A Tale of Two Elections

14biden-600Both Iran and Lebanon are going to the polls soon to elect new governments.

In Iran the citizenry face the choice between Ahmadinajad (al-majnoon) and someone else.  It is hard to imagine who could be a worse choice than Ahmadinajad.  Like the lunatic faction in North Korea that is driving the situation toward catastrophe, Ahmadinajad relentlessly serves up rhetoric that seems to purposefully eliminate any room President Obama might have for public accomodation with Iran.  Blah! Blah! Blah!. Paraphrasing – We are not afraid of you!  We are not afraid of the Israelis!  Blah! Blah! Blah!  Well, you damned well ought to be afraid.  Just keep it up and see in the end if the Iranian state,  the Persian "moment" in history or Islam are benefited by what might happen.  The issue is clearly in the hands of the Iranian people since Ahmadinajad is going to continue being what he is.  Does he really think the president of the United States is going to debate him?  Absurd.

And then there is Lebanon where Acela Joe Biden stopped by in Beirut to threaten the Lebanese electorate with Bush Administration  – Oops! Obama Administration disfavor if the Shia/Aouni forces win a bigger representation in parliament and therefore in the cabinet.  Is "egregious" too big a word for this display of "ward heeling" on a global scale?  The Obama/Clinton/Jones team has shown some finesse in the Middle East.  What on earth are they doing in sending Acela Joe to Lebanon to deliver this neocon/Likud message?  Do they really think that Bashar Assad is shamming in his protestations that he wants peace with the US and Israel?  Do they really think that?  The two clowns that they keep sending to Damascus surely do believe that, but does Obama believe it?

If you believe in prayer, pray for a reasonable outcome in Iran and for the scales to fall from Obama's eyes over Syria and Lebanon.  pl

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19 Responses to A Tale of Two Elections

  1. William R. Cumming says:

    Predicitng one term for Biden [maybe Obama also] but then in 2012 Hillary “moves up” if that is right term to VP candidate slot! You heard it here first. By the way what languages does Biden speak?

  2. arbogast says:

    This is what’s coming.
    Obama is soft
    We will soon have something in power that makes George Bush look like Emily Dickinson.

  3. Matthew says:

    Arbogast’s link was worth a chuckle. An Indian official is linking up with Israel to worry about Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons. Let’s see: The two countries who developed illegal nuclear weapons–India and Israel–are concerned about a country without them.

  4. Fred says:

    From Abrogast’s link we can see that Obama has to contend with Isreali neocons and Indian neocons? What will these guys say if Obama actually manages to capture bin Laden?
    What are the actual choices in Iran? Hopefully something better than Kerry v Bush (with the drum roll of fear) Perhaps the ‘nuke Iran now’ crowd are serving the same purpose inside Iran that the ‘terror’ warnings served Bush & Cheney in 2004.

  5. Nightsticker says:

    Colonel Lang,
    I found it interesting to read some advice from others who had to deal with the Persians in the past.
    The Byzantine Emperor Maurice (582AD-802AD) is usually credited with, if not writing, then at least sponsoring the “Strategikon”.This is the 12 Book Byzantine treatise on War.[My copy is the Father George T. Dennis 1984 translation].
    Book XI is titled “Characteristics and Tactics of Various Peoples”.
    In this book the ways to fight the Persians, Turks, Scythians, Avars, Huns, Franks, Lombards and Slavs are discussed. The Persians were the first in the list.
    Here is a little cutting and pasting of what is said [there is much more].
    “We must now treat of the tactics and characteristics of each race which may cause trouble to our state.
    Section 1. Dealing with the Persians
    The Persian nation is wicked, dissembling, and servile but at the same time patriotic and obedient. The Persians obey their rulers out of fear, and the result is that they are steadfast in enduring hard work and warfare on behalf of their fatherland. For the most part they prefer to achieve their results by planning and generalship; they stress an orderly approach rather than a brave and impulsive one. Since they have been brought up in a hot climate, they easily bear the hardships of heat, thirst, and lack of food. They are formidable when laying siege, but even more formidable when besieged. They are extremely skillful in concealing their injuries and coping bravely with adverse circumstances, even turning them to their own advantage. They are intractable in negotiations. They will not initiate any proposal, even one they regard as vitally important for themselves, but will wait until the proposal is made by their opponenents.”
    To put the comments about the Persians in perspective,
    the Strategikon has something snarky to say about all peoples it mentions [“The Avars, for their part, are scoundrels, devious, and very experienced in military matters”. Regarding the Franks (i.e. English, French,etc)”They are disobedient to their leaders. They are not interested in anything that is at all complicated and pay little interest to external security and their own advantage.They despise good order, especially on horseback. They are easily corrupted by money, greedy as they are.”
    USMC 65-72
    FBI 72-96

