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The Iranian Election and the Revolution Test

Interesting, but unfortunately, not a very positive assessment...

By George Friedman

Successful revolutions have three phases. First, a strategically located single or limited segment of society begins vocally to express resentment, asserting itself in the streets of a major city, usually the capital. This segment is joined by other segments in the city and by segments elsewhere as the demonstration spreads to other cities and becomes more assertive, disruptive and potentially violent. As resistance to the regime spreads, the regime deploys its military and security forces. These forces, drawn from resisting social segments and isolated from the rest of society, turn on the regime, and stop following the regime?s orders. This is what happened to the Shah of Iran in 1979; it is also what happened in Russia in 1917 or in Romania in 1989.

Revolutions fail when no one joins the initial segment, meaning the initial demonstrators are the ones who find themselves socially isolated. When the demonstrations do not spread to other cities, the demonstrations either peter out or the regime brings in the security and military forces ? who remain loyal to the regime and frequently personally hostile to the demonstrators ? and use force to suppress the rising to the extent necessary. This is what happened in Tiananmen Square in China: The students who rose up were not joined by others. Military forces who were not only loyal to the regime but hostile to the students were brought in, and the students were crushed.
We continue to believe two things: that vote fraud occurred, and that Ahmadinejad likely would have won without it. Very little direct evidence has emerged to establish vote fraud, but several things seem suspect.

For example, the speed of the vote count has been taken as a sign of fraud, as it should have been impossible to count votes that fast. The polls originally were to have closed at 7 p.m. local time, but voting hours were extended until 10 p.m. because of the number of voters in line. By 11:45 p.m. about 20 percent of the vote had been counted. By 5:20 a.m. the next day, with almost all votes counted, the election commission declared Ahmadinejad the winner. The vote count thus took about seven hours. (Remember there were no senators, congressmen, city council members or school board members being counted ? just the presidential race.) Intriguingly, this is about the same time it took in 2005, though reformists that claimed fraud back then did not stress the counting time in their allegations.
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I really thought the President hit the ball out of the park

In reply to: The Iranian Election and the Revolution Test

today during his press conference. Support but don't provoke. Even John Bolton said almost the same thing today which I found strangely heartening.


And his joke about whether he was responding to McCain and Graham really caused quite a lot of laughter in the Press Conference.

Question, Are you responding to Sen. McCain and Sen Graham who have been calling for a stronger statement to the people of Iran. Long pause, President What do you think? with a big smile on his face. Correspondents laughing quite a lot. Too much encouragement and you're asking for a blood bath.

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The original Iranian revolution in 1977(?) lasted a year.

In reply to: The Iranian Election and the Revolution Test

How they get around the old fogeys and retrograde fanatics is a whole different problem. Sadly, just as fascism rose in the 20's and spread, and the radicalism of the late 60's emerged and spread, so unfortunately this is the period of Islamic fundamentalist which has infected everywhere including Pakistan. Losing Pakistan to the fanatics makes my flesh crawl, same with Indonesia.


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