Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Failure of the Iranian Model


Twelve years ago, with the election of Khatami as President of Iran, it became obvious that in large cross sections of the Iranian society the revolutionary zeal has petered out. The clergy was determined to keep the revolution that brought it to power alive and prevent its moderation and for that aim went to great length to limit free elections and democracy. With Ahmedinejad’s first (and only) election there was an attempt to revive its zeal internally and, as is customary with revolutions, project it outwards by linking it with local grievances, in this case, in Lebanon and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

The rigging of the elections and the violent clampdown on peaceful protestors that began today, demonstrates that the uneasy combination of an Islamic state and democracy has failed. By choosing revolution over the remaining vestiges of democracy, the clergy ensured that Iran will no longer serve as a model of mass supported Islamic Revolution. While internally the revolution has been saved, its foreign influence is likely to vane. Nor, as we learned, is it possible to make a peaceful transition from an Islamic to a democratic state, as happened in the aftermath of communism. Instead, Iran is coming to resemble the authoritarian regimes of the region.

67 comments:

MSS said...

Right. Several times in recent years I have used the Iranian case as a study in models of authoritarian governance. I have always found remarkable how the regime combined a very narrow 'selectorate' with relatively (for an authoritarian system) open elections. I always told the students (across the ridge walk from you, Gershon) that it was doubtful that this unusual mix could be sustained. Apparently it has now broken. It is really a fascinating case study, and has in some ways only become more so now. But that is small comfort to those, inside and outside Iran, who have to live with the consequences now.

MSS said...

By the way, over the last two and half years, I have occasionally posted some perspectives on Iran.

I am no expert on the country or region, but some readers might find the (attempt at) analysis by a comparative institutionalist to be of interest.

Anonymous said...

"The rigging of the elections and the violent clampdown on peaceful protestors that began today, demonstrates that the uneasy combination of an Islamic state and democracy has failed."

Reminds me of Israel, and the perversion of Palestinian elections and crazed violence against peaceful Palestinians.

Anonymous said...

"Nor, as we learned, is it possible to make a peaceful transition from an Islamic to a democratic state, as happened in the aftermath of communism."

Typically racist comment; imagine my surprise.

Anonymous said...

"Nor, as we learned, is it possible to make a peaceful transition from an Islamic to a democratic state, as happened in the aftermath of communism."

This is a racist comment and a lie, vile racist lie.

arthur said...

Anonymous:

you say that Gershon is lying. What, then, is your evidence for a peaceful transition from an Islamicist state to democracy? If you can cite any examples of a peaceful transition from an Islamicist state to a democracy, then you might have a case. Otherwise, you have none.

As it is, the violence of your own rhetoric reinforces Gershon's point. Violent rhetoric against those you disagree with is one step away from violent action against them. Ask Lenin

Anonymous said...

"Nor, as we learned, is it possible to make a peaceful transition from an Islamic to a democratic state, as happened in the aftermath of communism."

Simply look at this sentence, and understand that what is asserted would be unknowable and prejudiced even if we did not know for sure the sentence is a lie.

I do not use the term false, but chose lie since the sentence on a moment's thought cn be shown false.

Anonymous said...

"Nor, as we learned, is it possible to make a peaceful transition from an Islamic to a democratic state, as happened in the aftermath of communism."

What the writer is doing is demeaning a religion and a billion people who are part of the religion.

arthur said...

Anonymous, where is your specific example that the transition from an Islamicist state to a democracy has ever happened peacefully, i.e., CAN happen peacefully?

As it is we have one major example where Gershon is correct, where dozens of innocents are shot dead, including women at point-blank range, in the name of Allah, led by the command of a Grand Ayatollah: namely, Iran. This didn't happen in East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, the Ukraine, Georgia, or even in Russia in 1991. In all these cases there was a peaceful transition from Communist autocracy to democracy.

If you have no counter-example of peaceful transition from an Islamicist state to a democracy, than how can you say that Gershon is wrong? Other than calllng him names, you have no evidence. I must say to you that calling someone names is not a substitute for evidence.

arthur said...

Anonymous, you say Gershon is lying. The only way to prove that he is lying is to show examples where there is a peaceful transition from an Islamicist state to a democracy. Gershon has on his side a grotesque example of a violent attempt by Islamcists to remain in power, at the expense of peaceful demonstraters being brutalized and killed in the name of Allah.

Anonymous, you say that Gerson is a racist. Political Islam is not a race. It is an ideology.

Anonymous said...

