I believe that the Iranian regime is trembling, trembling from fear of its own people. Not all of its people, of course. But those whose minds are on the future rather than those whose souls are in the past. That is a history-making majority whether the Basiji beat the crap out of demonstrators or not. Look at this dignified demonstration, a manifestation of courage and of hope.
Maybe it has somehow eluded me. But, after much prattling since his inauguration about the progressive strivings in the Muslim world, few and far between, did President Obama really neglect to stretch out his hands to the best and most truly liberal elements in Islam? I am afraid that this is so. One fact about our president: he is tenacious in clinging to the illusion of a nuclear deal with Tehran, even though Beijing has given every indication that it won't join in pressing for one--which means there won't be one. And I don't trust the Russians on this either. Do you?
Michael Ledeen, the very wise and controversial national security expert, sent me these reflections below on what is going in Qom right now. He is the author of two insightful and maybe even prophetic books on Iran: The Iranian Time Bomb and the recently issued Accomplice to Evil: Iran and the War Against the West. Laugh if you like. You won't laugh last.
The opposition Green Movement had been trying for days to get official permission for a demonstration, but it was denied. As a witty tweeter noted, Grand Ayatollah Montazeri took care of that by dying. The demonstrations in Qom are abundantly documented. Look at this video, for example; it is entitled to your careful attention.
We see several important things:
–first, the dimensions of the protest (enormous). There have been monster demonstrations against the regime for several months now, and they are not likely to stop;
–second, the discipline of the crowd. This is extremely rare, especially when you consider that Iran is now in the period of mourning, and passions are very high. Add to that the political dimension (Montazeri was a symbol of resistance to the regime), and the fact that there were regime provocateurs in the demonstration, trying to disrupt their disciplined chants. This is an organized movement, not a group of wild-eyed protestors;
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