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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 16-Jun-2013
16-Jun-13 World View -- Iran's elections won by 'moderate' Hassan Rouhani

Web Log - June, 2013

16-Jun-13 World View -- Iran's elections won by 'moderate' Hassan Rouhani

Egypt cuts all diplomatic relations with Syria

This morning's key headlines from

Iran's elections won by 'moderate' Hassan Rouhani

Female supporter holding up picture of Rouhani on Saturday.  Her loose hairscarf is an act of rebellion against the hardliners.  (BBC)
Female supporter holding up picture of Rouhani on Saturday. Her loose hairscarf is an act of rebellion against the hardliners. (BBC)

Iran's Interior Ministry has announced that Friday's election was won by the Hassan Rouhani, with 52.49% of the votes. Rouhani will replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president of Iran in early August. There were several major surprises:

On the other hand, the election can hardly be called open and fair. The regime still has several moderate politicians under arrest since 2009, and in recent days the regime has been openly threatening violence against the families of BBC reporters who are simply reporting on the election. Reformist newspapers have been shut down, and journalists have been arrested. It's quite likely that there would be widespread protests if a hardliner had won. Fars (Tehran) and Bloomberg

Iran's nuclear development policy unlikely to change

Hassan Rouhani, 64, lived through the Great Islamic Revolution of 1979, and is a confidant of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, so it's not clear how "moderate" he's going to be. It's quite likely that national and international expectations of him will exceed what he's able to deliver.

Rouhani's campaign bears some similarity to Barack Obama's 2008 campaign as the "hope and change" candidate, blaming everything on the previous administration. Even though the policies of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were very conservative, and not far from the policies of the Supreme Leader, Rouhani was able to walk a tight line by directing all his criticism at Ahmadinejad rather than Khamenei.

Rouhani's campaign promises were:

Iran is in a generational Awakening era, like America in the 1960s-70s, when there was a "generation gap," resulting in enormous political turmoil and some violence.

Rouhani won a landslide victory, and now has mandate for change. But the real power in Iran lies with the Supreme Leader and the hardline Guardian Council. So the most likely result of Friday's election is that when the euphoria wears off, the bitter political conflicts will return. BBC and Reuters

Egypt cuts all diplomatic relations with Syria

Mohamed Morsi speaking in Cairo on Saturday (Al-Ahram)
Mohamed Morsi speaking in Cairo on Saturday (Al-Ahram)

Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi announced on Saturday the end of all diplomatic ties with the Syrian regime led by Bashar Al-Asaad, and that "the Egyptian people and army are supporting the Syrian uprising."

"We have decided to close down the Syrian embassy in Cairo. The Egyptian envoy in Damascus will also be withdrawn.

"The people of Egypt and its army will not leave Syrians until their rights are granted and a new elected leadership is chosen. ...

Hezbollah must leave Syria; there is no place for Hezbollah in Syria. The Egyptian people have stood by the Lebanese people and Hezbollah against the [Israeli] attack in 2006, and today we stand against Hezbollah for Syria."

Morsi also urged the West to implement a no-fly zone over Syria, something that the Obama administration has already rejected.

This is a dramatic about-face for Egypt, since Morsi had hoped to serve as a mediator to end the Syrian conflict, as he had done in last year's Gaza conflict between Israel and Hamas. However, the invasion of Syria by Hezbollah appears to have been the trigger that forced him to choose sides against the al-Assad regime.

Hezbollah's invasion of Syria on the side of the al-Assad regime is a major turning point in the Mideast. As we've been reporting, the attitudes of Sunnis and Shias towards each other is becoming increasingly vitriolic throughout the region. It would take very little at this point to start a local fight that could spiral out of control and spread throughout the region. Al Ahram (Cairo)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 16-Jun-13 World View -- Iran's elections won by 'moderate' Hassan Rouhani thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (16-Jun-2013) Permanent Link
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