The Iranian government's crackdown on the Shiite holy day of Ashura this past weekend left at least nine Green Movement protesters dead, including a nephew of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, whom many consider the rightful winner of the disputed presidential election in June. As the protest movement grows more forceful, some commentators are asking if the Green Movement has pushed Ayatollah Ali Khameni's beleagured regime to the tipping point. (Watch a report about opposition in Iran)
This is the beginning of the end for Khameni: The legitimacy of Ayatollah Ali Khameni's already "profoundly shaken" regime "is now being shredded," says Informed Consent blogger Juan Cole. The size and geographic scope of the Ashura protests marks a new stage in the Green Movement, and the killing of Mousavi's nephew — the Mousavis are "putative descendants of the Prophet Muhammad" — on Ashura "borders on insanity."
"Iran roiled... Chanting against theocrat Khamenei..."
It's not over yet: I remain "skeptical" that "the Green Movement has the upper hand," even after Sunday's "apparently massive protests," says Blake Hounshell in Foreign Policy. But the "radicalization" of both sides helps the protesters. The crowds are now chanting "Death to Khameni," and not even the despised shah — overthrown in the 1979 revolution — dared to kill people on Ashura.
"Which Iranian radicals will win?"
It's up to Khameni now: "More than ever, the future of this regime hinges on Ayatollah Ali Khameni," says Meir Javedanfar at Frontline. If he continues with his "unrelenting" crackdown and anti-Islamic policies, he'll see an "Iranian-style intifada" and his government's "total demise." But he can still "save his regime" if he reins in the violence and modifies his economic policies.
"The start of an Iranian intifada"
Anti-Khameni does not mean pro-U.S.: Like "most in the West," I'd "like to see the Green Movement succeed," says Greg Scoblete in RealClearWorld. But we shouldn't delude ourselves: if the Greens succeed, that doesn't mean we'd get "a government that's congenial with Washington's view of how Iran should behave itself in the Middle East."
"How does the Green Movement end"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How Ronald Reagan turned America into a nation of children
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why is the West so afraid of Islam?
- Why Mitt Romney is perfectly poised for a comeback in 2016
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- The crusade against Iraq War supporters has forgotten someone: Hillary Clinton
- This week I learned the moon might be littered with dinosaur fossils, and more
- 8 things the world's most extraordinary survivors can teach you about resilience
- 8 secrets to steal from power networkers
- The Nazi smart bomb that inspired China's most dangerous weapon
Subscribe to the Week