August 7, 2008


The End of Ahmadinejad?: A fool’s road to the end. (Ali Alfoneh, 8/07/08, National Review)

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is running out of time, friends, and luck. Presidential elections will be held in June 2009, but Ahmadinejad has still not delivered on his 2005 election promises of “bringing the oil money to the tables of the people.” In a recent televised interview, the Iranian president assured the public that he would distribute the oil wealth of the country before the next presidential elections, “even if I have to do it at my last day in office,” hardly an assuring message to the impoverished Iranians whose’ cause Ahmadinejad claims to advance.

Apart from betraying the trust of the “downtrodden,” Ahmadinejad has also alienated the Islamic Republic’s religious and political elites. Unable to resolve the problems arising from Iran’s command economy, Ahmadinejad attacks the clerical and bureaucratic establishment of the Islamic Republic. Not a week passes without the president or his proxies disclosing secrets about economic and morally corrupt celebrities. But, apart from naming and shaming, the Ahmadinejad government does little to prosecute the alleged criminals who all seem to be among the ranks of his critics. The Ahmadinejad government has also not shown interest in fighting the root causes of corruption: Lack of transparency and the patronage system permeating all levels of political life in the Islamic Republic. In reality, Ahmadinejad’s blame game has no other purpose than deflecting responsibility for mismanagement of the economy. His strategy has neither resolved the inflation problem, provided bread for the poor or affordable rent for the middle class, nor gained the president friends.

In the last week, fortune seems to have finally turned her back to Ahmadinejad.

One nice thing about being a republic, elections dispose of mistakes.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 7, 2008 12:29 PM

Unless those elections are held in Detroit.

Posted by: Palmcroft at August 7, 2008 4:12 PM

Or if the mistake is on the Guardian Council.

Posted by: Brandon at August 7, 2008 5:33 PM

Or if the "opposition" decides not to compete (for whatever reason).

Posted by: ratbert at August 8, 2008 7:35 AM

Yes, that was the mistake they made last time, with our encouragement.

Posted by: oj at August 8, 2008 7:46 AM

After 30 years of the turbaned thugocracy, elections in Iran are about as valid as those in Zimbabwe.

Posted by: ratbert at August 8, 2008 8:51 PM

There are some problems with who gets to run, but the elections themselves are fair.

Posted by: oj at August 8, 2008 9:34 PM

Are you accepting the Jimmy Carter validation, that of the NYT, or just buying into your own?

And "some problems" is an understatement, given that real reform (either political or economic) is outside the scope of the Guard, the Supremo, the clericocracy, and probably even the current Army.

Posted by: ratbert at August 9, 2008 12:22 AM

All of the above. No one says the counts are unfair.

Posted by: oj at August 9, 2008 5:44 AM

If step A is invalid, why even discuss step C?

Posted by: ratbert at August 9, 2008 12:14 PM

You're confusing imperfect with invalid, a classic symptom.

Posted by: oj at August 9, 2008 7:41 PM

No election is 'perfect', but there is a powerful statement made in countries where the people stand in line for hours, braving the goons, to vote for change. That has never happened in Iran. Your 'realistic' view seems to assume that if the people would just vote for the anointed candidate, things would change.

Experience (with Iran, and with human nature in general) teaches otherwise. With respect to elections, Iran is closer to Zimbabwe or Bolivia than it is to Ukraine or even Iraq.

Posted by: ratbert at August 9, 2008 11:39 PM

Of course it has. Iran has changed conmsiderably since Khomeni's death, in no small part because of high voter turnout and election of reformers. Iran is closest to the US, but with higher turnout and with the Guardian as president.

Posted by: oj at August 10, 2008 9:04 AM

And what exactly did Khatami 'reform'?

Remember, the current waves of oppression did not start with Mahmoud.

Posted by: ratbert at August 10, 2008 12:14 PM

What repression? Iranians are quite free nowadays.

Posted by: oj at August 10, 2008 12:28 PM
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