"Gershon has on his side a grotesque example of a violent attempt by Islamcists to remain in power, at the expense of peaceful demonstraters being brutalized and killed in the name of Allah."

This is a racist comment and a lie, this is vile racist lying.

Anonymous said...

"Gershon has on his side a grotesque example of a violent attempt by Islamcists to remain in power, at the expense of peaceful demonstraters being brutalized and killed in the name of Allah."

This is demeaning a religion and a billion people who are part of the religion. This is vile racist lying.

Qays said...

"The only way to prove that he is lying is to show examples where there is a peaceful transition from an Islamicist state to a democracy."

The premise is a lie: the false dichotomy that is suggested between the nebulous concept of the Islamic State and Democracy. The author seems to assume that the two can never be one and the same. That assumption is not true.

But beyond that the notion that what is transpiring in Iran is a transition, counter revolution, and the like is pure fantasy. Just as the notion that Khatami's election 12 years ago is a sign that Iranians have suddenly become secularists.

Western commentators continue to put too much significance in Iran's presidential elections for some unknown reason when the president is little more than a CEO, utterly incapable of making any changes to the political system.

Iranians are concerned about corruption and that is an internal political matter that they should be concerned with. That's how the current president came to power and why he was re-elected: he criticizes everyone he feels deserves it including the clerics for being corrupt. But people like our author here are unconcerned with such trivialities.

Read the writing on the wall. When the agenda was just about the election results (a matter pertaining to corruption) the protests were huge now that the agenda challenges the entire system only scattered hundreds turn out in disorganized mobs. The "massive numbers" that were so significant in early media coverage has suddenly not become that significant at all.

And dreamers continue to see the mirage of a secular democracy on the horizon of the Islamic Republic.

arthur said...

Anonymous:

Do you deny that people are being brutalized and killed in the name of Allah and the protection of Virtue by the Islamicist government, that their overt motivation is the preservation of an Islamicist state?

Anonymous: political Islam is not the religion of a billion people; it is the belief of a segment, violent fanatics who believe they are commanded by God to impose virtue and outlaw vice as THEY personally see it. Their major victims are Muslims--including the 60 million Muslims in Iran. To be against an ideology is not racist. It is YOU who make a billion Muslims into a solid unanimous monolithic bloc by asserting that the totalitarian and violent beliefs of political Islam are the beliefs of all Muslims. That is untrue.

Qays: the large demos were already radicalized on Wednesday and Thursday of last week, and had moved beyond demands for a recount to demands for a fundamental democratization of the Islamic Republic. Why are there so few people on the streets now? WELL, maybe it has something to do with the violent organs of repression employed by narrow fanatical mullahs to keep the people in line!! Maybe it has to do with brutal beatings, arrests, and murders!

The sentiment of the people is shown by the massive shouting of Allaho-Akbar on the rooftops every night. In the face of the Saddam-like showing of the state security organs, every peaceable demo is broken up brutally, while street-fighting is a non-starter.

arthur said...

Additionally, Anonymous and Qays:


The only way you can prove Gershon wrong is to show examples of a peaceable transition from an Islamicist state to a democracy.

I calmly asked you to provide examples of such a peaceable transition, in order to prove Gershon wrong.

Evidently, you cannot. I repeat: evidently, you cannot Your response consists instead of insults, not evidence. As if insults can take the place of evidence They cannot.

That is the most relevant fact here.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous, where is your specific example that the transition from an Islamicist state to a democracy has ever happened peacefully, i.e., CAN happen peacefully?"

An inciting racist rhetorical question. The idea always being to demean a billion people, to demean a religion. Remember to be sure to repeat more racist rubbish.

Qays said...

Arthur:

"Qays: the large demos were already radicalized on Wednesday and Thursday of last week, and had moved beyond demands for a recount to demands for a fundamental democratization of the Islamic Republic."

Evidence please. The first real challenge to the Iranian Administration (sounds funny that combination doesn't it? A departure from official newspeak...) itself beyond the president and his loyalist was on Thursday when the "scarlet letter" was distributed at one of the marches.

The large demonstrations had no firm agenda other than the conviction that there were widespread irregularities and outrage that the wrong guy won. This was up to Wednesday/Thursday. The "Ayatollah"'s speech took alot of steam out of the whole thing.

Also read my remarks again. It seems you missed my point concerning Gershon's statement. My angle is quite different from Annon. don't see how you can address us both in one breath.

