One of the fascinating things about the demonstrations in Iranis the way both the press, and of course, the administration misunderstood them for so long.
As I have written in my blog for years now, one of the fascinating aspects of the Middle East, is that the so called moderate governments inevitably are controlling the most radicalized populations, e.g. Egypt, and the most radical governments tend to be controlling the most moderate populations, e.g. Iran.
However, the choice of candidates in the Iranian elections was between hardliner, hardliner, and hardliner.
What was really going on was that the old guard, principally led behind the scenes by former President Rafshanjani, was chafing at the way they had been pushed out by the young Turks led by Ahmadinejad.
So, there was really no benefit to be had for us whoever won.
This is in addition to the fact that the country is run by the Ayatollah, anyway. As evidenced by the violent and anti semitic speech by Khameini this week which demonstrated that all Ahmadinejad has been doing is mouthing the policies dictated to him.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the protests.
While titularly about the votes for Mousavi, they were really about the Iranian people’s desire to return to a Western style life.
Memories of the terror and repression of the Shah have largely been forgotten. What is remembered is the freedoms, the Western lifestyle that was enjoyed.
Add to that the new generations desire for these things, and you get the grass roots movement that was basically ignored by Clinton, and almost totally by Bush. Although the Bush doctrine of promoting democracy around the world, clearly had an impact.
What is also lost on the pundits, both in government and out, is the VAST difference between the Persians and the Arabs, and not just in Shia versus Sunni Islam.
The irony is that a democratic Iran would inevitably be one of the US and Israel’s greatest allies BECAUSE of the historic Persian distrust and dislike of the Arab peoples.
But where is our human rights, freedom loving President?
Oh right, he still wants to talk to the little Hitler.
Good thing, that.