From Noticias 24:
The young Islamic revolutionaries of the late 1970s are now middle aged, and do not wish to slaughter their neighbors. That is why the mullahs have imported killers from abroad: the five thousand or so Hezbollahis who, according to Der Spiegel, have been brought in from Lebanon and Syria. Dissidents on Twitter report clashes with security forces who do not speak Farsi, and there are even some rumors suggesting that Chavez has sent some of his toughs from Venezuela. Who knows?
The other great threat to the regime comes from the upper reaches of the clergy. Do not be surprised to see some senior ayatollahs denounce the regime; many have done so in the past (Ayatollah Montazeri has been under house arrest for years, and Ayatollah Boroujerdi has been subjected to horrible torture for criticizing the lack of freedom in Iran). We are still quite early in this process.
But the key element is the people. They are only just beginning to understand the reality of their situation. Virtually none of them imagined that they would be in a revolutionary confrontation with the regime just two days after the electoral circus, and few of them can realize, so soon, that they can actually change the world. I think the Mousavis now understand it (they know that they are either going to win or be destroyed). It remains to be seen if they can instruct and inspire the movement.
Much will depend on their ability to communicate. The regime has been waging a cyberwar against the dissidents, shutting down websites, cell phones, Facebook, and the like. As most people have learned, the basic communiations tool is Twitter, which somehow continues to function. Bigtime Kudos to Twitter, by the way, for postponing its planned maintenance so that the Iranians can continue to Tweet. Would that Google were so solicitous of freedom.
We don’t know who’s going to win. The Iranian people know that they’re on their own; they aren’t going to get any help from us, or the United Nations, or the Europeans. But paradoxically, this lack of support may strengthen their will. There is no cavalry on the horizon. If they are going to prevail, they and their unlikely leaders will have to gut it out by themselves. God be with them.
Don’t miss the Cyberwar guide for Iran elections:
2. Hashtags, the only two legitimate hashtags being used by bloggers in Iran are #iranelection and #gr88, other hashtag ideas run the risk of diluting the conversation.
4. Help cover the bloggers: change your twitter settings so that your location is TEHRAN and your time zone is GMT +3.30. Security forces are hunting for bloggers using location and timezone searches. If we all become ‘Iranians’ it becomes much harder to find them.
I did that just now.
I’ll be on CNN Live’s Blogger Bunch panel today at noon to join the discussion on Iran.