  6. curious says:

    uh, close poll. Ukraine style regime change?
    TEHRAN, May 27 (Xinhua) — Iran’s presidential hopeful Mir-Hossein Mousavi takes the lead in 10 major Iranian cities, the local Press TV reported Wednesday, citing a recent poll.
    The poll conducted in Iran’s 10 big cities showed that Mousavi is surpassing the incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by 4 percent, the report said.
    Some 38 percent of the people expressed their support for Mousavi while 34 percent others supported Ahmadinejad.
    Similarly, in an opinion poll conducted by Iran’s state TV IRIB last week, Mousavi also enjoyed the lead in the capital city of Tehran with 47 percent of the votes, while 43 percent of the votes went to Ahmadinejad.
    Mousavi, who is considered the major rival of Ahmadinejad in the presidential elections on June 12, has repeatedly criticized the incumbent government’s economic policy which he called an alms-based one.

  7. Anthony says:

    Daniel Luban’s new excellent piece on Bibi and Amalek

  8. euclidcreek says:

    This amalek business is pretty sick. What would Jefferson, Thomas Paine or Voltaire say?

  9. Kieran says:

    Curious, Ahmadi-Nejad’s base is in the rural areas and towns rather than the big cities. I think a Mousavi victory would require even larger margins in the major cities.

  10. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Col. Lang:
    Calling Dr. Ahmadinejad “mad” does not advance understanding.
    Here are some of what he has done:
    1. For the first time in 30 years, he sits and listens to the speech of the President of the United States as a positive action to advance the national interest of Iran.
    2. For the first time in 30 years, sends a congratulatory letter to the US President-Elect and ignores, once again, ancient taboos of post –Revolutionary Iran.
    3. For the first time in the political life of Iran, he refuses to lobby power center in an “off-the-record” manner and issues a “Constitutional Warning” based on his legal authority.
    4. For the first time in Iranian history he tried to promulgate value-added taxation so that the commerce and industrial sectors of the economy could be transparently treated and shift taxation from employee to employers.
    5. Has tried very hard to rationalize and make real the prices that Iranians pay for energy, water, etc. – make them pay the real process; the real enabler of thrift, industry, and innovation among the citizenry.
    6. Has made outreach to expatriate Iranians one of his main polices
    7. Bravely stood up to the humiliation heaped on him at Columbia University and defended Iran’s sovereign rights to nuclear industry and know-how.
    8. As much as has been in his power, he has tried to diminish the role of Doctors of Religion in the political decision makings of Iran.
    9. Has consistently tried to increase the prestige of the Presidency of Islamic Republic of Iran to the limits stipulated in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
    10. During his Presidency, after 12 years of confusion among the Majlis, the Guardian Council, and Expediency, finally has passed the Law Governing Money Laundering which will contribute significantly to making the economic space of Iran healthy and diminish the power of various “mafias”.
    11. The only Iranian statesman after the Islamic Revolution (and one of the few in all of the Iranian history of the last 100 years at the very least) to have made no distinction based on the notions of “in-group” and “out-group”.
    12. Has gone toe-to-toe with the greatest military/economic/political power that has ever existed on this planet and lived to tell about it.
    13. Advanced the agenda of Palestinians by correctly pointing out how Shoah is being instrumentally used to oppress the Palestinians.
    And what is so quaint about debating Mr. Obama. After all, Mr. Obama is just a man, like everyone else. Given the enormous internal strengths of the United States and considerable weaknesses of Iran; as well as Mr. Obama’s first-rate education, one should expect Mr. Obama to easily demolish Dr. Ahmadinejad.

  11. curious says:

    anybody know street report on Iranian election? The news is all over the place, I can’t sense which is noise and which is telling news. It’s a mess.
    Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, faced a rare backlash from some of the country’s most powerful officials today after a furious television debate in which he labelled many of his critics corrupt.
    In the most significant development, Ahmadinejad appeared to have irked the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, over his performance in Wednesday night’s debate with Mir Hossein Mousavi, his main opponent in next week’s presidential election.
    “One doesn’t like to see a nominee, for the sake of proving himself, seeking to negate somebody else,” Khamenei said in a speech commemorating the 20th anniversary of the death of the Iranian revolution’s spiritual leader, Ayatollah Khomeini. “I have no problem with debate, dialogue and criticism but these debates must take place within a religious framework.”
    Khamenei has previously given Ahmadinejad his public backing and his support is considered essential if the president is to win a second term. Ahmadinejad may have been relieved to note that the supreme leader also found fault with his rival’s rhetoric, particularly a segment where Mousavi criticised the incumbent for his “extremist” foreign policy.
    “I do not accept the sayings of those who imagine that our nation has become belittled in the world because of its commitment to its principles,” Khamenei said, adding “this path will continue until final victory”.
    Ahmadinejad’s accusations of corruption prompted a string of senior figures – including former president Hashemi Rafsanjani – to demand a right of reply.

