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  1. #31
    Senior Member Shimmy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ergophobe View Post
    I don't think Ahmadinejad would step down but if the clergy had to make a choice and protests continued as they have, then he would be an easy sacrifice for them to retain power. He does hold sway and he was endorsed by the clergy but I do think the protests took them by surprise as well.

    Protests, alone (riots seem to be more spontaneous) can bring down or have significant influence on government forms -- it all depends on the scale of action. France saw scattered riots (if I understand the context you refer to as the race riots in Parisian suburbs a few years ago). In France, government change was never demanded, at least during this time, and never at same the scale of protests (hundreds of thousands, potentially millions of people).

    In Zimbabwe, on the other hand, even a Mugabe had to eventually agree to a power sharing agreement with the opposition due to the protests. Similarly in Kenya. In both these, we saw big changes in the political system. Kenya changed its Presidential to a semi-Presidential - in essence making a new position for the opposition candidate of the Orange movement. So, I think a lot depends on the scale of action as well as, granted, other factors such as the leadership provided, the international pressure put on the government etc... Protests, by themselves, can have pretty profound effects on the form of government.
    I think you underestimate the extent of the riots in France and Greece. They weren't riots in just one city. Both were weeks of riots in nearly all large cities around the country, both of the riots were indirectly and directly aimed at national government policies and the government in general. Have a look on wikipedia if you don't believe me. And while in Zimbabwe, Tsvangirai is more popular and clearly a better leader then Mugabe, he is still only prime-minister, leaving Mugabe well in charge as president. Another "car accident" and Tsvangirai could easily be dealt with.

    The problem with riots and protests is that they are too organized to make much of a long term impact. Unless there is some sort of organized resistance in Iran who will continue to put pressure on the government long after the initial riots have finished, it will not be likely that Ahmadinejad will not be president the next couple of years.

  2. #32
    Allergic to Mornings ergophobe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shimmy View Post
    I think you underestimate the extent of the riots in France and Greece. They weren't riots in just one city. Both were weeks of riots in nearly all large cities around the country, both of the riots were indirectly and directly aimed at national government policies and the government in general. Have a look on wikipedia if you don't believe me. And while in Zimbabwe, Tsvangirai is more popular and clearly a better leader then Mugabe, he is still only prime-minister, leaving Mugabe well in charge as president. Another "car accident" and Tsvangirai could easily be dealt with.

    The problem with riots and protests is that they are too organized to make much of a long term impact. Unless there is some sort of organized resistance in Iran who will continue to put pressure on the government long after the initial riots have finished, it will not be likely that Ahmadinejad will not be president the next couple of years.
    I followed the riots in France as well - Wikipedia, in general, is not a reliable source so I won't look there or trust it for numbers. I don't think the French government was under threat at the time. There is a difference between asking for a policy change and a change in government or the institution itself.

    Better source:
    BBC NEWS | Europe | Timeline: French riots

    The issue is not how scattered the riots were, it is one of numbers of people involved and, as you suggested, whether these are spontaneous riots or more organized protests. I think there is quite a difference between the numbers involved in France then and in Iran now.

    Differences:
    1. Rioters in France were showing their displeasure at a larger atmosphere of racism that permeated institutions such as the police. They wanted a real investigation into the deaths of the youths.There was also just general frustration among immigrants, for good reason, that came out in these riots
    2. Bringing down the government or change in government was hardly the focus. Targets were mostly soft, such as private cars, a police station (again because of retaliation for the event involving the youths). This is not to suggest that these riots weren't violent or were not significant in French history - both would be wrong. The curfew was widespread, it was a real law and order situation.
    3. The riots in France were far less organized with less clear demands. Iran's riots are organized by political opposition where there is clear following and there are clear demands being made. Hundreds of thousands of people have joined in but the demands are political and being made clearly by Mousavi and a few other opposition leaders.
    4. The French riots never had the support of the sheer numbers of people we see in Iran today. Case in point, the Interior Minister at the time, Sarkozy who handled the situation so wonderfully (not) becomes President. Quite a different situation.

    I think a key similarity though is how much of a law and order situation will the protests become. Poor law and order is an embarrassment for any kind of regime - democratic or dictatorial. If the protests continue in the fashion they have and in the numbers they have attracted, it could possibly lead to change, if not, likely not.

  3. #33
    Senior Member Shimmy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ergophobe View Post
    I think a key similarity though is how much of a law and order situation will the protests become. Poor law and order is an embarrassment for any kind of regime - democratic or dictatorial. If the protests continue in the fashion they have and in the numbers they have attracted, it could possibly lead to change, if not, likely not.
    Agreed, but history shows it is more realistic that in a couple of weeks Ahmadinejad will make some bullshit concession to the opposition and oppresses the riots with violence. Unless, like I said before, there is some underground, unidentifiable organisation that maintains to disrupt law and order. This could be in the form of terrorist attacks, riots or less likely, education of the masses in the benefits of overthrowing Ahmadinejad. This underground scenario would probably secretly be supported by a lot of western governments but the initiative has to come from within Iran. Neither do I believe anybody of the current leading opposition parties will be involved. Although they'll obviously support it secretly. Public figures, like politicians, are a too easy target to hit.

  4. #34
    Senior Member Feops's Avatar
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    As an aside, I'm fairly impressed with Obama's ability to keep distanced from this.

    He's playing the international scene smart, which is a refreshing change from the past administration.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feops View Post
    As an aside, I'm fairly impressed with Obama's ability to keep distanced from this.

    He's playing the international scene smart, which is a refreshing change from the past administration.
    To do anything else would destroy all his efforts to reach out to the Muslim world. Permanently.

  6. #36
    Senior Member Shimmy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feops View Post
    As an aside, I'm fairly impressed with Obama's ability to keep distanced from this.

    He's playing the international scene smart, which is a refreshing change from the past administration.
    O yes definitely, you can love or loathe the man, but you can't deny he has outstanding diplomatic skills, charisma and thinks things through thoroughly. For the first time in 8 years I feel the US makes sense again.

  7. #37
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  8. #38
    Allergic to Mornings ergophobe's Avatar
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    More of what's going on:

    BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iran police clash with protesters

    Interesting perspective comparing the 79 Revolution with the current protests

    BBC NEWS | Programmes | From Our Own Correspondent | Iranian protest parallels with 1979

  9. #39
    Senior Member htb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Son of the Damned View Post
    To do anything else would destroy all his efforts to reach out to the Muslim world. Permanently.
    If by "Muslim world" you mean the backwards collection of tyrants, oligarchs, security apparatuses by the dozen, small-time mafiosos, and transnational criminals that have the region stuck in the mid-20th century, having spent the last seven decades butchering millions; then yes, it would put a damper on President Obama's overture to status quo.

    Edit: A new statement. I approve of the president, and hope that the White House is willing to do more if the free world finds itself "bearing witness" to a crackdown.

  10. #40
    . Blank's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shimmy View Post
    O yes definitely, you can love or loathe the man, but you can't deny he has outstanding diplomatic skills, charisma and thinks things through thoroughly. For the first time in 8 years I feel the US makes sense again.
    I know! A president who is a diplomat! Who would have ever thought that!?

    (not sarcasm)
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