Saturday, December 31, 2005

Is Ahmadinejad "truly in charge" in Iran?

Marsha B. Cohen in G2K: ...........Israeli declarations about the political
power of the Iranian presidency--in the case of Khatami, he(Safdari) quite correctly recalls that Khatami was ridiculed as a straw man with no power to change Iranian policies for the better, while Ahmadinejad, Khatami's successor, is depicted as a plenipotentiary head of state with unlimited power to make them worse.

As for whether Ahmadinejad is "truly in charge" in Iran, I think the short answer is that no one, including Khomeini, was ever as "truly in charge" as he was made out to be in the foreign press, or as he himself might have wanted to be. Khomeini had to balance and play off various factions within his revolutionary government against each other, while never allowing any one faction to gain the upper hand for very long during the decade between the revolution and his death in 1989. Since 1989, no
one else has been able to do this again with equal success, and no one individual has been "truly in charge." Does Ahmadinejad have the political skill to gain total control in such a way that Khomeini himself could not do, or even to match Khomeini's skill as a political manipulator? Early results make this seem unlikely.


Blogger Lars said...

how do you look at the confrontations over the oil ministry during this autumn? I heard also from about a picture in an Iranian newspaper some time ago depicting Khamanei, Rafsanjani and then Ahmadinejad on a row, how much support does he really have among the top ulama?


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