Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Iranian post election blues

The world watches as the election saga drags on in Iran.

If anything, it destroys whatever moral authority that the authorities might claim to have and makes it look something like the Myanmar junta. The authorities could have at least saved their credibility by recounting the votes, but their refusal to recount destroys most of their credibility.

But even then, it is difficult to say who would win even if this was truly an absolutely fair contest. The reformers have the support of the more liberal urbanites, while Ahmadinejad and the conservatives have the backing of the more conservative rural people.

Now the question is, what is Iran going to end up in? There have been 3 possible outcomes for this kind of revolution in the last 50 years:

- Military coup, like what happened in 1979
- A long standing urbanite vs rural tension like what is going on in Thailand
- The regime becomes a Stalinist kind of state.

Neither is going to happen anytime soon, but given another 10-20 years this could well happen.

The presence of a nuclear program, tension with Israel and the US only adds to the complications. The prospect for military conflict looms in the background. Who knows, the regime might even try playing brinkmanship to distract the populace from the political troubles.

How then? Nobody knows for sure. Naturally the international community hopes that someone with better priorities (economy > nukes) comes up, but from the looks of it not anytime soon.

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