My friend, as someone who lives in the Middle East I think that the Iranian authorities have demonstrated much restraint with these protests. I'm amazed that people go overboard on the "repression" business.

The mere fact that the protests have taken place shows that the predominantly middle class rich kids were comfortable enough with the authorities' tolerance to do them. When they were threatened they backed off.

Can you see such a thing happening in Egypt or Syria?

I am just sick of all this lopsided hype and propaganda.

arthur said...

Anon has no evidence, so resorts again to insults. Insults are not a substitute for evidence, Anon. If you have evidence that Gershon is wrong, in the form of an Islamicist state that has transitioned peacefully to a democracy (as happened in the many authoritarian regimes in eastern Europe in 1989-1991), then give it. If you do not have evidence to contradict Gershon, then admit you do not have evidence to contradict Gershon, and stop trying to cover that embarrassing fact by flinging insults instead.

Qays, I didn't pair you with Anon. You're serious, and I wrote you a separate message. In any case, Qays, you write: "My friend, as someone who lives in the Middle East I think that the Iranian authorities have demonstrated much restraint with these protests."

I am not sure what such a statement says about Qays. Are you a supporter of Ayatollah Khameini and his thugs, or are you just being cynical about the "Mukhabarat regimes" of the Middle East? I can't tell. BTW, there is no doubt that whatever Mousavi wanted before June 12, his goals after the stealing of the election became fundamentally more radical as a challenge to the nature of the regime.

To be sure, Qays, Iran right now is not like Syria, where Hafez al-Assad killed 20,000 people at Homs in one week in 1982 and no one internationally blinked an eye.

But the question raised by Gershon remains a serious one. The issue is not whether democracy can coexist with Islam; it does in Indonesia and (I suppose) in Malaysia (though in Malaysia there are issues of Malay racism which complicate things, and official conversion to Christianity has been made very difficult even if people want to do it).

The question is whether a state BASED on political Islam, an islamicist state based on the will of Allah (and drawing its ultimate legitimacy from above, from the will of Allah, not from below, from the will of the people), can ever transition peacefully into a democracy. No one here who has attacked Gershon for asking that latter question has provided the slightest evidence that his hypothesis is wrong, and that such a state can't make such a transition. Gershon may be wrong. But meanwhile, Iran right now suggests he is right. And the responses to Gershon have not been the presenting of contrary examples but rather the flinging of insults. That is a tactic that goes nowhere, and intellectually humiliates those who employ it.

Anonymous said...

"If you have evidence that Gershon is wrong, in the form of an Islamicist state that has transitioned peacefully to a democracy (as happened in the many authoritarian regimes in eastern Europe in 1989-1991), then give it."

The rationale for racist lying continues, the game of asking a racist question and expecting an answer continues.

Anonymous said...

Qays:

"The premise is a lie: the false dichotomy that is suggested between the nebulous concept of the Islamic State and Democracy. The author seems to assume that the two can never be one and the same. That assumption is not true."

Perfect.

arthur said...

Anon (and now Qays),

PROVE that (a) Islamicist governments can be democratic, and (b) that an Islamicist government would give up power peacefully to a democracy. Was either of these propositions true of the Taliban in Afghanistan? No. Is either of these propositions true of the Islamicist government in Iran? No. Allah's will is the ultimate source of legitimacy in an Islamicist state; the source of legitimacy is from above, not from below. Thus if the people judge "wrongly" --wrongly as the spokesmen of Allah understand the issues--the people must be cheated, corrected, repressed, imprisoned or killed.

Has an islamicist government ever turned over power peacefully anywhere on this earth? No, as far as I know. Prove Gershon's thesis (and me) wrong, with specific EXAMPLES, not with general declarations.

That is: EVIDENCE.

Anon has no specific EVIDENCE, just insults. And Anon: a declaration in general terms from Qays isn't specific EVIDENCE either.

Qays said...

Arthur:

"PROVE that (a) Islamicist governments can be democratic, and (b) that an Islamicist government would give up power peacefully to a democracy."

Argumentum ad Ignorantiam.

That is rather like my asking someone to prove by giving examples that the American democratic model can (a) accommodate a homosexual, atheist president and (b) can peacefully give up power to an Islamist government.

The fact that neither of the two circumstances has obtained is by no means proof that they are impossible.

I cannot while presuming you to be possessed of a sound, educated mind construe your request to be other than an ill-conceived attempt to bring my argument outside the realm of logic.

That being the case I'm afraid I'm in no position to provide you with the "proof" you so earnestly require.

