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The Islamic Republic Is Not in Danger

Posted on Jun 16, 2009

By William Pfaff

Iran’s cosmopolitan and liberal middle classes and its students are making a revolutionary bid without intending a revolution. The Islamic Republic is not in danger. At least not now.

Few think that the demonstrations in Tehran, and now in other Iranian cities, can produce a change in regime. The government’s police power, and that of the Revolutionary Guards, with the support of the farming and working-class population that believes it has a defender in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, makes that convincing.

What is being challenged is the reactionary social and political form the Iranian system has assumed under Ahmadinejad and the most conservative clerics. The Islamic state itself is not, or at least not yet, in real danger.

This is a peculiarly modern “revolution,” in which the call is not to overturn the Islamic system but for young people, and not only the young, to have a private life and to be able to speak freely to their companions, play popular music and freely see and make movies—for girls to let their hair escape from under the veil and wear a touch of cosmetics.

It might be called a pre-political revolt. The countries this kind of revolt will eventually affect most, after Iran, are Saudi Arabia and the other Muslim countries that are at the same time rich and repressive, and suffer hypocritical male ruling elites.


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The increasingly bizarre Col. Muammar Gaddafi of Libya visited Italy last week, accompanied by his bodyguard of Amazons. He asked to speak on women’s rights to an audience of a hundred prominent Italian women. The audience was assembled and the colonel said that it was absurd that in some Muslim countries women had to ask the chief of state for the right to drive a car. He said that’s something “their husbands or brothers should decide”—and seemed taken aback by the wave of laughter that followed.

Can you be an observant Muslim woman and drive a car, or wear cosmetics, or work outside the home? There are observant Christian and Jewish woman, and Muslim women as well, who do this in the Western or Westernized countries. But Israel has thousands of strictly observant Orthodox Jewish women who accept a role not unlike that of Muslim women. Nuns have always played a vital role in the Catholic Church, although they at least rule their own convents and ways of life. This is a deep cultural matter, and an individual choice of life—so long as it is not arbitrarily, and forcibly, imposed.

There are two revolutions impending in the Muslim world, and while they run on parallel trajectories they have to be distinguished from one another. One is the social revolution of modernization, peculiarly difficult and potentially traumatic in Muslim societies where, unlike in the secular or Christian West, no distinction is considered possible between religious and civil law and norms. In Islam, there has never been the equivalent of independent church and state, each with its own recognized legitimacy. Islamic sharia law is universal.

The other revolution is the political revolution of representative government to replace theocracy, as in Iran, or theocratic monarchy, as in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Morocco.

This is even more difficult, for exactly the same reason.

Representative government has been regarded as un-Islamic. It has been advocated by Marxists, by consciously secular reformers like Ataturk in Turkey, by the leaders of the secular Baath parties of Iraq and Syria, by the Arab socialist regimes like that of Nasser in Egypt in the 1950s. Usually it has ended up in dictatorship.

Lebanon has been the only democracy in the Arab Middle East, functioning within a strict and mutually agreed-on sectarian division of public offices (now under great stress).

One wonders to what extent the young people on the streets of Tehran this week are conscious of just what they do want from a new government. They would undoubtedly be happy with a vote recount that gave them Mir Hossein Mousavi as president, and an end to the morality police who patrol in search of symptoms of modernity to stamp out. But if they got this, they would find that it was not enough. That there are far more difficult problems ahead.

The Machiavellian rule on revolutions is to throttle them in the cradle, which is what the regime in Iran would like to do. The regime undoubtedly understands that while the Iranians are not warlike, having no history of aggressive war, they are a revolutionary people.

Popular demonstrations and uprisings forced the Shah out twice—once to be restored to power by the CIA in the 1950s, and again in 1979, when he had to be flown out of the country by the United States. The Ayatollah Khomeini flew in to replace him, promoted by the power of tape-recorded sermons passed hand to hand by the young people of another generation, stifled by another repressive regime.

Visit William Pfaff’s Web site at

© 2009 Tribune Media Services Inc.

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By Eso, June 21, 2009 at 5:34 am Link to this comment

What is it that they speak about and plan? Here is one small window due to become larger.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 21, 2009 at 5:24 am Link to this comment

Are you trying to say that ALL the problems of the Arab and West Asian Moslem world are solely due to the founding of the State of Israel on a spit of land smaller than New Jersey 61 years ago?

