Demonstrators in Syria burning pictures of Nassrallah and Khamenei
On the second anniversary of the electoral coup, the news of overt resistance to the regime is not at all good. Despite the intensification of all social problems, and despite the fact that the infighting between different factions of the regime are still going as strong as ever -- this time it's between Ahmadinejad faction and the Khamenei/principlists faction -- and despite the intensification of economic hardships for all after the elimination of price subsidies, the people's movement is still struggling to find a way to topple the system.
According to reports from Iran, due to the very heavy presence of security forces on key streets and squares in Tehran, the silent march (called for by the Coordinating Committee of the Green Path of Hope) to mark the second anniversary of the electoral coup, or the rebirth of the people's movement, attracted only some thousands of people, who were outnumbered by security forces easily, and who were dispersed, while some were arrested. This is NOT an indication of the movement fading out, but more so an indication of the success of the regime in effectively occupying the streets militarily and not allowing any assemblies to form. People's rage, however, builds up daily.
Meanwhile, the general news from Iran keeps getting increasingly more depressing and bleaker by the day. Political prisoners keep dying in greater numbers, not just from executions, but also from prison conditions. Others are being killed by regime security forces and plainclothes thugs outside prisons, including at funerals: after the death of a dissident, Ezzatollah Sahabi, while in prison (we can easily say the Iranian regime sentenced him to death by 'prison conditions'), the regime thugs then went ahead and killed his daughter, Haleh Sahabi, by physically assaulting her while she was attending her father's funeral. Iranian people do not even have the right to attend a funeral in peace. Then, as if things weren't bad enough, we heard about another political prisoner, Reza Hoda Saber -- who had gone on hunger strike to protest the killing of Haleh Sahabi -- who died in prison under very suspect conditions, which usually means the security forces beat him to death (and officially reported the cause of death as 'heart attack'!).
Even people such as economists expressing their professional opinions are not safe from random state tyranny (see here).
One of the most widely reported pieces on the second anniversary of the stolen elections was the piece by International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, which was a released video testimony from a young female detainee describing in detail her severe torture and repeated rape after her arbitrary arrest.
The political leadership of the country, meanwhile, is increasingly sounding more insane. Some of the mullahs are demanding the erasure of thousands of years of our history and want to wish away all Iranian-ness altogether, for they consider it un-Islamic! There are influential mullahs who want to eradicate entire thousands of years of cultural and historical accumulation, and they want to pretend that Iran is only about 1,300 years old -- all the rest preparing the ground for the real birth of the nation; and not only that, 1,300 years old religiously speaking, but only 32 years old politically speaking (since all those years of seemingly secular monarchic rule were un-Islamic). There is no end to their irrationalities.
These insanities are incredible enough as they are. We should add to this insanity just in passing, and not in any detail, that there is support given to this barbaric antiquity of a regime by some western 'leftists'. We mention this just to emphasize the bleakness of the situation facing Iranian revolutionaries. When the world is upside down to such an incredible degree that some living leftists lend a helping hand to a bunch of ultra-misogynistic, anti-democratic ... forget that, anti-human, barbaric, pre-historic creatures that run one of the most oppressive regimes in the world, then you KNOW you are living in Dark Ages. This is no post-modern age; this is pre-historical. Brute force, pure violence and no pretense to any worldly legitimacy.
But, we digress. Despite all the bleak news coming from the surface of things social in Iran, the depths of the society are most assuredly experiencing much upheaval.
On the International front, Iranian regime's propaganda and influence among the Arab people, thanks a thousand times to the Arab revolutionary moves, have lost much of their credit. We have had the message of solidarity from the Egyptian revolutionaries to the people of Iran from Tahrir Square; and very significantly, thanks to the uprising by the people of Syria, the aura of Iran's regime being a friend of the Arab people has been smashed to pieces.