And by the way democracy is not merely political secularism.

arthur said...

Qays,

There are no governments in the West such as you describe, but that doesn't mean that there aren't really-existing Islamicist governments such as Gershon describes. There are, they really existed and exist. Each one of these political Islamicist states is either an authoritarian state (Iran) or a totalitarianian state (Taliban), and none of these voluntarily gave in to democracy. The Islamic Republic of Iran is as we speak busily attempting to destroy its democratic movement. You don't seem much interested in that tragic development, or asking what the sources of such behavior is.

I've given you (a) two really-existing examples of exaactly what Geshon is talking about, and (b) have explained the ideology behind the behavior of those really-existing examples, and why that ideology would make it unlikely that such governments would ever give in voluntarily to a democratic movement from below, when they believe they draw there legitimacy from on high. It is not for nothing that the Iranian propaganda ministry is entitled the Ministry of Islamic Guidance! It is the ideology of political Islam that allows suppression of dissent, and even mass murder, without a second thought, because they are defending God and God's Will. It is not "race": it is political Islam that is the issue.

I have examples that are really-existing, and that form the basis for Gershon's hypothesis. You have nothing substantial.

The worst propaganda against political Islam are the actions taken by political Islam. Indeed, the worse propaganda against Islam per se are the actions taken by political islam.

I've already said that Islam per se appears able to co-exist with democracy, as in Indonesia (and, to a lesser extent, Malaysia). Again, I employ specific examples, actual facts. Thus democracy does not necessarily equal secularism. But Islam doesn't necessarily equal political Islamicism either. The sort of Islam in Indonesia isn't political Islamicism, which is a subset of Islam which has become prominent since the 1970s. That is what Gershon is talking about.

People should not equate political Islamicism with all of Islam, and then use pumped-up anger at criticising "Islam" to cover over the terrible crimes and vicious attitudes of political Islam.

It's a crude tactic.

Anonymous said...

"Nor, as we learned, is it possible to make a peaceful transition from an Islamic to a democratic state, as happened in the aftermath of communism."

This is a racist comment and a lie, a vile racist lie.

arthur said...

Islam is a religion, not a race. Use of the term "racist" here by anonymous shows is simply blowing smoke in an attempt to bring to a stop a conversation that makes anonymous uncomfortable.

So much for "racist". As for Gershon's thesis being a "lie" where is the evidence that he is even wrong, let alone intentionally wrong?

On the contrary: the Taliban and Iran are powerful examples of Islamicist governments which did not peacefully transition to democracy As we write, the Iranian Supreme Religious Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, backed by thousands of primitive thugs, is resisting with all the government's military and secret police power any attempt to have the voice of the voters heard.

Meanwhile, despite multiple requests from me, there have been no examples brought forth by anon or anyone else of Islamicist governments that peacefully transitioned to democracy (as numerous Communist governments did in 1989-1991). I therefore conclude: this is because there ARE no examples of Islamicist governments transitioning peacefully to democracy.

This may be very embarrassing for anon and others--but Insults (their only response) are no substitute for evidence.

Qays said...

Arthur:

"The sort of Islam in Indonesia isn't political Islamicism..."

How magnificently convenient. So what type of "Islam" is it exactly?

It seems that political Islam is defined by some as whatever form of non-secular Muslim polity that is in some sort of crisis such that it makes ready evidence in the case against Islamic political systems particularly in regions possessed of resources that are important to the West.

I'll try this one last time. Your request for evidence is based on arguments that are vague and fallacious. You ask for proof that "Islamicist governments can be democratic" when "Islamicist" and "democratic" are undifined and assumed to be mutually exclusive based on the argumentum ad ignorantiam I pointed to earlier.

I can not go forward with undefined terms nor can I consequently acquiesce to the implied mutual exclusivity of the two concepts based on an appeal to ignorance. Yet even if for the sake of argument we were agreed on the terminology you then proceed to preempt the obvious examples of successful Muslim polities in the Far East (where by the way it has not been in Europe and America's interest to meddle unlike in the Middle East) by decreeing them to be other than "Islamicist" with no justification whatsoever for their exemption.

If you would just step down from your high moral-political platform you just may be able to see why I shan't under any circumstance be drawn into your little hastily contrived probative booby trap.

Insha Allah I'll write something on my blog that explores the realm of your concern in some detail.

Until then that's the last I have to say on this.

arthur said...

Qays may have left, but I am going to reply.

