RACISM & NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS | NEWS/COMMENTARY


A nation divided | Alireza Doostdar

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25 June – 1 July 2009

Issue No. 953

Source: Al-Ahram Weekly Online

Western coverage of the political turmoil in Iran in the aftermath of the 12 June presidential election has for the most part presented a uniform image of the conflict: thousands of young, liberal, and defiant supporters of presidential challenger Mir-Hussein Mousavi have been protesting against what they see as massive fraud, a “coup” to re-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The government, fearful of a popular uprising, has responded with massive use of force, killing and injuring protesters, arresting activists and politicians, and imposing an information blockade.

Analysts repeatedly ask themselves and others, “Is this a revolution?” And, more expectantly, “Are we witnessing the end of the Islamic Republic?” Whatever we are to make of the question of fraud (there apparently were some irregularities, but no evidence of widespread fraud), Ahmadinejad retains a huge popular base that is not prepared to forfeit its position. Rather than viewing the events of the past 12 days as signs of a revolution-in-the-making, we should be Continue reading

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Struggle Within the Iranian Elite – Part II | Pepe Escobar

Click here to view PART ONE of this interview.

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The Iranian Uprising is Home Grown, and Must Stay That Way | Stephen Zunes

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19 June 2009

Source: Common Dreams

The growing nonviolent insurrection in Iran against the efforts by the ruling clerics to return the ultra-conservative and increasingly autocratic incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinjead to power is growing.  Whatever the outcome, it represents an exciting and massive outpouring of Iranian civil society for a more open and pluralistic society.

Ironically, defenders of Ahmadinejad’s repression are trying to blame everyone from the U.S. government to nonviolent theorist Gene Sharp to various small NGOs engaged in educational efforts on strategic nonviolent action as somehow being responsible for the popular uprising in Iran.  It appears to be based upon the rather bizarre assumption that millions of Iranians would somehow be willing to pour out onto the streets in the face of violent repression by state security forces only because they have been directed to do so by people from an imperialist power which overthrew their last democratic government and subsequently propped up Continue reading

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Iran: fear of foreign plotters may be justified | Simon Tisdall

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18 June 2009

Source: The Hindu

The paranoia about interference from the West is worrying — but it may also be justified.

Long-term instability in Iran is an alarming prospect for western countries keen to resolve disputes over the country’s nuclear programme and other contentious issues. But continuing political weakness in Tehran is also likely to produce the opposite effect — increased regime concern about external attempts to interfere, destabilise, and exploit its vulnerabilities. This paranoid trend threatens unpredictable, even dangerous consequences – but may be justified.

Pinning blame for Iran’s post-election turmoil on Continue reading

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Who are the “Taliban” in Swat? | Humeira Iqtidar

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( Dated Piece | 30 April 2009 )

Source: Open Democracy

The distorting glare of the mainstream media obscures a more complex reality in restive Pakistan

Who are the ” Taliban” in Pakistan? Islamist militants in the country have won significant international attention after wrestling control over the Swat Valley, the restive region in northern Pakistan where elements of sharia law are now in place. Yet these militants do not self-identify as “Taliban”, unlike the Afghan Taliban who chose the name for themselves, and preferred it to the then generic term “mujahideen”. The term “Taliban” means students; the original Taliban were educated in madrassas, religious schools. Groups and individuals that are being labelled the “Taliban in Pakistan” (TIP) are very different from their Afghan counterparts in important respects. It is pertinent not just to think through the implications of these differences but also to raise questions about why distinguishing details are being lost in the media frenzy of recent months.

In Swat, the group that has gained the most notoriety in recent months calls itself Tehreek Nifaz e Sharia Mohammadi (TNSM).  This can be roughly translated as the “Movement for the Continue reading

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Are the Iranian Protests Another US Orchestrated “Color Revolution?” | PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

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19-21 June 2009

Source: Counterpunch

A number of commentators have expressed their idealistic belief in the purity of Mousavi, Montazeri, and the westernized youth of Tehran. The CIA destabilization plan, announced two years ago (see below) has somehow not contaminated unfolding events.

The claim is made that Ahmadinejad stole the election, because the outcome was declared too soon after the polls closed for all the votes to have been counted. However, Mousavi declared his victory several hours before the polls closed. This is classic CIA destabilization designed to discredit a contrary outcome. It forces an early declaration of the vote. The longer the time interval between the preemptive declaration of victory and the release of the vote tally, the longer Mousavi has to create the impression that the authorities are using the time to fix the vote. It is amazing that people don’t see through this trick.

As for the grand ayatollah Montazeri’s charge that the election was stolen, he was the initial choice to succeed Khomeini, but lost out to the current Supreme Leader. He sees in the protests an opportunity to Continue reading

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Iran’s day of destiny | Robert Fisk

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16 June 2009

Source: The Independent

It was Iran’s day of destiny and day of courage. A million of its people marched from Engelob Square to Azadi Square – from the Square of Revolution to the Square of Freedom – beneath the eyes of Tehran’s brutal riot police. The crowds were singing and shouting and laughing and abusing their “President” as “dust”.

Mirhossein Mousavi was among them, riding atop a car amid the exhaust smoke and heat, unsmiling, stunned, unaware that so epic a demonstration could blossom amid the hopelessness of Iran’s post-election bloodshed. He may have officially lost last Friday’s election, but yesterday was his electoral victory parade through the streets of his capital. It ended, inevitably, in gunfire and blood.

Not since the 1979 Iranian Revolution have Continue reading

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