Friday, March 14, 2008

"Fixing the frontiers with the American Great Satan"

Democracy: Iranian style.

Iran's choice: A man in a military cap, or a man in a military cap.

More than 50 million Iranians are invited to vote today in elections that Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Guide of the Islamic Republic, has described as “fixing the frontiers” with the American Great Satan.

At stake are 290 seats in the Majlis, the make-believe Parliament set up by the mullahs after they seized power in 1979. Although relations with the United States, or rather lack of them, are not an issue for the 3,000 “approved” candidates, Khamenei is right in presenting the election as an indirect referendum on President Ahmadinejad's dangerous foreign policy. The issue is whether the mullahs will lose yet more control to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and, if so, which faction of the guards will emerge triumphant, the radicals or the realists.

About the IRCG:

The IRGC is a parallel army of more than 250,000 men, created by the Ayatollah Khomeini as his regime's praetorian guard. Over the decades, however, it has emerged as the backbone of the ruling Establishment - especially, since it controls more than 500 companies with interests in everything from oil to tourism. Thanks to a network of retired officers and veterans, the IRGC has a presence throughout the state, as well as large chunks of the private business sector. Since the mid-1990s, the IRGC has been trying to expand its political power base, mostly at the expense of the mullahs and their business associates.

So, will the mullahs get their butts kicked by "men who do have something to lose and are anxious to avoid loss" ?

Check out Amir Taheri and his take on the Iranian elections here.