I realize Washington Post columnist David Broder’s expiration date came and went some time ago. But suggesting that President Obama prepare for war with Iran in order to boost his re-election prospects is surely a new low.
“I am not suggesting, of course, that the president incite a war to get reelected,” Broder writes. Good lord, what is it he thinks he’s doing?
Terrible news from Iran. (Warning: extremely graphic and disturbing photo.)
Los Angeles Times reporter Borzou Daragahi has an in-depth story on Neda Agha-Soltan, the Iranian woman whose death, captured on video (warning in case you haven’t seen it yet: extremely graphic and disturbing), has become a symbol of the post-election uprising.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that Iranian goons attacked and arrested people who tried to attend a memorial service for Soltan.
It’s hard not to worry that the crisis in Iran will end in a Tiananmen Square-style massacre. Here is the Boston Phoenix editorial page:
Hope, even under a brutal medieval-minded regime, can be a political aphrodisiac. But hope alone, as the Chinese students who sought reform in Tiananmen Square 20 years ago found out, is no match for armed forces. Whether the death toll in Iran will come to equal that of the Tiananmen massacre and its aftermath remains to be seen.
Juan Cole has similar thoughts.
Sharp analysis of the crisis in Iran by former Boston Globe columnist H.D.S. Greenway, now writing for GlobalPost. He begins:
Protests in the streets, angry crowds in numbers not seen since the revolution in 1979, have some people wondering if Iran is on the verge of revolution. But it’s more likely, if the street protests get out of hand, there will be a China-style Tiananmen, with voices crying for reform silenced by gun fire.
Greenway also gives President Obama high marks for not saying anything that would help Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “play the Great Satan card.”
We’re debating whether Obama has said enough here. It was also the subject of a Jeff Jacoby column in today’s Globe.
I’ve been as frustrated as anyone that President Obama hasn’t spoken out more forcefully about what’s taking place in Iran. But I’ve also heard a contrary view — that if he is seen as giving support to the reformist candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, he risks whipping up anti-American sentiment in favor of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Here’s a fascinating excerpt from an Arab-American blog being highlighted by Global Voices Online. I have no idea who the writer is, but what he or she says makes a lot of sense:
Whether or not Mousavi had the election stolen from him, it seems clear the ruling class has made a calculating move. Anti-American sentiment is one of the strongest cards those wretched clerics hold. By merely softening the tone Tehran hears from Washington, Obama has weakened their hand considerably. But re-instating Ahmadinejad ensures that US-Iranian relations will continue down a rocky road. What happens next is crucial. If Obama takes a firm position as a result of what’s happening, the mullahs may emerge victorious.
Writing for the Independent, Robert Fisk says there are hopeful signs that the Iranian security forces’ support for Ahmadinejad may be fading. That would be an enormously important development.
Globe Voices Online has posted an update on what bloggers are saying and doing in Iran. There’s some pretty stunning material, including a video of a young woman kicking a member of the security forces.
Meanwhile, Simon Tisdall writes in the Guardian of unconfirmed reports that Hashemi Rafsanjani, the controversial mentor to the reformist presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, may be in the holy city of Qom, measuring how much support he might have from the Assembly of Experts in a bid to topple the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei.