Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Mousavi Praises the Revolutionary Guard & Basij
Even though dozens of his supporters have been murdered and beaten, Mr. Mousavi has come out with a statement of support for the brutal Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, or as Western media likes to call them the Revolutionary Guard.
Signs Mousavi's rebel stature being eroded in Iran
CAIRO – Mir Hossein Mousavi is still nominally the guiding force of the fury over Iran's disputed election. But there are ample signs his rebel stature is being eroded by his hesitation to shift from campaigner to street agitator as his supporters challenge security forces.
The questions over Mousavi's standing are part of a larger debate over the direction of the unprecedented assault on Iran's Islamic leadership.
The size of the demonstrations has fallen sharply since Mousavi led hundreds of thousands through Tehran last week over claims of vote rigging in the June 12 presidential election. At the same time, the growing threats and firepower from security forces leave little doubt that authorities are prepared to strike back hard.
A gathering of about 200 people on Monday was quickly broken up by tear gas and shots fired into the air. On Tuesday, protesters retreated to much milder methods: honking car horns, chanting from rooftops and holding up posters denouncing the crackdown and alleged vote fraud.
It gave the clear impression of authorities gaining the upper hand, at least for the moment. Crushing the protesters' spirits and ability to regroup would likely mean even greater rewards and power for Iran's Revolutionary Guard — the Islamic regime's main military muscle and backer of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. And it could put reformists under relentless pressure for years to come.
He left many followers bewildered with twin messages this week. He called on his backers to maintain the cries to annul the election results that showed a landslide victory for Ahmadinejad. But he also declared full respect for Iran's Islamic system and even described as "our brothers" the pro-regime militias who have beaten demonstrators and been blamed by protesters for gunning down marchers last week.
It was an odd match. Mousavi lacked the charisma and grand visions the pro-reform voters craved. Still, he was their best shot at winning.
"An accidental hero," said Rasool Nafisi, a professor of Iran studies at Strayer University in Virginia.
"He really doesn't have the credentials to be the leader for the reformists or for the opposition," he added. "Even up to the election, Iranian intellectuals and political leaders did not support him, except one or two like (former President Mohammad) Khatami."
The grumbling appears now to be spreading among those who voted for Mousavi and then took to the streets in the most serious internal unrest since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
"People have risked their lives for him and some have died," said a protester in Tehran contacted by phone by The Associated Press. She withheld her name for fear of reprisals from authorities.
"Is he our leader? I want to say yes. But I really don't know how to answer that now."
Mousavi says he only wants to rattle the country's Islamic rulers, not take them down. In messages posted on his Web site in recent days, he groped for some common ground in a nation increasingly polarized.
He vowed to stand by the protesters "at all times," but set some boundaries — saying he would "never allow anybody's life to be endangered because of my actions."
Mousavi then called the feared Revolutionary Guard and their volunteer militia corps, the Basij, "our brothers" and "protectors of our revolution and regime."
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