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If There Were a Gulf Conspiracy - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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After the leaders of the Iranian demonstrations refused to submit to threats, the Iranian regime decided to revert back to its old methods, namely that of fabricating televised prisoner confessions following lengthy interrogation sessions that include physical assault as well as food and sleep deprivation. This would take place until the prisoner in question finally gives in [and agrees to confess]. Depriving a prisoner of sleep for several nights until he surrenders and accepts whatever conditions so long as he is allowed to sleep is the least painful type of torture and enough to convince the prisoner to agree to do whatever he is told. However nobody accepts these confessions outside of prison and the opposition leadership has responded to them with derision.

The ordinary Iranian citizen knows that there is no conspiracy, but rather that this is an internal split in the regime over the [election] results; a division that has taken place in the open and one that can be seen throughout the streets and squares of Iran’s major cities. This was not a coup that took place in the dark but a controversy that took place openly and publicly. The split between the two sides took place in the open; Ahmadinejad’s side wishes to secure its grip on power, whilst Mir Hossein Mousavi’s side enjoys large public support that rejects Iran’s deplorable economic and political situation. The latter is accusing the former of rigging the elections and has decided to confront this theft publicly and by demanding re-elections.

The electoral dispute began as a storm in a teacup but soon became a [political] tsunami. This crisis continued to grow as a result of the regime’s confusion, failing initially to contain the crisis internally before later making a failed attempt to export [the cause of] this crisis abroad. The ruling regime successfully curtailed the protests by frightening the demonstrations with a show of force. Even though the new opposition – that is confident due to its righteous position and its support from within the regime – refrained from taking part in large-scale demonstrations, it refused to stay silent, and expanded its operations from Tehran to the holy city of Qom.

Qom is the capital of religious legitimacy [in Iran] and has become a key front in the dispute with the ruling regime after the opposition contested the legitimacy of Ahmadinejad’s presidency. Protests are ongoing and the rebellious statements issued from mosques, by the public, and in the news media have yet to abate illustrating that the [government’s] internal containment project failed.

In addition to this, the attempt to export the crisis abroad by playing on nationalist sentiments [by blaming the uprising on foreign parties] has also failed. However by pointing the finger of accusation at Britain, and arresting a number of British embassy staff, Iran has implicated itself in an even bigger division with EU members who have threatened to sever their existing diplomatic and trade links with Tehran, threatening the Iranian regime with [international] isolation.

President Ahmadinejad also made the mistake of criticizing US President Barack Obama at a time when Obama himself was facing internal pressure and criticism for failing to support the Iranian protestors. As a result of Ahmadinejad’s attack Washington began to openly support the Iranian opposition, something which served only to increase the Iranian regime’s problems. When Ahmadinejad realized that this was harming him [and his regime] he returned and decreased his criticism of Washington. Ahmadinejad’s government has now leaked new accusations saying that a Gulf state is behind everything that is happening. This is the weakest charge to be sold to the Iranian people [so far].

If there is any truth in the accusation that a Gulf state is behind the events that took place across five Iranian cities, this would mean that the regime is facing extremely dangerous days of weakness and impotence as any regional country could be able to strike at Iran in this manner. We all know that there is no external or regional power that is capable of convincing this huge number of political leaders to rebel against the ruling regime that they themselves are a part of, instigating millions of Iranians to vote against Ahmadinejad and to demonstrate against the [election] results, and then continue to demonstrate in the manner that we have seen.

It is laughable to say that a Gulf state or any other state is behind what took place. Regardless of who the security apparatus arrests, and how they torture them and force them to make televised confessions accusing external parties of conspiracy and internal parties of treason, this only serves to cause the regime to lose what little credibility it has left with its allies who doubted the regime’s initial fiction; that of the election results.

False accusations only confirm the regime’s weakness and do not consolidate its version of events.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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