That the inability of the “West” and this region is all based on…THAT?  Talk about scapegoating!

Let’s assume, for the moment, that your assertion about Israel being a totally illegal state, the first RELIGIOUS state in the region and vicious land-grab by the West is true. I actually think it’s patently false, but this is just a “thought experiment” as Einstein would say.

The area has about a billion people and is two to three times vaster than the United States. To claim that Israel is the source of all the problems is to deny reality.

Extreme fundamentalist Islam in its modern form dates to Al-Banna and Qutb.  The myths about them are that Al-Banna’s assassination in 1948 and Qutb’s outrage at the founding of Israel led to the creation of the violent extremist movement we see today.

I don’t think this stands up to scrutiny.  What little I know of them (and it’s not much) is that Al-Banna founded the Moslem Brotherhood long before Israel was establish.  I don’t know much about Qutb either but I gather that his writings in the mid-40’s were actually very radical and fundamental and didn’t change much after 1948.

I’m also not an anthropologist but my “casual” observance of most of the region is that it is traditionally tribal and that the modern secular “President” like Mubarrak or Assad or even Saddam Hussein is really a tribal chieftain becoming pre-eminent and dominant over all his rivals, but rarely taking the next step of using it to establish a new form of government.

It’s possible.  In Spain, the death of a similar tribal chieftain in November 1975, the fascist Franco, led to a king, Juan Carlos, coming to absolute totalitarian power. 

J-C, in an unprecedented, but obviously long-planned move, took the steps of creating a Western-style democracy—by allowing criticism and opposition—the RIGHT to freely publicly petition the government for redress of grievances.

In 1981 there was a coup against the democratic government that Juan Carlos had “allowed” and nursed into existence and they asked him to stand with them. At great risk, J-C refused and demanded they surrender.  The new junta collapsed.  Yet a tribal chieftain (or the equivalent, an autocrat) was able to achieve this transition and in a nation that was once part of the Arab Moslem world for many hundreds of years. (However, I don’t believe Juan Carlos being Christian vs Moslem is relevant—just want that clear).

Yet in North Africa, Central Africa, West Asia, parts of East Asia and much of South America, nations cannot seem to take this step from tribal chieftain as Strongman to democracy.  To blame Israel for all of these faults in one part of the world just doesn’t parse.

Modern Moslem extremism is far more complicated, and older than Isreal.  Israel simply is a convenient EXCUSE that fails when terrorists attack in India, Pakistan, or Indonesia.

Your argument, I think, would be much stronger if you date it from European colonialism. After all, the Mahdi who destroyed Gen. “Chinese” Gordon at Khartoum was a fanatic followed by fanatics who died in the thousands for him—and Gordon was a crazy fanatic in the mold of Custer and no hero in my book, either, Charleton Heston not-withstanding!

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By Eso, June 21, 2009 at 1:22 am Link to this comment

Samson, I am not very persuaded by Giordano, re the link you provide.

IMO the Iranian turmoil is a proto-fascist type flexing of muscles by the Iranian middle class, students, etc. I am not ready to judge it either as a positive or negative sign, except as a sign that times are changing. I see the Iranian demonstrations not as pro-Israeli demo, but as a demo of classes that are in a mode of empathy with each other’s values and feel them slipping away.

We are at the beginning of a sea-change, from irresponsible middle class consuming society to a society that can no longer afford the former. I think that this is what the demonstrations give witness to. What the solution to the innermost desires of the consuming class are is still a in a fog for them and almost everyone of us.

Perhaps we are getting a signal from Iran that “you can’t have all you wa-ant” (but we wa-ant it all the same), which poses the question of how can you have some of what you want without forcing the greater half of the human population into poverty, how to stop the breeding habits of consumers, how to achieve the discipline that will deflate the balloon slowly, not catastrophically.

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By Samson, June 20, 2009 at 6:12 pm Link to this comment

Thanks for the links.  They look interesting.

The best I’ve found is from Al Giordano, of fame.

Two key points he makes.  First, its a mistake to concentrate too much on what the leaders are doing and saying on TV.  The growth of a population that is willing to stand up and fight what officials say is in itself an important development.

