In a Financial Times article, reporters Najmeh Bozorgmehr and Roula Khalaf tease out evidence that what some analysts have likened to a clerical-state bureaucracy elite are deftly manipulating the legitimate popular outrage against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's regime as a way of hoisting themselves (back) to power.
A political party affiliated with Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, the former president and key member of the Iranian regime, on Sunday called on Mir-Hossein Moussavi, the opposition leader, to form a "political bloc" that would pursue a long-term campaign to undermine the "illegitimate" government.
Where the West sees the pictures and the blood and the green, the Iranian elite sees a contest for the spoils of power. There is no, as of yet, liberal political movement that can be extricated from the desires of a self-interested and powerful, conservative Islamic elite, one that might be, at most, slightly more congenial to American interests, and use less inflammatory rhetoric to prick the consciousness of Western minds. The uprising has appropriated the symbols, gestures and techniques of Western revolutions, but we still know so little about what type of Iranian state these people want. (As Mousavi himself has suggested, the goal isn't to disarm the state-sponsored paramilitaries. It's to co-opt them on the side of the real revolutionaries.)
There is immense disatisfaction among the Iranian people at the current state of affairs. The people are suffering and protesting about it. The United States political elite and the protesters in Iran share a common enemy: Ahmadinejad. They might not share a common future.
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is a contributing editor at The Atlantic
. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One
, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week