  12. curious says:

    more youtube clip. (France ch 24, on Iran presidential debate)
    anybody has anything on Lebanon election. And various scenarios based on most likely outcome?

  13. curious says:

    the best noise free report. (I just found this, I don’t know how good they really are. so …
    Another trend that has traveled well across the oceans is the ‘Anybody But’ phenomenon. This year, it finally reached our shores, and we now have the much awaited, ‘Anybody but Ahmadinejad!’ In many ways, he is Iran’s George W. Bush. Just as much as Bush was hated by all but the most dedicated American right-wingers, Ahmadinejad is hated by all but the most dedicated Iranian right-wingers (the Basiji’s and the Revolutionary Guards).
    And just like George Bush Jr., Ahmadinejad is un-liked so thoroughly that he has split the Iranian conservatives. There are as many (if not more) conservatives against him as there are for him; hence, the decision by another conservative, Mohsen Rezaee, a former Revolutionary Guards chief commander, to run for the presidency in these elections. Some other bigwig conservatives who have chosen to distance themselves from Ahmadinejad include: Ali Larijani (former chief nuclear negotiator), Mohammad Reza Bahonar (first deputy speaker of Majles), and Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf (current Tehran mayor).
    Indeed, Ahmadinejad is so not-liked by some conservatives, that he has driven some to the ‘reformist’ camp, presumably to assure Ahmadinejad’s ouster. According to reports, “some major figures in the conservative/principlist camp, led by Mr. Emad Afrough, the Tehran deputy to the 7th Majles (the parliament), announced the formation of a committee in support of Mr. Mousavi.”1

  14. curious says:

    The whole Iranian campaign is very entertaining so far. My take. If ahmadinejad gets re-elected. he is a houdini. He mentioned the unmentionable, that the status quo is corrupt. (he seems losing momentum on what’s visible from international press. but that could be noise.)
    This could be close election (ukrainian scenario), or ahmadinejad by wide margin (belarus scenario) or Mausavi won big (popular regime change. statistically, Iran seems to prefer 2 terms)
    Whatever it is ahmadinejad isn’t gong down without fighting.
    Ex-President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has urged the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to rein in current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
    In a TV election debate last week, Mr Ahmadinejad alleged that Mr Rafsanjani and other politicians were corrupt.
    Mr Ahmadinejad also accused rivals of lying about the state of the economy.
    In a rally in Tehran on the last day of campaigning, attended by thousands, President Ahmadinejad said Iranians would “send them to the bottom of history”.
    The BBC’s John Leyne in Tehran says huge crowds have been gathering in the capital in support of rival candidates, sounding more like boisterous football crowds than election campaigners.

  15. curious says:

    Iran: Green revolution. (It’s official, all over the internet.)
    I just hope it isn’t as bad as the orange and rose one. (At least it’s not saffron.)
    If Ahmadinejad gets re-elected. Things are going to be very messy for sure.

  16. curious says:

    This ought to be interesting
    Campaigning officially ended early Thursday, and Tehran residents removed campaign posters and banners from buildings and cars. No rallies or speeches by candidates were permitted.
    In the final hours of the fierce election campaign, Mir Hossein Mousavi — the top challenger to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — got a sharp warning that authorities would crush any attempt at a popular “revolution” inspired by the huge rallies and street parties calling for more freedoms.
    The threat by an official of the powerful Revolutionary Guard on Wednesday reflected the increasingly tense atmosphere surrounding the up-for-grabs election.
    It also marked a sharp escalation by the ruling clerics against Mousavi’s youth-driven campaign and its hopes of an underdog victory.
    The Revolutionary Guard is one of the pillars of the Islamic establishment and controls large military forces as well as a nationwide network of militia volunteers.

  17. curious says:

    semantic map of Iran blogosphere. (Reformist has more blog, but not by much more. Tho’ I am not sure what shia/conservative network means. snapshot picture is a bit of novelty anyway)

  18. curious says:

    Elections officials said Ahmadinejad had 65.2 percent of the total vote with 77.13 percent of the ballot boxes counted, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported. The president needs at least 50 percent of the vote in the four-man race to win outright.
    Mir-Houssein Moussavi, the former prime minister who won the support of much of the middle class, had just under 32 percent of the vote, officials said. Official results were to be released later Saturday.
    At a news conference late Friday, Moussavi told reporters his election supervisors had told him he was leading and called on the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini, to reject flawed results. He said he would not accept an Ahmadinejad victory, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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