Religious Dispatches analyses the back story of Iran’s elections. In the meantime, the world has suddenly become aware of the power of Twitter, youtube, and other new social media tools for something far greater than chit chat. Haroon Moghul writes on the hardliners trying to stop the move towards democracy:
What we are witnessing in Iran is a coup, albeit against elements of the establishment deemed insufficiently committed to a radical reading of Islam. The Iranian system has so far been democratic; however, that democratic character is significantly diluted by numerous checks, clerical and otherwise, intended to produce a regime both popular and appropriately Islamic. This convoluted structure is overseen by a Supreme Leader, nominally appointed for life by an elected Assembly of Experts (there have only been two Supreme Leaders, and the first—Khomeini—died in office.)
Khatami’s election represented a move towards realizing a more democratic Islamism, after years of war and a ravaged economy slowly rebuilt. We could call it the realization of the potential of the Revolution, and the constitution it generated. But over the last decade, those democratic tendencies have been fiercely, even brutally, suppressed by hardliners seizing state institutions and levers of power to advance their agenda.
These hardline elements have come together around Khamenei but have profited enormously from Ahmadinejad, who is in contrast to Khatami an acceptable leader. Their economic politics combine a shortsighted, inflationary populism along with the corrupt transfer of increasing shares of state wealth and industry to the right persons. The result being that power is more and more the preserve of select elements within the Republic, and it may well be that the losers in this system—many of them prominent clerics and reformists—are fighting back. Of such stuff, we hope, democracy is made. More here.
On the other end of the spectrum are the young and the progressives and those familiar with Social Networking tools getting the story out when mainstream media (MSM) has been unable to report.
Andrew Sullivan comments here.
New York Times has more here.
Latest news from Reuters here.