In the last week, two significant elections were held in the middle east. In both cases, high voter turnout was reported
Education Minister Bahiya al-Hariri and Prime Minister Siniora celebrate victory in the Lebanese election
The Lebanon went to the polls just over a week ago to elect a new Parliament. Interest centered on whether a Hizbollah-backed alliance (known as the 8th March Coalition) would win more seats than the ruling, more pro-western coalition of parties known as the 14th March Coalition. In the event, it failed to make the headway anticipated by some western observers.
The losing side immediately accepted the results of the election and pledged support for the next government. The western mainstream media, needless to say, gloated. It was smiles all round on the BBC, CNN and FOX.
Last Friday came the Presidential election in Iran. In this case, there was considerable anticipation within the western mass media that the current President might be defeated by a candidate perceived as more liberal and pro-western.
In this case, the west’s favoured candidate lost – rather decisively. Immediately the call went out protesting the election result. At the time of writing, it’s reported that the USA has yet to recognize the result; as usual, the Australian Government is following America’s ‘lead’. Vice President Biden is, however, quoted as saying that the USA will still negotiate with the Iranian Government. That’s patronizing, when you think about it – but it could be worse.
Protestors in Tehran, the day after the election
There’s been a lot of focus, in the western media, on ‘repression’ following the election. We hear that anti-Ahmadinejad protestors were quickly dispersed by police. Not good… Even so, reports also seem to indicate that some protestors hurled rocks. I invite anyone to try that in London or Washington these days and see how you get along.
Of course, the more transparency in elections, the better – whether they occur in America, Iran or anywhere else. Ideally, humanity would have evolved a sufficiently co-operative and harmonious world society by now so that observers from outside – representing the world community – would always be welcome to help monitor elections. But we’re not quite there yet.
There has been widespread concern about massive electoral fraud in the USA at successive elections – mainly due to widespread use of ‘black box’ electronic voting which left no paper trail or other means of auditing announced results. Suffice it to say that the USA, given its own recent history, is ill-placed to lecture anyone on bodgy elections – except perhaps to explain how elections can be rigged on a grand scale.
Mir Hussein Moussavi: declared victory on the basis of his own exit-polling; an old trick
Supporters of Mir Hossein Moussavi,, the leading challenger in the Iranian election, took to wearing green sashes during the campaign. It lead some western observers to speculate about whether Iran was to experience a post-election ‘Green Revolution’, rather like the Soros-funded and inspired colour revolutions that had been so effective in bouncing official winners in the Ukraine and Georgia a few years back.
The Iranian Government – and the Iranian people as a whole – are not stupid. They have been noticing these CIA/Zionist sponsored shenanigans around the world for some considerable time. It was to be expected they’d ensure nothing similar happened in Iran. It has not.
What should be equally clear, however, to those who live in the real world as opposed to the bubble-reality of the western mainstream media, is that the objective basis for such a ‘revolution’ does not exist in Iran, c. 2009.
Most Iranians want change – including more civil and media freedom. But they do not want another western coup; their elders still remember the CIA/MI6 coup in the early 1950s that toppled Iran’s elected leader of the day. They have a deep distrust of Israel and certainly do not want pro-Zionist leadership or influence in their own country.
How do we know this? A month or so before the Iranian election, the Terror Free Tomorrow: The Center for Public Opinion, the New America Foundation and KA Europe SPRL conducted quite detailed telephone surveys of Iranian public opinion. These were published under the title: Results of a New Nationwide Public Opinion Survey of Iran before the June 12, 2009 Presidential Elections. It had two subtitles: Ahmadinejad Front Runner in Upcoming Presidential Elections and Iranians Continue to Back Compromise and Better Relations with US and West.
Presidential Election Poll for Iran, May 2009
It is reasonable to be suspicious of the results; these are ‘insider’ organiations within the western power structure. But there’s no possibility, for that very reason, that the results were pro-Ahmadinejad propaganda.
The survey showed rather clearly that Ahmadinejad was way ahead of Moussavi, with two and a half times as much support. At that time, however, there were still a lot of undecided voters.
Presidents Ahmadinejad and Chavez embrace in 2008: both are grinning winners
Judging by the official final result, Moussavi did pick up some of these late-to-decide voters. But he didn’t get them all – and the incumbent was already well ahead.
Responses in the survey to questions on the economy and foreign affairs help explain President Ahmadinejad’s electoral success. His policies represent mainstream opinion. Ahmadinejad is widely perceived as the friend of the poor; Moussavi, by contrast, was regarded as the ally of the wealthy.
President Ahmadinejad could be decribed the ‘Hugo Chavez’ of his own, very different, society. He’s not an aberration. He represents the popular will of the majority in a society that’s sophisticated, but still poor by western standards.
Two more grinning elected Presidents
Juan Cole, an American academic generally considered on the left, takes an entirely different view. Cole clearly believes the Iranian election was rigged: see Class v. Culture Wars in Iranian Elections: Rejecting Charges of a North Tehran Fallacy.
It’s possible that ‘conspiracy theorists’ such as Professor Cole are right – although I don’t believe he makes a convincing case.
I’d like to know how Cole explains the ‘Terror Free Tomorrow’ polling data. Was it rigged in Ahmadinejad’s favour as well?
The 'had enough of Zionist-rule' shake?
People who believe in conspiracies as broad as that are usually ridiculed. Paranoia sometimes gets the better of them. They may end up reading too much, for example, into the grins of Obama and Chavez when they met at the recent Americas Summit.
They are especially prone to fret over innocent gestures such as a friendly handshake (even though it may, in fairness, have looked suspicous to an occultist…)