General Question

SeventhSense's avatar

Was the uproar in Iran precipitated by online Social Networking?

Asked by SeventhSense (18909points) June 16th, 2009

It is said the protests for the past 4 days were precipitated by “that other SN tool-Tw%$^er”. It is said that this is the worst social unrest since the Revolutions which preceeded the ousting of the Shah. So far seven people have been killed for protesting the election results putting Aminijad back in office. The most conservative voices say the vote would have been closer thanthe 2 to 1 claimed by the office. Satellites have been blocked, electronic transmissions are being compromised throughout the country. Aminijad had sole control of the media and is continuing to control the access to free exchange of ideas, yet allowing protests under duress by international exposure. What will become of this situation? Will a coup occur? Will we send troops? How will this situation play out?

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22 Answers

jackfright's avatar

Send troops? Again?
you’re joking right? >_<

All i know about this iranian hassle is that iranian students and protesters were reprimanded here for disrupting traffic (which i agree with). i can sympathize their angst, but really, keep it to yourselves if your attention-seeking protests are going to negatively affect the locals.

SeventhSense's avatar

We never sent troops to Iran.
Iranian hassle? Seven people were killed for protesting their government. A sham election was held which reinstated a psycopath who denies the holocaust ever ocurred. I’ll trust your statement was due to being uninformed rather than smug disdain.

andrew's avatar

Possibly not precipitated, but certainly aided. I think even more so by texting.

Also, hidden support from the Ayatollah helps a little more than twitter. But still, every little bit helps.

SeventhSense's avatar

Hidden support from the Ayatollah to foment unrest?

andrew's avatar

@SeventhSense With a disclaimer that I haven’t been really following the story, I heard a piece on NPR reporting that part of the reason that Mousavi movement has had such power is because of the backdoor support of the Ayatollah—who favors Mousavi and gives the entire movement legitimacy.

SeventhSense's avatar

He does seem more of a moderate. The nation, it would seem is extremely vital to stability in the region. I think even more so with the positive elections in Lebanon and the hopefully continued improvement in Iraq. I am hopeful that there may actually be a rise in democracy eventually. You can only keep people down for so long in Red China, North Korea and Iran when there is an increasing pipeline of liberal ideas flooding the world through the Web.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@SeventhSense ,
> We never sent troops to Iran.

this is not strictly true. An abortive rescue attempt, which came to be known as the “Debacle in the Desert” was made during the 1979 hostage crisis. U.S. troops landed on, and died on, Iranian soil during that mess, and it was one of the things that sealed Carter’s doom in the 1980 election.

Obama is not going to send troops to Iran. He is rightly treating this as an internal Iranian matter, no matter how badly it’s going for U.S. interests in the region. European response has been somewhat more pointed, but the most severe action I have heard of so far is the German president calling the Iranian ambassador there on the carpet to explain what is going on.

To answer your question more directly, online social networking may be facilitating the unrest in Iran, but it didn’t cause it. The cause is a marked demographic shift there – Iran’s population is younger and more worldly than they were in 1979. There is also high unemployment and ongoing economic problems.

But then – the Internet gets blamed for all kinds of things.

jackfright's avatar

@SeventhSense don’t be daft.

you’d make a fuss of 7 lives lost purely because they’re persian? are you aware of how many children die everyday due to poverty? unless you hold some sort of bias, leave the death toll out of it.

my point was that no group should shove their (internal) problems unto others. it’s a different matter if they were attacked by an external entity or neighboring country, but that’s not the case here.

and to answer the question directly, no, i dont think it was. i think social networking was just an easier channel to use for dissent.

SeventhSense's avatar

Yes I realize that we sent troops on a rescue mission but I was referring to war.
Talk here

SeventhSense's avatar

Well if it was any other stable country I would think that it may be viewed as an internal affair but the current climate and the access to questionable nuclear weapons leaves open many chances for error. I really don’t see the prospect of change in Iran so close would be missed opportunity by this administration or any other. I see patience for Aminijad wearing thin throughout the region and in Europe. I don’t necessarily think that war is the best option but I am wondering what are more proactive things we can do. The nature of our hypocrisy is acute when you consider our relations with regimes like China which may be even worse than Iran.

