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vendredi 8 avril 2011

I told you so: Iran's blue revolution

It's kind of of nice to see major think tanks making the same case you made only one month after.

Last month I published an article about Iran. Here is what I said in it:

My personal position is that Ahmadinejad's mishandling of the economy has strongly eroded his support(...) I don't believe in an Egyptian scenario in Iran. I think that the regime might crumble in the next year or so but wouldn't place a large bet on it. Most importantly, if the regime falls, it will be worsening economic conditions that will give a popular uprising the necessary amplitude to have a real impact.

A few days ago, Foreign Policy published an article called "Iran's blue revolution". The point it makes is that discontent is starting to grow amongst Iranian blue collars, who hitherto represented the bulk of the regime's support. With employment next to 30%, inflation on the rise and subsidies on everything from fuel to food being scrapped; workers are filling the ranks of the would be revolutionaries.

Not your average protester

Another things I emphasized in my article was the Green Movement's representativeness problem:

Being skeptical about the regime's real popularity does not lead me to overestimate the real representativeness of the green movement. One of the reasons why it didn't manage to overthrow the regime in 2009 was that its could not claim to represent a majority of Iranians. The movement is young, mostly urban, liberal and centered on Tehran. I believe that even though Ahmadinejad is unpopular, many Iranians are still uncomfortable with explicit attacks towards the Islamic Republic itself and supreme leader Khameini. I don't think that a revolution that has the Green movement as its primary representative can gather the necessary popular support to be successful.

The Green Movement seems to agree with me since they are trying to expand their base by reaching out to poorer, more rural populations. The latest Green Manifesto clearly lays out a strategy of including workers and farmers into the movement to gain traction.

Si what can we expect now? If the Green Movement indeed manages to incorporate disgruntled working class voters into their organization, the government will be in big trouble. However it is more likely that Ahmadinejad will pursue a strategy of divide and rule, trying to buy workers' support with more subsidies and government hand outs and pitching one group against the others, probably by depicting the Green Movement as an impious band of agitators subordinated to western interests and bent on letting Iran sink into chaos.

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