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Monday, June 22, 2009

Iran: The Zimbabwe Strategy

Tony Karon writes:

The Zimbabwe strategy would involve first escalating repression to get the opposition off the streets, drawing enough blood to make many Iranians think twice about putting themselves at great physical risk in pursuit of an objective that begins to look beyond reach. And once the opposition is intimidated and demoralised, Mr Ahmadinejad might be prodded to offer concessions in the form of some kind of national unity government, albeit on his own terms. Right now, there’s no sign that the opposition would accept such a deal, but Mr Khamenei may be betting that suppressing the protest movement can split the opposition, isolating the more reformist elements from pragmatic conservatives like Mr Mousavi who didn’t back the previous reform presidency of Mohammed Khatami, but who have been alarmed by Mr Ahmadinejad’s militancy.

It’s unlikely, in fact, that Mr Mousavi had evolved a strategy for the situation as it has unfolded. Like Mr Khamenei, he is improvising. The Supreme Leader has now forced him to choose between becoming an enemy of the state, or settling for a secondary role and perhaps, after the crisis has passed, a more moderate and inclusive Mr Ahmadinejad.

link: How the ‘Mugabe option’ figures in Khamenei’s strategy - The National Newspaper


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