P.S.- Scared Cats dining on red herrings notwithstanding, I’d love to hear some more honest and relevant opinions.

jackfright's avatar

@SeventhSense i can understand the logic of a proactive approach to an unstable country with nuclear arms, but to be honest, i think the problem with this approach is that this also requires a long, painful and expensive follow-through that may not always occur (afterall, we can all see how much better iraq is now).

so what would happen if we were to take the same proactive approach with troops again? step-in, replace aminijad with a leader that is more agreeable to us, then step out when things get painful and our troops get killed? i dont know if that’s a responsible long term solution.

china’s involved now? red herrings indeed
china could certainly be “worse”, but from who’s perspective? the chinese, or the american? does one matter more than the other?”

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@SeventhSense , the election in Iran was a sham. It would still have been a sham had the votes been counted fairly and Moussavi had won. The popular “election” in Iran carries about the same weight as the student council election in your high school. Iran is a theocratic dictatorship ruled by one man: Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say in everything that goes on over there.

Ahmedinejad sits in Khamenei’s lap like a ventriloquist’s dummy. Maoussavi may seem to speak with his own voice, but Iran’s elected leadership has no real power anyway, so all he can do is talk, like Khatami did. In short, IT DOESN’T MATTER WHO WON! Obama knows that, so he has more to gain by treading lightly on the matter and waiting for the dust to settle before undertaking some kind of dialog with whoever is there.

That is, if it’s an option for him. My fear is that the aftermath of the demonstrations going on there will be a brutal crackdown on dissent. There have already been beatings and shootings. Next will come the hangings. If we are lucky, it will be in the dozens. If not, it will be in the thousands. If the human rights situation there deteriorates to that level, Obama won’t have a choice but to revert to a policy of isolating and punishing them, and any hope of a constructive dialog will vanish for another generation. And you may well see another war in the region.

SeventhSense's avatar

Starving them out has not worked yet, but just compels them to make more nefarious connections to other rogue countries. Not to mention the role Russia loves to play in opposing us on many fronts by supporting our enemies.
I think we have to somehow continue to support the efforts at reform. The situations like this and Red China (an analagous abusive regime) can not be allowed to escalate. We should have nothing to do with either of these regimes. As much as I disliked 90% of Bush policies, he still had an ideal about the American resolve and mission throughout the world that has been sorely lacking since Reagan.

Now granted, I have voted Democrat every election of my life, since I was able to vote in the 1980’s but the basis of much truth can be found in an examination of both sides of the political spectrum. Political ideologies after all do not solve problems. That is the job of real people acting in accord with solid principles.
The world is too small to not come to accord on human rights and we should be at the vanguard of these truths as per our Bill of Rights.
(a.) you’d make a fuss of 7 lives lost purely because they’re persian?
(b.) are you aware of how many children die everyday due to poverty?
This is the definition of a red herring.

And then you make the erroneous assumption to state
the false conclusion-(c). that I have bias based on
those two faulty premises-(a&b):

(c.) unless you hold some sort of bias, leave the death toll out of it.

Whether they are Persian or Pygmie makes no difference regardless

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@SeventhSense , we can support dissidence within Iran – Twitter them to death, as you will – but we already overthrew the government there once, in 1953, and the Iranians don’t trust us now. Even the Moussavi supporters. As powerful as we are, watchful waiting is still the best thing to do – for now.

SeventhSense's avatar

I here you.

And I do actually spark these discussions to encourage a variety of viewpoints. I take no pleasure in opinions for opinion’s sake. I am not interested in debate but just hearing from all sides. So come on folks.
Read the news and feel free to pipe in.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

It’s going predictably over there. Khamenei rubber-stamped the fraud, which does not surprise me in the least. It’s unclear what happens now. The demonstrations, if they continue, will be ruthlessly suppressed. Moussavi may be arrested, possibly executed. Ahmedinejad will continue to give us the finger. It will be a big setback for Obama, but I am sure he’ll handle it with appropriate restraint.