And that we all should be learning from what’s going on in terms of communications, and especially in terms of techniques for getting around governmental information blockades.

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By Notbuyingwhataipacisselling, June 19, 2009 at 7:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sepharad says “The Iranian students/intellectuals/middle and upper classes want more social freedoms but are not turning their backs on basic Islamic values or they would not be demanding Moussavi, who is a relative reformer and relatively liberal but not a genuine liberal. Remember, he and all the candidates are approved by the mullahs (though all clerics are not equally clerical) and the military.”

In other words, the US and Israel are demonizing Ahmadinejad and lionizing Mousavi, claiming that if only we had Moussavi things would be sooooo much better, just as they demonized Arafat: “If only we had a partner for peace!” But as soon as they got rid of Arafat, and they got the supposedly preferred and much more reasonable successor Mahmoud Abbas, they proceeded to undermine Abbas in every way they could. The “partner for peace” is never right (thank Yahweh!). And of course, then the frustrated Abbas, who was totally ineffectual because Israel made sure he was totally ineffectual, was voted out of power in favor of Hamas. And this time Israel was even more delighted: “NOW we REALLY REALLY have no partner for peace!”

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By Fadel Abdallah, June 18, 2009 at 7:21 am Link to this comment

Hardly two weeks after Obama’s talk to the Muslim world from Cairo, appealing for common understanding, America- political, military and media- is escalating its different wars on several fronts of that Muslim world. From Iran, through Afghanistan and Pakistan, and ending in Palestine, political-military-media America continues to practice acts or words of wars and hostility against large populations of the Muslim world. And there are still those who keep stupidly wondering, “Why they hate us?”

Below are few links to articles, which as usual never published in the main-manipulated and controlled MSM! That no-change you can always count on!
Beating And Torturing Palestinian Children
By Jonathan Cook

“The rights of Palestinian children are routinely violated by Israel’s security forces, according to a new report that says beatings and torture are common. In addition, hundreds of Palestinian minors are prosecuted by Israel each year without a proper trial and are denied family visits…”

Afghanistan’s Operation Phoenix
By Stephen Lendman

“The recently appointed chief of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal is a hired gun, an assassin, a man known for committing war crime atrocities as head of the Pentagon’s infamous Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) - established in 1980 and comprised of the Army’s Delta Force and Navy Seals, de facto death squads writer Seymour Hersh described post-9/11 as an “executive assassination wing” operating out of Dick Cheney’s office…”

A Civil War : Obama’s Gift to Pakistan
By Liaquat Ali Khan

“A civil war is brewing in Pakistan. Thanks to President Barack Obama, who is shifting the American war from Iraq to “the real enemies” operating from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Cash-strapped Pakistan could not defy Obama persuasion and decided to wage a war against its own people, the Pashtuns inhabiting the Northern Province and the tribal areas of Waziristan…”

Are You Ready For War With Demonized Iran?
By Paul Craig Roberts

“Consumed by its passion for hegemony, America is driven to prevail over others, morality and justice be damned. This world-threatening script will play until America bankrupts itself and has so alienated the rest of the world that it is isolated and universally despised…”

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By Eso, June 17, 2009 at 11:09 pm Link to this comment

Fadel Abdalla, Sepharad, thanks. Excellent contributions even if I do not agree with every point.

Perhaps one point worth remembering is that all turmoil and unrest these days, whereever in the world these may happens, are related to the slide of the glaciers from the top of the mountains due to the heating up of the atmosphere thanks to neo-liberal economics. While the glacier slides downward, there are rivulets, even rivers of water preceeding them.

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By Sepharad, June 17, 2009 at 10:31 pm Link to this comment

nefesh, as Anarcissie says it’s a little confusing. The Iranian students/intellectuals/middle and upper classes want more social freedoms but are not turning their backs on basic Islamic values or they would not be demanding Moussavi, who is a relative reformer and relatively liberal but not a genuine liberal. Remember, he and all the candidates are approved by the mullahs (though all clerics are not equally clerical) and the military. 

The economically oppressed people in rural and poorer areas are oppressed by some of the same people in the economic group that has many Moussavi supporters in it. Everyone is oppressed by the lack of civil rights and free speech, but the people who are poor don’t have the leisure to contemplate their rights.

