USS Clueless - Power struggle in Iran

Stardate 20011231.1210

(On Screen): There's a major power struggle which has been going on in Iran for quite some time now, and it's getting more pointed as time goes on. It's between theocrats on one side, self-appointed, with God on their side, who control the military, the police and the courts, and the populists on the other side, the elected government, the majority of the press and the majority of the people.

The theocrats thing that the government should be run according to the word of God as revealed by a self-selected prophet, essentially a religious dictator. The populists think that government should be responsive to the will of those it governs. It's easy to see which side we are more in tune with.

The struggle between them is intensifying as each uses bigger and bigger weapons at its disposal. The courts have been locking up journalists who criticize the theocracy, and now they've take the big step of locking up a member of parliament for expressing his opinion about the power of the courts. The Parliament obviously takes a dim view of this.

Upcoming weapons for each side? The second best weapon for the populists is for Parliament to stop funding the courts and stop paying the judges. The Parliament does control the public purse.

The best weapon for the theocrats is to deploy the army and have a military coup. It's an open question whether all of them would obey such an order, but we may have our answer soon.

That would then leave the populists with their best weapon: people power. It becomes finally a question of whether the people of Iran will resist. If so, the nation erupts into civil war and it's anybody's guess what happens then.

What's the best thing that the US can do here? Stay the hell out of it. Any overt help for the populists, or even secret help which gets discovered and publicized, would badly damage the elected government in its struggle. If they want help from us they will most certainly tell us, probably very quietly via back channels. But we're "the great Satan"; we're the enemy loathed by the theocracy. If we come to the aid of the populists, we prevent any chance of compromise and peaceful conclusion between the sides.

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