(1) Indonesia and Malaysia are heavily influenced by Islam, and most of their population is Muslim, BUT neither state is ruled by a cleric who only answers to God. The leaders are politicians, elected by the populace.

By contrast, Taliban Afghanistan was ruled by a cleric who was only answerable to God ("Mullah Omar"), not the populace, and the current regime in Iran are ruled by a cleric (Ayatollah Khamenei) who is only answerable to God. In these states, God's Will rules--or rather, God's Will as interpreted of course by these clerics who wield enormous state power to make sure their vision is obeyed. If the people object, then they are being disobedient to God, and obedience to God's Will requires that they be cheated, bludgeoned, imprisoned, or killed.

(2) Example:

From Reuters today, June 26:

At Friday prayers at Tehran university, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami referred to the demonstrators as rioters and declared, "I want the judiciary to punish leading rioters firmly and without showing any mercy to teach everyone a lesson."

Reuters quoted him as saying demonstrators should be tried for waging war against God. The punishment for such offenses under Islamic law is death.

Do you see, Qays? In these Islamicist states, objecting to government policy, or cheating, or repression, is WAGING WAR ON GOD.

NOW do you get the point, Qays?

Facts--specific evidence--can be quite inconvenient things to get around, my friend.

arthur said...

From Reuters, June 26:

"Ayatollah Khatami reminded worshippers that Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, rules by God's design and must not be defied."

HE RULES BY GOD's DESIGN AND MUST NOT BE DEFIED.

Do you get the point NOW, Qays? It's the exact point I've been making about Islamicist states, wouldn't you say?

Anonymous said...

"The sort of Islam in Indonesia isn't political Islamicism..."

How magnificently convenient. So what type of "Islam" is it exactly?

It seems that political Islam is defined by some as whatever form of non-secular Muslim polity that is in some sort of crisis such that it makes ready evidence in the case against Islamic political systems particularly in regions possessed of resources that are important to the West.

I'll try this one last time. Your request for evidence is based on arguments that are vague and fallacious. You ask for proof that "Islamicist governments can be democratic" when "Islamicist" and "democratic" are undefined and assumed to be mutually exclusive based on the argumentum ad ignorantiam I pointed to earlier.

[Right, right, right.]

Anonymous said...

"Nor, as we learned, is it possible to make a peaceful transition from an Islamic to a democratic state, as happened in the aftermath of communism."

This is a racist comment and a lie, a vile racist lie.

arthur said...

Anonymous, it is simple, and I posted it before.

1. Places like Indonesia and Malaysia, though heavily influenced by Islam, are not ruled by Muslim religious figures but by elected public officials who are responsible to the populace. The source of legitimacy of the govt is from below, from the voters.

2. By contrast, Taliban Afghanistan was ruled by Mullah Omar, who was responsible only to God; and Iran is ruled by Ayatollah Khamenei, who is also only responsible to God. The source of legitimacy in such states is from above, from Allah's Will--as interpreted and enforced by the religious figure who rules the state instruments of power.

Because in those latter sorts of Islamicist states the source of legitimacy is God, Who allegedly rules through a cleric, any opposition to the government consitutes a war against God. Such a government is not going to give in to its opposition, whether it is peaceful, voted, or not.

And THAT is exactly what Ayatollah Katami said yesterday:

Opposition to the policies of the govt of Iran--opposition to its stealing an election, to its beating, imprisoning and killing protestors, including the iconic innocent Neda Agha Soltan--is (and I quote) 'a war against God."

A WAR AGAINST GOD.

AND: "Ayatollah Khatami reminded worshippers that Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, rules by God's design and must not be defied."

HE RULES BY GOD's DESIGN AND MUST NOT BE DEFIED.

THAT, anonymous is the difference between Indonesia and Malaysia on the one hand, and Afghanistan and Iran on the other. It is a simple and profound difference in the political structure of the state and in its sources of legitimacy.

Finally, and again, as for Gershon being a "racist", Islam is not a race, so criticism of certain authoritarian or totalitarian tendencies in Islam cannot be racist.

As for Gershon perpetuating a lie, HE has powerful facts and examples on his side, which I have carefully enumerated. You have only insults in response because you HAVE no facts. It's a crude response.

Anonymous said...

"The sort of Islam in Indonesia isn't political Islamicism..."

What about political Catholicism or political Judaism or political Methodism or political Hinduism or political Anglicanism? I really want to know. Do explain the racist terminology, so I better understand.

Anonymous said...

