Recently, I had three in-depth online conversations about the events in Tehran. Here is an edited transcript of one of them, a conversation with Jeffrey James. Now that there are confirmed reports of deaths and Iranian politicians are calling for the arrest of Iranian militia members, tt is posted with permission.
I need to write a post about Tiananmen.
So far it’s going the same pattern
The crowds have attacked police, set fire to small vehicles, set fire to large vehicles, purposely incite violence by the police. The crowd wants Outrages, the police to kill people if at all possible
There’s a video on this page described as polic beating women
If you look at it, you see the women start by kicking (!!) the police, but that’s exactly the plan. Same thing in the Boston Massacre. This is low-intensity urban war, with major regime elements supporting the crowd.
Jeffery noted: “Other words 4th generation warfare trying to degrade enemy to previous generation?”
That’s a great point.
And it’s working. There are reports of Lebanese on the streets, which means (1) the regime can’t trust their own police and (b) they are reducing themselves to some sort of 1GW mass-line formation. Iranians are famous for being bigoted against foreigners, so it’s a dangerous move for the government
It’s also important to realize that Mousavi organized the killing of 8000 communists in 1988. He’s not a wimp. Comfortable with killing opponents, which has to spook the Gov even more.
I have heard a rumor, but not confirmed, that the Army will not intervene. So it’s probably the Supreme Ayatollah, the Interior Ministry, perhaps the Guards, perhaps Ahmadinejad.
Official results show Ahmadinejad winning big in Mousavi’s hometown. Mousavi’s Azeri (really a kind of Turk), and the Azeris tend to support Azeri candidates, regardless of politics. A-N also won in the hometown of the other major candidate as well.
On twitter, it read “ErfanH Tehran University clashes: 15 students have been shot by gun #iranelection”
This is a sign of regime panick, as most politically active students aren’t all that smart, but really like drama. In other words, give a large number of 18-22 yo males a good excuse to riot, and they’ll take it. The kids think they are immortal, so hearing that others died increases outrage without providing a disincentive
Something to consider: during Tiananmen /dozens/ of soldiers were killed. In that situation, you had not just unarmed demonstrators, but a very strong will-to-violence and that was in a situation where the protesters started off as completely disarmed
you would have about a 100 surround maybe a platoon of soldiers, giving the soldiers two choices, both of which lead to very bad consequences for them:
1. fire, allowing you to take down 10-20 protesters before they get to you, burn/dismember you, and seize your AK-47s
2. don’t fire, allowing you to escape with only a beating lasting 1-2 hours
That is the next scenario out of Iran to watch. What really sucks about being down in a crowd that large/angry is people kick you as they are passing by, meaning that no one actually has to concentrate on you to do very serious damage.
There was a similar incident in China recently. The captain who is being attacked is a member of the Chengguan, which is like a Bobby: all they do is civil enforcement of peddling regulations, etc/
Things to look for are deaths, as the agitators among the crowd want them, and the gov. maybe be stupid enough to provide
The range of actual outcomes in the election range from an Ahmadinejad plurality (which would have forced a run-off Ahmadinejad would have probably lost), a Mousavi plurality (which also would have forced a run-off Ahmadinejad would have probably lost), or an outright Mousavi win. More analysis is available from Catholicgauze and Juan Cole.