Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Revolution Shall Be Tweeted. Nobel Prize for Twitter Founders?

A GWB Dep NatSec Advisor named Pfeiffe suggests that Twitter technology is bypassing the isolated fossil government in Tehran and reporting on the suppression of protests of the rigged elections. The Iranian Revolution for the Easily Overwhelmed is a Twitter filter with updates every fifteen minutes or so. Iran.tweetmeme is another up-to-the-minute follow-up.

Yesterday I was on a radio talkshow talking to Todd Schnitt, who is very good on AGW & Iran & Energy in general. I mentioned that the phenomenon of Neda's murder in broad daylight has twitched the martyrdom gene in the Shi'ite DNA of Iran and that there will be three-day, seven-day, and forty-day commemorations of Neda's cowardly murder. If the script of the Iranian rev of '79 holds to narrative, the suppression of these mourning periods will spark new murders, which in turn will generate more martyrdom commemorations. It's a Shi'ite thing, and in '79 caused the downfall of the Shah over a year's period of asymmetrical punctuated equilibriums, as an economist or evolutionary scientist might put it.

Iran is sui generis to the nth degree and when Iran comes to a fork in the road, it takes it, in Yogi-talk. If a critical mass of the clerical elite decide that Khamenei and Ahmedinejad are worse than Rafsanjani/Khatami/Mousavi, then some serious change might occur, but not without the usual syncopation that Iranian politics always follows in its strange idiosyncratic way.

The one thing which might push the regime off its tottering throne is the application of much stronger UN and EU sanctions, but even these would be bypassed by Russian and Chinese rushing to pick up market share from petro-rich Iran. Remember that Marc Rich was prosecuted for trading with Iran by refining its oil offshore in Rumania, and most of Iran's gasoline is refined outside the country, with the corrupt "Religious Foundations" skimming off enormous profits which finance some elements of the Basiji and Revolutionary Guards. Because Iran has always been a trading nation, an effective boycott might do the trick. However, as Niall Ferguson notes in his book The Colossus, the UN has become a completely anarchic and ineffective organization. So unless the sanctions have some real bite, Iran will continue to develop a nuke, and the smoldering resentment of the cities will be offset by young Basiji zealots from the countryside---guided by cynical IRGC politically-connected goons like the one who was photographed on a motorbike who may have shot Neda. [See my earlier blog with this link.] And Iran will continue to lurch towards nuclear status and the Gulf Arabs will in turn be terrified and perhaps ask for American protection.

As it happens, some of her LA friends say that ironically, Neda and her father were stuck in Tehran's notoriously horrible traffic and got out of their stalled car to get some air, went to gape at the protesters, and Neda was arbitrarily shot from a coward on a motorbike, according to friends in LA. A YouTube of the purported killer taking out his pistol is up online.

Hope the links above help anyone seeking updates frequently on the anarchy in the streets of Tehran, Tabriz, and other major Iranian cities.

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