"Political Islam is not a race. It is an ideology."

Political Catholicism is not a race. It is an ideology.

Political Judaism is not a race. It is an ideology.

Political Hinduism is not a race. It is an ideology.

Political Baptism is not a race. It is an ideology.

Political Anglicanism is not a race. It is an ideology.

Anonymous said...

"HE RULES BY GOD's DESIGN AND MUST NOT BE DEFIED."

Please o' crazy racist, continue on with the racist rationale and raving. Capital letters help show off the craziness.

Anonymous said...

Please do explain why you are so intent on vilifying Catholics or is it Methodists or Hindus, since I forget? Why the disdain? What is it that is so fearsome about Catholics or Hindus or Jews? I really want to know.

arthur said...

1. There is no place on earth where states are ruled by Christian, Jewish, or Hindu clerics on the basis of being the spokesmen for God. By contrast, there are places on earth where states are ruled by Muslim clerics rule on the basis of being the spokesmen for God. But if there were places where Christian, Hindu or Jewish clerics ruled by being the spokesmen of God, to discuss and criticise "political Christianity" or "political Hinduism" or even "political Judaism" would not be racist. Religious ideologies are not races. Apples aren't oranges, they're different. By gassing off about "racism" , anonymous, you simply show either your ignorance or your bad faith. It's blowing smoke when you have no facts on your side, and when the facts on the other side are intensely embarrassing to you.

2, I didn't say these things about opposition to the Iranian goverment being "a war against God," or "Ayatollah Khamenei rules by God's design and cannot be defied." They came yesterday from a major Iranian Ayatollah--from YOUR side--and these statements strongly confirm Gershon's hypothesis. Ayatollah Khatami's grotesque statements confirm that the liar here isn't Gershon. He is pointing to a serious problem.

Anonymous said...

Please do explain why you are so intent on vilifying Catholics or is it Methodists or Hindus, since I forget? Why the disdain? What is it that is so fearsome about Catholics or Hindus or Jews or Anglicans? I really want to know.

arthur said...

Anon, I was just using a few of your own examples, that's all. You cited Catholicism, Hinduism, Judaism, and others. I didn't feel it necessary to go through the whole list. I could have, which would have made your attempt to come up with parallels to polticial Islam look even more ludicrous.

arthur said...

And anon:

when exactly are you going to explain to us how a regime that believes that any opposition to it (including opposition to cheating in elections, brutalization of the peaceful, murder of the innocent) is "a war against God", and that "Ayatollah Khamenei rules by God's Design and cannot be defied"--how is such a regime as this ever going to make a peaceful transition to those who outvote it in an election?

Anonymous said...

Iranian Reformist Clerics Speak Out

arthur said...

The people you cite are not in control of the government. Khamenei and Ahmedinijad are the government. The supporters of Khamenei say that any opposition to his policies is a war against God, that he rules [RULES] by God's Design, and that he cannot be defied, for that is against God.

These are the people who control the Basij, the Revolutionary Guards, the police, the secret police and the army.
They are committing atrocities every day against innocent protestors. They killed Neda. That is the evidence [evidence, anonymous--facts] that people with that ideology do not care what the populace thinks, or how it voted. Their source of legitimacy is ultimately from Above, not below. They were appointed by God, are responsible only to Allah. Any opposition to the policies they decide upon is--I repeat--"a war against God."

So, Anonymous, how do people in control of these instruments of power and violence, and with this Islamicist ideology, give up power peacefully to those who disagree with them, even if the latter are a majority?

That's Gershon's point. You've never even tried to answer it.

arthur said...

I agree, though, that Mr. Alikhani is a courageous person...

Anonymous said...

"Any opposition to the policies they decide upon is--I repeat--'a war against God.' "

"I repeat--'a war against God.' "
"I repeat--'a war against God.' "
"I repeat--'a war against God.' "
"I repeat--'a war against God.' "
"I repeat--'a war against God.' "

Please o' crazy racist repeat!

arthur said...

Anonymous, I'm not the person who said this, Ayatollah Khatami did!

You can't get around this fact by hissing insults. and it makes you look ridiculous.

Your refusal to answer my question, a reasonable question based solidly on evidence such as Khatami's grotesque statements and the recent repression in Iran (done in the name of God)--not to mention the totalitarian Taliban state in Afghanistan--makes you
look even more worse.

Worthless insults are no substitute for honest answers to reasonable questions based on evidence.

Anonymous said...

