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If any of the above reflects reality -- and I make NO claim to knowing it does -- it goes a long way to explaining why the repression has been so limited, given the total force capable, in theory, of being deployed to the streets.

Exactly!  All of the major players among the protest faction are major players and participants in Iranian politics since the fall of the Shah.  It is bad enough when you loose most of the educated and most of the business class, but when the division splits your own government you are pretty hapless.  Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of sons of bitches.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jun 20th, 2009 at 03:58:48 PM EST
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I'm irresistibly reminded of Churchill's comment re observing politics in Soviet Russia...

"...like watching dogs fight under a carpet...."

..an Iranian carpet being particularly apt...

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Jun 20th, 2009 at 04:54:51 PM EST
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