I want as much as anyone to see the regime toppled over there. Just remember Iraq. Saddam was a pig; he modeled his regime after Stalin’s, and like Stalin, he murdered and tortured thousands of people to suppress dissent. We got rid of him. Here is the price tag. Please take a moment to read some of the names and look at their faces. Then decide if the U.S. must continue to be the vanguard of truth everywhere.

SeventhSense's avatar

No the hawk mentality is definitely not mine. And I think that it could have been handled differently but I do think good will come of it regardless of the idiocy of the previous administration. The problem is that there is a serious divide in this country as to the role of the military and even dying to serve in whatever context.

I know some wealthy Republican families and by and large they have no problem with their children in the military and take pride in the fact that there was a family member serving in every armed conflict since the American Revolution. There is a type of warrior honor that is very much alive.

I guess what I question is how much is that resolve is justified in exercises like Korea, the Vietnam War, and the Iraq War. But it’s amazing the lengths that I have heard people go to justify these conflicts. Maybe it’s a primitive urge or a part of our psyche that has yet to be civilized. Who knows. But some people seem to be born to it. If you ever read Adolf Hitler’s first accounts of being in War it borders on a first love. It’s peculiar. But I’m rambling..

jackfright's avatar

@SeventhSense nice dodge. i brought the children up because you brought china to the table, and their deaths because you mentioned the 7 deaths. “Whether they are Persian or Pygmie makes no difference regardless” is precisely why i brought it up, i was hoping you would connect the dots on your own. one red herring for another.

my girlfriend’s iranian and she’s in tehran at the moment to take care of her family. SMS’s aren’t working, calls to mobile phones are almost impossible right now. she says facebook’s blocked as well (and is using yahoo mobile to get through). obviously, there are two clear camps. most iranians i know support Moussavi. older friends who remember the first revolution- their thinking is that both Moussavi and Ahmadinejad are puppets that bow to Khamenei. and even if Moussavi wasn’t, he wouldn’t have the strength to stand against Khamenei.

I suspect this potential revolution will be just that- “potential”. what you have here is potentially far worse. a swift loss and win (for either side) would allow the conflict to end sooner (followed by a hopeful recovery). when the numbers aren’t enough to tip the scales, but are big enough to take to the streets we could see prolonged bloodshed.

@IchtheosaurusRex i dont see that as the price tag, to be honest. i see the iraqi civilian lives lost as the price tag. i suppose it’s better than it was under saddam right?

I honestly think the U.S. is the most benevolent superpower there is, but surely it must know that artificial/external fixes are usually not the best long-term solution. I hope the U.S. keeps its military out of this conflict. The persians have to fix their country themselves.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@jackfright , do you want to be the one to tell the parents of those kids that you don’t see their lives as the price that was paid? What was the price, then? Is Iraq better off now than it was under Saddam? I have a very bad feeling that once U.S. troops are out altogether, the government there will either collapse, or become as repressive as the one in Iran – if it does not in fact become part of Iran.

There is no way in hell Obama is going to send our military in there. If the hard-liners get too close to building a nuclear weapon, the Israelis will deal with it.

jackfright's avatar

@IchtheosaurusRex soldiers are sent to fight a war, civilians die, and you emphasize the loss of military deaths as the main cost? like i said in my post, the price would be the civilian deaths directly caused by the war the soldiers were sent to wage.

“Is Iraq better off now than it was under Saddam? I have a very bad feeling that once U.S. troops are out altogether, the government there will either collapse, or become as repressive as the one in Iran – if it does not in fact become part of Iran.”

That was my point; i do not think Iraq is better off now than before the war. I wouldn’t be at all surprised the government collapses- its what seems likely to happen when a puppet government is setup by an external body (U.S.) and the puppeteer leaves. Not too sure about the second part though, Iran’s government seems to have difficulty controlling its own people, nevermind the neighbouring country.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@jackfright , in the case of Iraq, the war shouldn’t have been waged. None of those American kids should have been killed. Yeah, the civilians who’ve died should not have lost their lives, either, but I still see the casualties among our troops as being the price the U.S. has paid for Bush’s folly.

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