Don’t you think that the greatest danger to basic democratic concensus government is chronic poverty and lack of opportunity? Hungry people will not slap down the government that gives them bread and potatos, though of course they should expect and demand much more. Ahmadinejad makes sure that from time to time he gives potatos to the poor, reassures the pious but poor conservative religious—and there are a lot of them in Iran.

The Iranians who are demonstrating live in a vastly different world than those who are not and while for the moment the government can rely on the religious poor for inertia if not support, this won’t go one forever. Our country may end up facing exactly the same danger, albeit to a different degree, if the government does not figure out a way to distribute the wealth more equitably, and if the inequities are now out and in front, in plain sight for everyone to see, we may end up with a religious demagogue rightwing leadership very hostile to the liberal intellectuals and capitalists.

Ted Kennedy’s lifelong attempt to raise the standard of living a bit is one way to keep people from reaching the boiling point when they demand more economic equality—a true game-changer. That’s when the army and militia would appear on American streets.

I’ve spent a lot of my life on civil rights and freedom of information issues, and of course these and social freedoms should not ever be relinquished to the government, but being poor with no hope of changing that condition and relying on religion’s pie in the sky doesn’t make people think first about their civil liberties and rights. (The Israelis and the Palestinians are very aware of these issues, much more than most Americans. Netanyahu is not talkiing about helping Palestinians get on their feet economically because he loves them. That is probably the only issue he and Peace Now/Meretz see eye to eye on, albeit for different reasons.)

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By Fadel Abdallah, June 17, 2009 at 7:56 pm Link to this comment

One thing that the average person in America in particular and the West in general don’t know is that the Islamic fervor that dominates the news in the last three decades or so was non-existent before that. Though the overwhelming majority of the countries in the Middle East are Muslims by birth, none of these countries was overtly playing the religious card in world politics.

Almost all the Muslim countries governments then were run by secular-oriented people and were emphasizing nationalism and modernization after long periods of colonial domination and exploitation by the European colonial powers, followed by the American neocolonialism.

Then came the illegitimate establishment of Israel sixty-years ago, as an exclusive state for a religious community, namely the Jews. As a reaction to the wrongs and injustices brought to the area by the artificial creation of the Jewish state, Muslim movements started to become active, and the average citizens started to turn to their religion as a counter reaction to Israel, compounded by the failure of the secular political leaderships.

As the Western powers that created Israel and continued to take the side of the Israeli wrongs, supporting Israel morally, financially and militarily, it became clear to most people of the area that this is a new form of camouflaged crusades against Islam by the predominantly Christian West. Come in play the later alliance between Zionists and Christian Zionists and the constant talk about the so-called Judeo-Christian tradition, and the stage was set up for Islamic activism and Islamic reaction.

Since the topic here is about Islamic Iran, let me remind my readers that in the 1950’s, and long before that. Iran was just Iran, without the Islamic label, and it was more secular, I would dare to say, than the United States. However, it was ruled by the Shah, a corrupt despot, dictator, and tyrant who was closely allied to both Israel and the U.S. The Israelis trained the Savac, the brutal and murderous secret service under the evil Shah, and the Israelis had privileges under the Shah that far exceeded the rights and privileges of the majority of the crushed Iranians. So the stage was set for a revolution, and its leaders happened to be religiously oriented.

I can write a book about the anatomy of a religious revolution, but this is not the place for it. Suffice to say, by way of summary, that this whole process can be explained by the law of nature, which also applies to human nature, as being “for every action-force, there is a reaction equal to it in force and opposite to it in direction.”

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By Shingo, June 17, 2009 at 7:03 pm Link to this comment


Sounds just like the green light Saddam was given by James Baker, care of US Ambassador to Iraq at the time (April Glasby) to invade Kuwait.

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By prosefights, June 17, 2009 at 6:46 pm Link to this comment


Don’t get caught.

Larry Everest, a correspondent for the Revolutionary Worker, writing in Z magazine reported that in June 1980, students in Iran revealed a 1980 memorandum from U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance recommending the “destabilization” of the Iranian government by using Iran’s neighbors.