"Any opposition to the policies they decide upon is--I repeat--'a war against God.' "

Simply notice the racist craziness, a continual stereotyping of hundreds of millions of people that is beyond all self-control. Just keep on making stuff up. Repeat? I repeat.

arthur said...

1. I haven't made anything up; I'm quoting a major Ayatollah, speaking in Iran on Friday.

2. Islam is a religion, not a race, so criticism of Islam can be called "racist", anymore than criticism of Christianity can be called "racist". Anonymous is just blowing smoke to try to end a conversation because he can't face some very uncomfortable facts.

3. In any case, no one is stereotyping a billion people: Gershon and myself are simply pointing out the vicious and totalitarian nature of a particular type of government, namely, Islamicist government. The question is whether such a government, given its ideology, could ever transition peaceably to democracy. There's plenty of evidence, from Aghanistan and now every day from Iran, that such a government cannot: that if the popular voice is against it, then the people are disobedient to God and must be punished. That's what Ayatollah Khatemi said--not me. By contrast, no evidence has been presented here that such a government can make such a transition, which is why anon is reduced to spewing worthless insults rather than conduct an intelligent conversation based on evidence. Well, he's only humilating himself.

arthur said...

2. should read: 2. Islam is a religion, not a race, so criticism of Islam cannot [cannot!] be called "racist", anymore than criticism of Christianity can be called "racist".

Anonymous said...

"Gershon and myself are simply pointing out the vicious and totalitarian nature of a particular type of government, namely, Islamicist government."

There we have the thoroughly crazed racist, being a crazed racist. Beyond all shame, beyond all self-control.

Anonymous said...

"Gershon and myself are simply pointing out the vicious and totalitarian nature of a particular type of government, namely, ---------- government."

Why do both of you hate Catholics or is it Hindus or Jews or Baptists, I keep forgetting, but do you folks ever hate?

Anonymous said...

"Gershon and myself are simply pointing out the vicious and totalitarian nature of a particular type of government, namely, ---------- government."

What is it about Catholics that drives such prejudice?

arthur said...

Anonymous can't answer the hard and specific questions which Gershon and I asked, and which are based on hard and specific evidence; he's embarrassed by this, or perhaps by the facts themselves, but in any case he doesn't have a fact-based answer; and so once more he resorts to spewing insults instead.

God knows what he's even saying anymore.

The end.

Anonymous said...

"Nor, as we learned, is it possible to make a peaceful transition from an Islamic to a democratic state, as happened in the aftermath of communism."

This is a racist comment and a lie, a vile racist lie.

"Gershon and myself are simply pointing out the vicious and totalitarian nature of a particular type of government, namely, ---------- government."

What is it about Catholics that drives such prejudice?

Anonymous said...

"Gershon and myself are simply pointing out the vicious and totalitarian nature of a particular type of government, namely, Islamicist government."

This is a racist comment and a lie, a vile racist lie.

Anonymous said...

"Gershon and myself are simply pointing out the vicious and totalitarian nature of a particular type of government, namely, Islamicist government."

What both of you were doing is spewing prejudice and fostering hatred. All that is impressive is the transparent stupidity and rottenness involved.

arthur said...

Anonymous:

Answer the arguments and hard facts about Afghanistan and Iran. Answer Ayatollah Khatemi: "Ayatollah Khamenei rules through God's Design and cannot be disobeyed; opposition to the government is a war against God."

Neither Gershon nor myself made this up--nor did we make up the murder of Neda and dozens of other peaceful demonstrators. They provide solid evidence for the thesis that Islamicist governments, because of the nature of their ideology, cannot give up power peacefull to democracy.

Again, there is no Catholic-majority country where there is an all-powerful leader who controls the state but is also a cleric whom all must obey on the grounds he speaks directly from God; nor is there a Protestant country like this; nor a Hindu country like this; nor a Jewish country like this. There are at least two Islamicist states like this. You can't deny it because it's a fact, and both were violent and authoritarian, you can't deny that either.

Anonymous, if you don't have facts to counter this evidence, and you can't answer our arguments, at least have the common decency to stop spewing vile insults as the only way you have to respond to hard facts. It's not too much to expect.

Anonymous said...

"Gershon and myself are simply pointing out the vicious and totalitarian nature of a particular type of government, namely, Islamicist government."

What both of you were doing is spewing prejudice and fostering hatred. All that is impressive is the transparent stupidity and rottenness involved. Always more of the same hate-filled shameless prejudice.

Anonymous said...

