parties that usually are the loudest and the most trouble makers have lost the election in these two districts.

Unofficial results indicate that the government allies received a majority of 67 deputies to 57 for the opposition.

Actually, the results were already known before midnight.  The minister of the interior Ziad Baroud had announced previously not to expect any official results before late afternoon.

My contention is that, in addition to waiting for formal arrival of evidences, the minister of the interior was asked to delay official results for 18 hours.  The purpose of that delay is first, to permit negotiations for swapping deputies from losers to winners as the implicit entente of the Doha agreement demanded, so that the main leaders represented there will re-enter Parliament and second, so that the difference between opposition and government coalition deputies would not exceed more than 5 deputies.

The opposition coalition major defeats were in the districts of Batroun, Koura, Zahle, and Ashrafieh (Beirut 1).  The government coalition lost Baabda and Zgharta districts.

The main leaders on both sides are winners; Saad Hariri, Michel Aoun, Walid Jumblatt, and Hezbollah.

Thus, any government has to be formed of the three major blocks representing the three main religious sects (Maronite, Shiaa, and Sunni) with practically even power politically in the parliament.

Basically, the Tayyar of Michel Aoun has increased the number of its deputies from 20 to over 27; the Tayyar gained the leader Suleiman Frangieh of Zgharta and lost Skaf of Zahle.

Michel Aoun strengthened his unchallenged Maronite leadership in Mount Lebanon (the district of Jubail, Kesrouan, Metn, Baabda, and Jezzine). The block of General Michel Aoun represents two third of the Maronite deputies and 50% of the Christian deputies and an overwhelming popular support in all Lebanon.

Hezbollah gained the strategic district of Baabda because it is an extension to its headquarters in south Beirut (Dahiyat).

Consequently, the resistance had secured internal political backing of all Mount Lebanon to the southern borders. Obviously, Hezbollah prevails militarily and Lebanon policy of defense cannot circumvent Hezbollah’s concerns for its internal security.

Saad Hariri emerged as the unchallenged leader of the Sunni sect in Beirut, Saida, North Lebanon, and the central Bekaa Valley.  Fouad Siniora PM got a seat in Saida.

The main losers are the President of the Republic, Michel Suleiman, because the opposition coalition badly defeated the President’s implicit list of candidates in the district of Jubail.

The Maronite Patriarch lost because he can no longer claim any political weight in Mount Lebanon since he publicly supported the parties challenging Michel Aoun.  Thus, Michel Aoun is practically the political leader of the Maronite sect according to Lebanon’s caste system.

One fact stands out in this tough election: it is my contention that the sacerdotal caste of the Christian Greek Orthodox did its best to challenge Michel Aoun as the pre-eminent representative of all the Christians in Lebanon.

The Greek Orthodox clergy played politics big time by defeating the Tayyar in Koura, Betroun, and Ashrafieh.  I am not worried about this positioning at this phase because the Greek Orthodox citizens are the staunchest Lebanese patriots against our main enemy Israel: Most of the secular and national founders of political parties were Greek Orthodox. 

Michel Aoun will have to temper his zeal and negotiate with this Christian sect as an equal.  In any event, Saad Hariri will owe the Christian Orthodox big time for the next four years otherwise he is doomed to lose the majority in next Parliamentary election.

The Christian Armenians could swing victory only in the Metn district because they failed in Ashrafieh and Zahle to make any difference facing the outnumbered Sunni voters.

Actually, the 4,000 Sunni voters in Koura reversed a sure win for the opposition to a defeat by less than one thousand votes.

The opposition lost the district of Zahle because the government had transferred the registration of over 25 thousands of Sunnis to Zahle in preparation for this election. This election was an exacerbation of Sunni confessional rallying cry as the other religious sects were distancing from confessional rhetoric.  Saudi Kingdom monarchy is deeply immersed in an ugly and dirty confessional battle.

Monday Evening

Ziad Baroud returned partial official results of 15 out of 26 districts (kada2) by noon and a full declaration by 6 p.m.

The trick that there were discussions going on for swapping deputies did not take off in Lebanon’s archaic confessional political system.  For example, I considered that at least two losing traditional deputies in Zahle would be declared winners in return for two traditional losers in the Metn District.  Lebanon election experienced high turn out averaging over 60%.

Hassan Nasrallah of Hezbollah delivered a speech by 8:30 p.m. He reminded the citizens of the lies of the government coalition leaders who used scare tactics claiming that the resistance would use its military power to affect election procedures and results.

In any case, if the new political power sharing is to take off then any discussion of Hezbollah military reality should be restricted to the special conference table on defense strategies.

Iran is having its Presidential election on June 12, 2009.

The candidates Ahmadinejad and Moussawi faced off in a television debate.  Moussawi suckered to the public opinion of the western nations’ demands: he is speaking as a foreign affairs minister and not a candidate to win the presidency.

The attitude of appeasing the western public opinions is considered very disgusting in Iran and not the characteristic of a vast “Empire”.

The largest, widest, and lengthiest military exercise conducted by Israel for 5 days and which started on May 31 faltered and was a failure. 

The Israeli citizens did not respond as expected and went on to their daily routine as if nothing is happening, regardless of the loud and frequent siren alarms.

Those five days were a holiday and not of any serious exigencies.  The Israelis on the Lebanese borders were the least concerned.  The message was clear and louder than the siren alarms “Governments of Israel, we want peace.  We no longer believe than security should take priority over peace treaty.  For 61 years you have driven us hard to countless pre-emptive and expansionist wars. Enough is enough.  We paid dearly for mindless and losing priorities and we want your policy to do the right thing.  We want peace, period”

President Barack Obama has to deliver something tangible in the Middle East and very soon, and not six months from now as he is planning.

Periods of sweet talking with nothing tangible in return are gone.  The Palestinian Statehood is due now!  The return of the Golan Heights to Syria is due now!  Direct negotiations with Palestinian Hamas and Lebanon Hezbollah are due now!  Stabilizing Pakistan is due now!  The return of the Shebaa Farms and the Hills of Kfar Shouba to Lebanon is due now!

A specific schedule for the return of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon to Palestine is due now!

Why my urgency to resolving decades of roadblocks in the Middle East?

Simple: the Middle East has been steadily catching on to extremist confessional attitudes as the absolution of Israel’s horrors and genocides has been the trademark of the western nations.

Lebanon is catching on quickly to isolationist confessional extremism and if Lebanon is no longer a viable experiment for democracy, then the USA and Europe will have no one to blame but themselves for laxity in executing and enforcing what is the right thing to do in this region.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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