The U.S. has denied that it gave Iraq a “green light” for its September 22, 1980 invasion of Iran. Five months before Iraq’s invasion, on April 14, 1980, Zbigniew Brzezinski, signaled the U.S.‘s willingness to work with Iraq: “We see no fundamental incompatibility of interests between the United States and Iraq… we do not feel that American-Iraqi relations need to be frozen in antagonisms.” According to Iran’s president at the time, Abolhassan Banisadr, Brzezinski met directly with Saddam Hussein in Jordan two months before the Iraqi assault. Bani-Sadr wrote, “Brzezinski had assured Saddam Hussein that the United States would not oppose the separation of Khuzestan [in southwest Iran] from Iran.”[6]



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By prosefights, June 17, 2009 at 6:25 pm Link to this comment


Cool it.

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By Folktruther, June 17, 2009 at 6:14 pm Link to this comment

Samson undoubedly has the most honest and true reaction of the American people who care about political change.  He doens’t know what is happening.  This is a result of the Zionist media, including the Progressive media, lying so successful about it.

What has happened is an unexpected landslide of Ahemdinejad, a dispised figure in the US and the Elitist circles in Iran, due to an enormous turnout of peasant and worker voters. The American and Elitist media therefore call it a stolen election and not only want to cancel it, but pur their leaders in power.  The US which has jouralists, intelligence agents, and military Special Forces active in Iran, have openly interferred in favor of the Reformists. According to reports, the US has speant four hundred million dollars on the Iran election.

The Reformists support genuine social reforms - women, gays, truth freedoms, etc while supporting economic Elitism.  Who gets in power in the election doesn’t matter much, as is usually the case in elections.  But the overturning of a landslide by labaeling it a stolen election would destroy all Democaracy not only in Iran, but deal it a blow in other countries as well.

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By Anarcissie, June 17, 2009 at 6:10 pm Link to this comment

I thought green was the color of Team Islam.  In any case, everyone in Iran claims to be a revolutionary, even the conservatives, and they all think that Islam is the greatest thing since sliced bread, so it’s pretty confusing.

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By prosefights, June 17, 2009 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment

Summary of US/Iran engagement.

$22,036 was stolen from our Sandia Federal Credit Union savings account as a result of our filing a criminal complaint affidavit against Brzezinski for

“According to Iran’s president at the time, Abolhassan Banisadr, Brzezinski met directly with Saddam Hussein in Jordan two months before the Iraqi assault. Bani-Sadr wrote, “Brzezinski had assured Saddam Hussein that the United States would not oppose the separation of Khuzestan [in southwest Iran] from Iran.”[6]”

designed to trigger a proper investigation.

We are working to get that money back and get these unfortunate matters peacefully settled.

Received on my 72nd birthday.

From: “Iran Defense Forum” .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
To: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Sent: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 10:01:34 PM GMT -08:00 Tijuana / Baja California
Subject: Happy Birthday from Iran Defense Forum
Hello billp37,

We at Iran Defense Forum would like to wish you a happy birthday today!

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By Samson, June 17, 2009 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment

To be honest, I don’t know what is happening in Iran.  I have two conflicting views, and no idea as to which might be true.  Or maybe both are true?

We’ve seen the color revolutions.  These seem to have strong connections to the CIA and US NGO’s.  What I’m seeing from Iran seems to be following the same pattern.  Is this the same crew running the same playbook is a reasonable question to ask?  Then again, its not impossible that others are seeing successful actions and just imitating them.

Also remember some of the history of Iran.  The 1970’s revolution that throughout the Shah and his CIA-trained special police was not just an Islamic movement led by the Ayatollahs.  There was also a strong pro-modernist democracy movement at the time based in the universities.  The Ayatollahs grabbed power after the revolution, but they weren’t the only movement in the streets at the time.

So, which is this?  Another CIA-financed color revolution?  Or a resurrection of the modernist and democratic tendencies that have swirled through Iran’s universities and middle class for generations?  Or a combination of the two?  And I’m not at all sure how I could tell the difference from way over here in the Rocky Mountains.  Have to see how it plays out.  Of course, the day some new Iranian government signs over the rights to their oil fields to Exxon and friends, then we’ll know.

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By BobbieBoo, June 17, 2009 at 8:50 am Link to this comment

I agree… Islam is not in danger.  We have an Islam president…..  oh yea… wait, he won’t “meddle”.  I guess they are in danger.