There has been some local/regional effects of this loss of legitimacy of discourse. For example, Lebanese Hezbollah and Nassrallah in particular are losing face daily among the Arab people for their call on the Syrians to NOT rise up and demand their rights as human beings, just because it was to the political advantage of Hezbollah's sectarian interests to keep a good face for Syrian AND Iranian regimes (and themselves by extension). Hezbollah now stands as an unambiguous defender of tyranny (OK'd, when exercised by their own allies); and to that degree, Islamists in the Arab world are losing moral and ethical ground, as well as political ground. This creates an opportunity for secular progressive forces in the Arab world to forge forward, much more than they would have been able to under conditions whereby Islamists seemed to have the moral upper ground.
Back to Iran's internal conditions ... though the picture of the political situation is bleak now and getting bleaker daily (it seems), the prospects for the Islamic Republic regime are even bleaker. To start, the most ardent supporters of the regime now openly refuse to agree with the 'Republic' part of the title. For them, the legitimacy of the regime comes from God. Period. No questions allowed. Further, no reforms (in the sense of any opening up of the socio-political conditions) can be allowed. The reform project was shut down long ago. Even if (as some hopefuls think possible) the 'reformists' are allowed back near the houses of power, no real and actual reforms ARE possible.
At the same time, a great many functionaries and supporters of the regime can see clearly that the official ideology, based on the absolutist rule of the religious jurisprudence (velayat-e motlaqh-e faqih), is bankrupt and hardly worth defending. Hence, the Ahmadinejad faction that wants to refashion the official ideology to an openly fascistic form of rule that is not too hung up on the supreme leader, is not too bothered about the Islamic cover (hijab for women mostly), either, and follows a pan-Iranian line of cultural thinking, and for the Islamic part of its rule believes in the Messiah himself; no intermediaries needed (the 12th Imam of the Shiite religion is supposed to appear when socio-historical conditions are ripe). The emphasis on the importance of the Messiah is pretty clear to all the mullahs who support and are allies of the Khamenei faction (the Velayat-e faqih faction): if the messiah is about to come and is the source of all authority for the Velayat-e faqih, then who needs the Valiy-e faqih? Valiy-e faqih is just a link to the messiah, therefore dispensable.
A phenomenon that exists in complete and total contradiction with its living environment, will forever create contradictions within itself. If there is no conflict between 'reformists' and 'hard liners' then there is some conflict between different shades of the hard liners; once that is resolved, there shall be other conflicts that will arise, because this regime is a regime of exceptionalities.
This is a regime that the counterrevolutionary forces of society in Iran (with ample help from counterrevolutionary forces internationally) could put together at a historical moment 32 years ago, when they were caught by surprise by the people of Iran who took to the streets in 1978-79, and fought hard to topple the previous dictatorship, so as to have freedom of speech, to have freedom of assembly, to have the right to form independent organizations (be they political, economic, cultural, social or whatever they desired), the right to have a free press and the right to choose their own representatives to the representative political bodies, regardless of political philosophy or anything else. In short, we had a revolution to have the right to be fully human.
At that historical juncture, 32 years ago, the Iranian counterrevolution won (just like it may win in Egypt or Tunisia or Syria or Yemen, etc.). However, the counterrevolution didn't win in one quick step. It took a good decade before it had stabilized itself. And during that decade, the regime literally fought street battles with demonstrators, protestors and dissidents in a variety of forms, on many social levels (and in many countries; the regime killed many dissidents abroad). That is why today the Iranian regime is such an efficient machinery of oppression and brutality. You can bet all you have that they are involved in helping Syrian and Iraqi regimes with their street protestors (mind you, Syria's Assad had a pretty good teacher in his dad; however, material support is something else and always appreciated, as all counterrevolutionary forces in the region are well aware of!).
In sum, the Iranian counterrevolutionaries, in the form of a medieval theocracy, won the battle back then, 32 years ago. Since then, the Iranian people have been grappling with the horrendous challenge of overcoming this counterrevolution. The future, however, belongs to us. Those who oppress us cannot last forever. If and when any state, any regime, is reduced to ruling by sheer force and openly violent brutality ALONE, that is indeed the end of that state/regime. Time is on our side even if it takes some time to topple these brutal murderers.