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/6/30/headlines#8

June 30, 2009

Ahead of US Meeting, Israel Annexes New West Bank Land, Announces New Settlement Construction
By Amy Goodman

The Israeli government has announced plans to expropriate a new swath of the occupied West Bank. Israel says it will take fifty-four square miles of Palestinian land, including shoreline near the Dead Sea. Palestinians will have forty-five days to contest the seizure in an Israeli court. A Palestinian cabinet minister called the move Israel’s single largest land takeover since it occupied the West Bank and Gaza in the 1967 war. The Israeli government, meanwhile, has authorized the construction of new homes in the West Bank settlement of Adam. The building plans are the latest in Israel’s rejection of President Obama’s call to stop settlement expansion. They come on the eve of Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s visit to Washington for talks with US officials. Obama has so far refused to apply any meaningful pressure on Israel, including the suspension of billions of dollars in annual US aid.

[Stereotype this.]

Anonymous said...

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/6/30/headlines#9

June 30, 2009

Israel Threatens Free Gaza Aid Ship in International Waters
By Amy Goodman

Meanwhile, a ship trying to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza from Cyprus has been threatened by Israeli violence in international waters. The sailing is the Free Gaza movement’s first since it aborted an attempt in January after the Israeli navy threatened to shoot the civilian passengers on board. That sailing had come just weeks after an Israeli navy vessel deliberately rammed another of its boats, almost forcing it to sink. Before it left Cyprus on Monday, Free Gaza movement founder Huwaida Arraf said her group is undeterred.

“We do not constitute any threat to Israel’s security, and that we just want to get to the people of Gaza. And so, if they attack us, which they have threatened to do on previous occasions, and even this time they have informed the Cypriot authorities that they will not let us enter, then we hope it’s clear to the international community that this is a deliberate attack, and we hope it also opens their eyes to the policies of Israel, which have nothing to do with security. It has to do with punishing an entire population, and we just can’t accept this.”

The sailing comes as the International Committee of the Red Cross has criticized the Israeli blockade of Gaza. On Monday, the Red Cross said Israel’s restrictions are crippling reconstruction efforts.

[Stereotype this.]

Anonymous said...

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/6/23/headlines#12

June 23, 2009

Israel Releases Jailed Palestinian Parliament Speaker
By Amy Goodman

Israel has released the Speaker of the Palestinian Parliament after jailing him for three years. Aziz Dweik was arrested in August 2006, just seven months after he became Speaker of the Palestinian Parliament. He was one of several Hamas lawmakers jailed after being charged with belonging to an illegal organization.

[Stereotype this. Democracy?]

Anonymous said...

How many wholly innocent people were indiscriminately killed in Gaza? By whom? I want to know.

I am waiting.

Anonymous said...

http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2009/06/all-that-you-have-done-to-our-people-is_29.html

June 29, 2009

All that you have done to our people is registered in notebooks

"A Palestinian child died of wounds he sustained during Israel's 22-day offensive on Gaza while he was at an Egyptian hospital, Palestinian medical sources reported on Saturday." *

http://english.ramattan.net/newsdetails.aspx?news_id=40514

-- As'ad AbuKhalil

[Stereotype this.]

arthur said...

Anonymous, unable to answer the question posed about Islamicist governments by Gershon and myself, now changes the subject to--naturally--Israel.

The number of civilians killed in Gaza is terribly high perhaps 400 all told (along with 1,000 Hamas militia). Anon professes to be shocked.

But Anonymous: Omar al-Bashir, the Islamicist leader of Sudan, has killed by UN estimate 400,000 civilians in Darfur--i.e., a thousand times the number of civilians killed in Gaza!!--and yet al-Bashir was greeted as a HERO at the March meeting of the Muslim League.

So gimme a break, you hypocrite.

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Anonymous said...

"Anonymous, unable to answer the question posed about Islamicist governments by Gershon and myself, now changes the subject...."

Notice the crazed racism.

Anonymous said...

http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2009/07/paid-zionist-propaganda.html

July 11, 2009

Paid Zionist Propaganda

"The Foreign Ministry unveiled a new plan this week: Paying talkbackers to post pro-Israel responses on websites worldwide. A total of NIS 600,000 (roughly $150,000) will be earmarked to the establishment of an “Internet warfare” squad." *

* http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/1,7340,L-3744516,00.html

-- As'ad AbuKhalil

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous, unable to answer the question posed about Islamicist governments by Gershon and myself, now changes the subject...."

The crazed racism is explained.

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