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By Ed Harges, June 17, 2009 at 8:04 am Link to this comment

Anarc.: it’s officially the “Green Revolution”, according to the neocon press. No word yet on the official corporate logo:

A devastating defeat for Iran’s green revolution

After an election campaign of unprecedented hope the result shattered those who longed for reform…

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By Ed Harges, June 17, 2009 at 8:00 am Link to this comment

re: By Anarcissie, June 17 at 10:54 am:

I believe “green” is the assigned color:; where have you been?

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By Anarcissie, June 17, 2009 at 7:54 am Link to this comment

I don’t think it’s a faux revolution—it hasn’t been assigned a color.

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By Ed Harges, June 17, 2009 at 6:40 am Link to this comment

Shingo writes:

“Maybe after the faux revolutions we witnessed in the Ukraine and Georgia, those with an attention span and memory greater than a gnat are asking themselves whether this is the real deal or some propaganda coup?”

I just thought that was worth repeating.

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By Eso, June 17, 2009 at 4:13 am Link to this comment

The middle class demonstrators in Iran come fully armed with Calvin Klein underwear and typical consumer unhappiness of being unable to consume even more. It is, if you will, a pseudo revolution within a root revolution.

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By Shingo, June 16, 2009 at 10:30 pm Link to this comment


Do you really expect anyone to take your faux outrage at Basiji firing on unarmed citizen seriously, when the state you support so blindly, spend a month dropping bombs on the unarmed citizens of Gaza?

When Israel killed peace protesters in the West Bank and arrested reporters for daring to report from Gaza? 

After 8 years of being fed propaganda and lies, maybe the real progressive have learned a thing or two about believing everything we are told.  Maybe after the faux revolutions we witnessed in the Ukraine and Georgia, those with an attention span and memory greater than a gnat are asking themselves whether this is the real deal or some propaganda coup?

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By Shingo, June 16, 2009 at 10:24 pm Link to this comment


“How far the Left has fallen.”

How funny that a someone from the right, which has become all but irrelevant, still pretend to have any legitimacy.

So sad.

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By Folktruther, June 16, 2009 at 8:58 pm Link to this comment

Ed is quite right.  A Rochafeller financed poll idicated the present vote landslide. The same margin that Ahmedinejud won in 2005.  there has been massive fraud in this election But it is not in Iran, but in the American and Zionist mass media.

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By Ed Harges, June 16, 2009 at 7:54 pm Link to this comment

In fact, scientific polling indicates that Ahamadinejad won the Iranian election fairly. Indeed, the Iranian government’s own reporting of the election results shows him winning by a margin less than the advantage he was showing in legitimate pre-election surveys done by the non-profit American organization, Terror Free Tomorrow: The Center for Public Opinion”.

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By Anarcissie, June 16, 2009 at 5:43 pm Link to this comment

If the government and its allies actually cheated on the election, then they’re doomed, although it will take some time for their doom to work itself out.  A certain amount of cheating is permissible in normal secular politics, but the religious set themselves up as above that sort of thing.  I am pretty sure the Koran does not advocate or condone stealing elections.  If, then, the government stole this one with the connivance of the religious authorities, it’s going to eat away at their belief in themselves.  They will be on the Soviet track.

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By Christopher, June 16, 2009 at 5:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Moderate” Islam is not coming to the rescue and Muslims are causing the same problems across the world.

Islam cannot reform and here is another example of this.

It is time for the West to end all Muslim immigration.

As for Iran, I wish them the best but there is little chance of change as they are unarmed. They should not of waited this long.

Iranian Protests~IslamoNazis on motorbikes~Video

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By nefesh, June 16, 2009 at 3:37 pm Link to this comment

Pfaff even titles his puff-piece thusly:

The Islamic Republic Is Not in Danger

as if that’s a good thing.

How far the Left has fallen.

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By nefesh, June 16, 2009 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment

What a bland and dispassionate description of the drama unfolding on the streets of major Iranian cities:Basiji gunmen (the gestapo of the regime) firing on unarmed citizens, protesters marching by the hundreds of thousands, palpable fear now evident among the repressive tyranny that the ayatollahs represent.

A real progressive would be doing some serious coverage of the people’ struggle against their oppressors, but today’s Truthdig corruption of that noble political heritage serves up banal crap like this. Do the oppressed people of Iran deserve to throw off the shackles of their rulers or don’t they, Pfaff?

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